Press Clippings | Hyper@ctive's Review of FFVII
By Ed Dawson
Final Fantasy Seven (FFVII) has a language unto itself. It's a game with such an involved plot, and such a unique combat/magic system that listening to two avid players having a conversation about it is akin to trying to understand a Bolshevic carpenter with a throat infection. To english speaking people, it makes no sense whatsoever.
Anyone who played the Phantasy Star series on the Sega consoles will be instantly at home in the FFVII framework. It's a game that concentrates on combat strategy, with relatively simple adventure segments in-between where you talk to people, solve problems, etc. What makes FFVII stand out is its incredible attention to detail, with a profound abundance of cut-scenes, wonderful graphics and full-motion video. It also has several sub-games within the game, including cool arcade action racing combat, realtime strategy and Disney style cartoon adventures.
The combat screens in FFVII are fully 3D, on PC in particular they are high resolution and brilliantly animated, with gorgeous special effects. The players also look excellent, as do the mindblowing volume of cool, original monsters that never seems to end!
Which brings us to the magic system. In FFVII a company called Shinra is mining the "life", or "Mako" energy out of the earth, and condensing it into small gems called Materia. Every Materia Gem holds a certain kind of magic spell, that improves and strengthens with use. All Weapons and Armour have "slots" for placing Materia into, that allow you to use that magic during battle. The amazing part is that you can combine the effects of Materia with "paired slots". For example, combining "All" Materia and "Ice" Materia will cast the Ice spell against All of your opponents(not just one) for the same price in Magic points. This is the simplest of simple examples. Later on, you can really pull off some amazing tricks with obscure combinations like "Deathblow" combined with "Counter" Materia.
The plot follows the protagonist, Cloud, who is an ex-Shinra Commando, and now member of an anti-Shinra group called Avalanche. Avalanche are trying to stop the Shinra because their Mako Reactors are sucking the very life force out of the planet, which will cause its complete disintegration and hence death for everyone on it.
Your arch-enemy in the game is Sephiroth, an ultimate warrior who once fought alongside Cloud in the Shinra forces, but has now set out on his own to gain complete power from the release of Mako released when the planet separates. Sephiroth is also the result of some strange experiments on their soldiers using Mako energy, which is something Cloud has also been exposed to. People influenced by the Mako have altered eyes, reminiscent of the way characters from the Dune series who consumed Melange gained deep blue eyes.
The story is massive and full of twists, in fact the game is worth playing through just to see all the excellent videos and cut-scenes. Not to mention the near-unlimited versatility of the combat strategy, which in motion is simply amazing.
This game is one of the most successful Playstation titles ever, for PC(3dfx) users it might seem a little light on the adventure difficulty side of things, but the overall quality makes it a great experience despite its fairly straightforward nature. If you've never checked it out, we highly recommend it, it's an RPG lovers dream!