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Final Fantasy VII's Legacy Assured

You know, we like to reminisce with everyone else, and I'm always a fan of examining the finer points of the classics. This is why I read IGN Retro's "Is Final Fantasy VII Overrated?" article with much interest. They raise many good points, and I don't really have any inclination to address each point specifically. Besides, I agree with a lot of it. However, in asking whether or not a classic is "overrated," I think we need to step back and look at the bigger picture.

First of all, let's all remember that FFVII is going to be 12 years old this year, and gaming has come a long way since then. Obviously, the graphics and technicals on the whole have become far more advanced, we have this thing called "voice acting" now, and yes, the combat and overall gameplay has taken huge strides in the past decade. Therefore, I think we can only view FFVII in two ways when asking the "overrated" question: we can either do what we all did twelve years ago and simply compare it to all available competing titles at the time, or we can analyze how it has withstood the test of time. The latter is more difficult, simply because everyone may view the situation from a number of different angles. But as I'm writing this damn thing, this is my point of view.

Any entertainment product's legacy must rely on the position that product holds as time goes on. In other words, the consumer must remember the product and place it in high esteem; it must act as a measuring stick and a plateau for all future comparisons. As far as I can tell, this is exactly what has happened with FFVII. Sure, we can attribute a lot of that rosy nostalgia to those who first leaped into the series on the PlayStation and really weren't familiar with other RPGs. And as many will say, "oh, if you think FFVII is the greatest RPG ever made, it's probably the first RPG you ever played." Yeah, well, it most certainly wasn't the first one I played, and I still consider it to be the best RPG ever. At the same time, I have to freely admit that games then and games now are extraordinarily different; it's almost impossible to make accurate comparisons. So I often have to stop and ask myself: "is it really that good, or does all this nostalgia cloud the issue?"

Well, I'm sure it does cloud the issue somewhat. But I can also gauge the overall feeling towards FFVII. It's one of the most respected and beloved titles in history, and I refuse to believe that a game can reach such a lofty peak in our minds only because we all remember it with a particular fondness. Look, I'm sure there are holes in the plot. I know you didn't have a lot of freedom. I know the adventure didn't appeal to absolutely everyone. But here's something else I know-

I know the battle system is a whole lot more complex than most have assumed in the past. Just because it's turn-based doesn't mean it's slow and easy to understand; the Materia system alone offered countless combinations, and having played most every RPG of the time, I can tell you that such a system was quite advanced and even unique. Furthermore, I've actually heard such ignorance from people who say all the characters were the "same," just because you could equip everyone with any piece of Materia. In truth, each character had a base set of statistics that dictated their inherent strengths and weaknesses, which added another dimension to the combat strategy. I also know that the storyline pacing remains excellent (still the best I've seen in RPGs), and Squaresoft managed to provide us with a memorable cast of characters. And when I say "memorable," I mean that almost every last member of the cast is worth remembering in their own way. How many RPGs have been made that boast this same unbelievable trait?

I could go on and on. But the point is this- how the general gaming public perceives a classic is how it will be judged in the years to come, and FFVII remains near the top of the list. Also, it's there for a damn good reason, so we may not need to dissect the game as IGN has done. It's fun and everything, and definitely worth a read if you're a hardcore fan, but in the end, the bigger picture is the bottom line. Take an overview, people. Combine what you see with your own memories. Based on your findings, would you consider FFVII to be overrated?

3/4/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (42 posts)

Gogaku
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 10:29:33 PM
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Why is it that everytime I see Final Fantasy VII in a headline my mind says "Remake, woohoo"? Sometimes I hate SE...

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rell
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 7:01:14 AM

lol Ive been fool many times with a ffvii remake

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NoSmokingBandit
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 10:30:32 PM
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^^Thats the first thing i though too, lol. REMAKE DAMMIT!

I could not agree more, Ben. FF7 actually was the first RPG i played. I think i was 12 at the time, lol. I picked up a black label copy witht he strategy guide at a yard sale for $5. I didnt know what the game was, but it looked cool and was cheap, so i bought it. I took it home that saturday and played through what felt like a few minutes only to realize that it was 5 in the morning and my parents were going to be pissed! Being 12, i didnt understand the story, nor did i care. All i wanted to do was find more materia! I would sit in class at school pondering materia combinations and how to use them...
Since then i have grown to love the story, the characters, and everything in the game, but more than anything i remember how that game affected me like no game before it (or after it for a while, for that matter).

Last edited by NoSmokingBandit on 3/4/2009 10:30:57 PM

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Gogaku
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:13:05 PM

That's almost the same as my story with the game, I picked up a used copy of it one day without knowing anything about it. I thought it was a puzzle game until I started playing it and it turned out to be one of the greatest gaming experiences in my life.

It wasn't the first RPG I played, but it was the first RPG I played when understanding the story, lol. The very first RPG I played was Phantasy Star for the Sega Master System, but I was too young to understand any of it. :)

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LegendaryWolfeh
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 10:35:29 PM
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I THINK IT'S OVERRATED. lol jk and caps lock...ftl/w??

I still like FF9 the most myself tho :P

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coverton341
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:11:54 PM

BLASPHEMER!!!

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chicko1983
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:29:42 PM

FF9 is my second favourite, mostly because I think the "feel" of the game is most like FF7 compared to all the other subsequent releases.

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Godslim
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 5:19:59 AM

i think its overated too i think X is the best

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AceTatsujin
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 10:38:54 PM
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Nope. It wasn't the first RPG I played as well. When I first played this game, I became attached to it ... I fell in love, we used to rent the game at least for the entire first month (me and my cousin and friends) and we'd play it alot. I was young back then, around 13 or 14 and well, I didn't have much to do. I saved money, bought me a Play Station and got me FF VII (along with other games). I played the game for more than 3 years non-stop. And I asure you that I know the story so well, so deep, that everything literally falls in place when you put the pieces together. I went back and forth after each even to speak to all the NPCs and they change their views on the world, how things were done. The character as well, I've played the game from the beginning to finish more than 10 times, the 9th time I played it I put in over 200 and possibly over 300 hours of gameplay with character levels over 90 and having Cloud and Vincent standing at over 200 and nearly 255 on all their stats. I've researched the characters as well, I've gone back to places and searched every corner, I tried to get Steal ability from the very beginning and stole as much equipment as I could (and found about 3 times that are super, super rare to get). I've done morph on every enemy, even bosses, even if the books and guides say "bosses don't morph". I've literally done the impossible, beating Ruby WEAPON with ONLY Cloud, passing 4 hours of battle. I've tried to get every Enemy Skill on all of those yellow materias. I've gone back to Aeris place and listened to the soundtrack or her theme over and over again as I recalled her actions and behavior among the other players, and that church as well. I've gone as deep as going to that female in the ice-cube (Vincent's lover if I recall correctly, I don't remember her name) before an event in which nothing happens yet. I've even gone to a boat in the underground city of ShinRa which was never accessible (you can only do that through GameShark, and there is another place I forgot where it was). I've freaking done nearly everything.

I can tell you one thing, I was drawn to the graphics, yes and honestly to put it in words, I never really cared about it. The battle system, Materia, the equipment, the friendship and storyline, the characters, the world of Final Fantasy VII was such a masterpiece, Sephiroth is also included and the NPCs (just about all of them, even Don from the very beginning as I recall his actions perfectly). This game is not just a legend or a masterpiece, THIS IS the game that started it all and started my RPG lunatic ideas and to purchase other RPG games and to be sucked into the FF world (which, after FF VII, most kinda sucked). And that, is that. FF VII is TEH best RPG game ever made in my book, and to date. We'll see how FF XIII/Versus, White Knight Chronciles and Demon Souls will do.

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BigT_1980
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:22:20 PM

I surprised that you didn't use the Game Shark and get Aeris back in your party to keep building her up after disc 1. After disc 1 if you go back to the town were you snowboard down the mountain with her in your party she will talk to you at the bottom of the mountain.

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ps92117
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 12:04:50 AM

lucrecia

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 10:50:13 AM

I was THIS close to getting a Game Shark to get Aeris back. I almost dropped the $50...

It just pissed me off so MUCH. She was my favorite character. :(

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AceTatsujin
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 12:41:05 PM

I did get Aeris back, I used her ultimate limit break as well. I even got Meteorstrike (or whatever Cloud's 3rd Limit Break) before I even crossed over to the other side using Shinra's boat (Disc one, after you fight the large big snake if you wanted to fight it, and meating with TURKs in the cave, etc). Man, I've done so many things, sooo many things I just can't complete everything in here. I've mastered Ultima materia more than 4 times, I've mastered many Summoning materias altho I didn't master the last 2 summoning materias because I got them later on in the game, I didn't even use Knights of the Round on Emerald WEAPON because 1) I didn't have it yet and 2) I heard about it, but never really bothered with it. Emerald WEAPON was one of the toughest fights I've ever had. It took me months to prep and test out new things and at that time, considering my age and limited brain capabilities, I didn't know many things about how to use Supportive Materia and other factors.

Anyways, let me know what else I missed, I'm sure I covered it in the game.

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shindelion
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:04:13 PM
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wow you got yourself a story there. it was my first 3d rpg and thus became my first. still have it. but can't find one cd.....for now.

Last edited by shindelion on 3/4/2009 11:04:37 PM

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Fabi
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:16:28 PM
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@ace- Use paragraphs! And I agree completely. Final Fantasy changed the way I play games.

My favorite game of all time. Crisis Core was the reason I bought a PSP. Zack is also my favorite character of all time.

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rell
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 7:06:19 AM

@Fabi I felt bad for zack at the end, damn zack u should have surrender. I love the sepiroth fight

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:27:26 PM
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More than anything, it changed RPGs forever. I began with Dragon Warrior (What it was called stateside before Dragon Quest) and FF1 for NES and would have been just fine with my little 2d sprites and Medieval Storylines, but FFVII was the reinvention of RPGs not only because it brought them into a more 3D realm but because it had a whole new way of telling a story, endearing itself to players, and ushering the age of the Steampunk RPG (FF6 didn't quite pull this off in my mind)

Nostalgia aside, I decided not to read that IGN article when I saw it on my own earlier because I don't NEED it justified to me: Other's have come close (FFX) but I still think the composition, characters, and delivery are the Gold Standard: sadly something Square is throwing to the wolves these days.

But I will never forget!

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/4/2009 11:28:49 PM

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Fabi
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:31:25 PM
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@World - I started with Dragon Warrior as well :) Awesome, I pretty much feel exactly the same as you.

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ps92117
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 @ 11:40:55 PM
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lol @ace, I think vincent's lover is called lucreashi or something similar. But anyway thats an inspiring story, I wish I could play through it again but sadly I have only the first disc. I never actually cared bout graphics of it either but the gameplay and story are awwww. Back in the 90's my lived revolved around ff7, evangelion, ocarine of T, golden eye and rammstein.

Last edited by ps92117 on 3/4/2009 11:42:04 PM

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rell
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 7:13:54 AM

@ps92117 I love the 90's rpgs today are losing there touch, stories are generic gameplay hours are short. I like xenogears that was the longest rpg Ive played

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Fabi
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 12:34:00 AM
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Phantasy Star 4 is POSSIBLY my second favorite RPG.

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Geobaldi
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 1:26:04 AM
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I too started my RPG career with Dragon Warrior on the NES. Nintendo Power gave it away for free when you subscribed. I loved the hell out of that game. But then I found that little jem in the black box called Final Fantasy. And I've never looked back as far as RPGs go. I love FFVII too. Guess that's why I have the Playstation and PC versions.

But I still love FFVI more. More complex story, more characters, more depth. And two games in one if you think about it. You have the original world you play in up until it is destroyed and then the story really branches off for everybody and you have to play in the destroyed world until the end. Others may disagree but FFVI is the pinnacle of console RPGs. For me at least. But FFVII really brought the RPG mainstream. Think the genre exploded afterwards with the Alundra series, the Lunar series (not counting the Saturn version), Arc the Lad, Thousand Arms, and many others. We have much to thank Squaresoft for for creating such an iconic, and possibly their most recognizable, title in gaming.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 10:48:54 AM

Wait...wait...FFVI more DEPTH? ...you're going to have to define that. I loved FFVI, of course, but no offense; a monkey could've figured out the Esper system, and there really wasn't anything remotely "deep" about either the gameplay or the combat.

I also found none of the characters to be memorable, unlike in FFVII. I think it's just the leap in technology...as hard as they try, they simply can't have a sprite with a little heart over its head convey the same messages and overall impact as Cloud laying Aeris to rest.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 1:51:39 AM
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I read this article on IGN a few days ago (used to love the site but lately their reviews have been average at best). Anyways I think a good point is brought up, as time moves on our memories of past events tend to become jaded and often exaggerated. I still regard FF7 as the best RPG ever made but I'm the first to admit it isn't without its faults. I bust it out every year and do my yearly FF marathon and it still enthralls me the same as it did back in 1997. I feel bad for those younger than me that were unable to experience the game when its graphics were cutting edge.

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Tristan
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 2:34:35 AM
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Based on my findings, FFVII is NOT overrated.

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cLoudou
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 2:51:16 AM
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Definately not overrated.
My favorite rpg, it revolutionised rpgs and games.

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Godslim
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 5:22:30 AM
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the thing is about saying its the best rpg ever made is yes u might have luved it when it first came out but technology moves on and so u cant really call it the best u should more call it a classic like i do with mgs1 which i luved

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Dante399
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 7:32:54 AM
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I think it's still underrated.

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migabyte
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 10:18:20 AM
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I loved JRPG's when I was young, and this was the peak for me, I guess I was around 14, I pre ordered it, and I loved every minute of it. The story, the presentation, everything was fresh and great. Since that time I have slowly gone away from JRPG's, I haven't even tried all subsequent FF's. But I feel that I would like to give them a shot again, but it would have to be a great game (new FF, or FF13). Some average JRPG (squares latest) would probably bore me and result in me never returning to my first and greatest love.

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migabyte
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 10:20:46 AM
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The box just brings back memories of marathons. My mom used to confiscate it from me and my brothers cause we were playing too much. We had 30 minute turns each, and this would go on for hours (and days). Only breaking for meals and to go to school. We would even wake up early to get in a few 30 minute turns before school. Oh, the memories.....

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 10:47:04 AM

Awesome. :)

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Vivi_Gamer
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 11:58:28 AM
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I love FFVII, it gertainly deserves its legacy. Zelda Ocornia of Time is a different story....

but FFVII, VIII and IX are probaly my all time favourites. Squaresoft hit everything right in thr PS1 generation.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 12:31:04 PM

Zelda sucks IMO

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Banky A
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 12:18:44 PM
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I love FFVII.
It taught me how to speak English and use complicated words when I came to New Zealand =D
I had better vocabulary creative writing skills than anybody in my kiddies' class at the time hah.

I was like 7 or 8 when my now-neighbour let me borrow it and told me to play it.

;)

Last edited by Banky A on 3/5/2009 12:20:22 PM

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CH1N00K
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 12:19:14 PM
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The original FFVII, definitely not over rated. It was one of the first games I got when I bought my PS1. I remember putting in the first disc and going, Holy Crap the graphics are amazing...I can't even count how many times I've played that game over and over.

Squaresoft did an amazing job on the game, but what worries me is that a remake would be over rated.

Think of all the frustrations we've had over the last few years with Square-Enix. Not to mention that even with all the new voice acting, and updated Graphics/Gameplay, they are still going to have to create something amazing in order to recreate the same feeling we got over the original. (Note: Create means change) The hardcore enthusiast will be upset about any changes, the newcomers will be comparing the game to all current gen RPG's...

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the game will sell really well, but it won't give you the same initial WOW factor you got when the first FFVII released. The original was cutting edge for it's time, it had things that no one had ever seen before, it set the bar for RPG's pretty high.

The remake would have to be pretty amazing to make it better than the original.


So in my opinion, the Original is as good as it ever was (which was nothing short of amazing)....a re-make will probably be over-hyped and over-rated and not worthy of the FFVII badge.

But that could just be me and my twisted way of thinking. Any thoughts?

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Fabi
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 12:58:38 PM

That could be very possible. As much as I would love a re-make, it would lose that aspect. Part of it's charm was the graphics and FMV cut scenes that none of us had ever experienced before. I used to be in awe at the amount of detail of the pre-rendered environments.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 2:24:27 PM
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About 8 years ago I bought FF7 & Tactics used for a couple bucks to add to my PS1 collection.

But since I've never really gotten into RPG's, I've never even played either of them.

Now after reading all the positive comments on the FF series(especially FF7), I think I'll pop them both in & see if I've changed my mine on Rpg's.

BTW, just wondering....is the "FF Tactics" game a good one too????

Last edited by BikerSaint on 3/5/2009 2:25:00 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 2:40:12 PM

You need to speak with Arvis.

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migabyte
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 8:07:20 PM

Love Tactics!

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TGG
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 2:57:06 PM
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I read the article about about FF VII on IGN, and as far as I can see it, the critics who didn't like FF VII said it was over-rated on the grounds that "Well, the PREVIOUS games were better". I've played some of the previous games, VI, I, II, and IV. Some I finished, some I didn't. The writing was about as cliche as you could get. I don't get what the big deal is about the previous games. FF VII was original. I have my gripes with the battle system and random battles, but over all the game was amazing.

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Karosso
Thursday, March 05, 2009 @ 9:23:21 PM
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WOW!!
Until two months ago the only RPG I had ever beaten was Chronotriger, and then I got Final Fantasy one and two for the PSP.
I just beat FF1 and am starting 2 right now...
I have been thinking about beating all FF games minus 11, I'm not big on the whole online thingy.
This article and your comments has just made my resolve two fold!!!!

Last edited by Karosso on 3/5/2009 9:23:44 PM

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Vagnor
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 @ 1:31:18 PM
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What the hell does FFVII being the first RPG someone has ever played have to do with them liking it more than other RPGs? You hear all of these older folk saying, "I think FFVI was the best Final Fantasy! You probably just think FFVII was the best because it was your first RPG!"

Could the same not be said about them and their love for FFVI then? If it was their first, then they are being hypocritical. If it wasn't, then their theory is shot. Personally, I started on FFI, the original Final Fantasy, and by no means do I feel any sort of crazed attachment or love for that title. It was fun, but by no means was it fabulous.

The thing about FFVII was that it was revolutionary in so many different areas. FFVI was great, but all it had was an amazing story. Even if the story was a tad better than FFVII (Which I personally do not think it was), it doesn't beat FFVII in the areas of graphics, sound, or arguably gameplay. FFVII is a legend because it was the best of the best in every single area of gaming. FFVI was a cookie-cutter RPG, looking, sounding, and playing the same as its predecessors. FFVII was a UNIQUE experience and it opened so many doors for the genre.

Not only was FFVII one of the best RPGs ever made, but it innovated gaming in general. That is why it is legendary, and that is why it will always be considered to be the best game of all time to millions of fans. If you honestly think that it wasn't as innovative as people make it out to be, then you don't know your gaming history. Personal preference aside, it was a masterpiece which helped build gaming up into what it is today.

- Sean Casey

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