Final Fantasy VII is one of the most well-known role-playing video games that ever hit the market. While some fans have decried its popularity (I’m looking at you, FFVI lovers), there is no doubt about FFVII’s influence. For many, FFVII was their first introduction to Japanese RPGs and helped bring the genre to mainstream American audiences.
Although released on January 31st, 1997 in Japan, North American audiences had to wait until September 7th of that year. As we approach that 20th anniversary and impatiently await the remake, some fans have chosen to reflect on what FFVII means.
Brook – Final Fantasy VII is what made me buy a PlayStation. I wasn’t sure I needed one until I watched a friend play for a few hours. The story, the characters, the music – I knew I had to get in on this game. One PlayStation and hundreds of hours later, I still couldn’t stop playing.
I’ve played all the Final Fantasy games past this one, but FFVII was the only one that made me feel like I’d traveled the world. By the end, I felt accomplished, liked I’d been adventuring for a lifetime. Each of the characters drew me in with their journey, and I was sad when it was time to say goodbye.
I think FFVII is also the only game I’ve ever fully finished, and the beginning of my completionist addiction. From breeding chocobos to acquiring all the summons to defeating every Weapon, that gaming experience will always be my most memorable.
Harry – I think Final Fantasy VII was one of my most anticipated games of 1997. I remember a friend of mine bringing over the demo disk and with the opening I knew we were on to something that was going to be phenomenal. I think the last RPG that I played prior to this that made me hunger so much for a game of that caliber was Phantasy Star IV. Of course upon release, I disappeared into that game for at least 3 months.
I have to be honest, it was one of the few games I played back then that wrecked a halfway decent relationship that I was in but, hey FFVII was that kind of game that was addictive. If that wasn’t enough watching Cloud lose Aerith to Sephiroth didn’t help either. Since then, with the exception of FFX, no other Final Fantasy game quite reached the heights that this one did and I also loved the DVD, Final Fantasy: Advent Children that released in 2005.
Doug – I got my first PlayStation when I was recovering from pretty massive surgery, requiring me to be bedridden for a couple of months. Final Fantasy VII came with it, and since I had known the IP since its first iteration on the NES, I dove headfirst into the game. I was eager to see what this one had in store for me, as the Final Fantasy franchise is what made me fall in love with RPG-style and story-driven games where good writing can elicit an emotional response (yes, I cried when Aerith died, shut up).
The leveling system, the massive enemies, and the extreme damage attacks (I love me some Knights of the Round) really gave me that feeling of being a bad-ass, and the story was far and away one of the best I’d seen in gaming. Additionally – and only slightly less fantastic for me – was that this game had one of the most epic scores/soundtracks I’d ever heard. I even had One-Winged Angel as a ringtone up until relatively recently.
I played that game for HOURS every day (I mean, I couldn’t do much else, right?), taking in every area, and every bit of the story that I could. I even ended up beating the whole thing in 2 months to the day. Now, when I say that I beat the whole thing, I truly mean it. I got everything in the game. Every weapon. Every summon. Every materia. Even the Gold Chocobo. You name it, I had it. Unsurprisingly, it was that feat that turned me into a completionist when it comes to gaming.
Because of Final Fantasy VII, I now do everything I can to get every single collectible/weapon/outfit/etc. in every game that I play. Sure, it can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it was the in-game payoff & sense of accomplishment from doing it in FFVII that started the whole thing, and I’ve been hooked on that feeling ever since. Now, I just can’t wait for the FFVII Remake to release so I can do it all again!
Final Fantasy VII – 20 years and Going Strong
Some fans may disagree about which is the best Final Fantasy, but there is no doubting the impact that the seventh installment of the series had on players. Whether they were long-time JRPG players or newbies fresh to the genre, FFVII created a massive new fandom. Let’s hope that the remake will bring new fans into the fold and we’ll be celebrating the game another 20 years down the road!