‘Past Blast’ is a new feature we’ll be running that looks back at games from the past in a brisk, and hopefully, entertaining manner. First up, well, it’s a small game called Final Fantasy VII…
What is there to write that hasn’t been written before about Final Fantasy VII? For over a decade it has been lavished with praise, provoked lengthy debates amongst gamers, and brought millions to tears. It is the most successful entry of the series dealing with the nature of identity, responsibility and loss. The story indulges the emotions while the gameplay rewards your perseverance.
There aren’t many games that do it like this anymore.
VII is a story that was always about balance. Nature versus artificial. Understanding versus the unknown. Love versus lost. Each side a real element we deal with in our day-to-day existence. And these battles echo through the game itself. Whether it’s the beautiful pre-rendered backgrounds fighting against the harsh, real-time, polygonal characters. Or the amazing crafted score battling with the technological limitation of the MIDI format. Or simply the battle element, trying to defeat your opponent for the greater good.
And yet the villains and heroes of the piece are not necessarily so one-sided. In this game, good and evil are simply not exclusive qualities to any character. Just like us, each character is flawed. Each person has made mistakes. Each individual believes they are doing what is right, and what needs to be done.
And it is these traits that makes playing back Final Fantasy VII in 2017 an immensely satisfying experience. Sometimes, a good game doesn’t need to have photo-realistic graphics. Sometimes a good game doesn’t need a full symphonic orchestra. The fact that this game is encapsulated in that PlayStation 1 era adds a certain charm and nostalgia that only intensifies as the game progresses.
And when you find yourself saving your game at one in the morning, thirty odd hours clocked up in a few days, then you realise something: for me to invest this much time in a game made in 1997, yes, it really has to have something special about it.
An indescribable quality perhaps. Just perhaps.
“Possibly the greatest game ever made…” said Gamefan many years ago. Looking back today, they may want to scratch that first word off.
Now, let’s see where that remake takes us.