As a debut game review for PCN, I give you one of the best RPG’s of all time!
When Square Enix leaked that Final Fantasy VII may be coming out as a Steam download a month ago, I about had to change my pants. This was THE game from my childhood. I played this game non-stop back in the day.
Now, Square Enix has attempted a re-hash of their famous, and in some circles, infamous game. Does it live up to our standards? Is the nostalgia enough to carry you through some of the longest dialogue sections I’ve ever seen in a game? Well, the short answer is yes… but there’s a laundry list of bugs that follow it that are beginning to irk me.
For those of you who have never had the privilege to play through this game, I’ll give a brief summary. In this world, there is a corporation called Shinra that also takes on most roles of a government. This governing body is a weapons, energy, and military force. Our hero, Cloud, is an ex-special forces soldier from a unit of Shinra’s military called… SOLDIER. Yeah, it was 1997 and they weren’t that original. Oh well.
Cloud joins a resistance group to make some quick cash. This group is out to stop Shinra’s energy program. Energy in this world is called Mako. It’s the life-force of the planet and is harvested, compressed, and refined into raw pseudo-nuclear energy. Very sustainable and very powerful.
Mako can also be refined into small orbs called Materia. Materia contains magic properties and can change a single person’s capabilities in combat. For this reason, Shinra infused every member of SOLDIER with raw Mako energy, making their eyes have a green-blue glow to them. The tell of an ex-SOLDIER.
Through his adventures with this resistance organization, Cloud uncovers a massive secret regarding Mako, Materia, and an ancient race called… The Ancients. Yes, we’re still continuing with originality here. They’re also called the Cetra, which helps break that trend.
Cloud and his friends go off on a turn-based-combat-filled mission to save the planet from the evil corporation Shinra and stop the world from being destroyed by the evil Sephiroth (the most infamous and powerful member of SOLDIER, and the reason Cloud enlisted).
That’s all I’ll talk about the plot. This is the end of where I’m spoiler friendly. The game has been out for 15 years, so the statute of limitations has pretty much run out.
The reason this game gripped me so much, as well as millions of others, is the story. The storytelling was so good that it really set the bar for games to follow. A bar that 80% fall short of.
Now, to those of you who scrolled down through the plot because you’ve played this game as many times as I have, we’ll get to whether or not this re-hash is worth $10.
Of course it’s worth $10. It’s still the same game. The same story. The same characters. The same everything. You have a few nominal achievements added in from Square Enix, most of which have to do with overall story completion and basic combat mechanics like using a limit break for the first time. If you love FFVII, you’ll love this just as much.
Now, there are a few bugs that will require your patience, and one that down-right floors me. First off is the crashing issue. FFVII will periodically crash for no reason. If you haven’t hit a save point recently and this happens, you’re outta luck. Have fun killing Diamond Weapon again.
Another annoying problem lies with the controls. None of them are traditional FFVII controls, so you need to remap almost all of your keys in order to get things back to the way they were originally. And if you don’t know what a button is, there’s no way to tell in-game. You have to change all of your settings from the launcher.
Finally, the biggest problem of them all, Square Enix’s cloud saving feature is awful. Yes, I realize the amusing tone of “cloud syncing” Final Fantasy VII. It made me snicker as well. That being said, it rarely ever works. And once it stops working, it doesn’t come back.
My online save file is currently level 8 and still in Midgar. My local save, however, is level 55 on the Highwind. Every time I go to load, I get a nice message saying “Connection to save sync failed. All files must be saved locally.” Now, I don’t have a problem with local saving, but that’s because I’m not using one of their newest features: The Character Booster.
If you get completely stuck on a part, you can quickly boost your characters to max level and continue to cruise through the story on easy mode. Why you would EVER commit such blasphemy, I don’t know. But it’s there and while these server issues are up, it’s a useless selling point.
The problem with the sync failing is simply this: if the connection ever does finally bridge back to the online server, it will override your local save files. That’s right. You will not be able to load your local save without starting the game in offline mode (with all internet connections disabled so it can’t sync). At that point, you will be able to load up your local save. Otherwise, it defaults to the cloud server and there’s nothing you can do to change that.
Oh, and if you do use your local save file and get stuck, there are plenty of 3rd party character editors out there for this game. DON’T USE THEM. I beat the game, then went back and maxed out my characters for fun to go after all the side-quest stuff like weapons, Materia, and other backstory. Apparently when your game sync’s back up with the game server, it will detect that the save file has been meddled with and will remove it from existence. Goodbye 15 hours of gameplay. Have fun being level 8 again.
So, bugs included, it’s still one of the best games of all time in this humble reviewer’s opinion. I still recommend picking it up… just know what you’re in for as far as bugs go.