The backlog, it continues. This week we've got a healthy portion of one of gaming's most iconic titles: Final Fantasy 7. If you missed Alexander's safari into Monster Hunter Portabe 3 last week, it can be found here.
I’ve always wanted to beat Final Fantasy 7. It’s a part of gaming history and an excellent game in a genre I enjoy. Yet I’ve never made it farther than the end of the tutorial, despite trying several times. Thankfully, this time I’ve made considerably more progress, otherwise this would be a very short article. Now that I am out of Midgard, exploring the world, and experiencing story beats, I’m beginning to understand why some gamers hold this game in the regard they do. That being said, there are parts of the game that do not hold up particularly well, such as unskipable animations and occasionally indistinguishable graphics.
The parts of FF7 I’m really enjoying are the combat and the story. The combat is still some of the best that the genre has to offer. It’s simple, but highly effective. You control three characters and activate their abilities in traditional FF fashion. I found defeating enemies very satisfying, though I haven’t been truly tested yet, and I’m looking forward to the more difficult encounters later in the game. Even though it has been easy so far, the sense of progress in the game seems well thought out. My characters feel much more powerful than they used too, and the enemies I’m defeating seem stronger and scarier.
Having beaten Chrono Trigger, I was pretty confident that I would find the gameplay of FF7 enjoyable, but I was not so sure about the story. The story hadn’t hooked me when I tried it before, though I put that down to simply not progressing far enough. Now that I’m 12 hours into the game, I’m very much enjoying both the characters and story. Each character has a unique and compelling personality, and they seem like they have an interesting story to tell. I’m really disappointed that parts of the game have been spoiled for me, especially because I can now put them into some sort of context. Still it’s a great story and I can’t wait to see more of it.
I still have a few issues with the game. As I mentioned before, the unskipable animations can be a real pain because some of them last 10-15 seconds. It may not sound like a lot but over the course of a game as long as FF7, it really adds up. The visuals are hit or miss for me. I like the basic concept that is shown, but I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing what exactly I’m looking at and what I need to interact with. The platforming, stealth, and driving sections I have experienced so far haven’t been fun at all. Mostly they’ve just been annoying. FF7 is at its best when it constricts itself to RPG gameplay. Also I still hate random battles, but I’ve resigned myself to them at this point.
Overall I’m enjoying going through Final Fantasy 7. There are some minor issues with the game, but the basic mechanics and story are so good that it’s easy to forgive. I’m hoping to finish this game soon, but I still have a long way to go.
And that does it for another edition of The Backlog. Next week, we'll be back with another game deep from the bowels of the pile of games that stare at us unyieldingly and fill us with shame. Come back next Wednesday to see what it is. Until then, tell us what you think of Final Fantasy 7. There's got to be somebody out there that hates it. Right?