It has been twenty years since Final Fantasy 7 came out in the United States, and I was onboard and ready to ride from the beginning. Final Fantasy 7 is a role-playing game that captured the hearts of millions back when it launched. It was the first of its kind to have 3D modeled characters, and it had some very cool cut scene videos as well. Did you take part in the rise of Final Fantasy 7? Let’s take a look at the game and how things may have changed with the ports that have been made, and of course, the fact that the new Final Fantasy 7 remake is picking up traction lately.
The more things stay the same...
As much as you may have wanted things to change in the last twenty years for this game, they haven't much. When you load up the game, and you feel the rush of nostalgia when Cloud flips off the train, it's the same old blocky graphics that we have always seen. But, the blocks make it what it is. Without the blocks, it wouldn't be FF7. Part of the nostalgia of the game is seeing it how you initially played it. The story is what draws you in; the action is what makes you stay. Living through the characters is what makes you want to continue to play, even when the game ends. You want to have this world as something real. If you don't feel like this about a game, then it probably isn't worth buying.
Tried and true battle systems are what keep me coming back. With all of the new action RPGs out there, I look for the simpler things in a game. The traditional turn-based battle system is what I, and many of you, grew up with. Being a child of the 80s games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior (I refuse to call it Quest) are the games we played as kids. I learned how to read playing Dragon Warrior. These have sentimental meaning to me. How simple is it? You click attack to attack, select magic to use magic, and so forth. Whether you are using a wait system, (where your enemy waits to attack until you have selected your attacks) or an active system, (where the enemy attacks when they are ready) you can appreciate the old ways more. Action RPGs have their place nowadays, but we will always be children of the turn-based systems. Speaking of children of the old ways, the musical arrangements for the Final Fantasy games have always been on point; however, I believe it was most potent in Final Fantasy 7. From mini-game music to boss battles, and all the normal music in between, these pieces will always be the music I love to hear. Even when I am not playing the game, I listen to the music on Amazon Prime Music Player.
The more they change...
So, just as much as things stay the same, things also change, especially when it comes to video games and other media from twenty years ago. Recently, we have had ports of FF7 to PC, to Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, and there have been some changes. Each of these ports runs just a bit differently than the others based on system specs. PS4 and Xbox are roughly the same, but the game runs better on PC, and from what I hear pretty ok on Switch. I have played FF9 and 12 on Switch with stunning results.
Graphically, the game has had a few improvements to character models. You can tell when you are in battles that the characters look a little cleaner. You can also see facial changes in the characters from what they were when the game initially launched. Some expressions had these eyes that were staring off into space with a closed mouth, but now, the eyes look better, and half of the characters run around with their mouths open like they are surprised all the time. Well, at least we have seen some new trailers for Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which should hopefully have more details at E3 in June. The newer version of the game looks so beautiful, but I know that it is going to be a more action style RPG which is ok I guess. I am very into having the new game be a turn-based RPG like the original, but you have to grow with the times. The new graphics make the old game look like it was made in the stone ages by cave people with clay to mold.
FF7 plays very well on the PC with no lag, but I did have a bug where my music would not always play properly for skills and attacks. There was also a spot where Cloud was super huge and upside down on the screen. The screen still moved like normal, but I had to figure out where the avatar was so I could leave that screen to move forward with the game. It was hilarious and weird. The controls for a gamepad controller are not 100% like they were for PlayStation, but I have found the closest thing I could. I feel like it may be time to make a new control set for myself. Other than that the controls are pretty seamless from the original. When you launch the game, you have to use the keyboard control X to move forward before your controller works.
If you want a nostalgia trip and Final Fantasy was one of your favorite games as a kid, then you will definitely want to pick up a port and play it through before they launch the Remake. I am a purist when it comes to Final Fantasy 7 and still play it on my PlayStation 2 from time to time with the original discs, but having it on PC makes it easier to stream and play without worrying about save space on your memory card. Some of the graphics have been updated for these ports, and there are modding communities out there who have made graphical updates to the PC version. These mods make the game's assets look like they did in the movie Advent Children — what a great time to be a Final Fantasy 7 fan indeed.