Final Fantasy VII

Heads up, seven up!


  • Review Date: July 7, 2021
  • Release Date: September 7, 1997
  • Platform: PlayStation
  • Publisher: Square
  • Developer: Square
  • Genre: RPG

Anecdotes: First off, the July 7 thing is just a coincidence, but once I saw it, I made sure not to change it. Final Fantasy VII is the most popular game in the series. It has spawned a whole series of its own, which can all be shortened to AC, BC, CC, and DC (Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerberus). I have never played any of those, nor have I played the remake. The remake seems ridiculously over the top with its battle system, plus I don’t like to buy incomplete games. Once they actually finish the whole thing, I may consider it, but right now, it’s just a money grab.

There is a demand for it, though. Square Enix just did a terrible job of satisfying it. Instead, they release a partial game that doesn’t even get out of Midgar. A big part of that is the nostalgia value. Many players jumped into the series with this game, but amazingly, a good portion of them refuse to check out the first six. VII’s fans can be really obsessive about the game and will rally to its defense at the first hint of negativity. I’m not trying to set them off, but this game is far from perfect.

Description: The planet is in deep trouble and the Shinra Corporation is trying to rule the world through fear and money. Cloud starts in the slums of Midgar, but eventually, he escapes in an effort to track Sephiroth down, which takes him all over the world.

  • Aeris: She’s the typical white mage stereotype and most people use her as a healer, which may be why her name is an anagram of Arise and Raise. It’s also a homonym for heiress. Both of those fit Aeris perfectly. Anyway, I have to toughen her up. I make her fight off the enemies in the church alone and I’m mean to her every chance I get. Of the playable women in this game, I’d rank her third. Square decided to change/correct her name to Aerith in future titles, but Aeris looks better and sounds better to me, so I’m going with that. I don’t use her at all after disc 1, and I bet nobody else will, either.
  • Barret: Barret does a lot of shouting and swearing early on. He serves as a trainer for players. He’s rather boring at first, despite the shouting, until players find out how much he cares about his daughter Marlene. He also has a personal score to settle with someone later on. He has a Samus Aran type situation where one of his arms has been replaced with a gun. Make sure to keep up with the leveling, as he will be forced into the party during the wild Junon plot twist in disc 2.
  • Cait Sith: Everyone has had to deal with infuriating people that don’t listen, don’t ever think they’re wrong, don’t answer questions, and don’t do a single thing to change, even when screamed at by others. They’re underemotional, often men, and they’re just as obnoxious as overemotional people. Cait Sith is one of those. He’s a cat on a Moogle and a Shinra spy. I don’t use him unless forced to.
  • Cid: Cid reminds me of the parents at the bowling alley. He’s always got a cigars or cigarette in his mouth, he uses foul language a lot, and he treats his wife like garbage. Shera should have left him long ago. He’s a piece of trash.
  • Cloud: Cloud grows from an aloof fool that only cares about money to a team leader as the game goes on. Cloud is someone I’d like to slap at the start, but he gets much better later on.
  • Red XIII: Hojo had some shady experiments going on up on the 68th floor of Shinra Tower. Cloud discovers him while looking for Aeris. Red and Aeris were shoved into the same cell. Eventually, Red XIII visits home in Cosmo Canyon, where a lot more of his character is revealed.
  • Tifa: In contrast to the really annoying Aeris, Tifa is shy, but able to take care of herself. There’s no “good girl” act here; Tifa is all about punching and kicking things around. Her body is her weapon. She generally could be classified as a Monk, as she just hits things with her fists and feet. Tifa takes on much more significance later on, as there will be a section of the game where Cloud and Aeris are both removed from the party.
  • Vincent: This old bat was just laying around in his coffin when Cloud decides to annoy him into joining the party. He’s entirely optional. I almost always pick him up, but I usually don’t use him a whole lot.
  • Yuffie: A lot of people hate Yuffie, but I’m not one of them. She’s my one woman destruction machine that can destroy anything in sight, plus heal herself while doing it. Here’s how that works. First, get the Yuffster to join the party. Stock up on Hypers as soon as possible. Fight until Yuffie learns the Clear Tranquil Limit Break. From there, ALWAYS keep Yuffie in Fury status, using Hypers as needed. Keep her Limit Breaks at level 1 and use Clear Tranquil every time. She’ll be really tough to kill. Later on, after the Gelnika gets sunk, go in there and pick up the Conformer and the Double Cut materia. The Yuffster won’t need any help cheesing through the game after that.


  • There’s a major plot twist at the end of disc 1, which a lot of players were quite surprised by and still moves people to this day. I will not spoil it, but the ensuing boss battle really makes it hit home with an excellent music choice, overriding the usual boss music. Luckily, Square provided a Water Ring to make that battle impossible to lose, so if that’s equipped, the long cutscene won’t need to be watched again.
  • Sometimes, the game throws a lot of clutter into the background, making it tough to find Cloud (or whoever, I think everyone except Red, Yuffie, and Vincent lead for brief stretches) and to find the screen exits. Luckily, Square wisely added a feature where pressing the select button toggles on/off a hand over Cloud when entering a screen, plus red arrows for the screen exits. I always have it on.
  • In a long game like this, I really like things that shake up the gameplay without destroying it. I’m referring to the Wutai sidequest, where players have to survive without Materia, and the disc 2 Junon adventure, which forces players to adjust to not having Cloud in the party. Both of these are nice changes of pace without breaking the core gameplay.
  • The gameplay is solid. The basics of battle stay the same, but now characters have Limit Breaks, which are essentially super moves that activate when characters get hit enough. Most of these are offensive, but Aeris and Yuffie have a great defensive ability. Healing Wind and Clear Tranquil are the same move, but with different animations. Each heals the whole party for half the maximum HP. That’s really nice to have.
  • Magic is taught by Materia. It works similar to Espers, but the party gets as least one spell just for equipping it. Unlike Espers, though, the spells are lost if the Materia is removed. Materia can also be paired and grouped up; I like pairing the Added Effect Materia with a Poison one, plus using a Long Range Materia so Tifa can poison enemies from the back row. That Added Effect-Poison combination also works wonders in Yuffie’s pagoda climb.


  • At no point in the game is it possible to use a party of just the three women, nor does the player ever get any say over whether or not Cloud is in the party. The game never gives players full control over the party; the lead character is always forced in, even when it’s not Cloud. They should have committed one way or the other; either fix it like IV and V, or leave it open like the second half on VI. Instead, players are likely to have Cloud levels above everyone else, so they’ll just choose two others to use from nearly every battle.
  • The controls in houses and other places are tilted 45° and it’s really easy to forget that and start moving Cloud in the wrong direction. I don’t know why this was necessary. There’s nothing to indicate which way the directions are shifted. There’s also no way to know ahead when the control scheme will be used.
  • There’s a dumb “relationship values” subplot in disc 1. It’s horrible for first time players as there is nothing in the game saying it exists. Veteran players can have some fun with it, but the real problem I have with it is it’s heavily weighted toward Aeris. I can’t stand Aeris; she’s pushy and her “good girl” act just grates on my nerves. If Square wanted Aeris to be Cloud’s love interest, why have four possibilities for the date sequence?
  • Some of the cutscenes are painfully long. The two worst offenders are Cloud’s flashback in Kalm and Tifa trying to fix Cloud in Mideel late in the game. The latter is more tolerable because it results in Cloud rejoining the party (although he never questions where the airship came from), but the former is straight up storyline that doesn’t affect the game. I tried going around it by just grabbing the Chocobo and crossing the marsh, but Cloud just says he “is forgetting something,” which is just a cheap way to make sure I sit through the flashbacks.


Say hello to Aeris. Remind me to see how she’s doing when I reach the final boss.
Cloud, that social butterfly, is really winning over the masses.
Oh, Jessie! I saw Aeris’ voice actress play the remake, and I really don’t like what they did with Jessie. I don’t mind her being all over Cloud, but when every woman in the game is on him, it makes women look love starved and thirsty. If she were the only one to like him, fine, but she’s not. This characterization wasn’t needed.
I missed Loveless two weeks ago? Whoops.
Cloud somehow manage to jump onto a moving train AND get inside of it. Yet, Barret is not impressed and yells at him.
Ah, they must have been to my local Little Caesars.
Shut up. It’s like talking to Aeris. I really don’t care.
Wait a minute. This is a bar. Tifa can’t put a child in charge of it.
Actually, I do remember her. I told her to get lost and I want to repeat that sentiment.
That’s perfect, because Aeris is good for absolutely nothing.
Yes, I make Aeris fight the enemies in the church. She can handle it. She’s not that weak.
I’d be sick too if I had to live in a pipe and listen to Aeris.
No. She’s a woman. Quit being so nosey.
I always that slide face looked like a…never mind.
Whatever. I’m staying out of the sex club no matter who lurks inside.
This game has had no problem with swearing, so Tifa could just spell out Fu.
Obviously, Aeris is referring to overcharging people for her flowers.
Ok, I skipped way ahead by loading an old save file. By this point, Yuffie’s a destruction machine.
Here’s my setup of Yuffie. The Fire-Elemental combination is redundant, though. The highlights are a Poison-Added Effect pair on the weapon, the Conformer with Double Cut and Counter Attack, Fury status, and an HP Materia for good measure.
Tifa’s reels actually stack up hits. I hit all five here (they’re still rolling in this shot), doing about 12,000 damage.
Cloud got KO’d, so it’s just the women fighting here.
Here’s the whole cast, minus Aeris, who bailed on this fight to go swimming in the river.
We have a huge fight ahead and Cloud is telling us to mosey? No, we need to rush in there!
Cloud and Tifa both died and I had 0 Phoenix Downs. Yuffie has to fight Jenova herself. Yuffie won the fight, but my game froze, so I’m stopping here.

My Progress: Defeated the final boss many times. This time, though, I’m still in Midgar, getting close to Shinra HQ.

Final Opinion: The good things in this game outnumber the bad, but the game didn’t quite reach the mark for an A.

Grade: B

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