The discharge of Last Fantasy VII in 1997 was a watershed second for each Sq. and the role-playing sport style as an entire, endlessly altering the established order shifting ahead. After the earlier six video games had seen a launch on Nintendo platforms, this marked the primary time (of many) that Sq.’s flagship collection could be passing over the Massive N, and with that change got here a large stylistic shift to the sport itself. Ditching the drained swords-and-sorcery tropes that the earlier video games had harped on for years, Last Fantasy VII broke new floor by telling a darkish and engrossing story set in a Blade Runner-esque futuristic setting. It’s protected to say that we’re nonetheless feeling the results of Last Fantasy VII’s affect even within the RPGs of right now’s platforms, however the true query is that this: how properly does this stalwart basic maintain up right now?
Last Fantasy VII follows the adventures of everybody’s favorite angsty, spiky-haired protagonist, Cloud Strife, a former SOLDIER now working with a terrorist group to hit again at a megacorporation that’s slowly sucking the life out of their dying planet. Regardless of Cloud’s murky previous, which he himself is uncertain of, issues are progressing comparatively properly on this small resistance marketing campaign, however because the hours roll by and new gamers are introduced into the fold, the regularly widening narrative reveals a a lot bigger story at play that finally stems from the advanced relationship that exists between Cloud and Sephiroth, the primary villain. This can be a story about the true risks of late-stage capitalism and local weather change, concerning the penalties of battle and the sacrifices that should be made for the larger good. Regardless of the customarily campy and awkward dialogue, it’s a narrative that continues to be eerily related within the trendy age.
Assuming you haven’t already spoiled most of it by this level and shall be experiencing it for the primary time, the story is certain to maintain you engaged for many of its 40-ish hour run; this can be a story that’s full of loads of plot twists and turns, and many of the essential characters in your get together are well-written and have plausible dimension to them. Plus, regardless of the brooding and mature storytelling, there’s loads of lighthearted content material right here to maintain issues from changing into too dour, comparable to a memorable sequence (which might undoubtedly not fly in a contemporary sport launch) through which Cloud attire up as a lady and enters the in-universe equal of a brothel to chase after a good friend who disappeared inside. Simply when it looks like a bit an excessive amount of of a downer, Last Fantasy VII demonstrates a outstanding potential to show the tone round on the drop of a hat if want be, making for an journey that’s as unpredictable as it’s enrapturing.
Although Last Fantasy VII is notoriously linear in comparison with some previous entries, it nonetheless stays unabashedly an old-school Last Fantasy sport, with random encounters, turn-based battles, and the ATB system all being par for the course right here. As one would anticipate, the random encounter price is tediously overbearing in lots of parts, however it may be helpfully offset by a contemporary function Sq. labored into the re-release through which clicking down the left stick triples the velocity of the entire sport, turning these glacial, repetitive encounters towards mook enemies into blink-and-you-miss-it blitzkriegs. It actually can’t be highlighted sufficient how a lot of a distinction this easy addition makes to 1’s enjoyment of Last Fantasy VII, and whereas it finally stands as a band-aid for a design-based situation, it’s an efficient one which helps to gloss over among the creakier features of a two-decades-old sport.
When in fight, the basic battle system of Last Fantasy is current and proper, through which every character on display has an ‘motion bar’ that, as soon as crammed, permits them to assault, solid magic, or carry out another such actions. Even right now, this ATB battle system proves to be a remarkably artistic approach of side-stepping the monotony of a turn-based battle system with out shedding the spirit and construction of 1; it calls for your fixed consideration and decision-making by making use of that steady strain to make a fast alternative, whereas additionally retaining issues easy and easy.
New to Last Fantasy VII (on the time) can be the ‘Restrict Break’ system, which provides a pleasant incentive for taking hefty beatings out of your foes. Each assault a personality endures will refill that character’s restrict gauge a bit bit extra, and as soon as it’s full, they’ll then unleash a robust talent that may flip the tide of the battle considerably – comparable to how Aeris can solid a party-wide therapeutic spell, or Cloud can unleash his iconic Omnislash assault. It’s admittedly not very advanced, however the Restrict Break system provides a bit little bit of selection to battles that may in any other case develop into repetitive with time.
With all this being mentioned, the fight of Last Fantasy VII these days does create one thing of a ‘been there, finished that’ feeling which may’t be simply dismissed; it’s the form of factor that’s aged gracefully, nevertheless it’s definitely aged. Subsequent to different, extra trendy RPGs, it’s powerful to not be postpone by the antiquated fight design of Last Fantasy VII, however these of you who don’t need to cope with fight can simply as simply disable random encounters totally or immediately buff all characters to max stats and steamroll over all opposition.
For these of you that want to play by means of the sport because it was designed, there’s loads of depth to the ‘Materia” system that governs character progress. Eschewing the favored jobs system of previous video games, Last Fantasy VII makes all its characters mainly classless, with equippable Materia dictating their function in a combat. Materia act as expertise which might be hooked up to the armour and gadgets your characters equip, and sure Materiae geared up on the identical piece of kit will create synergistic buffs, comparable to how a multiplier Materia will let you solid an offensive spell that hits all enemies as a substitute of only one. Materia might be swapped between get together members at will and level-up independently from the characters that wield them, which makes for a customization expertise that provides you shocking management over what every get together member can contribute to battle. The Materia system feels a bit floor degree in some ways, however the true energy right here is just the enjoyable of swapping up character roles every so often for a change of tempo in battle move.
As an early PlayStation title, Last Fantasy VII launched proper on the peak of that point when everybody within the trade was making an attempt to determine methods to make good video games in 3D, and it sadly reveals. Even in comparison with Last Fantasy IX, which launched a couple of years afterward the identical console, Last Fantasy VII is a fairly ugly sport to behold, as lumpy character fashions with Popeye-like anatomies saunter across the grainy, pre-rendered backgrounds. To be truthful, the backgrounds themselves aren’t half unhealthy, that includes loads of atmospheric, detailed environments that do an amazing job of setting the tone; the problem is how a lot they conflict with the 3D fashions, which stick out like a sore thumb. Although it turns into simpler to look previous the disparity between the backgrounds and character fashions as you make investments extra hours into Last Fantasy VII, it’s nonetheless all too frequent to lose observe of precisely what your character can or can’t work together with on any given display. There’s a cause that pre-rendered backgrounds have been left firmly previously for video video games, and Last Fantasy VII stands for example of why.
Fortunately, the soundtrack has misplaced not one of the allure or impact that it had again within the day, and it stands as a testomony to the talent of legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu. Last Fantasy VII has a soundtrack as wide-ranging as that of a movie, with every observe performing as a wonderful tone-setter for the often-emotional occasions that unfold. Whether or not it’s the nice and cozy, guitar-laden lullaby of the village of Kalm, or the long-lasting, menacing dirge of the opening sequence, Last Fantasy VII’s music is certain to seize your creativeness and assist drive the narrative ahead in ways in which the visuals can’t fairly handle.
Last Fantasy VII is the form of sport that speaks for itself, a touchstone of sport design that performed a big function in setting the usual of RPGs for years to return. It goes with out saying that you need to give Last Fantasy VII a shot should you think about your self to be a fan of RPGs, as that is an expertise in contrast to another in some ways. With that being mentioned, it’s additionally the form of factor that has since been surpassed in nearly each method by video games that took the ideas it launched and expanded upon them in loads of new and extra attention-grabbing methods. Last Fantasy VII is a relic of its time, however that doesn’t imply it’s to be revered any much less; should you can look previous the clearly antiquated components, this can be a well-paced, partaking RPG that’s nonetheless enjoyable to play right now – it’s greater than worthy of your time.