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Final Fantasy VII (Platinum Game) (PS)

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      17.10.2012 20:37
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      A great game, fun yet emotional, some great challenges, brilliant twists

      I only started playing Final Fantasy games about six years ago, so I'm pretty late to the party. FFVII was the latest FF game that I got hold of, apart from FFXIII-2. I purchased this from the Playstation Network, which was good at £7.99, as opposed to the £20+ that I've seen it for in the shops.

      Although the graphics are not as good as one is used to in the PS3 era, the strength of the storyline far outweighs the weakness of the graphics (according to some, in fact I think that the graphics are great for when the game came out). You play as Cloud, a sword-wielding man with spiky blonde hair.

      I think that the story of this game is excellent. It is not my favourite FF game, but it is up there with the greats for me. There are enough twists to keep the player interested in the storyline, while at the same time it doesn't have twists just for the sake of it.

      I often got stuck in sections of this game, a lot of the areas I found myself very underlevelled, but I think that says more about my gaming than the game itself. I think that, overall, for Square's first foray into the Playstation era is very good, and I really believe that everyone who has played the later FF games should play this at least once.

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      04.08.2012 04:03
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      Best game ever made in my opinion.

      When it comes to RPG's any self respecting gamer older than 15 should know of final fantasy 7 and have fond memories of it's greatness, for this was the game of all games back in the late 90's. It offers one of the deepest and most touching stories in video gaming, and one of the highest praised soundtracks to a video game of all time.

      Even if today, the gameplay may look a bit, well, 90's, you will struggle to find a game that has the untold ability to totally enthral you in a story and really take you along for the ride. Speaking of story, this game offers 8 playable characters with the main focus on Cloud, an Ex-Soldier, who joins a vigilante group bent on taking down a corrupt government, and restoring power to the people, so to speak.

      One of the games calling cards, is definitely it's combat system, many people will be familiar with this typical FF layout, but if your not, its a turn-based combat system, meaning you pick a move or spell, when its one of your 3 characters turn to attack, they do.

      Apart from it's lovable characters, and quirky story, FFVII boasts the most diverse locations to explore, ranging from an alps style mountain, to giant nuclear style reactors.

      When playing this you will fight huge bosses and hundreds of different enemies, with an untold number of abilities at your disposal. Even have a round table of knights come and give you some assistance should you want it.

      All in all, Final Fantasy 7 is hailed as one of the greatest games of all time, and the best RPG ever, and for good reason, if your a fan of the genre, or are just looking for an old game to make you dust of the old PlayStation, then this will give you HOURS of enjoyment.

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        13.02.2012 00:57
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        It's like Elvis - 50,000,000 fans can't be wrong.

        Stars bolt around the screen as if being gazed upon by some drunk in the middle of the night, only to fade to the image of a young woman holding a basket of flowers, strolling into a vast industrial city the only light being the faint flicker of houses and the green glow of the mako reactors, amongst the pitch black polluted sky above. "Final Fantasy VII" scrolls across the screen as a drum roll picks up, slowly zooming into a platform, with quick interruptions from a speeding train grinding to a spark spitting halt. A woman and three blokes jump out and take down several guards, "C'mon Newcomer" shouts the burly black guy in am armless shirt. A spiky headed blonde, purple jumpsuit sporting dude backflips of the train with a sword bigger than him. Battle commences and you are thrust straight into the fray, swinging said sword and conjuring lightning.

        Cinematic gold within five minutes.

        From start to finish, Final Fantasy VII is an intense roller-coaster ride in terms of everything you'd expect from a video game and more. As if seeing the copious amounts of five star reviews for this game wasn't enough, one quick search for FF7 provides commercial acclaim left and right. People hold this game close to their hearts, stick up for it vigilantly, often ignore its (minimal) shortcomings and its not difficult to understand why. Released in 1997, 2 years after the Playstation One's world wide release, VII boasted a brand new, groundbreaking experience. Not many games were spread across three discs.. but the length of the game pretty much demanded it. My first experience of this game was in 1998 whilst visiting a friend I witnessed something fascinating, simply hearing the music as I walked into the room was enough to peek my interest but actually seeing 3 mysterious characters using all sorts of magic and summoning gigantic beasts to aid them in battle was, for lack of a better word, breathtaking. A few months later the same friend turned up LATE for my 8th birthday party, suffice to say all was forgiven when I realised what he had given me. By far the best gift I have ever received, it put all other presents to forgotten shame, and that was the beginning.

        The battle system in Final Fantasy has largely remained unchanged throughout the early games, utilising 3 varied characters, each with a different class or set of abilities and stats, to ultimately defeat an opposing enemy. Taking turns, making use of magic, physical attacks and abilities. Often offering a different experience each time. VII is no different but improves on its predecessors considerably with new additions such as the materia system.
        Materia, a large part of the game involved not just in combat but story as well, is essentially an item equipped to enable the use of the specific magic within it. Its a rather unique system as there are so many combinations and levels in materia alone that its worth exploring the entire world to find every last type. The world itself is a strong reason alone as to why this game is so vast, featuring several locations ranging from the massive powerhouse conglomerate city of Midgar to a small snowy village where the only pass time is snowboarding. VII's amusement park, Gold Saucer is a marvel to behold, abundant in mini games that make the stresses of the game fade slightly if only for a moment.

        Surroundings alone aren't enough however, Square had to go one further and get veteran composer Nobuo Uematsu to come up with one of the most memorable and emotional soundtracks ever made. The music enhances not only the environment but also effects the mood during dialogue. A whopping 85 MIDI tracks have never sounded this good. Whether its a sense of urgency, romance, pure adrenaline fuelled action, the soundtrack comes up trumps every time. Stories are a dying aspect in recent video games, its all for graphics and gameplay alone, with no magic, no plot, no heart. VII in many ways is like a novel, with thousands of conversations and sub plots to get stuck into, you can't help but experience them all. I can understand how insane that must sound, comparing similarities between a video game and a novel, but that just shows how in depth the story really is and how high I regard it. Keep in mind that many gamers would avoid or completely disregard a video game dubbed to have similar qualities of a book.

        In the beginning you are thrust into a job with a group of environmentalists/activists/terrorists known as AVALANCHE, trying to take down ShinRa Inc. the ones behind the reactors that suck the land dry of its life source, mako. As you skulk through Midgar with your group you get to know all of its members, finding main characters along the way, get sidetracked, separate and reunite after major battles only to finally discover there is a greater evil at work. Events take you all around the globe via boats, submarines, airships, buggies and or course chocobos. You'll witness more incredible scenes at caverns, beaches, glaciers, temples, mountain tops, marshes, the ocean floor, the sky and even outer space, all whilst taking on nightmarish enemies and gaining new powers. Limit Breaks spice up battles using unique individual abilities to deal major damage after taking enough yourself. Secret characters hide away and must be convinced to aid you in your quest to save the world from utter chaos and destruction. If all that wasn't enough, you can try your hand at taking on optional bosses that appear in the later stages of the game, some with over 1,000,000 Hit Points.

        Final Fantasy VII has endured so much success it has spawned several spin offs.
        - Advent Children, a film set 2 years after the events of VII
        - Dirge of Cerberus, a PS2 game revealing further insight to one of VII's most mysterious characters
        - Last Order, a short anime film remodelling one of the epic events of VII
        - Before Crisis, a mobile phone game about ShinRa's special branch, The Turks
        - Crisis Core, a PSP game shedding light on events before VII

        With all that you could say Square-Enix have milked the franchise, but to be fair to them, they have gone about it with respect to the original and catered to the fans needs. Its no wonder that with all this success, the internet forums are a buzz with the hype of a remake. If all my ramblings of reminiscant nostalgia hasn't at least tempted you, my apologies, but it is my impression that you are missing out on an absolute gem and the best game ever made. 15 years later, its still going strong.

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        15.09.2010 00:54
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        FFVII for PlayStation

        Slowly, but surely, Shinra, are killing this planet by sucking the life out of it with their reactors. For Cloud, an ex-SOLDIER, and a rebel group, it's time for reaction, but things don't so much snow as they do avalanche - can they stop Shinra?

        GRAPHICS
        Outside of battle, the characters appear deformed and are short on detail - a contrast to the pre-rendered surroundings. These are not as flat as they look, as polygons can pass under as well as over them. However, on the odd occasion they can be tricky to traverse, although indicators can be brought up, there's no knowing where the jumps are, or what can be climbed. Also, there is clipping present in the gouraud shaded models. In battle, the characters are drawn lifelike; they appear in both lights in the FMV sequences, but where the developers showed some skill is their integration into the game, even if you can see where the seams are. It's easy to forget that the game does need to load. The character designs are nice, and whilst the animations are as amusing as they can be awesome, some of the summon and spell sequences can be lengthy as well as silly (see a certain Sephiroth spell)!

        SOUND
        The music is played from the console's sound chip, rather than off the CD, and as such, is MIDI quality. Still, that's not to say the soundtrack isn't strong. Far from it - it's as diverse as it is delightful. My favourite tracks are the 'Flowers Blooming in the Church' and 'Aeris's Theme' tunes which, on replaying Final Fantasy VII, can be pretty touching!

        PLAY
        There is some good storytelling (switching of camera shots) as well as bad (playing through largely linear memory sections), but the dialogue sees to sloppy grammar, and has its fair share of typos.

        Materia means magic, and much more. These are colour-coded for ease of use, and to make the most out of them, they can be paired. Care needs be taken when equipping Materia as there may be a trade-off in stats.

        Combat is real-time turn-based, although the Active Time Battle system can be changed to cater for RPG beginners. But the Battle Speed can also be configured for fast fighting.

        There are signs of sloppiness in the battle system - because of moving targets selecting whom to apply an action to sometimes isn't as simple as it should be. The limit breaks are cool, and can be unleashed when a character suffers so much damage.

        The mini-games are a mixed bag. There are Janken matches in the form of 3-D Battler at the Gold Saucer, but I'm not wild about Chocobo Racing - as you need to wait for the competitors to complete the race it is really slow to start with. Some of the mini-games do store a personal best for which to beat.

        Final Fantasy VII comes on 3 CDs, and can take about forty hours to finish, and although not a tough title to complete, there is a challenge in finding the optional characters to find and tackling the numerous side areas.

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        22.08.2010 01:11
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        Fans of the series will love it

        Being far too long since the last instalment of the Final Fantasy series hit the shops, it's no wonder fans are aching to get hold of a copy of FF12. Final Fantasy 12 follows the central characters Vaan (aged seventeen), a resident of the recently captured Damaska Kingdom. He lost his family to the Arcadia Empire, who has taken over his homeland. He hopes to realise his dream of becoming an air pirate in order to escape the hellish life he is being forced to endure. He soon teams up with the game's heroine, Ashe. Ashe is the nineteen-year-old princess of the Damaska Kingdom and heir to the throne. Tired of the suppression, she generates interest in a group she intends to lead conquer the empire.

        All the characters you would expect make an appearance, including the Moogles (who will look rather menacing initially, and will be differently designed from previous games) and a Cid character. The Judges (enemies of Vaan and Ashe) will also be around to oversee proceedings. Ensuring their laws are obeyed and punishing those who refuse to respect their ways, the Judges are dark creatures.

        Race and class are prominent throughout the game, with tribes such as Viera and Bangaa not only speaking their individual languages but also co-existing with difficulty, due to their prejudices. The Final Fantasy world is not as developed as ours and human rights are not on the same level, meaning the caste-system is a prominent idea throughout.

        The world itself is called Ivalice (which has also been seen in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance), with influences from European and Arabic culture being readily apparent. The Mediterranean feel is honed to perfection, and had the research team spending long periods of time in Turkey in order to fully convey the architectural and ethnic influences of life there. There is a much heavier western influence than previous Final Fantasy games and a greater variety of locations. The entire graphics system of FF12 has significantly improved since its predecessor, and the architectural design in particular is utterly breathtaking. The vivid use of colour and texture is eerily life-like and the pre-rendered CG sequences that have become a trademark of the series are apparent here, too. The fact that facial animations now consist of 1400 polygons shows just how far the FF series has progressed as far as quality and authenticity are concerned. Another note of interest (and curiosity) to the game player is the set of large airships on the skyline, visible throughout the game.

        The player may view the scene from any angle they wish, thanks to the freely rotating camera. The team at FF12 also let on about a main theme tune that will play throughout the game, rather than the vocal song traditionally played when the credits roll. It seems that all in all, Final Fantasy 12 is destined for great things, and the army of fans will be gobsmacked by the level of realistic aspects and unusual game-play on offer. It's going to be well worth the wait.




        *First published on Amazon.co.uk*

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        27.04.2010 17:06
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        If you like Zelda and Dragonquest you will love this!

        This is without a doubt my favourite game of all time! Final Fantasy VII was released on the PlayStation in 1997. A PC version was also released the following year, I haven't played the PC version so this review is only for the PlayStation edition of the game. The game was an immediate hit and continues to be one of the best-loved RPG's of all time. It was a great improvement on the earlier games in the series both in terms of graphics and storyline. The cut-scenes in it were groundbreaking for the time it was released and still look pretty amazing today. The size of the game is also enormous being spread over three discs (although the third disc is primarily the end boss fight/reaching the final boss). It's a long game and will take over 30 hours to complete so make sure you have space on your memory card before you begin!

        The game is no longer available to buy off the shelf brand new from shops but there are a lot of second hand copies about. A quick look on the internet has found them going for about £25 on e-bay (I'm not sure of the final bidding price though) and on Amazon a selection of second hand and new are available ranging from £20 up to £121.74! I love this game but I'm not sure I would pay that much for it! Another option would be to try local second hand game shops/markets which might offer a cheaper alternative. As the game is an RPG younger children are likely to find it incredibly boring as are some adults if it's not the style of game you like. The story is basically not linear for a large portion so there's a lot of wandering round, collecting things, building up your characters levels and sometimes trying to work out what on earth is going on. Sometimes the plot won't progress until you have picked up a certain item or spoken to a specific person. If this isn't your sort of thing I would avoid as you will find it incredibly frustrating. The battles are not your typical beat 'em ups and work on a turn based system. Each character basically has a timer and you wait for their turn and select the action you want them to perform. This can be a basic function such as attack or defend or using one of the many items you will collect on your way through the game. Again some people find this system slow and boring. The battles occur at random intervals while you're running round exploring. There's now way of predicting them except with the more obvious boss fights. After all fights you gain experience points which help to build your characters levels, You can buy and equip weapons and armour and also accessories which offer various forms of protection for your characters. The weapons and armour have slots in them so characters can hold a certain amount of materia. This is the basis for magic in Final Fantasy VIII and is collected, won and purchased throughout the game. It can be used as traditional Final Fantasy magic such as ice and fire but also features elements such as counter attack and steal. Materia also gains levels as your characters grow (if it's equipped) and becomes stronger the higher its levels get.

        To conclude this review I'll give a very brief introduction to the storyline. I'm not going to tell you the whole thing as it would ruin playing through the game. You begin as a mercenary, Cloud, who is working for a terrorist group, Avalanche. They are fighting against a company called Shinra who they believe are poisoning the earth by draining it's natural energy for power. You fight alongside Barrett who is the leader of the group and has a gun in place of one of his arms and Clouds childhood friend Tifa. These are both playable characters throughout the game. There are other members of the group (including Biggs and Wedge who feature in every Final Fantasy) but none of these will remain with you throughout the game. Later on you will meet Aeris, a flower seller, who is also being pursued by Shinra and whom Cloud tries to help. As the story progresses you learn more about Shinra and things are far more complicated than they seem. As the story and characters develop the game really absorbs you and it's almost like watching a film or TV series that you're actually taking part in.

        The nature of the game means there are various side-quests in addition to the main story that you can take part in. These are not compulsory but do add to the overall experience. You will pick up a number of new characters throughout the game and find out more about their past and relationships with each other. You can also gain two additional characters to the others you pick up throughout the story. There are no moogles in this Final Fantasy but the chocobos are back and there is a sub-game featuring them. The final thing to mention is the soundtrack to the game which is stunning and was released separately.

        The way in which the game ends leaves things in a strange place but a film called Advent Children was released a few years ago which picks up a few years after the game finishes and ties things up. There have also been a number of other games released in the last few years which relate to Final Fantasy VII such Crisis Core (released on the Playstation Portable) which is a prequel to the game.

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          28.03.2010 21:58
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          The most epic RPG of all time...can Avalanche save the planet from the evil Shin-ra?

          Final Fantasy VII is, simply put, the game that changed RPGs for ever.

          Even now, thirteen years after it originally came out, it still retains the magic. In all honesty, the graphics compared to the modern graphics of today aren't that great, but when you consider that this game was created in 1997, you can see exactly how cutting edge they were for the time. There are some fantastic cut scenes; my favourite has to be the Shinra Motorbike Race.

          The gameplay is absolutely fantastic. Although you can charge through in about thirty hours, it is incredibly easy to 'stop the clock' on ninety-nine hours. First of all, we have the brilliant story-line, that grips you from the outset and then all the 'optional extras' which led to people like me racking up the hours.

          The story is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing most of the way soon. As an RPG, you play as the character Cloud Strife, a former Soldier First Class from the evil Shinra who is now a mercenary, doing anything to earn some money. He has been paid to join the outlawed party, Avalanche, a group who are trying to save the planet by blowing up the Shrina's Mako (energy) Reactors. The story is essentially based around Avalanche trying to save the planet, but more about Cloud's past is unveiled along the way as he falls in love, loses his mind and just WHO is Sephiroth?

          There are also lots of optional extras and one of my favourite parts was the 'Chocobo breeding.' An optional extra, yes, but one that was a lot of fun and worthwhile doing if you want to complete every part of the game. Being an RPG, typically there are all kinds of weapons and magics to collect and the more hardcore gamers will do all the optional extras to get all of these. These vary from side games, to battles and optional parts of the 'world map.'

          The game is no longer cheap, but is worth buying for the epic gameplay, the wonderful soundtrack and the fantastic story. And at three discs of gameplay, you are definately getting your money worth! Being an RPG, it is interactive and sometimes decisions you make will impact on a later part of the game, so it is important to pay attention!

          I don't recommend playing this on the PS3 (my friend downloaded it) as it can be slow. Instead, play on PS1 if you still have one, or PS2 (but make sure you have a PS1 memory card!) Ebay have copies available on a regular basis and you may also be able to score a copy of Amazon. They are like gold dust in games shops though! If you're lucky, you may get away with £15-20 for a second hand platinum edition, but brand new copies can go for around £70-80.

          Thanks for reading this - I have tried to update and improve it to make it more useful, but I have certainly learnt that writing a game review is pretty tricky!

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            14.01.2010 01:12

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            An epic, sweeping spectacle

            Final Fantasy 7 is arguably the best PS1 game ever made, and, alongside Metal Gear Solid, is my favourite game ever. It is a blueprint for how to make an RPG: it has stunning visuals, tonnes of imagination, memorable, likeable characters, excellent boss battles, and simply is a flawless production from end to end. It is also extremely long, and the four-disc journey will probably take you around 80 hours to beat the first time.

            The plot revolves around Cloud Strife, an elite soldier working for the army called SOLDIER. However, the planet he resides on has become overrun by a totalitarian de facto state called Shinra, which unfairly polices the world and has crude capitalist interest at the expense of the middle and lower classes. As such, a lot of people have been moved into the slums, while the main town of commerce, Midgar is ever-opressed, being marginalised by the affluent city workers a Shinra. Strife joins alongside Barrett as a member of AVALANCHE, a resistance squad that strike back, attempting to corrupt the system and bring it to its knees. However, this will send Cloud on a sprawling adventure that sees him finding out more about himself than he ever imagined, particularly his connection to the strange, seemingly intangible entity Sephiroth.

            The game is simply perfect from start to finish: the visuals look amazing, and while perhaps a bit dated now, the aesthetic STYLE never dies, and still looks great. Also the combat system is great, and while turn-based, it is extremely well designed and never seems overly clunky. Also, there are things called Limit Breaks which make it a bit more interesting: as if your player takes too many hits in a row he will be able to pull off a huge, cataclysmic manoeuver. The boss fights are also superb, ranging from robotic scorpions, to the famous Sephiroth himself.

            The game isn't too difficult, but it IS very well made and extremely entertaining: the plot is totally engaging and the craft is novel-esque in scope and style. It's as deep as any literature with the added bonus that you're interacting with it. Simply one of the best games ever, and for my money, this is leagues ahead of Zelda.

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            03.01.2010 12:57
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            Perhaps the best RPG of all time??

            Still one of the best games to date! Final Fantasy VII was released in 1997 by squaresoft. Selling over 5 million copies within its first 24 hours of launch. As it is now available to download on the playstation network it has since exceeded 10 million sales!

            The story revolves around an Ex-solider member "Cloud". Joining a rebel group known as avalanche to fight against the Shinra corporation in the struggle to save the world from destruction.

            GAME SUMMARY:
            If you are looking for a game with a gripping storyline which gets you thinking on a "is this possible?" level then this would be a game i would highly recommend.

            The primary basis for the story line revolves around the existing "GAIA" theory which is believed in by many. In short this is relating to the planet having a lifeforce of its own which is made up of all the creatures of the earth such as plants, trees, animals, humans etc. This spirit energy is also used in things such as birth and growth.

            This lifeforce is what the Shinra company are currently destroying with their machines to create a new source of energy. As a result they would inevitably destroy the planet. Cloud and Avalanche vow to stop this from happening and destroy the shinra corporation. However they then encounter a new threat.... Sephiroth. A legendary member of SOLDIER. The same organisiation Cloud worked for. He dissappeared on a mission to Nibelheim - Clouds home town when investigating a Mako Reactor.

            Now Sephiroth has returned and has vowed to become the god of the earth! Cloud - with a grudge to settle takes up the sword and turns on a new enemy....Sephiroth.

            GRAPHICS:
            With it in mind that this was a 1997 release the character graphics have a bit to be desired against the likes of later consoles such as the xbox 360 and ps3. The cutscene (cinematics) however still compete with these consoles! The detail is just exquisite. To get these graphics from a PSX console is simply mind blowing in itself given its processor capacity.

            AUDIO:
            This game still uses MIDI files for its soundtracks but again Nobuo Uemetsu has done an unspeakably dramatic and amasing job of putting the soundtrack together to capture every moment and have the player feel the intensity through the game.

            SUMMARY:
            Final Fantasy VII captures the hearts and the imagination of so many people which is why this is still one of the best selling titles to date and how the Final Fantasy VII franchise is still so huge today with movies, and games spinning off from the original title. I.e. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (Movie) and Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus.
            How can this not be considered the greatest game of all time when fans keep wanting more!

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            23.11.2009 22:41
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            Excellent story-driven RPG, that every self-respecting gamer should play.

            Since it's release in 1997, Final Fantasy VII has become nothing short of a phenomenon, spawning numerous spin-off games, a CGI film, and an extremely dedicated fan base. Even over a decade after its release, it is often hailed as the greatest role-playing game (RPG) of all-time, and with good reason. Well-developed characters, an intriguing storyline and an epic soundtrack are expertly woven together to create a breath-taking and exciting gaming experience.

            As the game begins, the dramatic introduction drops you straight into the heart of the dystopian city of Midgar, fighting against a corrupt conglomerate known as Shinra whose influence extends across the planet. You play as Cloud Strife, former member of an elite group of fighters for Shinra called SOLDIER. Cloud and his party are forced to hunt down the wicked Sephiroth to stop him from destroying the planet.

            When the plot progresses, more about the troubled past of our indifferent anti-hero is revealed, giving him much more depth as a character. All of the characters are very likeable and so well-developed that it's easy to forget they're not real and form a crush or two. Sub-plots run the gamut from lost lovers to genetic experimentation, making the story huge and offering much to explore. This is very much a story-driven game, and this is not a bad thing, as the storyline keeps you interested and lusting for more. Fortunately, developer Square Enix has had the good grace to expand upon the world of Final Fantasy VII with its spin-offs, which were just as brilliant as the original game. As someone whose eyes were left dry during Titanic and Moulin Rouge, I am not ashamed to say that I was left in tears at many points during the course of my two play-throughs.

            The whole game is scored by legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu, long-time member of the Final Fantasy team. Fortunately, he lives up to his reputation with music that evokes appropriate feelings, including the piece that he is perhaps most famous for: "One-winged Angel".

            Game-play is fairly simple. The battle system consists of random encounters with imaginatively designed enemies during which the player is given as much time as they player to select their course of action. The player will explore the world map, be introduced to a new town, where more of the storyline will unfold, and then work their way a dungeon. The dungeons are very excellently made, with a lot of twists and turns, as well as new weapons and items, with a boss battle at the end to finish it all off. However, sometimes one might find themselves getting somewhat fed up and wishing that the end would finally come when trapped in a particularly challenging dungeon.

            Twelve years ago, this game was known as a technical marvel, with stunning graphical prowess and peerless aesthetics. In today's world of two GHz processors however, it does little to compete. The backgrounds and environments are pre-rendered and pleasant to look at, while the characters look like lego. Bad lego. Lego that has been chewed up by vicious dogs.

            Even this does little to quell the overall grandeur of the game. What really makes this game is the sheer scale. Even now, it is difficult to find one that can match it. One play-through can be completed in a minimum of thirty hours, but with so much to explore and discover, one can amass over one hundred hours of game-play if they wish.

            In my ten years of playing video-games, I have yet to find one that trumps Final Fantasy VII as my favourite. It is not just an enjoyable experience, but an emotional and thought-provoking one that changed gaming forever. It will continue to affect you even years after completion. If you are looking for something to last a long time, and have a reasonable amount of patience, you would do well to pick up this game. Possibly the best JRPG of all time. A classic.

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              01.09.2009 01:48
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              If you have never experienced this game, then experience it now!

              This is the game that has many nerds and fangirls quivering at the knees. Apparently, it's the "BEST GME EVR!! LOLZ 1337!!!!! OMG, SEPHIROTH!". Well, after playing it, I have to say it's very good, but it's not a game for everyone. If you wish to be subjected to a story which is the equivalent of quantum physics and hours upon hours of play time (about 100 hours without walkthroughs helping you), then this is the game for you.

              GAMEPLAY:
              At the beginning, the story seems quite simple. You are Cloud Strife, and you have to help a team of rebels, called AVALANCHE, blow up a reactor which is owned by the rather naughty company called Shinra. There's not much room for introduction and you are dumped straight into it. The first thing you will most likely do is fight two soldiers. As with most RPGs, this is a turn-based game. This is not like Zelda, which is based on bashing a button until the enemy is dead. The turn based battle system will be what you will have to get used to, as it's used in every battle. What it means is that you have to wait your turn and then you select a command for your character to perform. At this point at the beginning of the game your only choices are "Attack" (which just hits the opponent with the weapon your character is carrying), "Magic" or "Item" (which includes potions and throwable items. There aren't many at this point). When you press "Attack" your character will, strangely enough, attack one of the opponents. You'll notice the number coming up next to the person you've just attacked. This indicates how much damage you have inflicted on your opponent. Each opponent and your character have, what's called, "Hit Points." When you've reduced the number of hit points enough (by attacking and causing enough damage) then you or your opponent will die. While at the beginning, you just have Cloud, you eventually have up to 3 characters in your party (which is the maximum anyway). This lends a strategic element to the game, thanks to the items and magic you can attach to each character. You can decide whether one character can rely on weaponry while another character can rely on healing and magic. What is great about turn-based battles in this game is the humungous variety of attacks and magic you can collect throughout the game. There is also an enormous number of combinations of attacks and magic you can use on each character.

              The turn-based battle system is subject to derision from most gamers who prefer realism in their fights. We all know that no one fights by taking it in turns to hit people, but you have to remember this is a GAME and is entitled to be unrealistic. The turn-based battle system is at the heart of this Final Fantasy game. This brings up the matter of encountering opponents during the game. While you'll see the two soldiers approaching you at the beginning, for the rest of the game enemies are encountered randomly. This means that whenever you are going along your way through this world, enemies will appear at any point whether you are running through the world map or enemy infested building. In games like Chrono Trigger, you can actually see the opponents and you can choose to avoid them if you wish instead of entering the battle. But in Final Fantasy, you can enter a turn-based battle at any point. You know when you've encountered an enemy because you stop and the screen swirls and goes black. The battle music can then be heard. These random encounters can be very frustrating when you just want to get on with the game. Sometimes you just have to hope that you get through the path without fighting anyone.

              However it is necessary to fight if you want to level up. Cloud starts at about Level 5 and the maximum for all the playable characters is Level 99. Levelling up makes your attack and defense more powerful. This is very useful when facing harder enemies. Fighting random battles are necessary to level up because when you win a battle you gain EXP. A certain amount of EXP is needed to get to the next level. This may take some time and at some points in the game, you do need to deliberately run around and initiate a few battles for the purpose of levelling up. This can get tedious.

              If you press triangle at any point when you're not in a battle, you see the menu screen. On the left of the screen, there's a portrait of your character(s) and information about what level you are, how many hit points your character has and how many magic points your character has. When you attain magic powers, which is earned through collecting bits called "Materia" lying around, casting magic costs magic points (MP). For example, if your character has 70 MP, then casting Fire will subtract 3 MP from it, which means there will be 67 MP. After each battle you gain AP as well as EXP. AP is needed to learn spells. It's the same system as gaining EXP. On the right side of the screen, there are categories telling you what items you've picked up, what weapons/armour you have, what materia you have, what stats you have and what Limit Breaks (special attacks) you can use.

              Outside of battle, it's not hard to progress along and it's not hard to find Materia and items. It's not likely that you'll get lost. The areas follow quite a linear path and the various characters around will usually indicate where to go. Items like potions, to fill up your Hit Point bar again, and materia, for learning magic, are usually lying around. Sometimes you need to vear off the main path to get them and you do need to be thorough in each area you go into because there is a lot of hidden and very useful treasure around.

              And this makes up most of the gameplay. Fighting turn-based battles, improving levels and finding items/weapons/Materia. This is why it's a love it or hate it game. If you like RPGs and have played RPGs before then this is great.

              GRAPHICS:
              Moving on, there's the small matter of the graphics. Seeing as this is PSOne, the characters don't look ultra-realistic, but the backgrounds and the areas look astonishing, even beautiful at times. This is because I think they've been hand drawn rather than produced on a computer. The cutscenes (scenes where characters look more realistic) are also amazing considering it's the PSOne. The juxtaposition of the cartoony and the realistic drawings makes this game's graphics unique.

              SOUND:
              The background music is also a big plus for the game. Nobuo Uematsu has created something wonderful out of something as simple as MIDI. It certainly doesn't sound crap. I had no idea it was MIDI at all. This and SFX make up the sound area of this game as there is NO dialogue. The "speech" is produced through text. I actually prefer this to the rubbish voiceovers of Final Fantasy X. You skip each dialogue box whenever you finish reading it.

              STORY
              As I mentioned earlier, the story is a bit complex. I don't like giving away any details but I'll say that it's one of the more interesting storylines in video game history. Since FFVI, Squaresoft decided to make the storylines more, what they might think, philosophical rather than simply "There's a manic evil guy, let's kill him!". It is also incredibly cheesy at some points (especially some of the dialogue). Some may prefer the simpler story of "just killing the bad guy" because the game would rely more on gameplay. FFVII, on the other hand, seems to rely a lot on the story to drive it along. Gameplay contributes to the story but cannot change the story. This is a very linear game but I wouldn't expect anything more from an RPG.

              GAME SPAN/REPLAY VALUE:
              While it is indeed linear, you can delay the story for a while and embark on sidequests or minigames, which end in you getting some brilliant boss defeating treasure or just adding more to the plot again. But what it lacks in freedom, it makes up for in game span. Without help, this game will take up to 100 hours to complete and covers 3 discs (literally). With a walkthrough, this will take over 30 hours. This is because the game is quite difficult without help, hence the big gap between game time. But what it gains in game span it lacks in replay value. There are no alternate endings or any ways to change the story.

              CONCLUSION:
              While I have made it sound very boring, I didn't find the game boring. The gameplay can be very enjoyable, with it's strategic elements and a very wide variety of attacks. But the gameplay is the same as any other Final Fantasy. Except...bigger and brighter and with a lot more special effects.

              What I can say is that it is probably the greatest game I've ever played. It is a landmark in video game history, which can be said for a few Final Fantasy games.

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                06.07.2009 16:22

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                Still a wonderful experience

                It's my favorite game, and i've recently picked it up as a download fro mthe PS store at a very reasonble price! So i had to write a review again.

                Some games impress with their graphics, some showcase memorable characters or plots, and some keep us entertained with thrilling gameplay. All of these individual elements are fine in themselves, but they don't make a game great. Instead, on very rare occasions, a game makes such a deep and forceful impact on your psyche that it somehow transcends its medium to become more than it is, more than it should be, and you know you'll never experience anything quite like it again. Final Fantasy VII is such a game.

                Never has a game grabbed me so completely from the first frame of its epic opening sequence and refused to let go until the deeply poignant and emotional finale. I was simply entranced, utterly caught up in the world of Final Fantasy VII like I haven't been with any game before or since, and i'ce played 100s of RPG's.

                Gameplay-wise, it's hard to find fault. Weapon and equipment management screens - always a staple of RPG's - are simple and easy to navigate. Materia, the magical crystals used in the game to cast magic, is intuitive to use, and the slot system makes for some interesting possibilities for creative gamers. As usual, battles are turn-based, though the Active Time element lends a sense of urgency to proceedings. Some have criticised this system for being overly simplistic, but surely that's the point - not everyone wants to spend hours of their life deciding on the perfect balance of equipment, weapons and items.

                The game just plays brilliantly and it's just a great experience al lthe way through, with a lot of replay value.

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                06.06.2009 02:10
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                Excellent game for adventure fans

                As a massive fan of the final fantasy series, I can clearly say that this is the best of them all. The game is still enjoyable to play now as it was when it was first released in the mid nineties.

                The main character of the game is a ex-soldier called Cloud who begins his adventure as a mercenary employed by a terrorist team that want to shutdown the Shinra corporation, an organisation that is sucking the planet dry of its energy to fuel the city of Midgar. What follows is an amazing story exploring a beautiful and massive world where you encounter extraordinary characters to create an awesome team to help you battle your way to the end. With a vast array of weapons (different styles of weapons for different characters ranging from guns, swords, staffs to megaphones!!!!) and magic (including summon magic where you can conjure up mythical beasts to help you) and an easy to follow battle system, makes the games action side exciting and extremely playable.

                This game provides many, many hours of play and even after completing it you will play it again and again. With side quests a plenty and mini games to enjoy, there is just so much to enjoy about this game.

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                05.06.2009 21:40
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                An epic story in any age, and a groundbreaking game in it's day.

                For some reason this game is an absolute legend, and for some reason that I just can't understand myself...I agree. This was the first role playing game that I ever played, and it's still the one I find myself wanting to go back to again and again.

                The graphics for the day were some of the best out there and certainly very well done. For simple polygonal 3D characters they were very emotive and carried a range of emotions well

                I'm always hesitant to launch into a great long explanation of story lines in games as I don't like giving out spoilers. Suffice to say that the love stories told throughout the story are very very moving, and sadly end up with a tragic ending for one of the characters, but it's a story that you could sell as a movie script with heroes, villains and venues that are nothing short of epic.

                The game comes across three CD's, the media of the day, and boy does it need it. The FMV (Full Motion Video) cut scenes were intense and again, revolutionary for the day, along with several that weren't even necessary to the primary storyline.

                Side quests are a big part of the Final Fantasy series but this is a definite case of proof of that. You can finish the game in twenty hours or less, but can easily play for 3 or 4 times that if you choose to actually complete the game, from chocobo racing to chocobo breeding. Fighting Ultima Weapon to finding your Ultimate Weapon. There's something in this game for everybody, it's hard to find at a good price these days but well worth the buy.

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                03.06.2009 21:48
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                True timeless classic RPG that can be played again and again

                This is by far the best of all the Final Fantasy games. I still love all the others but this definitely is the best.

                Join Cloud, a mercenary who teams up with his childhood friend, Tifa and many other amazing characters (who can forget Barrett and his gun arm)who plan to bring down the evil corporation 'Shinra' and that is only the very, very beginning of this amazing game.

                This game has everything for the role playing fan. Battle systems with some of the coolest weapons and magic, especially the summon magic where you bring forth some beautiful and scary creatures. A massive vast world to explore with stunning environments. It has an amazing storyline, brilliant characters and the best thing of this game is that you can play it again and again, it never tires. I first played this when I was 16 and now as I'm approaching my 30's I still play this game. It is an absolute classic.

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