Final Fantasy VII, As Told By Steam Reviews

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People who review Final Fantasy VII on Steam aren’t really there to tell you about the game’s quality. They’re there to reminisce about their childhoods, and to shitpost.

Final Fantasy VII came out in 1997. Since then, it’s been heralded as one of the best games of all time and has an almost cultish set of devotees. You probably know all about Cloud, Sephiroth and Chocobo racing already. If you’re a fan of JRPGs, it’s kind of hard to avoid. Most people on Steam already know this game and it’s reputation, so instead of singing its praises yet again, they’ve made some great jokes.

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You can check out more reviews for Final Fantasy VII  here, or read our ongoing “As Told By Steam Reviews” feature here.

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DISCUSSION

I may have to write a review of my own, then, if the choices are nostalgia or shitposting.

I was fifteen or sixteen when VII came out in the US (I cannot rightly remember; high school was a bit of a blur for me, but not for chemical reasons—that had to wait until I got into college), and I wasn’t impressed with it even then.

For certain, it did a number of things incredibly well: the jump from 16-bit graphics to polygonal was significant, and the cutscenes were absolutely mind-blowing for the time.

The combat was a very effective iteration of what had gone before, and the materia system provided a welcome additional layer of complexity that even the magicite of VI (my personal favorite entry) had failed to deliver.

The music was what music for FF games usually is—which is to say, absolutely gorgeous, fitting, and masterfully scored.

The story and characters, however, are where I always get hung up.

Please note that everything I say from this point forward (and indeed, everything I’ve said before now) is entirely subjective, and a matter of opinion.

Cloud was never a likeable protagonist for me. Yes, I know, his memories of joining SOLDIER should’ve always been suspect, and his parading as Zack wasn’t entirely his fault—but he always felt needlessly churlish, like a teenager that wants to be special, but isn’t, and so makes up for it with significant dollops of edgelord bullshit.

Sure, he came around toward the end of the game, but prior to that, he was always kind of a chode—and I felt that way in my teens as surely as I do now, in my 30s.

I never bought Sephiroth as a villain, either. Yes, Kefka, the villain of my preferred entry in the franchise, is basically Heath Ledger’s Joker (or, rather, he was a decade and change before Ledger assumed the role), and was therefore pretty monodimensional in his evil—but Sephiroth always felt like a whiny little shit with mommy issues (I’m aware many view that as an oversimplification; hang with me for a minute here), and so it was hard to feel him being a significant threat to the world—or even the party, really.

Even when Sephiroth’s full history and motivations were revealed, his path of, “I was lied to, used, and made a guinea pig, so I’m going to burn it all down in favor of a cosmic being I have little understanding of” never felt like anything more than the sophist ramblings of a first-year Philosophy major (PHIL majors, no dig; those of you who complete your programs are pretty solid—but your first-years are about as obnoxious as first year Psych majors who assume they understand the human condition, and first-year English majors who assume they know everything there is to know about writing—and that’s coming from a currently-practicing English professor).

It was less a compelling angle for Sephiroth as a villain than it was, “WAAAAAH, life is shitty and people are mean, so fuck everyone.” He literally always felt like a toddler, rather than a legitimate threat.

...and yes, I know, he was effectively “dead” for most of the game. Still doesn’t make him a compelling villain.

The rest of the cast were varying shades of terrible, each in their own way—except for Aerith—which was, perhaps, the point, but it never resonated with me on any level. I never felt compelled to care about the characters, their situation, or the world they inhabited.

It all felt like a bunch of nihilistic claptrap wrapped up in (for the time) pretty graphics.

None of that means it was a bad game—or even a bad Final Fantasy entry.

It just means it wasn’t for me.

...and if that qualifies as shitposting, then fuck me for a fool, because an honest estimation of a product, even years later, shouldn’t be “shitposting.”

Deliberately shitting on something just to be cool, however—yeah, that counts.