Let’s get this out of the way…
I’ll go ahead and clear the air right away on my approach for when I’m talking about this game. I have never played the original Final Fantasy VII. You read correctly. This is my first time experiencing the game in any way, shape or form… for better or worse. Unfortunately, I’ve had the biggest “spoiler” already spoiled for me. But ya know, the game has been out for 23 years as of this writing, so I really have no one to blame for that but myself. Even so, I will try to keep my thoughts relatively spoiler free.
Breakdown of Initial Thoughts
Okay, if the one reason you are here is because you’re wondering whether or not you should buy and play the game, let me make your visit short and sweet. Yes. Yes, you should. PROCEED. Go ahead and drop the money. Shower Square Enix with your hard earned dollars. When you do, be extra and get the deluxe version– in my opinion, the soundtrack alone is worth it.
Why am I telling you this? Glad you asked, let me try and explain. Do you have a handful of games you’ve played over the course of your life that you can never forget? I have a few. The original Halo. Knights of the Old Republic. The Last of Us. I have many more, but you get the point. The type of game where you know you’re playing an instant classic the whole time. The type of game where you’re savoring every moment, appreciating every little detail in the environments around you as you walk through them. The characters take hold of your heart, commanding your emotions. That is exactly what this game is, and that’s why you should take the plunge.
In case you are wondering, all of the images in this post are from my own personal game sessions, transferred from my PS4. I also should note that I didn’t start taking screenshots until around the time I got to Wall Market, so I don’t have much to show for Jessie, Barret, Biggs, etc etc. On the flipside, I have a ton of screenshots of Aerith as a result. Now, to the important part.
Tifa, Tifa, Tifa, a little bit of Aerith, and Tifa. Okay this whole section is done.
Alright, just kidding, but seriously, look at Tifa. She’s an absolute snack.
Honestly, it’s easy to see why everyone crowds around a specific few characters in this game and doesn’t talk much about the rest. Of course, I’m talking about Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, and Sephiroth. Even before I had played the game, I had heard of them. But even so, I think that most of the characters have some weight to them in their own rights. Even Don Corneo has his charms.
You should always try and find someone who looks at you probably the opposite of how Don Corneo looks at Tifa.
All of the character designs are pretty well done. Although, I have to say that some of the character’s outfits are pretty wild. At this point though, I think it is safe to say this is a Final Fantasy hallmark, right? I also dig it and I don’t think it is a bad thing.
As a continuation of what I mentioned already… most of the characters are capable of tugging on my interest so far. Barret seems to be the leader of Avalanche, and I could not stand him at all for the first while in the game. He was annoying, over the top… treated Cloud like shit. Then, you meet Barret’s daughter Marlene, and he completely changes. Jessie is a total flirt and it’s hilarious. Biggs is the all around good type of dude… but to be honest, I haven’t seen much of Biggs, Barret, or Jessie in quite some time since I’ve been running around with Aerith after falling off the plate.
Speaking of Aerith, I feel like the cinematography focuses a lot on her face. Which isn’t a bad thing.
It closes in on her face so much that it’s almost like their intention is to make you feel a connection with her. This makes sense, considering people have had 23 years to let the sting fade from.. ahem. Is this their way of making you poor saps feel it all over again?
I wonder what Aerith thinks about that…
But I digress. Aerith as a character has been fascinating. It seems like she will be a heavy plot driver, but I’ll have to wait and see. She is always so sweet and charming. Somehow, she even manages to translate that sweet side into her more violent side.
Behold Aerith as she brings justice down with a chair. No one other than her can look so great while doing this.
The last thing I want to mention in the character department is that I honestly find Cloud to be rather boring. But there is a LOT more to this story than I have experienced yet, so I will wait patiently and hope he gets more development. I could go on and on about every character, but I’ve said enough for now. Let’s move on.
Alright, how does this measure up as a game? Characters, story, all of that other stuff is important, but how does it play? The short answer is that it plays well. I’ve been very impressed.
It’s not at all like the old game. It is not turn based. There is a classic mode that you can choose… my assumption is that it is similar to the old game, but I can’t say for sure because I haven’t tried it. The combat is real time action based with a mix of strategy by way of allowing you to significantly slow down the action by entering the “command” menu. In the command menu, you can cycle between characters and choose abilities to use.
Outside of the command menu, you’re whacking enemies, blocking, etc, in real time. You also can swap between other characters in your party and you’ll realize the more you play that this is an essential function. You’re going to want to learn how to play your other characters. You’ll have a really hard time trying to get through all the combat playing only as Cloud.
Which brings me to difficulty. “Normal” is the highest difficulty it will let you start with, and that’s what I’m doing for my first playthrough. There have been several moments where I’ve put the controller down and walked away like “Okay Squeenix, are you really doing this to me right now? Is this how it be?” And the answer is yes, that is exactly how it be. Some of the fights are hard! But this is NOT a bad thing.
It’s challenging in a way that makes it a fun experience. You have to learn and grow as a player to be able to get through some of these fights. Most games these days have you develop a formula at the beginning and you kind of stick to that formula as you move through the game. Not the case in this game.
You’re going to have to pool your resources. You will use potions and phoenix downs. You will have to learn weaknesses of enemies and their move patterns. You’ll have to learn how to block and how to use each of your party member’s abilities to be able to survive. It’s FUN! Except for Hell House, that fight sucked. Sorry, not sorry, Square Enix. Honestly though, from what I have experienced so far, I am super excited to run through the game again on whatever hard difficulty awaits after clearing the game on normal.
Oh and don’t let me forget, you’ll also need to get your summons, and know when to use which ones.
Speaking of which, here is this fat chocobo summon for you to admire.
I am currently in chapter 10, I think. Spoilers ahead.
I can’t say for sure if anything has been changed from the first game. What I can say is that I’ve been completely sucked in. The story flows well and it moves in a way that you don’t expect. As you move from one area to the next throughout the plot, you never end up quite where you’d have predicted.
Another aspect of this story that I find super interesting are the underlying implications of right and wrong. If you want to call a spade a spade, Cloud and the team are literally nothing but a terrorist group wreaking havoc on the government. Is that right, or is it wrong? Not exactly always black and white, is it? For the most part however, this has so far been what has driven the story each step of the way.
I guess I should mention that Wall Market was an absolute blast. Every step of the way was pretty exciting. I know there was a lot of discussion revolving around the cross-dressing scene before the game came out, so I knew that was coming, but they did a pretty good job with it… ridiculous as it was.
Is Cloud actually best girl? No, no, he is not. It’s still Tifa.
I also can’t leave out that Aerith’s dress was amazing as well.
I just escaped from Don Corneo’s mansion through the sewers and the entire time on the way out Tifa has been voicing her concern about what Corneo said right as we were on the way out… which was that Shinra is planning to take out the pillar and drop the plate right onto sector 7.
If I was a betting man, I would bet this is going to be the climax of the first game in this series. If you didn’t already know, this is supposed to be the first of three separate installments. I’m coming up on 30 hours of gametime and stopping Shinra from destroying sector 7 would seem like a nice place to tie up the first round in this trilogy.
I’m really enjoying this game… the story, gameplay, everything. But what are your thoughts? Let me know down in the comments below or send me a message! Until next time.