Final Fantasy VII: It’s not my favorite!

Final Fantasy VII: It’s not my favorite!

Right now, in that title above, I’ve committed one of the worst crimes among the gaming community: I’m not a fangirl of Final Fantasy VII. For those who pop off about how VII is superior to the rest of the long-running franchise, to not agree with them is suicide. Why? Because they refuse to consider the possibility that their beloved Final Fantasy VII is over-hyped. Released in 1997, it was a huge hit on the PlayStation console, but what most gamers don’t know is that the game actually started to be developed back in 1994 and was originally intended for the SNES. Since that didn’t work out, plans shifted to bringing it to the N64, but due to the cartridge not being able to handle it, plans changed again and it was ultimately released on the PSX. Yes, I recognize how financially successful it was. Yes, I recognize how insane it was to kill of a major character like with what happened to Aeris. And yes, I know that it’s the highest selling title in the entire franchise. But… numbers aren’t everything.

In terms of graphics, Final Fantasy VII was terrible. Compared to FF VIII, which came out on the same system, VII looks like something you would’ve seen on the N64. Seriously. The FMV’s in VIII were better, the in-game graphics were better, and holy cow… did the characters look better. I felt that I was able to connect with Squall better than with Cloud, and that throughout the time I played it, I saw Squall grow and come out of his shell. Now, I should probably say that I played the hell out of FF VIII. I maxed out the in-game clock, I bred to get the gold chocobo, I got everything you could possibly look for. I even got a weapon that wasn’t even in the strategy guide: Rising Sun. I cleaned up in that game. Even though I spent all of that time, I still never connected with it the way that I did when playing VIII.

Sure, I got weepy when I saw Aeris die, but seeing Rinoa almost die in space affected me more. The song “Eyes on Me” by Faye Wong was touching, gorgeous, and boy did that bring me to tears. The love between Rinoa and Squall was so cute at first, but then it developed into this deep bond, and it was beautiful. I felt like I was playing this amazing fairy tale, and I never wanted it to end. Speaking about the ending, it was far more rewarding than what VII gave me, and I really felt like I had a sense of closure.

For the villain, I wasn’t impressed with Sephiroth. Sure he had the long hair, and he carried a big sword (that’s what she said), but he had his Mommy issues, and that’s not scary. With Edea, you had a woman who was possessed by the crazy Ultimecia, and all Hell broke loose. Squall took a bolt through his chest, Cid lost his wife for awhile, and Rinao ended up getting caught in the clutches of Ultimecia. The other characters in your party were awesome and brought their own touch to the game. Selphie was clumsy and playful, Quistis was the teacher you wanted to sleep with, Irvine was the cool cowboy, Zell was the “tough guy” you just wanted to punch and say to knock it off, and then there was the bit with Laguna and friends. In VII, Vincent, to me at least, was the only one I really became interested in, and Cait Sith was a riot.

Final Fantasy VIII also introduced the Junction system with the guardian forces, and when I hooked up Squall to Eden, I was unstoppable. Of course it wasn’t like in FF VII where you maxed out the Mimic materia, put it on all of your peeps, and then used a maxed out Knights of the Round. Now that shit was cheap.

I’ll forever have fond memories of both, and I proudly have them in my Final Fantasy collection, but for me it’s all about VIII.

  • It was okay,FF7 was the best and is the best RPG ever,but in 8 I like the swords,but gameplay is better than 9,lol.

    • I could NOT get into IX. I tried, so hard. I even did the shit with the Chocographs. When I got to the beginning of disc 4, I was like “alright!, I’m done” and that was it lol!

  • Austin Alan

    I don’t care what anyone says, 7 is NOT the best, it isn’t even ORIGINAL

    to any FF Fan….go play 6

    see anything familiar??

    Espers = Ancients

    Magicite = Materia (it even teaches you magic in the same way)

    and the stories are the SAME

    An empire hell bent on world domination utilizes magic combined with technology. In their quest to rule the world, they almost destroy it completly. And a girl(Aeris or Terra) who was born of the magic beings, is the key to saving all of Humanity

    SAME SHIT, only difference?? one was a cart based release on a 16-bit console, and the other had near unlimited space on a 32-bit CD based console.

    FF7 IS FF6, with room for a longer more detailed storyline.

    FF8 is one of my favorites story wise, but screw the entire character system. I hated Draw, and I didnt care for the Junction system.

    FF9, is just a retro reminder, bringing back all the things we may have enjoyed from 3,4 & 5 and placing them in a generic storyline/plot

    FFX is a POS, I can’t stand any of it, the story was good, but other than that…NOT INTERESTED, and WHERE THE FRAK IS MY AIRSHIP AND GLOBE!?!?

    anything after X….forget it, I lost interest in Squinix years ago, and they already told us not to expect a remake of 5 or 6 on the DS….I was really looking forward to seeing 6 remade 🙁 5 can kiss my ass….it was nothing but a knock off of 4, and I REALLY don’t like the Job System

    ^ damn, I practicably wrote an article myself Lindsey 😛

    • I have to disagree with you on the Junction system. I loved it, and I was able to beef up Squall and Rinoa so much, it was crazy. I loved draw because I was able to earn some GF’s that way, obtain items and spells, and learn new abilitis for Quistis. I’d rather have to do something to gain something rather than, at the end of battles in X for example, have it just automatically given to me as some spoil.

  • Rhys

    I find it pretty amusing that you’d cite the graphics as a problem within ff7. Especially considering the only real deficiency in them when compared to say, 8, is the obviously less detailed character models. The pre-rendered backdrops / fmvs were ground-breaking, and positively gorgeous.

    The idea that a game which is still held in high esteem by many as one of the greatest of all time (myself included) and that represented quite a landmark in terms of technical achievement and computer game storytelling in general could be written off as “overhyped” seems crazy to me, though you’re entitled to your opinion.

    Personally, FF7 represented my first foray into “grown up gaming” I believe I was 12 when I first played it, and it represented a totally new way to experience a game. RPGs at the time of production, were largely considered the reserve of our eastern counterparts, and deemed uninteresting to western audiences. FF7 took those perceptions, stamped all over them, then lit them on fire.

    To me, perhaps the biggest strength of 7 was the world Square created. Rarely has a game world been created where the empathy felt with its inhabitants is so palpable. The atmosphere in each area is stunning, from the tragic beauty of the neon metropolis of Midgar, to the noble peacefulness of Wutai, each area is lovingly crafted and given a real purpose within the plot. The ability to totally immerse oneself within a game world is an aspect of Square’s more recent offerings (I’m looking at you ff13! :P) which is sorely missed and in my opinion, best espoused by ff7.

    Having said all that, I absolutely adore 8 as well.

    To me 7,8,9 are the best final fantasies (though I had not played one before 7), with 7 just pipping 9 as my favourite.

    • Well, in all fairness, I had only 30 minutes to compose this post, get images, etc due to the blogging marathon we were doing. Obviously I could’ve gone into more detail, but due to time restraints, I wanted to focus on the main points that popped into my head while writing it.

      If you compare the graphics in FF VII to other games that were released at the same time, VII seems a little archaic. Sure it was their first disc based FF game, because everything else prior to that was on a cartridge, but I dare you to tell me that Sephiroth was a better villain than Kefka.

      Many people cite FF VII as their favorite, yet they’ve never even touched any of the games that started it all. If I took a poll, most would say that VII was their introduction into the world of Final Fantasy, and then after that they kept playing what was released, not bothering to go back and appreciate everything that was before it.

      To properly respect and appreciate the Final Fantasy series, one has to know of how Final Fantasy came about, and just how much was riding on that simple 8-bit NES game. Square wasn’t doing well at all, and all that they could afford before closing their doors forever was one final game. Knowing that their jobs were on the line, Hironobu Sakaguchi and crew poured everything they could into that game and then some. With Enix as their main competition due to the Dragon Quest series, they wanted to just obliterate them, and save Square. So the game was named Final Fantasy, with was fitting, and it became a huge it. Without that game, we wouldn’t have had VII, VIII, Kefka, Sephiroth, Edea, Squall, Cloud, Terra… everybody. Sure you can argue that maybe, somewhere down the line, that a guy on the FF crew would’ve branched out and done his own thing, but you and I both know it wouldn’t have been the same.

      In terms of me connecting with a game and becoming so engrossed, VIII did that for me, in spades.

      After Sakaguchi left Square once X was done, and after the merger with Enix, Square has never been the same. In my heart, it will forever be Squaresoft, and to be honest, I haven’t played anything past X-2, and I only played that just to get closure with the Tidus storyline. Actually, I played Dirge of Cerberus to get more back story on Vincent, so yeah, I did play one after that. I won’t do XI, I own XII but haven’t taken it out of the case, and after the things I’ve heard about XIII, I’m not about to waste my money. Maybe one day, when it’s cheap and on sale, I’ll pick it up because I collect all of the FF games, but until that happens, don’t anticipate it to have a spot on my shelf.

      • Rhys

        “To properly respect and appreciate the Final Fantasy series, one has to know of how Final Fantasy came about”.

        Personally I think that’s an absurd sentiment. Akin to a John Grisham fan telling me how I will never properly appreciate The Rainmaker without reading The Firm. The Final Fantasy series doesn’t represent a series of “true” sequels, they are (almost) all stand-alone bodies of work. Interesting info regarding the creation of ff though, I wasn’t aware of that.

        Villain-wise, personal preference. I certainly found Sephiroth to be a “better” (whatever that means) villain than Kefka and I’m fairly certain the majority of FF players would agree.

  • Rhys

    Actually, I take that back, 9 is my favourite. 7 is the “greatest” though!

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