Born in 1997
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Bringing the Final Fantasy series in a new format can only mean that the original was great in the first place
FF7 - What I’m here to tell you is my experience of playing it today
Thinking about what retro game to review would have been so difficult as I’m 39 and have 36 blissful years of gaming behind me, and having the opportunity to do this combines my two biggest passions in life; gaming and writing.
As a writer words mean nothing unless there is a story behind it that the readers can respond to, that they can empathise and not only understand what the characters are going through but also empathise too. Share their triumphs, but also feel their pain. It is for this reason that I chose Final Fantasy 7. Before you all groan and skip over to the next review, bear with me and you may find out something new or maybe ignite that desire to hear that triumph music once more, especially after you beat a particularly difficult boss.
Review by: David Johnson
I could just real off facts that have been said about this masterpiece of a game, such as it was the most returned game of the original playstation’s lifespan, or that the music is so beautiful that someone would be crazy enough to import the sound track from Japan at great cost; 2nd most expensive CD I’ve ever brought. Nor will I comment that it brought the Japanese RPG style to the western’s attention. I’m not even going to say anything about the constant references’ to western pop culture that is hidden away; especially Star Wars, At the beginning of the game the two characters that are working with Cloud and Barret to infiltrate the mako reactor are called “Wedge” and “Biggs” (and Star Wars fanatic will get this right away which is weird because I either didn’t notice or have forgotten since the two times I have played and completed the game). I’m currently 25 hours into the game for a third time BTW.
I’m not going to talk about what a rollercoaster of emotions this game flares up inside you, and especially not give away one of the most heart wrenching moments in gaming history, that is so shocking and upsetting that some gamers still to this day, almost 20 years from when they first played it refuse to accept that there isn’t a way of preventing this particular event from happening. Out of respect for those who have not played this essential game please do not give away or hint at what happens; no one likes it when someone gives away secrets and it will ruin it for those yet to experience its wonders.
Heck, I’m not even going to discuss how relevant the story is to today with a planet dying because of the greed of a tiny few and their insane cravings for power. Nope, none of it. What I’m here to tell you is my experience of playing it today. As I stated earlier I am 25 hours into the game for a third time, but I almost wasn’t. I decided a couple of weeks ago that enough time had passed that I could return once more to the fight to save the planet. Rather than get out my old playstation, and FF7 original discs I downloaded it from the playstation network to play on my PS3. I booted up the game expecting there to be a massive difference between how the game looks today compared with how I remember it with my rose tinted glasses.
The difference between the two shocked me. Not the style of graphics you understand with its very unique cartoon visuals that took my breath away first time I played it, but instead exactly how grainy it appeared to be. I immediately turned it off not wanting to sully such fantastic memories of the many many hours I had put into it when I was younger. Disappointed I left if a few days before trying it again on my PSP; the thinking the smaller screen would improve how it looked. Problem was it made no difference to the visual quality of the game and it too filled the screen with a grainy like texture as if watching it through a security camera that more modern games like Kane and Lynch Dog days now attempt to put a unique yet totally nauseating effect to make it stand out from the crowd. Once again I turned it off, now feeling very despondent. It saddened me to the point where to fulfil my need to readdress the balance I changed my ringtone for when I receive a text on my phone that celebration joyous victorious music blares full volume (much to my wife’s annoyance).
A few days past and in desperation I deleted enough space off my PS Vita to install it for one last attempt. That feeling of joy immediately struck me once more as I booted it up and began playing. A combination of the excellent quality screen the Vista presents coupled with the smaller screen (although considerably bigger than the PSP) the visuals jumped out and struck me once more. I guess this must be how Baron Von Frankenstein must have felt when his creature was brought to life; it was a struggle not to raise my hands to the heavens and cry out “It’s ALIVE”.
If you’ve played it before then please go back to it and reminisce once more at this ground breaking masterpiece of a game, but I implore you do not give up before you return from that first mako reactor initial mission. If the dated grainy look risks you losing the loving memories of the first time you played it and you can afford it, please try it on a Vista; but I’ll end with a warning: Make sure before you play it you have the Vista recharging cable and a box of tissues close at hand. If you invest your time in FF7 you’re gonna need them both.
Review by: David Johnson
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