April 28, 2013
Final Fantasy VII: Is it Overrated?
Final Fantasy VII: Is it Overrated?
This is a question I'm frequently hearing from the Final Fantasy fanbase, and video game communities in general. The ratings for Final Fantasy VII are always five out of five stars, with reviews that sparkle like diamonds. Critics give the game outstanding scores, and it is known as the greatest RPG of all time. While the Final Fantasy series has published a good number of titles with rather high critic scores and excellent reviews, none have been able to outmatch Final Fantasy VII. But the question is: does Final Fantasy VII really deserve such praise? Should it still remain the number one Final Fantasy title, even after Final Fantasy X and XIII were released and the games visually improved? I've heard different responses on the matter, and you probably have too. There's fanboys and girls out there who are dedicated to Final Fantasy VII, who claim it as the greatest game ever to be released. Others have nothing but poor reviews to offer the five-star game, saying it was one of the worst RPGs Square ever invented. Personally, I think neither response is accurate.
Final Fantasy VII
was amazing for its time. It was the first Final Fantasy
to enter the realm of 3D graphics, and the first game to offer fully animated cutscenes. The Limit Break system was first introduced in this installment, and, while we were always able to customize our player's equipment, the power to equip Materia to change your abilities was all-new to the series. For a lot of the games released back in 1997, Final Fantasy VII
was a big hit. So big, in fact, that it remained in a lot of gamers' minds as the greatest game to hit broadway, mostly because they just remember it being so great. Even if brilliant new titles are coming out daily, whether it be The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
or Final Fantasy X
, they'll always remember Final Fantasy VII
#1 game. And, to them, it'll always remain so.
On the other side of that coin, however, some gamers that have recently played Final Fantasy VII for the first time aren't quite as impressed with what it had to offer. Perhaps they've already played Final Fantasy XIII, or Demon Souls, or even Final Fantasy VII's prequel, Crisis Core, and weren't blown away with Final Fantasy VII's 3D graphics like veteran players were. They see the game at face value, because it's likely they've already been impressed by some other title out there that Final Fantasy VII doesn't mean the same to them. I'm one of those gamers. I missed Final Fantasy VII when it first came out, and have only played it for the first time last year. While I thought it was a very good game and one of my favorite Final Fantasys ever, I'm not so sure it's the best game out there. I'll tell you why.
After having played Final Fantasy X
, I began to see what true character development looked like. Sure the story within Final Fantasy X
's a bit, eh, cheesy, and some of the characters were just "there," but the characters that Squaresoft decided to focus on were spectacular. I really felt like I knew everything about Tidus; I almost could predict what he was going to say next. (Some could say that's because he's predictable, but I don't think so.) Same goes for Yuna, Auron, and a few others. They truly gave players their characters, something that I felt Final Fantasy VII
failed at. After watching Final Fantasy VII
's sequel film, Advent Children
, and playing the other two installments to Final Fantasy VII
, I began to understand the characters for who they were. And, honestly, they were great. Out of every game I've played I could almost say Final Fantasy VII
had my favorite cast. The problem is this: I never would've said that had I only played Final Fantasy VII
. They did a poor job portraying its characters, and everyone kind of seemed generic. Cloud was the typical "hero/jerk" and Sephiroth was, well, your typical insane villain. (Or, in other words, a very poor imitation of Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI
.) And I'm not saying you need voice acting to develop your characters. Take Final Fantasy VI
for example. That game had outstanding character development, and it didn't even have 3D graphics. Final Fantasy VII
would've been so much better had they taken their time with character development and given us the quality characters that the cast is truly built up of.
I think my favorite feature of Final Fantasy VII was the length of the game, along with the amazing storyline. Bear in mind that I've played many RPGs before Final Fantasy VII, including many of the popular "overrated" Final Fantasy titles. I've seen Final Fantasy VI's brilliant plot, and Kingdom Hearts II's heartfelt story, and I must say that Final Fantasy VII's blew me away. Even though I'd already fallen in love with other stories. There were perhaps few to no plot holes in this game, and everything just flowed into each other brilliantly. I can't tell you how many nights I couldn't put my controller down just because I wanted to see what happened when the characters reached their destination. Would they find Sephiroth? Probably not. Is the traitor going to be revealed in the next inn? Maybe. But there was enough intrigue to the plot that it made you excited to keep going. It's rare that a game prevents me from my daily routines, but Final Fantasy VII sure as heck did.
So, do I think Final Fantasy VII's overrated? My answer would actually be no. I don't think any game is overrated, because, to the gamer critiquing it, that's how the game was to them. Someone who gives Final Fantasy VII five stars was someone truly impressed by the gameplay and its offerings, not someone trying to fit in with the crowd. And, when I put my entire Final Fantasy collection side by side and compare all of them in terms of greatness, Final Fantasy VII would be one of my first picks. Not my first, because I still think it could've done with some improvements, but most certainly one of them. Truthfully, I feel that Final Fantasy VII is just another RPG, and should be respected as such. It's not A++++, nor "the greatest RPG to ever hit a console," but it is a very wonderful game. And I'd recommend it to any role-playing gamer to try.