This is the best game ever, for sure.

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Or, no, is Ocarina of Time the best game ever?

What about Breath of the Wild?

Or Silent Hill 2?

Pokémon Yellow?

Gosh darn it, who the hell knows anymore.

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Final Fantasy VII’s graphics blow my mind to this day, for different reasons than they used to.

Measure the two isosceles triangles that make up each of Cloud’s arms to approximate the area of your pretty boy protagonist. Show your working. (4 marks)

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Great opening. I’m totally pumped up to be a terrorist.

Sorry, sorry. I meant, ‘a mercenary working for a terrorist group.’

Seriously, though. Are Avalanche members the bad guys in this game? At the very least, they prove themselves to be capable of mass murder during the opening bombing mission, so it’s hard to argue that they’re particularly good.

This is going to be an ethically ambiguous adventure, isn’t it?

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Jesse: How many innocent people must die at our hands for the sake of the planet?

The answer is a lot, Jesse. The answer is a lot.

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I would do anything for Tifa, but I won’t do that (Marlene gets the flowers, obviously.)

I love the Materia system. But as with many of the magic systems in Final Fantasy games, I find the tutorial for it boring and confusing. I learn by doing, Square, not by reading!

The NPCs in this game are crazy interesting and lively, with motivations and feelings that you just get immediately. Gotta love ‘em.

More explosions. More murder. Sorry, citizens of Midgar. It’s not personal. We just really hate your reactors.

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Oh no I’m falling. Oh no I blacked out. Oh no I landed on someone’s flowers!

Enter, Aeris. Aeris is pretty. As pretty as Tifa, even! Oh, my!

(Square sets up the love triangle to end all love triangles with this one. I know the devs say that this game isn’t romantic, or isn’t meant to be romantic, but, well, try telling the fans that. As for me, I play Cloud as a young gay man, so it’s a non-issue.)

Three hours into the game, and those players who are playing it for the first time will finally start to enjoy themselves because their eyes will have adjusted to the visuals.

Some of the random encounters suck in this game. A house monster? Really? Can’t you be more imaginative than that, Square? I can think of at least, um, two things that would be more interesting to fight than a house. Like a giant butterfly with children for hands, or a barista who has had it with making decaffeinated, skinny cappuccinos, and is going to take it out on you.

Fuck. I should design enemies in games.

In other news, Cloud looks nice in a dress.

Did I say Cloud? I meant King Squatter, wielder of the infamous steel ass.

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This whole Wall Market scene is, in my experience, treasured by the LGBTQ+ gaming community. Despite it being problematic and offensive in areas, it is inclusive, colourful and implicitly queer. It needs updating for the remake – (if only for the sake of questionable consent in the honey bee inn) – but it needs to stay.

And no, the fact that the game makes Cloud dress up in women’s clothing does not reflect at all on his sexuality. The fact that you can play it up, though, getting all of the accessories like underwear and perfume, and then get so close to having sex with Don Corneo that the only thing stopping you from feeling him up is Tifa barging in, makes me wonder if the developers wanted Cloud, or the player, to at least be able to explore their curiosity here.

I take them up on this offer, heartily.

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Shinra kill so many people in Sector 7. It’s like they wanted to say, “Hey, Avalanche! You guys thought you were good at killing civilians? Well, just watch THIS.” *Boom* They usurp Avalanche as the bad guys. But that doesn’t make Avalanche the good guys.

Man, I love this game!

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Onward to Shinra Headquarters. Onward to revenge!

This is a mistake. There are so many stairs. So. Many. STAIRS.

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We meet a talking dog called Red XIII. He doesn’t want to mate with Aeris. Well, screw you, Red, if that is your real name. We were going to turn this love triangle into a love square, but never mind. (Also that isn’t his real name.)

Oh no we’re in jail!

Oh yay we broke out of jail!

Motorcycle minigame! Ok, let’s be real. The minigames in Final Fantasy VII suck a little bit. But some of them are fun. And hell, would the game really have been so popular if you weren’t able to smash people off of motorbikes with a giant sword for five minutes?

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No. No it wouldn’t have been.

We escape Midgar at last. World map, crazy plot, exciting adventure…this really is a final fantasy game! Now where is my airship? WHERE IS MY AIRSHI-

The Nibelheim flashback rocks my world. So does Sephiroth. And Cloud. Especially Cloud. I can’t help it. Spikey blonde hair + 1 cup of cool dude attitude + a sprinkle of dorkiness and whimsy = my kind of guy.

I can summon a chocobo to help in battle? Go, yellow chicken-horse! Kill! Kill for me!

This game just goes on and on and on – in the best damn way!

So, it’s great that there’s are some black characters in FFVII, but they appear so few and far between that it’s noticeably jarring when exploring this wide, rich world.

The Shinra parade song in Junon gets me so hyped up that, if I lived in Final Fantasy VII, I might accidentally sign up to the evil corporation just so that I could march to their song.

Cosmo Canyon rules, guys. What else do I need to say?

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This whole soundtrack is amazing. We’ve all heard the Sephiroth theme a little too much, but get down with Yuffie’s Theme, Cosmo Canyon and Holding My Thoughts in My Heart and just try to tell me that this stuff isn’t the shit. ‘Cause it is the shit. It’s the best sounding shit you’ve ever heard.

Barret has a troubled past. This doesn’t excuse his terrorism, but it does explain his machine gun arm.

Nibelheim in the present is all wrong. It doesn’t match up to what we know from the flashback. What is real anymore? Tifa what do you thi- Tifa why are you acting suspicious? WHAT DO YOU KNOW, TIFA?

“Shut up! Sit your ass down in that chair and drink your goddamn TEA!”

This game doesn’t get enough credit for how beautiful it is. The colours are pretty, the character designs tell a lot with very little, and the backgrounds look super neat. These are great graphics. I don’t care what you say.

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Plot escalates.

Man, that demon wall was hard to fight.

What do you mean I was supposed to use the Bahumut materia against it? Where was the Bahamut materia? WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T GO BACK TO IT?!

That trope where a character goes ahead somewhere alone and we have to chase after them and find them before they can get killed.

When can I have my airship? Seriously.

The city of the ancients is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

Oh. Oh no. No. Someone help. NO!

*cries*

It can’t be! It caN’T BE! I’LL KILL YOU ALL!

*cries more*

The plot suddenly goes balls to the wall complicated. Who was that? Why is he in there? What does that word mean? I don’t understand!

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I would be more excited for the remake, and how it may translate this stuff better/make the plot clearer, if I weren’t already so worried that the remake may shoehorn in all of the extra (read: unnecessary) plots and characters from the FFVII spin off games, hence making it hard to understand all over again.

From here on everything seems to speed up and become fraught with intensity and drive. Huge materia, weapons, AIRSHIP and plot.

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What? What’s happening?

C-Cloud?

Oh sweet Jenova, that was the plot twist of the century. Everything I thought I knew was a lie. This is like that Agatha Christie book where the narrator turns out to be the murderer.

Classy storytelling, folks.

Yeah, no. I know Cloud isn’t a murderer and it’s not the same. That isn’t what I’m getting at. I was just –

But he did take part in those bombings with Avalanche at the beginning. So, maybe…

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Some of these characters are the strongest, most well developed characters in any game. It is a shame, then, that over time they all begin to feel the same during combat, because most of their individuality is erased when you choose to load them up with whatever materia you, not they, choose.

If they were to choose their own materia, though, what do you think they would choose?

Barrett would probably go for the long range materia, so he could shoot things that are far away, clearly misunderstanding what his gun can already do. He always did think materia was too complicated for him and this proves it.

Red XIII doesn’t need materia. He just needs a soft so that he can free his Dad from his prison of stone. (Or can’t he do that? I think we’re supposed to accept that his dad’s beyond help but, in battle, a soft would definitely free him. So who knows?)

Cloud would choose some kind of a mimic materia and then forget that he’s using it, start to believe that what he’s mimicking is his original self, and get confused when people suggest to him that he isn’t what he’s mimicking. Yes I am, he would say. You’re just trying to deceive me!

And meanwhile, Yuffie the materia thief would have all of the rest of the materia, as she would naturally choose to steal it all when we weren’t paying attention. Again.

Seriously, Yuffie, you’re lucky that you have such a rad theme, otherwise I might not recruit you into my team at all.

I’m getting off subject here.

God, this bullet review has grown so long. As long as Sephiroth’s sword, nearly! Ha! I’ve still got it.

Where was I?

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Final Fantasy VII is appropriately challenging for newcomers to the franchise but quite a breezy ride for veterans. This is neither a positive nor a negative, it’s just a statement based on my own experiences.

Spoilers! The last boss is cool.

Hm. Maybe I should have said spoilers sooner in the review…

Final thoughts: Cloud Strife is, twenty years later, still probably the most interesting protagonist I’ve ever encountered.

Also, Cloud Strife is probably the most interesting name I’ve ever encountered. Perhaps to a fault.

Well, that’s everything. Until next time, Cloud.

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Indeed, my friend. Let’s mosey. (Was that seriously the last thing he said to his group before they went into the final battle to maybe or maybe not save the planet from almost certain destruction? Man. This guy is the best!)

 

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