Press Clippings | PlayStation Plus' Review of FFVII

November 1997

Final Fantasy VII is gonna be one of the biggest selling games of all time. It's stylish, addictive, and takes a lifetime to finish. Yup, it's the dogs bollocks and PlayStation Plus is here to give you the First Official Review.

It's time to crush a government, defeat big-shot criminals and the forces of evil. Easy, huh? You control a band of freedom fighters thrown together by fate. Sure, they've got a big job to do but luckily they're packing fantastic weapons, and are all dab hands at casting devastating magic. Crossing great continents you'll witness wild and terrible sights and uncover unbelievable secrets.

Meet the Gang
To begin with you control a spiky-haired mercenary called Cloud Strife. After joining the rebel group Avalanche more and more characters come under your influence. Building up the powers and skills of your team, and learning about each member's pasts is one of the reasons why Final Fantasy VII is so bloody difficult to put back in the box.

Final Fantasy VII draws on a bunch of styles. It stitches together the best aspects of adventuring, arcade action and puzzle solving, but you never notice the seams. So, you find your way into a secret government building to rescue friends. In one section you have to fight and trick guards, work out pass codes, track down and go up against boss characters and discover new clues.

When members of your party get into scraps, the screen warps into a close-up view of all the slapping action. Characters don't look quite so cute and enemies are shown in horrid detail. Everyone in Final Fantasy VII has a time bar and when this is full you can make your moves. A simple menu system allows you to change between attack and defend, select items and use magic or weapons. You've got to be quick though: enemies don't wait for an invite to attack.

Just like real life there's a limit to how much shit you can take. Every bruise, nick or slash your buddies take gets them more and more cheesed off, building up a bar. When the gauge hits max, it's time for extreme attacks.

Each hero has a unique range of limit strikes to learn, but all are magnificent and devastating. Swords and fists leave glowing trails of energy, guns cause massive explosions of light: limits are the business.

Magic isn't just restricted to wizards. Magic comes from energy gems known as Materia. Weapons, armour and clothing have slots for Materia, giving the item magical properties. Different coloured gems give different kinds of magic, ranging from protecting and attacking to curing. The Summoning Materia are without doubt the coolest. They can call up giant hardcore demons and gods, who stomp on to the screen and tear opponents apart. Nice.

There must be thousands of items hidden in Final Fantasy VII. Potions, herbs, rings, cloaks, tents, tons of weapons: the list is endless. It's possible to carry as much gear as you can win, steal or buy, but keeping track of what you've got needn't be a headache. An option allows equipment to be sorted by name, type, importance, numbers and shoe size.

Games within games
With so many different styles of game rolled into one it's impossible to get bored with Final Fantasy VII. Fights and adventuring are punctuated by little games and tasks which call for slick reactions. Certain sections actually turn into mad arcade games, which are better quality than most on the market. Pay a visit to a city in the sky to take a crack at gambling, play around on rollercoaster rides and even wander around a working arcade.

Who's a bad man?
Most of the evil characters you'll encounter work for the shadowy Shinra Corporation, but the most important figure is an ex-employee. Sephiroth is a legend throughout the planet. Cloud knew him as a friend and fought by his side. Rumour has it that this great man is now dead, but there have been some strange stories floating about. Your travels will seperate the fact from the fiction.


"The best PlayStation game ever. This epic will rupture your mind. If you start playing, you won't be able to stop. Forget your life; this is better." - Jon



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