Monday, June 17, 2013

Final Fantasy VII - Worst game ever?

The last time I played through Final Fantasy VII was in 1999.  For a game that I consider one of my all-time favorites, it's hard to believe that it's been well over a decade since I've last played it.  That's not to say I haven't thought about it - I have.  However, anyone who has actually finished the entire game knows that replaying FF7 is easier said than done. It's a bit like watching Lost from start to finish.  On one hand, you know it'll be an epic journey, but on the other hand, it's length can be a bit overwhelming.  

Still, after thinking about it, the idea of reliving this classic was all too enticing.  To motivate me, I did a quick Google search of Final Fantasy VII.  And that's when I discovered a horrifying truth about this game.

People hate it.

You see, in recent years, it's become rather hipster-ish to hate on FF7.  The internet is crawling with FF7 haters; so much, in fact, that the hate is just as popular as the game itself.  At first I tried to ignore it, but it did get me thinking - could one of my most memorable gaming experiences be nothing more than just a huge dose of nostalgia?  I had to find out.  

So, I dusted off my PS2, popped in FF7, and I started a new game.  I played on and off few nearly two weeks and before I knew it, I had reached the end.  As the credits rolled, I sat back and came to a conclusion about all the FF7 haters...

They're all full of shit.

Look, I know that it's not uncommon for a group of people to hate on something that's massively popular.  Just look at how many people hate Star Wars, The Beatles, and Twilight (okay, that last one probably deserves it.)  I understand that not everyone is going to like everything, but to call FF7 a bad game?  Please.

(Note: This is not an in-depth review of the game.  If you haven't played it before, prepare to be confused and/or spoiled).

Most of the game's hate is geared towards the game's main character.  The general consensus is that Cloud Strife is a one-dimensional, self-centered emo.  Funny - I guess they weren't playing the same game that I did.  If they were, they probably would have picked up on Cloud's internal struggle to come to grips with his true past (you know, that major story line that took up nearly two-thirds of the game.)  Cloud may appear to be self-centered at first, but as his character learns about his true past, he eventually becomes an excellent leader.
The plot gets a lot of flack, too.  Okay, so it's not the most straightforward plot in the world.  Hell, the terminology alone is enough to drive a man crazy: Shinra, Mako, Lifestream, Promised Land, Cetra, Jenova, Sephiroth clones, Black Materia, White Materia, Meteor,'s a lot to digest all at once.  Still, as convoluted as it is, when you piece it together, it works quite well.  It's filled with shocking plot twists, memorable moments, and of course, classic J-RPG humor.  Sure, there are a lot of questionable moments, but I blame the less-than-impressive English translation for any shortcomings the story may have.

And finally, the haters like to point out that the game looks like awful by today's standards.  Really?  Are you really THAT naive to think that a game from 1997 would look as good as a game from 2013?  For what it's worth, some of the pre-rendered backdrops are still fairly impressive, and the majority of the FMVs look surprisingly good even to this day (the Junon vs. Weapon sequence immediately comes to mind.)

I can go on and on about how the materia system offers a near-perfect mix of customization and individuality, or about how Nobuo Uematsu's soundtrack is nothing short of a masterpiece.  But alas, I'm going to stop here before this turns into a full-fledged review.  Is FF7 the greatest game of all time?  Probably not.  Does FF7 deserve the amount of hate that it has seen in recent years?  Not at all.  Haters will be haters, but unless you have a really good reason, don't try to convince me that this game is unworthy of it's praise.

And no, complaining about Cloud's spiky hair doesn't count.

1 comment:

  1. It's not a bad game. If it doesn't deserve the hate it doesn't deserve the pedestal that the other half puts it on.