Final Fantasy 7 is still amazing after all of these years.
I have a weird history with Final Fantasy 7. I played all previous Final Fantasys that came out before Final Fanasty 7, including Mystic Quest and Chrono Trigger.. heck basically all Square games at this point. So when I first heard about Final Fantasy 7 and that it was coming out on the Playstation, I was pissed. I didn't want a Playstation, there was no games on it I cared about and I already owned a Saturn. I knew the next Nintendo was way off, but I was still peeved. However, as time ticked away and hype grew, I broke down and asked for a Playstation for Christmas. On that faithful date, I woke up and there was a Playstation under the tree with one game. What game was it? Not Final Fantasy 7, no I got Killing Zone. One of the worth Fighting games I've ever played. I didn't care though because I had money where I could go get Final Fantasy 7 myself, which I did the next day. The thing is, I didn't have a memory card either. I didn't know you needed one for a Playstation, you sure didn't for a Saturn. It wasn't for a full week until I got a memory card, but I was sooo pumped on Final Fantasy 7 that I would play it for hours and hours and sometimes leave the Playstation on just so I could continue on. However, I would eventually have to shut it off and restart. I finally got that memory card and loved every minute of Final Fantasy 7 ever since.
I played it a few times after that initial run through, sometimes completing all quests, but it's been atleast 8 or 9 years since I played Final Fantasy 7. I'm glad I restarted it, because it was still a very enjoyable game. Maybe it's nostalgia? I dunno. I never let all the resurfaced hype surrounding Final Fantasy 7 damage my memories. Final Fantasy 7 is still has some of the most rememerable characters in any RPG ever made. The battle system is fun, I loved the materia system.
I was a Final Fantasy fan boy before Final Fantasy 7 came out, and I guess I'm still a fanboy at heart.
Final Fantasy 7 is a turn-based RPG. Turns are determined by the character or enemy with the best speed. Final Fantasy 7 uses the Active Time System that, so while it's turn based, you will have to pay very close attention to everything because time doesn't stop with your turns.
You can fight with a party of 3, with the rest of your team in reserve. When you defeat an enemy, your main party gains full experience, while your reserve party just gets a small chunk of it. You also gain AP (I'll assume Ability Points) after each kill aswell. This allows you to upgrade your materia, but only your main party can get the AP after a battle.
You can equip only three items per character, a unique weapon, piece of armor or accessory. Each weapon and armor can hold various numbers of slots. You can place piece of Materia in those slots and they grow depending on the weapon. Materia is basically your magic, skills and abilities. Without Materia your characers are nearly useless. Materia levels up over time once you gain enough AP. Some skills you can only use one or twice in battle until they're leveled up a few times. Some materia boosts or deceases your stats depending on what you put on. If you equip a Summon materia, your Max MP will raise 10%, but with that your Max HP will decrease 10%. It's a give / take situation.
Minigames. Final Fantasy 7 has a TON of non-skippable minigames. This is one thing I totally forgot about until I replayed it. Almost every dungeon or town has some sort of minigame. You might end up in an all girl slap fest one minute, snowboarding the next, or giving someone mouth to mouth. It's sometimes frustrating, because most of them aren't any fun at all.
Dungeons are tricky because your character is often a small dot on a large map. However they can add little markets for exits and a hand above your character to show you where you are. Items are the trickiest things to find though, but this gives you a challenge or extra goal for dungeons.
Boss fights are never difficult. I didn't have any trouble in the game for all the mandatory boss fights atleast. There's a TON of sidequests in the game aswell. Not only that but unlockable characters, minigames, a coliseum, chocobo breeding, chocobo racing, there's a ton of stuff to do within this world without worrying about the main quest.
----------Characters / Story----------
You play as Cloud, an ex-SOLDIER member and current mercenary for hire. Cloud is a rude, selfish character only looking out for himself and money. He is currently under hire with the terrorist group AVALANCHE, who is trying to put the end of Shinra, a powerful government group slowly killing the earth. In the mist of all this, Cloud is following the lead of former friend Sephiroth who is trying to find the Promise Land, even if he has to destroy the earth to find it.
I still love the story, and I still love all the characters. The story is still quite confusing, so there's a reason why people still talk about it today.
The graphics are a touchy issue. When Final Fantasy 7 came out, there was nothing like it. The scale, the scope, the amazing cutscenes, the CGI effects. The game was amazing. In retrospect, it's a little rough, but I can't fault the game for looking dated. Final Fantasy 7 nearly pioneered this style, which alot of games went on to clone like Legend of Dragoon, Jade Cacoon, Shadow Madness, Silver and many others.
There was no RPG on the Saturn or Playstation that had effects this grand, with CGI cutscenes this plentiful or pretty. They put more time and effort into a Summon effect than most games prior put into a final boss. While it's kinda hard to look at now, it was a breathtaking game when it was released. Final Fantasy 7 set the standard for Playstation RPGs.
I loved the music, I hear people rag on it alot, but there's a ton of variety to the songs. All the songs are catchy, so what more do you want? The sound effects are great aswell. No voice overs of course.
The world map is a standard overhead view just like any classic Final Fantasy game, nothing has changed since the earlier games. The world seems a bit small though, compared to Final Fantasy VI for example, even Final Fantasy IV makes this world look tiny. However, there's alot of towns, dungeons and secrets you can find through out the world. You slowly unlock modes of transportation, from Chocobos, to Dune Buggies, to Boats and finally flying ship. You can breed Chocobos to create different kinds, which grants you new abilities so you can travel places you can't otherwise reach, but that is merely sidequest stuff.
----------Time to Complete Game----------
After you beat the final boss you're treated with a pretty long cutscene, credits and that's it. No saving, no bonus.