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Final Fantasy VII

Started by bgmnts, June 29, 2022, 02:34:53 PM

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touchingcloth

Quote from: Lemming on June 29, 2022, 05:27:32 PMYou do sort of have to be about 13 and easily tricked into thinking it's "deep" to get the most out of it. The plot doesn't make sense even before you get into the fact that it's been translated by someone who doesn't seem to speak fluent English.

The cosmo canyon music is fucking wicked though.

The music is great. I didn't think it was particularly deep when I played it first aged 11, but the things that appealed to me then were:
- A+++++ 99% GAME OF THE YEAR reviews in all of the PlayStation mags
- FOUR DISCS
- The visual style was unlike anything else at the time
-- Rendered backgrounds which looked mind-blowingly cool compared to, say, Spiro the Dragon, or anything at all on the N64
-- Full-motion Video (FMV, as the aforementioned magazines used to call it) - animated cut scenes are pretty common these days, but at the time there weren't many games that were doing cut scenes which looked fundamentally different from the rest of the game, and they really helped to bridge the gap between the shitty character sprites and the sexy rendered backgrounds. There was a generation of kids for whom Square had them at oh, hello rendering

-- Both of the above were what contributed to the FOUR FUCKING DISCS
- Like Lemming says, the music
- Epic in scale - I'd played games like Zelda or whatever which saw you traipsing around many and varied worlds, but FF7 was the first one to make that feel immersive. Cosmo Canyon would have looked liked some beige bleh on a catridge, but it looked like this

...and so the game as a whole had the feel of a more epic Monkey Island once you factored in the deserts, the airships, the weird sky casino, towns like Nibelheim

If I'm honest the gameplay itself never really grabbed me, and the random role-playing battles and team/materia/experience-points system just got in the way of me exploring a world I was having a lot of fun in. Most of what I enjoyed about the game was very specifically related to it being 1997 and me being 11, so I can absolutely see why coming to it afresh recently would not be nearly so appealing.

Memorex MP3

The rendered backgrounds coupled with the music was a big chunk of it; 9 and 10 both had some great backgrounds too.

8 never clicked with me at all and by the time I got to it 9 felt like a bit of a lame retread of SNES RPGs. Although 20 years on it's kinda great we got that retread with that budget and scale on PS1 graphics where it now occupies a kind of peak of a certain aesthetic where it'd just be quite forgettable on a later machine. Don't really want to play it again ever, but it looks great. https://imgur.com/gallery/K1R3wJZ

Glebe


Thursday

I think it's brilliant, but I think it's unlikely to make sense why to people playing as an adult 25 years later.

Lots of people just hadn't played a game with a story, characters, emotions, themes etc before.


It's all about this one for me, Clive. Flying around in the Highwind and avoiding Midgar just to listen to this music. Lovely.

Mister Six

Quote from: Thursday on July 01, 2022, 01:05:58 PMI think it's brilliant, but I think it's unlikely to make sense why to people playing as an adult 25 years later.

Lots of people just hadn't played a game with a story, characters, emotions, themes etc before.

That's not really true - plenty of us had played Zelda on SNES or Gameboy, or Landstalker on Mega Drive, or something. Even earlier Final Fantasy games on SNES.

But there was nothing to compare the epic nature of this game to. You don't even see the world map until you're on disc 2, and disc 1 takes hours to complete, with tons of locations, subplots, mysteries, multiple seemingly "main" bad guys and a climactic battle up the side of a vast tower. Honestly, that could have been the game itself, and I would have been satisfied - but then you rocket out of the city after playing a fun minigame and suddenly you have a whole world to explore. Absolutely blew my mind.

Later on, probably around the end of disc 3, the story has ramped up from "surly merc helps eco-terrorists blow up a reactor" to "regretful former eco-terrorists fleeing the corrupt corporation that they attacked must track down a lunatic supersoldier channelling the power of an alien god while facing off against 50-foot avatars of the plan itself". I remember thinking at the time about the distance travelled between those two points and being amazed at the sheer bloody ambition.

And yeah, I suppose previous Square games had attempted similarly impressive arcs, but as someone said, the pre-rendered graphics, FMV and unique locations really make this one feel like something unique. A perfect storm at the perfect time.

Did the PC version have four discs? PlayStation disc 1 didn't end until [big spoiler event that everyone knows] happened in the Forgotten City and you fight Jenova. So quite a lot of that was on the world map.

Mister Six

Oh, really? I thought disc 1 (PS version) ended with Cloud and chums fleeing Midgar.

Consignia

Nah, the first disc definitely ends with the skewer kebab. It's quite lop sided the layout of the game, I think the first disc is well over half the game, the second a lot shorter, with the final disc being just the last dungeon.

And yeah the PC version was four discs, but the extra disc was an install disc, and the 3 others were the equivalent PSX discs. To be fair the entire game fit on a single CD, it was just the FMVs that necessitated the change of CD.

Mister Six

I assume the last disc solely containing the final dungeon was because they ran out of space on disc 2 for the ending FMV.

Which was crap, let's face it. FF7 and FF8 were oddly inverse, in my view, in that I thought the game of FF8 was underwhelming but the ending FMV gorgeous, satisfying and heartwarming. I didn't realise how invested I was in it all until the ending and left me feeling all warm and happy inside.

bgmnts

Quote from: Mister Six on July 03, 2022, 07:02:24 PMI assume the last disc solely containing the final dungeon was because they ran out of space on disc 2 for the ending FMV.

Which was crap, let's face it. FF7 and FF8 were oddly inverse, in my view, in that I thought the game of FF8 was underwhelming but the ending FMV gorgeous, satisfying and heartwarming. I didn't realise how invested I was in it all until the ending and left me feeling all warm and happy inside.

And then you realise it's all a bit TOO warm and happy and then on a replay you notice what direction the story actually went in and it's all fucked up.

Crenners

FF7 ending is absolutely perfect. Might be depressing on the face of it but the planet continuing to flourish in spite of and oblivious to the grand drama is an incredibly uplifting conclusion to me. That's the future of Earth.

Mister Six

Quote from: bgmnts on July 03, 2022, 07:04:17 PMAnd then you realise it's all a bit TOO warm and happy and then on a replay you notice what direction the story actually went in and it's all fucked up.


oh no

Thursday

Is that a reference to the whole Squall is dead theory? Yeah Nah. It is very funny when people come up with a theory to try and explain why something was bad though. (See also, Mass Effect 3's Indoctrination theory)

Glebe

Completed FFVIII on me laptop awhile ago, I'd had it on PS1 but never completed it. Then I discovered there's a remastered version, but especially given that it's just basically a graphics upgrade I'm not arsed.

bgmnts

Quote from: Thursday on July 03, 2022, 08:02:50 PMIs that a reference to the whole Squall is dead theory? Yeah Nah. It is very funny when people come up with a theory to try and explain why something was bad though. (See also, Mass Effect 3's Indoctrination theory)

I don't know it just seems too plausible.

Old Thrashbarg

Quote from: Mister Six on July 03, 2022, 03:36:23 PMBut there was nothing to compare the epic nature of this game to. You don't even see the world map until you're on disc 2, and disc 1 takes hours to complete, with tons of locations, subplots, mysteries, multiple seemingly "main" bad guys and a climactic battle up the side of a vast tower. Honestly, that could have been the game itself, and I would have been satisfied - but then you rocket out of the city after playing a fun minigame and suddenly you have a whole world to explore. Absolutely blew my mind.

Disc 1/2 confusion aside, that moment when you leave Midgar and access the world map, which shows the place you've just spent hours exploring being a small dot in a huge world, is something I don't think will ever be beaten in gaming. I can't remember anything else ever evoking such a feeling of wonder at what was to come.

Crenners

Couldn't agree more. Even going back now and knowing how impressionistic and simple the world map is makes me feel a sense of wonder that I will never get from Horizon Forbidden West.

I'm now playing FFVI for the first time and I'm about 10 hours in. I really loved FFV, so was looking forward to this one, especially going by its reputation. So far... I'm really disappointed. It's just a series of mini missions with different characters each time, with practically none of the team customisation of 5. I just want to walk around a big field with the same four people, levelling up and assigning items/gear/skills. This seems more about story than gameplay. Does it improve, or was I just hoping for the wrong type of game? With so many characters, this doesn't satisfy the "self-improvement" RPG itch so far. Feels a bit impersonal.

popcorn

Quote from: Thursday on July 03, 2022, 08:02:50 PMIs that a reference to the whole Squall is dead theory? Yeah Nah. It is very funny when people come up with a theory to try and explain why something was bad though. (See also, Mass Effect 3's Indoctrination theory)

In Panzer Dragoon Saga,
Spoiler alert
the protagonist actually is dead. You find out at the end that he's a walking corpse reanimated by the "divine visitor" - ie the player — all along. This was before The Sixth Sense n all.
[close]

So you see, once again, Panzer Dragoon Saga is better than Final Fantasy.

Panzer Dragoon Saga.

Pink Gregory

Quote from: curiousoranges on July 03, 2022, 08:31:21 PMI'm now playing FFVI for the first time and I'm about 10 hours in. I really loved FFV, so was looking forward to this one, especially going by its reputation. So far... I'm really disappointed. It's just a series of mini missions with different characters each time, with practically none of the team customisation of 5. I just want to walk around a big field with the same four people, levelling up and assigning items/gear/skills. This seems more about story than gameplay. Does it improve, or was I just hoping for the wrong type of game? With so many characters, this doesn't satisfy the "self-improvement" RPG itch so far. Feels a bit impersonal.

Well FFV is so much about the job system and it's the last time in the series that would appear (spinoffs like FF Tactics aside).  It is more about story, and it's fairly rote FF gameplay-wise; you do get odds and ends like Sabin' Blitz moves and Gau's whole blue magic thing; but it's very much about some new development every 30 minutes, hence why there's such a big cast (and who really cares about anyone after Setzer).  I really like it, I've played it about 2/3rds of the way through 3 or 4 times and never really tired of it.

The Culture Bunker

I picked up the PS1 reissue of FFVI in 2002 and loved it. Really enjoyed the characters and story, and could easily get past the retro graphics because of it. I'd loved FF7 and 8, but not really enjoyed FF9 due to the return of the more fantasy-style setting - so it felt (in terms of story/setting) more of a return to what I'd enjoyed.

I ponied up for that PS Plus Premium the other day, and FF9 is one of the games I can download. Will admit to being curious to revisiting to see if the judgement my 20-year-old self had was too harsh.

Glebe

So I went ahead and got this on the Xbone store. Doing a lot better and making quicker progress than playing it back the day on PS1.

Quote from: curiousoranges on July 03, 2022, 08:31:21 PMI'm now playing FFVI for the first time and I'm about 10 hours in. I really loved FFV, so was looking forward to this one, especially going by its reputation. So far... I'm really disappointed. It's just a series of mini missions with different characters each time, with practically none of the team customisation of 5. I just want to walk around a big field with the same four people, levelling up and assigning items/gear/skills. This seems more about story than gameplay. Does it improve, or was I just hoping for the wrong type of game? With so many characters, this doesn't satisfy the "self-improvement" RPG itch so far. Feels a bit impersonal.

I'd suggest sticking with it until the second half of the game, after
Spoiler alert
the world ends
[close]
it becomes much less linear and story-focussed from that point on and you're basically free to go wherever you want.

If you're 10 hours in I assume you've got access to Espers, which is this game's equivalent of a job system (although admittedly not as fun).

Also, if you like the kind of gameplay of FFV maybe try the SNES port of Dragon Quest III (never released in English but there is a very good translation available) which is heavily focussed around mixing and matching job skills. Like most of the early DQ games it's incredibly plot-light as well, you're pretty much left to your own devices.

Utter Shit

Quote from: Old Thrashbarg on July 03, 2022, 08:22:39 PMDisc 1/2 confusion aside, that moment when you leave Midgar and access the world map, which shows the place you've just spent hours exploring being a small dot in a huge world, is something I don't think will ever be beaten in gaming. I can't remember anything else ever evoking such a feeling of wonder at what was to come.

That buzz when you first hit the world map is something else...but that initial sense of seeing your world hugely expanded is a bit of a trick, because Midgar is so much bigger and more detailed than anywhere else on the map. From memory the world map is pretty sparse with only a handful of towns to visit separated by vast swathes of land useful only for getting into battles, and then each of the towns is obviously far smaller than Midgar with much less story to it.

In my head the weighting of the discs is:

Disc 1: MIDGAR MIDGAR MIDGAR MIDGAR MIDGAR world map
Disc 2: Snow?
Disc 3: One fight with Sephiroth then home time

Obviously once you hit the world map there are loads of things outside of the main story you can do (Ruby and Emerald, chocobo farming, Gold Saucer, all the sub-plots with Yuffie, Vincent and that little marshmallow thing driven by a...cat?) that cross the various discs.

FWIW I always thought of FF7 as more of an interactive movie than a game (not a criticism, up until RDR2 I'd say it was my favourite ever game), in the context of modern gaming the actual gameplay is very limited but the story is incredible. If your primary concern is gameplay I'm not sure you'll get much out of it.

Consignia

Midgar feels longer than it is because it's so linear and story heavy. It's also quite visually distinct from the rest of the game, which is more traditional fantasy compared to cyberpunk which too exaggerates itself in your memory. It's still a good 20% of the entire runtime, but it's just a chapter in the overall game.

oggyraiding

Quote from: curiousoranges on July 03, 2022, 08:31:21 PMI'm now playing FFVI for the first time and I'm about 10 hours in. I really loved FFV, so was looking forward to this one, especially going by its reputation. So far... I'm really disappointed. It's just a series of mini missions with different characters each time, with practically none of the team customisation of 5. I just want to walk around a big field with the same four people, levelling up and assigning items/gear/skills. This seems more about story than gameplay. Does it improve, or was I just hoping for the wrong type of game? With so many characters, this doesn't satisfy the "self-improvement" RPG itch so far. Feels a bit impersonal.

If you've not already played them, the Bravely Default games feel very much like FFV. Very flexible job system that allow you to do some wacky builds, you've got the same four characters in your party through the entireity of each game, and they're all quite charming in presentation. First two are 3DS only, most recent one is Switch/PC.

Pink Gregory

Only problem with Bravely Default is that you do have to grind and it's really quite repetitive.  There'll maybe be 2-3 enemy types an area and there aren't that many areas.  Also if you ever put it down it's easier to start again because you'll have forgotten what you were doing with the jobs system.

But yeah, it's jobs porn, that much is true.

Utter Shit

Quote from: Consignia on July 04, 2022, 10:09:18 AMMidgar feels longer than it is because it's so linear and story heavy. It's also quite visually distinct from the rest of the game, which is more traditional fantasy compared to cyberpunk which too exaggerates itself in your memory. It's still a good 20% of the entire runtime, but it's just a chapter in the overall game.

Christ, is that true? In my head Midgar was maybe 75% of Disc 1, and Disc 1 was 75% of the game.

Crenners

I'm going to replay this game over the next few weeks, absolutely buzzing thinking about Costa del Sol and the Mining Town and Cosmo Canyon and the Highwind and Wutai and all that good stuff.