Yes, Final Fantasy VII only comes to number two in my top five and I know that will cause some surprise (even controversy) among die-hard Final Fantasy fans about how I have no idea what I’m on about. Well, just bear with me and I’ll explain why.
On another note, I did say last time that I’m really grasping at straws for the top three because I love them all, so this is what it’s come down to.
On its own, FFVII is probably my favourite game of the entire Final Fantasy franchise. The story is gripping, the characters (mostly relatable) and if you’ve managed to learn anything about me from these blogs, then you should know that I love science fiction and such related themes, even in a fantasy based genre!
It’s clear throughout the game that there is more to the story than we’re being told in this title. It keeps the audience wondering and we don’t need to know anything else – it’s great that we do learn (I’ll come to that) but it isn’t necessary for what I’m getting from the game, or what I want from it. There’s love, heart-break, betrayal, soul-searching, laughter, adventure, history and future and so much more. It could be a seven series long TV show or more with all the side stories and characters you come across.
The Materia system is brilliant too, and you get a chance to really give your characters abilities that you prefer and suit you style of play. This is based on your weapon and amour choices and a lot of time can be spent finding the best weapon and armour combination before you get your Materia combination right.
The Materia itself is a great way of doing things, and limits how often you can use abilities per battle before it resets after each fight. However, you can ‘master’ each one to get a new one and come up with some truly powerful (and almost unbeatable) combinations. In most, if not all cases, when you max out a Materia you get a new one so you can put each of your favourites on numerous characters. In the end, it makes things too easy if you try too much.
However, there is a point throughout the whole game, and the Cloud and Sephiroth rivalry is well-known, probably one of the most famous throughout the Final Fantasy series. The graphics and music for the time of release were also fantastic, and were a real ground-breaking move away from sprites (which I still miss). It was the beginning of a change in look for the series that has been carried on through to the current generation, and soon to be next generation, of titles.
So, why is FFVII only number two in my top five? Well, unfortunately, this title isn’t just a game for me, and it’s nothing so simple is a VII-2 this time (thankfully). Unfortunately, with mobile games, handheld games console games, a movie and animated shorts all tied in to the VII universe, it’s almost impossible to tell what’s been planned and what has been added on as a money-maker.
Even if it was all planned, which I’m not completely sold on, the amount of information and planning is staggering. Cloud suffers from the same problems in almost every game he title he appears in, so what’s the point, other than a quick turnaround in Advent Children. Zack stands out like a sore thumb from the world and his Soldier mentors, which is interesting but his unwavering resolve doesn’t work for me. The story of the Turks isn’t convincing and made me like their characters less, making subsequent play throughs of any game less enjoyable. The only extra the series I enjoyed somewhat was the PS2 title Dirge of Cerberus, but it made me think more deeply into VII’s world than ever before and I still had answers and hopes of a sequel that was never to be thanks to simple mechanics and a lacking story not befitting the FFVII brand.
I could go on, but I’m giving you a taste of the problems of what has happened to the FFVII title. I could go on for quite some time, but this expansion of the world or and universe has decreased my love and enjoyment of what is a stand out game.
You may accept my arguments, or even agree with some of them, and it still wouldn’t make a difference. That’s fine, this is my opinion. FFVII on its own should probably be at the top spot, as it is for many fans. For me, having played and seen the other titles in this series, I’m less than thrilled now and while I, like most of you, would love a HD remake of this title, it would still never return to the top of my list now. However, it will always be up there as one of my favourite titles that I spent countless hours on through numerous play throughs.