This is an extra review as its Christmas of one of my all time favourite games.
Never have I been as involved in a game as this one. My first real RPG I ever played back in 1997. I bought it because I watched the demo trailer from the bonus disk on The Official Playstation Magazine and they scored it 10/10. I think I paid £45 for it in comet at the time. When I got home and popped in the disk for my first play through my first reaction was “What is this crap” but two days later I was hooked.
Fantastic story line and the only game that made me get so attached to the characters and remains the only computer game to make me upset.
There were some fantastic breakthrough games in the 90’s including Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, Mario 64 and of course Final Fantasy VII. These games set the benchmark for games that you would find in stores today. Playing your first 3D game was a massive deal whereas most games today do not bring anything new with a few exceptions like the Wii console and Mirrors Edge!
When Mario 64 and Tomb Raider were released these were a couple of the first 3D games, Metal Gear Solid was the first 3D game of its kind where you have to be stealthy and hide from enemies and brought some great idea’s to gaming like having to use the back of the game case to find a number, using the 2nd control port to beat a boss and reading your memory card to tell you what you have played.
Final Fantasy was not the first of its kind in the sense of an RPG but the way it was delivered. It was the first huge RPG to hit the UK and people will remember it as their first proper RPG.
You start off in control of the main character Cloud Strife but you are given a choice as with most of the others you meet to change his/her name. I suggest you don’t but that’s just me.
Cloud was from a group called Solider which is Shinra’s elite fighting group. Now however he is working as a mercenary for a small terrorist group called Avalanche who wants to stop Shinra using the life force of the planet by blowing up their macro reactors. It’s not long before Cloud meets up with the second Character Barret Wallace and once the first mission is completed you also meet a childhood friend Tifa Lockheart.
It’s not long before you are back out on your second mission taking Barret and Tifa along with you but this mission fails and an explosion sees Cloud falling and landing in a flower garden of a church in the slums where he meets the forth character Aerith Gainsborough.
You learn that Aerith is the last remaining Ancients and is being hunted by a group of suits called the Turks who do all Shinra’s dirty work.
As the story goes on you meet up with the rest of the group and after Aeith has been captured by the Turks and Shinra drop one of the plates in Midgar to try and crush the hideout of the Avalanche group killing thousands the team head direct into the Shinra building. The President of Shinra believes that Aerith can lead him into the promise land a mythical land of fertility, where he expects to find makro.
After freeing Red XIII the fifth member of the group they escape only to find the president has been killed by Septhiroth a man who was supposed to be dead. The party also learns that during Sephiroth’s attack on Shinra, the headless body of a creature named “Jenova” disappeared from the building’s research facility. While the president’s son, Rufus Shinra, assumes control of the company, AVALANCHE pursues Sephiroth across the planet, fearing his intentions for the Promised Land may be more destructive than Shinra’s.
The group leaves Midgar and Cloud tells the story of how he and Sephiroth worked together and then goes on to explain how Sephiroth went mad finding out he was made and his mother was JENOVA an ancient that fell to the planet. Sephiroth burned down Clouds hometown and was believed to have been killed.
During the groups chase of Sephiroth you meet up with an optional character Yuffie Kisaragi a young materia theif and ninja, Caith Sith who you later find out is a robot controlled by one of the Turks. Vincent Valentine another optional character who was a former member of the Turks who was killed and brought back as an immortal and later in the game Cid Highwind, a pilot.
You later learn that Sephiroths plan is to significantly damage the planet so it would heal itself and he would be at the source of where the lifestream would gather. Sephiroth calls forth meteor to injure the planet and would then merge with all of the planet’s energy, allowing him to be reborn as a god and rule over the planet.
Cloud faces Sephiroth but then loses control of himself and turns puppet to Sephiroth giving him the magic he needs to bring forth Meteor.
Cloud becomes suspicious of his memories and insists he is not a real human, but instead a specimen created from Jenova’s genetic material by Professor Hojo a scientist for Shinra.
Jenova was an interstellar creature who crash landed on the planet roughly 2,000 years prior to the game’s events. Jenova had intended to infect all living organisms on the planet with a virus inducing insanity and monstrous transformations among its victims were most of the Cetra. Attempting to defend itself, the planet created giant monsters called “WEAPONs”. The majority of humans fled rather than fight Jenova; however, a small group of Cetra survivors managed to defeat and confine Jenova. Eventually, the remains of Jenova were unearthed by Professor Gast, a researcher for the Shinra Company. Mistaking the creature for a Cetra, Gast was given authorization to conduct an experiment to artificially produce a Cetra by combining cells from Jenova with the fetus of an unborn child. Sephiroth learned that he was the product of this experiment while on a Shinra mission in Cloud and Tifa’s hometown, Nibelheim. He concluded that he was a Cetra who had been produced solely from Jenova’s genetic material. He burned down Nibelheim, intending to kill all descendants of those he believed had abandoned his ancestors in the defense of the planet.
Sephiroth appears and kills Aerith then after laying her body to rest; the party resolves to defeat Sephiroth. They travel to the place where the last Meteor fell but again Cloud loses control, sephoroth calls Meteor and the WEAPONs are released. The group escape and Cloud falls into the lifesteam so you continue to play as Tifa.
The remaining members of AVALANCHE obtain Cid’s ship and begin their search for cloud. They find him in a tropical island where he was washed up but he appears to have lost his thought and mind. When one of the WEAPON’s attacks Cloud and Tifa are thrown into the lifestream and Tifa helps Cloud by finding his true self. Tifa helps reconstruct Cloud’s memories and learns the truth about his past. It is revealed that Cloud never succeeded in joining SOLDIER, and that the dark-haired SOLDIER from his memories was actually Aeris’s first boyfriend, Zack Fair. Zack, Tifa, and Cloud had fought Sepiroth during the latter’s attack on Nibelheim. Although Tifa and Zack were defeated, Cloud and Sephiroth severely wounded one another. After decapitating Jenova, Sephiroth is thrown into the Lifestream by Cloud, taking the creature’s head with him. Rather than dying, his body and consciousness were crystallized in Mako inside Jenova’s crater.
With Cloud back in charge they discover that just before Aerith was killed she casted Holy with white materia the only means of opposing meteor. Although she managed it before she died Sephiroth has prevented it from working so the group head off for the final showdown against him. They defeat him at the Northern Crater and Holy comes to the rescue but it isn’t strong enough so the Planet helps by using its lifestream.
The game is huge and takes from 40 hours to 90 if you want to defeat the two extra weapons and level up.
The battle system is turn based using magic’s from fire to Holy. With most RPG’s you get potions and other items to help you along the way. You can also by power up’s new weapons and amour.
If I was to talk about the whole game I could go on for hours but I will add that the soundtrack for its time was outstanding. Nobouo Uematsu composed the soundtrack and would later go on to do some of the others bringing some of the best music to the Final Fantasy world.