Hands down, my favorite Final Fantasy game is Final Fantasy VII (FF7). It’s not the first Final Fantasy game that I have played…that was Final Fantasy VIII (FF8), but FF7‘s plot, character development, soundtrack, and game-play are all very memorable even ’til this day. FF7 can perhaps be considered one of the greatest video games of all time, particularly in the genre of role-playing games.
Final Fantasy VII (ファイナルファンタジーVII?) is a role-playing video game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment as the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series. It was released in 1997 for the Sony PlayStation, in 1998 for Microsoft Windows-based personal computers and in 2009 on the PlayStation Network. The game is the first in the series to use 3D computer graphics, featuring fully rendered characters on pre-rendered backgrounds, and was the first game in the main series to be released in Europe.
Final Fantasy VII follows protagonist Cloud Strife, who initially joins the eco-terrorist rebel organization AVALANCHE to stop the world-controlling megacorporation Shinra, who are draining the life of the planet for use as an energy source. As the story progresses, Cloud and his allies become involved in a larger world-threatening conflict, facing off against Sephiroth, the game’s main antagonist.
Helped by a large pre-release promotional campaign, Final Fantasy VII became an immediate critical and commercial success. It has continued to sell solidly—10 million copies were sold by May 2010, making it the best-selling title in the series. Final Fantasy VII was praised for its graphics, gameplay, music and story. Criticism pertained to its English localization. It has retrospectively been acknowledged as the game that popularized the Japanese role-playing video game style outside of its home market, and has frequently ranked highly on various top game lists. The popularity of the title led Square Enix to produce a series of prequels and sequels for different platforms under the collective title Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. —Wikipedia
It is hard for me to describe exactly how I feel about FF7. There are so many beautiful memories and emotions attached to the game. The plot is almost near-perfect. Actually, scratch that. The plot IS perfect!
From the moment I inserted the first disk of the game into Sony PlayStation around 11 years ago and heard the prelude, I couldn’t help but be entranced by the beautiful music…a sad yet hopeful theme. I also liked how the opening started off and immediately led into the mission.
The characters were well-developed. Each one had a story of his/her own and struggles that he/she needed to overcome.
The distinction between Cloud, the hero of the game, and Zack was clear. Zack was everything that Cloud wanted to be. Zack was a happy-go-lucky optimist, whereas Cloud was like a child that was motivated and willing to learn everything from his seniors in SOLDIER only to later end up being a cold pessimist. In fact, Zack is the type of character that fit the role of an ideal hero and true leader. In contrast, Cloud is the type of hero that carried scars from his past that he had not learned to let go. It is evident that Zack‘s death took a toll on him…making him lose self-confidence and thus, making him different from the stereotypical and confident or upbeat hero that is often found in mass media. Cloud is not perfect, but he learns to pick himself up by embarking on a journey that helps him to re-discover himself and build confidence through his group members.
Tifa is the type of lady that seems tough and strong-willed yet is sensitive from the inside. Since childhood, she has been supporting Cloud but is later caught up in a love triangle. Despite the fact that she had always liked Cloud, Cloud shows more interest in Aeris (or Aerith…depends on which version of game one played. I had Aeris), who he unexpectedly meets after falling through the roof of a church in the slums of Sector 7, Midgar City. Even though Tifa knows about Cloud‘s interest, she is very mature about it. I somehow felt a soft spot for Tifa. The connection between Cloud and Aeris was clearly Zack. Aeris was initially with Zack and Cloud wanted to take the honor of helping Aeris after Zack‘s death. However, I wished that Cloud would have seen how Tifa really felt.
Aeris is a flower girl that lives in the slums of Midgar City. Basically, she sells flowers to earn a living. She’s a beautiful lady with a pure heart and even though there are hardships all around her, she keeps a positive attitude. Her first encounter with Cloud is at a church nearby her house. She takes care of the church and her home by planting flowers everywhere. The Turks, who work for Shinra Corporation, are often seen trying to kidnap her for the reason that she is the last of the Ancients and holds the “key” or the White Materia, called Holy, to the Promised Land that those in the corporation and government are after. Aeris, sadly, is later killed by Sephiroth while trying to summon Holy in order to save the planet from ultimate destruction. Her death is one of the most sad moments in video game history.
Barrett is one of the big and tough members of AVALANCHE that distrusts Cloud in the beginning because Cloud was a member of SOLDIER, who happens to be the resistance group’s enemies. However, over time he accepts Cloud and even pushes him to come back to his senses when Cloud experiences troublesome moments. Interestingly, Barrett had a female friend that passed away leaving her daughter, Marlene, behind. Barrett adopts Marlene and takes care of her.
Cait Sith is a robotic talking cat that rides on the back of a robotic moogle. He is quite an upbeat and friendly character. It is later revealed in the game that he is controlled by Reeve, who happens to be a spy working for Shinra. Reeve‘s mission was to initially use Cat Sith to watch and halt the plans of AVALANCHE. Over time, Reeve has a change of heart and decides to be on the side of AVALANCHE in order to save the planet.
Red XIII is an unnamed creature from Cosmo Canyon, which kind of reminds me of a place belonging to the Native Americans. He has the ability to speak and also sports a mohawk and a couple of tattoos. Quite a unique character created by Squaresoft! Red XIII is also portrayed as rather intelligent.
Cid is an airship pilot, whose dream was to travel to outer space. His dream apparently didn’t work out due to Shinra disbanding the mission that he was working on. He is a rather crude character but softens up later on.
Yuffie is an optional character and is the daughter of the leader of Wutai. One of her most notable traits is that she loves to steal other people’s Materia. Even though she is troublesome and cheeky at times, I liked that she was one of the more lively characters that added humor to the game.
Vincent is one of my favorite characters from the game. He is an optional character that can be found sleeping in a coffin in the basement of Shinra Mansion. The thing about Vincent that drew many people to like him and wanting to know more about him was that he was quiet and mysterious. Even though he was quiet, he always had something thoughtful to say. It was obvious that something happened in his past that many gamers were not able to find out 100%. When I had finished playing the game, I felt that Vincent was still an unsolved mystery and that his story or background was left incomplete. I’m glad that everything about his past was wrapped up in a spin-off that was solely dedicated to him.
Sephiroth is the good-guy-turned-bad character…almost similar to how Anakin Skywalker was an innocent child, who later turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader, the ultimate villain of the Star Wars series. Sephiroth is the kind of guy that everyone once looked up to and respected. He was a 1st Class SOLDIER, which means that he had the highest rank. Everyone knew who he was; he was the talk of town. However, once Sephiroth became immersed in finding out his true origins, he became delusional and turned to the dark side. He believes that his ultimate purpose or destiny is to take control over the Planet and does not let anyone stop him from doing so. Sephiroth is regarded as one of the top villains in video game history.
The Turks are an intelligence agency that works under Shinra. They start off as antagonists in the game, whose sole mission is to halt AVALANCHE’s plans, but later side up with them or collaborate with them. Each Turk had an interesting and humorous side to them. Their theme is really memorable! xD
Shinra Corporation reflects most organizations that are often after money and power and will do anything to achieve it. The company also consists of interesting characters working in different departments. Shinra Corporation is perhaps the company that you might want to boycott if you found out the practices that they carry out =P
The remarkable aspect of FF7 is that there are moments in the game that make you realize how much the game can be related to the real world, particularly in terms of politics and business. Since the age of 13, I could clearly picture it. The government and Shinra, in general, are the ones that are responsible for the terrorists attacks that are carried out for the purpose of achieving power, but blame it on AVALANCHE, a group of young heroes wanting to save the Planet. Shinra even tells the media to report AVALANCHE as a terrorist group to the public. Furthermore, every character changes throughout the game as he/she is able to overcome their personal problems. In the end, the game shows that good always wins against evil and that in a time of technological development and progress, we must practice sustainability and take care of the Planet.
Due to the popularity of FF7, many fans demand that there should be a remake of the game. FF7 is truly a magical game that will live on for years in any Final Fantasy fan’s memory.