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My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7

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1 My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:07 pm

I have been playing video games for many years, and yet there are several classic and otherwise essential games that I have no experience with. In many cases, this involves entire franchises. When Archengeia was going through the Final Fantasies during his marathon I was prompted to start digging my way through my backlog instead of letting it sit and fester. Now, I am playing through the Final Fantasies and have decided to share my thoughts on the games I play as I go here on the forum. I have already covered FFs I-VI and will be playing FF IX and FF XII. Hope you enjoy!

     We all have games that are really popular that we've never had the chance to play. Games that we would love to play if we got the chance, but never seem to get the opportunity for. Usually when I'm in this situation I don't mind hearing spoilers for these games because I don't know when or even if I will ever end up playing them. However, there are some games that I actively go out of my way to avoid spoilers for, because my expectations for the experience that game will provide are just that high. There were only two FFs that made it onto that list: FF4 and FF7. While I knew about SPOILER's death, and had a rough idea of the personalities of some of the characters through Kingdom Hearts, I didn't really know what to expect going into this game.

     Before I really get into the game, let me start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed it and would absolutely go back and play it again. I feel the need to start with that because, as incredible as this game is, it is also one of the more flawed games in the series that I have played to date. However, unlike with FF's 1 and 2, my issues with FF7 have more to do with the narrative than the gameplay. The big one being, of course, the translation. Final Fantasy 7's plot is ludicrously complicated, so when this narrative is being conveyed through unclear means it is very easy to get the wrong impression on events or to just simply lose track of what's happening or why. It requires lengthy studying and/or repeated playthroughs of the game in order to make heads or tails of it at all.
 
     However this is not just because of the translation, though it is the major culprit. The other reason for this unclear plot is the way it is presented to the player. I mentioned before that repeated playthroughs can help improve understanding of the game's narrative. That is because, for the majority of disc 1, there is a ton of setup taking place for when the plot can actually start in disc 2. For those of us who have played the game before, these moments of setup are moments we understand and appreciate because we know what they are leading up to. However, from the perspective of someone who hasn't played the game before, disc 1 appears to consist of nothing but padding and filler, constantly teasing the player with the idea of progressing the plot. I actually considered putting the game down while in this process for this very reason. That being said, these flaws are temporary and can be bypassed if you take the time to do so. That about sums up my issues with this game. Let's now go on to talk about why Final Fantasy 7 is one of the best FFs ever made. 

     While the plot is at the center of the major flaws in this game, that by no means makes it a bad plot. In fact it is probably the strongest element of the game as a whole. It just takes a lot of work and effort to appreciate said plot. Very much a diamond in the rough scenario. It's a shame that the translation is as bad as it is, but the effort required to understand the story of FF7 is absolutely worth it. The insight gained on the various characters through doing so is phenomenal. 

     The tone of FF7 is a unique hybrid of the two FFs that had come previous. While FF6 had a darker, more realistic story, FF5's was more along the lines of a light-hearted adventurous romp. Using simplistic characters like Yufie and Aerith while also having dark and brooding characters like Vincent, Cid, and Barret, FF7 manages to create a perfect blend of the two, allowing for tasteful comedic moments alongside the more grim and depressing moments that we are able to take seriously.

     Following this theme of balance, the combat walks the line of customization variance beautifully. While each character still matters due to their unique weapon types. the materia system also enables you to add abilities to these characters. Furthermore, these abilities can also impact each other depending on the order in which you equip them. I would say that the materia you use and the order you use them in matter just as much, if not more so to your relative party strength than leveling. Very reminiscent of the combat in Chrono Trigger, only the materia promotes customization whereas Chrono Trigger promotes unit synergy. As an added bonus, the materia also exists within the lore of the game, even taking on a role in the overall plot. I would actually say that I prefer this system to the job system over in FF5 because, in my opinion, FF5 leans a little too much on customization, diminishing the importance of individual characters.

     Speaking of characters, the characters in FF7 are incredible. Not just Cloud, who's character development is a major plot point in the game, but also the other characters. Even characters I started off disliking like Barret and Cait Sith I ended up enjoying and appreciating by the end of the game. Not to mention the enigma that is Yuffie and the awesome character in Cid. While these characters are not as fleshed out as the ones in FF6, they are the best written characters outside of that game that this franchise has offered thus far and they are also a large part of why I enjoyed playing this game and would love to play it again.   

     One minor issue that the previous FFs have had is that the setting in which the game takes place is so different from the real world that it is difficult to relate to it. This is most notable in FFs 3 and 4, due to the alien nature of their respective settings. FF7 solves that problem with a setting that, while still a final fantasy setting, is also a lot more like the world today, featuring cars, corporations, and cities. This allows the player to be more invested in the world and, therefore, more invested in the events that go on in it.

     While there isn't much to talk about here, I would me remiss if I didn't mention FF7's soundtrack. Much like in Mass Effect 1, a lot of the music in FF7 works incredibly well for where it's placed in the game, but I wouldn't listen to it on it's own. However, with this soundtrack more than any of the other FFs, there are individual songs that are phenomenal pieces of work and my life is definitely improved by their inclusion in my collection of songs.

     While not the best of the Final Fantasies (which is an unfair comparison at this point), This game absolutely earns my #2 slot ahead of FF5 for being fun to play, emotionally engaging, mentally stimulating, and providing a world I can go back to over and over again.

FF VI
FF VII
FF V
FF II/FF IV
FF I
FF III



Last edited by The_Real_Shurue on Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:50 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : A single fragmented sentence that bugged the crap out of me.)

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2 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:58 pm

Just wanted to let you know there is a fan translation for this game and Its a big improvement. I do pretty much agree with you on everything with the exception of that characters are not as fleshed out as the ones in FF6. Imo Its the other way around, specially with Cloud, Tifa and Aeris.

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3 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:21 pm

Citan wrote:Just wanted to let you know there is a fan translation for this game and Its a big improvement. I do pretty much agree with you on everything with the exception of that characters are not as fleshed out as the ones in FF6. Imo Its the other way around, specially with Cloud, Tifa and Aeris.
Those are the ones that are fleshed out well, but most of the other characters are not done nearly as well. See Red XIII for a good example of this.

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4 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:10 pm

Just out of curiosity, have you not played 9, 10 and 12 yet? These three are my personal favorites in the series. In fact, FFX is my favorite game of all time. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

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5 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:17 pm

ZGoten wrote:Just out of curiosity, have you not played 9, 10 and 12 yet? These three are my personal favorites in the series. In fact, FFX is my favorite game of all time. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.
I am currently in the process of playing 9. 12 is the next one I plan on playing. I will not be playing 10 however since Tidus annoys the crap out of me.

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6 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:52 pm

Makes me sad I haven't played the fan translation. It's really one of those labours of love that you have to do some outside research to fill in the blanks. Starting to understand why it's such a big deal for the remake.

I played the game much later than it's release, So I'm always interested in the perspective of ff and fantasy game fans (within which the ff series up to that point surely fell within). a lot different looking back after so many trends have come and gone, though I'm not suggesting that it introduced anything new outside of its own series or anything.

Intereting point about the soundtrack. It's not something I'd leave running but I do think overall it's solid with many exceptional tracks. Works well in the game of course. I agree probably, it's in the top tier for the series for me.

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7 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:29 am

The_Real_Shurue wrote:
ZGoten wrote:Just out of curiosity, have you not played 9, 10 and 12 yet? These three are my personal favorites in the series. In fact, FFX is my favorite game of all time. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.
I am currently in the process of playing 9. 12 is the next one I plan on playing. I will not be playing 10 however since Tidus annoys the crap out of me.

Lol. I don't get how people find him annoying. I just don't see it. And to make that the reason not to play the best game ever made ... eh, whatever.

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8 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:49 am

Not to defend Tidus but... I liken it to the rock in a shoe mentality. Let's say there's a great game, and you love it! But the main character drives you batty. So you could argue, just ignore him and enjoy the game, and that is possible, but it's like a rock in your shoe as you're taking a long walk... you can't just remove the rock (aka the character annoying you), so you have two options; endure it and be irritated the entire walk, which lowers or removes all enjoyment from the walk (even if it's a really nice walk and great weather etc.), or... just stop, give up so to speak. Little things can add up over time.


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9 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:39 am

Don't forget ... "This is my story." They really shove him in your face and he's as irritating as they come. A rock on the head more like.

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10 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:33 pm

I seriously don't see what's supposed to be annoying about Tidus. He's a perfectly fine main character.

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11 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:39 pm

Preference I imagine. Admittedly I softened towards the kid after my first playthrough, but that first time through I wanted to smack him.


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12 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:42 pm

He isn't just annoying. I can't take him seriously. I'll never forget when I watched the opening for 10 during the lorerun. He was attacked by strange creatures, ripped away from everything he's ever known, and the only people he encounters don't speak his language.... and his reaction is basically that he stubbed his toe. 

Then of course, there's this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H47ow4_Cmk0

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13 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:47 pm

His reaction is far greater than just that. Almost his entire monlogue throughout the game is a reaction to what happened to him. I find it strange how many people complain about Tidus whining too much, yet your opinion seems to be that he doesn't do so enough ...

And the infamous laugh scene you're linking here is really an excellent example of how people, who don't even understand the subject matter, bash on something because it seems bash-worthy on the surface (note that I'm not talking about you here, I assume you're just jumping on the bandwagon). It's a good scene, and the entire point of it is that it's supposed to be awkward. That's why Tidus' laugh is awkward. He is a bad actor, yet he's trying his best to uplift the mood. It's a touching scene to be honest, and it's even more poinient when one of the big reveals later on in the game happen and Tidus reflects on what he's been doing and what he's been representing to everyone.

Well, if you don't want to play the game, don't. But you're really missing out.

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14 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:07 pm

I'm not going to go deep into this because it's just my opinion. The game story doesn't click with me either and among that cast tidus still stands out. Yuna should probably be the main character but they force tidus on you. Im fine with a character like you describe, even as a main. but theres nothing I like about the writing or arc, he just acts in a confusing and annoying way to put it lightly. Granted I'm not a fan of 8, 10 or 13 and I feel like 10 is the only one that doesn't receive the critique it deserves.

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15 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:15 pm

Can we start a ban tidus from ff7 thread petition please? he must be contained before he spreads Wink just kidding guys.

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16 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:47 pm

The_Real_Shurue wrote:
Citan wrote:Just wanted to let you know there is a fan translation for this game and Its a big improvement. I do pretty much agree with you on everything with the exception of that characters are not as fleshed out as the ones in FF6. Imo Its the other way around, specially with Cloud, Tifa and Aeris.
Those are the ones that are fleshed out well, but most of the other characters are not done nearly as well. See Red XIII for a good example of this.

Sure I think Red XIII and Yuffie was the character that were not fleshed out enough in the game, but I think Barret,Cid,Vincent and Cait Sith were fleshed out as much as the characters in FF6. Imo FF6 have the same problem Terra, Locke, Celes, Edgar, Sabin, Cyan and Shadow are much more fleshed out than Gau, Setzer, Strago and Relm. Plus I think Cloud, Tifa and Aeris are more fleshed out than any character in FF6.

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17 Re: My Thoughts on Final Fantasy 7 on Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:52 am

I am a huge fan of FF VII. It is the second best of the non SNES and fifth overall. My list would be:

IV
VI
V
IX
VII (admittedly I can put IX at 3 and V at 5 depending on my mood)

I feel like there were quite a few points in the game where you had to work hard to figure out what to do, in a negative way, and the poor translation did not help the story. In many ways VII benefits from superior game play and more likable characters otherwise I would put it in the same camp as X. X for me is just awkward and VII would suffer the same because of translation issues. The good news is that VII does not suffer from the same type of voice acting and animation issues that X does. I also like the story better in VII, for me it hits the right notes even if it is a bit convoluted.

As far as X goes...I want to hear from those who think it is the best in the series. I feel like it benefits from being a new gen game at the time, it had voice acting and better animation for the time, I also feel like the battle system is really well done. But the linear story, the awkward dialogue, Tidus...so strange, Yuna should have been our main character and I feel like she wasn't to allow for the twist on her journey. Honestly could we have cut Tidus and still had the same game. Pretty much in my opinion. And the cutscenes...wow they were just so bad, strange head movements, bad dialogue, conversations in grunts and gestures that you have to intuit. DODGING THE LIGHTNING! The Al Bhed language. It is a fine game and I enjoy it but it fits more in the guilty pleasure category for me.

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