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Playing Final Fantasy VII
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A cool person gave me a Steam download of Final Fantasy VII for Christmas. I've always ("always" meaning "for the past eight years or so") wanted to play this game, so this was a cool gift. I'm looking forward to trying it.

I'll post my thoughts here as I play the game. Maybe.
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Edited by: Bibby , Dec 27th, 2016 @ 9:45 am
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Don't be afraid to ask if you need help in any sections.
It's been years, but I have 100% completed this game in the past.

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Thanks Nite! I'll try to avoid glancing at the walkthroughs while I play the game, so if I get hopelessly stuck, I'll give you a buzz before I seek the counsel of the e-net.

SPOILER WARNING


This topic is likely to contain dangerously high doses of spoilers. If you have been living under a rock for the past two decades and know nothing about FF7's plot, and you wish to remain un-spoiled, stop reading now. This is your first and final warning.

I'm a little over two hours into the game. I'm at the point where Cloud and Aeris meet the Turks and escape from the church. It's been a fun experience so far. It's going to be hard to top Final Fantasy VI, my favorite game in the series, but I'll try not to compare the two games too much until I'm further along in the game.


Excuse me princess: 1997 graphics make it hard to walk while wearing an ankle-length dress, but the background is pretty cool.

I can see how Final Fantasy VII blew people away in circa 1997, and why it remains one of the most popular games of all time. The story is relatively complex, and the pacing is excellent. The game definitely starts with a bang - literally and figuratively. Instead of boring you with a long, unskippable tutorial, the game drops you off in the middle of a dangerous mission and slowly reveals backstory - usually during the short time where you're catching your breath waiting for the next dangerous mission to begin. The soundtrack is widely regarded as one of Nobuo Uematsu's finest works, and rightfully so. Each song is great on its own, but the soundtrack deserves special praise for complimenting the game environments. The graphics are a little funky in places - a good example being Aeris's Lego-like walking animation, but in defense of the graphics, a maxi dress is a tricky thing to animate fluidly, especially considering the constraints of 1997 graphics. While there are places where the graphics show their age, the richly-detailed game environments and solid FMVs continue to shine. I'll hold off on discussing my thoughts on the character designs until I've met more of the party.
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Edited by: Bibby , Dec 28th, 2016 @ 10:54 pm
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Final Fantasy VII is a superb game to play when you have a little bit of free time and no team projects to worry about! My second semester of grad school begins tomorrow, so I won't have as much time to play.

I've been out of Midgar for a little while now. I kind of miss the older style of RPG where a huge variety of options open up as soon as you first gain access to the wider world. In FF7, however, the game stays linear for a while after you leave Midgar. There's really only one place to visit on the world map at that point (two if you count the Chocobo Farm), and once you get to said town, you're back on the rails of a long (albeit interesting and interactive) cutscene. Of course, I also understand why FF7 (and a multitude of RPGs made since then) have taken a more cinematic, linear approach.


That almost doesn't sound like a compliment.

I just recruited Yuffie for my party. I didn't find the Very Thin Shuriken Chick when she first appears near Junon, so I ended up getting her after the Gold Saucer/Corel section. This will undoubtedly have a deleterious effect on my love life. (Apparently you can take Yuffie out on date later in the game, although you have to do everything just right, and it probably helps to get her early. But that's not what I was trying to do - I suspect Aeries will be The One, although taking out Barret would be pretty funny.)

I wonder what contemporary sociologists and political commentators would have to say about Dyne.

One super-important thing that Final Fantasy VII nails perfectly is battle music. It has the best battle theme for any RPG I've ever heard. I know it sounds silly, but when you hear a song hundreds of times over the course of a game, you'd better make it a good one!
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Edited by: Bibby , Jan 8th, 2017 @ 10:53 pm
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It's always a bummer when you're enjoying your mob booze vacation and then your Most Wanted Spiky-Haired Hero walks into the bar and messes everything up.

Currently I'm in Wutai, dealing with Yuffie issues. She just stole everything except the clothes on my back and the contents of my medicine cabinet, and I'm not completely pleased by that state of affairs. That's probably not the way to get Cloud to ask you out. Though in all seriousness, being Materia-less in the Wutai Area is only the second time I've ever been in any serious jeopardy, since there are a few enemies that can do hefty damage.

The only other time I've faced a boss that was remotely challenge was Lost Number, the unfriendly-looking critter you have to beat to get to VincentVideo Vincent Valentine. Lost Number wasn't that bad - you just have to be prepared for it. Recruiting ol' Vampire Vinny finally gave me a full party of nine, at least for the time being. It seems that Vincent's theme song is one of only a handful I hadn't actually heard before.

Cosmo Canyon was a very cool place. I remember listening to the Cosmo Canyon/Red XIII theme song a lot when I was just starting college. I listened to very random music when I was studying then - and I still do!

Holding the run key for a prolonged period is bad news if you have a broken fingernail sustained from a dreadful football-related injury. (Said injury was actually not dreadful, and it was only a matter of time before the tip of this fingernail left us, but I'm sure that FF7 running played a small role in accelerating this process.)
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This is the low-spoiler image, just in case you know absolutely nothing about the Final Fantasy series and you don't want to know which evility was committed right before this screen.

My last week has been relatively low on FF7-ing, thanks to a particularly intense week of grad school.

Last week I returned to the Gold Saucer. I dated Aeris, and I have no regrets - even if she's lacking in long-term relationship potential because of, well, reasons. I didn't go out of my way to pick her, but I also didn't go out of my way to avoid getting her, so she ended up being The One. This may or may not be a critique on my real-life love life, or lack thereof. Regardless, the date sequence is pretty fun, and now I'm curious about what happens when you say and do different things in the play.

Today I reached the end of Disc One, even if I'm playing the Steam version which doesn't actually use CDs. It's possible that Sephiroth did an extremely not-nice thing during a certain famous cutscene. I have nothing to say about this scene that hasn't been said oodles of times already, but it's undeniably a memorable moment.
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Edited by: Bibby , Jan 28th, 2017 @ 7:30 pm
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Alas, you have witnessed a very sad scene if you have made it that far.

I won't spoil things, but what I have found hidden on the ps1 discs, suggests that it may have been possible to change certain events at one point in the game's development.

I do have a tip for you:
if you run into any ghost ship monsters, keep hitting it with the transform materia.
and don't leave the area you are encountering them until one turns into a guidebook.
You will thank me later.

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Edited by: Nite , Jan 28th, 2017 @ 10:51 pm

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I've been tempted to try out some of these Final Fantasies the kids are talking about, but I really don't know where I'd start.
CALL J.G. WENTWORTH! 877-CASH-NOW !
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Dustin and Final Fantasy would be a fine combination! You could always start with the original Final Fantasy for the NES, especially if you like level grinding. Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII are also good choices.

I'm currently at the snowboard section in FF7. I haven't gotten to play in the past week, as team projects and the new mobile Fire Emblem have been conspiring to keep me away from Spiky-Haired Blond Hero Dude and friends.
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I finally beat Final Fantasy VII yesterday! Did you know that I procrastinate on things? Apparently Final Fantasy VII was released (almost) exactly 25 years ago, although this upcoming anniversary is entirely coincidental to me finishing the game.


Time to mosey down the ol' trail.

I got to the start of Disc 2 way back in January 2017, but then grad school reached its busiest point and I took a break for a while. I returned to the game in summer 2019... and got whupped by Sephiroth. I'd found most of the game to be relatively easy (a whole lot easier than any of the pre-FF6 FF games) and was expecting him to be a pushover.

On Friday I played for the first time in three years and caught up on some of the goodies I'd overlooked in the Northern Crater "swamp" area. And yesterday I finally beat Sephiroth! He wasn't that hard - just make sure you're prepared, because he is a lot tougher than any other boss in the game. Having Ribbons on everyone in my main party is a huge help. It kind of tickles me to imagine the ever-stoic Cloud wearing a girly little ribbon in his hair, though!

I came in with a reasonably-leveled party, though I missed out on a lot of the ultimate weapons and Limit Breaks, as well as a few of the best Materia. Maybe I'll go back and catch up on some of the sidequests, or maybe I'll give this a second playthrough someday (though I hardly ever do that with video games these days).

Final Thoughts
Much has been written about Final Fantasy VII over the years. I probably don't have anything to say about the game that hasn't already been said thousands of times, but I'll say some things anyway!

Overall, playing Final Fantasy VII was definitely a fun and memorable experience, and it's easy to see how this game has had such a huge influence even a quarter-century later. FF6 is my favorite entry in the series, though FF7 is a close second.

I thought FF7 had a strong cast of characters. When you first meet the main characters, several of them seem perilously close to indulging in some rather unfortunate stereotypes! But after a few dozen of hours of gameplay, you realize that each of them is rounder and more complex than first meets the eye.

FF7 has a rather complicated - sometimes bordering on convoluted - story, but in the end it all basically makes sense. (I liked FF6's story a bit better, though.)

I thought Disc 1 was the most interesting part of the game. The end of Disc 1 is an incredibly tough act to follow, and Disc 2 kind of meanders along for a while. Still, Disc 2 has some great moments - for example, I thought the rocket launch was really cool.

FF7 has a LOT of minigames, sidequests, and secrets. On the other hand, it's quite possible to beat the game (without needing lots of level grinding) if you skip the optional goodies.

I liked FF7's battle system. The Materia system gives you an enormous amount of flexibility in setting up your parties, and it's a lot of fun to experiment with the practically infinite number of things you can do with Materia.

I thought the summon Materia were a little half-baked, though. They're visually impressive - I can tell they put a lot of effort into this piece of the game! Unfortunately, the summon animations take a long time to run, and there's no way to skip them. Also, if you invest in the Enemy Skill Materia (one of the best items in the game, incidentally), the blue magic learned from stronger enemies tends to be more powerful and more MP-efficient than the fancy-pants summons. If you're going to send a giant dragon from outer space to fry your foes, you should be doing far more damage than the more "normal" magic attacks!

Most of the characters are based on classic FF classes but are relatively interchangeable, similar to FF6. Curiously, the character with the most clearly-defined playing style (all magic, hardly any physical power) is the one who permanently leaves your party around the halfway point. You know the one I mean!

A lot of FF7 fans feel a lot of nostalgia for playing FF7 when it first came out. In contrast, I never played this game until 2016! I was rather young when FF7 came out - and I only had Nintendo systems - so I didn't pay attention to much of the original hype. With or without youthful nostalgia, however, FF7 is a very fun game.

Not unlike another classic game I recently discussed , you can tell that FF7 had a lot of hands stirring the pot - a big development team, a mammoth budget (especially for its era), and a long development cycle. However, I think the team did a pretty good job of creating a cohesive whole, all things considered.

FF7 isn't quite my favorite game of all time, but it's some seriously good stuff.

Thanks again @Fireball3k for getting me this game on Steam - that was a very nice Christmas present! Maybe I can make you buy FF9 or FF8 for me someday.
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