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These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Anti-Climax Boss: Palmer. By the time you fight him, you already fought some Shinra executives (Rufus, Rude, and Reno) that can dish out powerful attacks. Palmer? All he can do is use a Mako Gun, which has a fire, ice, or lightning effect and can be easily nerfed by casting M Barrier on the party. Other than that, that's all Palmer can do aside from having a lot of HP.
While subsequent games have made it worse, this is the game that shattered the fanbase, largely due to the sudden shift in art style, atmosphere and console. Camps of fans include those who never got into the series until it came out and hate the games that came before, those that loved the games before and consider this one to have killed the series, those that consider this game the best RPG of all time, those that consider it So Okay, It's Average with too much hype, and those that consider it an overrated unoriginal piece of junk. And then there's fans who love the original game but hate its expanded universe.
Correspondingly, Cloud, Sephiroth and Aerith. Aerith in particular, some players just never got over her death, and hate that she died after they got so attached to her.
Yuffie and Vincent are Base Breakers to a lesser extent as well.
The Mad Scientist Professor Hojo may not be the primary antagonist, but he is responsible for nearly everything bad happening in the game. Prior to the game proper, he injects Jenova cells into the womb of his wife, Lucrecia, in order to turn their son Sephiroth into a supersoldier. He later murders Aerith's father and experiments on both her and her mother, his research leading to the latter's death. Throughout the game he is implied to manipulate most, if not all, of Sephiroth's actions, because he thinks of Sephiroth as research he wants to see blossom. He tries to mate Aerith and Red XIII, experiments on the survivors of the Nibelheim massacre, murders Vincent, experiments on him and attempts to help his son destroy the world at the end of the game. It was also implied that Hojo was the one, who wrecked one of the mako generators at the Nibelheim Reactor to lure Sephiroth to the reactor and receive his first clue about his possible origins before Crisis Core placed the implications of Genesis doing this act. Dirge of Cerberus reveals Hojo to have copied his mind into the body of an experimental supersoldier and used him to order other experimental supersoldiers to commit mass kidnappings and murders, with the ultimate goal of awakening Omega and fusing with it. Hojo can basically be summed up as the Final Fantasy equivalent of Dr. Josef Mengele.
Fuhito, in one of the prequels, is a scientist for the original AVALANCHE. His mindset can be described in a single expression: Hojo's his hero. In addition to that, Hojo likes him a lot enough to seriously consider leaving Shinra to work with the guy. Fuhito found a way to copy part of Shinra's SOLDIER program. With the data he invents his own variant complete with monstrous degradation of the mind and turning the subject into monsters. He takes two of the SOLDIERs Zack later remembers and turns them into abominations on par with Hojo's aberrations. He later finds an ancient Ultimate Summon that has been broken long, long ago. He implants a piece in an innocent girl, transforming her into a weapon to be AVALANCHE's spearhead against Shinra, while the piece starts sucking out her life to rebuild itself. He establishes a firm powerbase to release the Summon, which is to burn the entirety of the world. In the end, he winds up taking it all and merging with it. We all know what happens when you do that.
Designated Villain: Shinra slips into this during the Huge Materia subplot. Their plan is to gather highly powerful Huge Materia from Mako Reactors, pack it up in their rocket, and launch it at Meteor to blow it up. The party decides to stop them for no reason other than "we can't let Shinra get their hands on the Huge Materia". This trope becomes particularly problematic when the party watches the rocket fail to blow up Meteor and expresses dismay that it doesn't work, prompting the question of why they sabotaged the plan at all.
Die for Our Ship: Loads of it - some people even took the game's most infamous scene as a literal example of this trope.
Sephiroth is the poster boy for this. Although once most people realized/were informed that he was in control of Jenova and not vice versa, accusations and complaints of Draco in Leather Pants began to outweigh actual instances of it.
Reno. Okay, admittedly the flattening an entire city district (with the people inside, no less) and pinning it on AVALANCHE wasn't his idea and he had no real pleasure in doing it, but that doesn't change the fact that he's the one who physically did the deed. A lot of people, however, ignore this and act as if he's a perfectly good guy without flaws.
Tseng also gets some of this despite his introduction consisting of him slapping the captive Aerith and laughing at the party's hopelessness before the Sector 7 pillar collapses.
Strangely enough, Hojo has a decent female fanbase both in-universe and out of it.
A lot of fans are pretty irritated that Vincent was an optional character and therefore not important to the storyline. Later on, he had important role in Advent Children and starred in his own game Dirge of Cerberus.
Zack, who was pretty much a One-Scene Wonder in the original game before he became the main character in Crisis Core.
The Turks, but primarily Reno. They take on more important roles in the Compliation, however.
Rufus Shinra. There's a reason he came back for Advent Children.
Kadaj, Yazoo & Loz, who were only filler versions of Sephiroth yet have enormous popularity; Kadaj even got his own Play Arts figurine.
Epileptic Trees: A lot of fans used to think that Jenova, not Sephiroth, was the one who was really pulling the strings, and that he was just an Unwitting Pawn. Word of God explaining that he was, in fact, the one in control put this theory mostly to rest, although it still prevails to an extent since not every fan has read the materials in which this explanation appears.
Fandom Rivalry: With Final Fantasy VI for which is the "best" of the series, as well as if Kefka or Sephiroth is the greatest villain. This rivalry is carried over into the critical scene as well; some reviewers and critics declare VII the best Final Fantasy title and one of the greatest video games of all time, others say the same of VI.
Too many to name. Among other things, with the right Materia combination, it was possible to throw yourself into a loop of Knights of the Round until whatever you were facing was dead. This includes the final boss. And the Bonus Bosses.
Also, it is worth noting that it is possible for Cloud to mime his own Omnislash, thus another loop of death for whatever you were facing.
Here's another combo: Master Summon-MP Absorb, Master Summon-HP Absorb, W-Summon. Be prepared for the fun of raising Knights of the Round to level 5 six times.
Cover, Long Range, and Counter-Attack makes for a nice Disc One Nuke, since most of the enemy's attacks will focus on one person taking half-damage, who will be counter-attacking for full damage constantly. Adding Counter->Mime makes the whole thing silly. Pop off a Limit Break and sit back while the character jumps in front of every attack and counters with Omnislash every time.
Good Bad Bug: Red XIII's Howling Moon Limit Break gives him a major attack bonus, and also adds the Haste and Berserk status. Normally, this forces him to do nothing but attack for the rest of the fight. However, if you have some sort of equipment that blocks the Berserk status, like a Ribbon, Red will still get the attack bonus and Haste status, but you'll still be able to control him.
Harsher in Hindsight: See the WMG about mako energy representing nuclear energy. Now, about that earthquake and the ensuing reactor meltdown...
Hell Is That Noise: Some of the music is used to good effect. "Those Chosen By The Planet," with its bassline simulating a heartbeat, stands out.
Hilarious in Hindsight: This archived thread on ToonZone talked about hypothetical voice acting in some the games, including this one. This dates back to all the way in 2002. One of the suggestions for Tifa was Rachael Leigh Cook, who later was indeed the one to voice Tifa.
Hype Backlash: Regardless of your opinion of the game, it's undeniable that some people were turned off by the amount of gushing it's gotten over the years since its release.
Some argue that, with the additional installments to the story, the franchise is starting to plummet. They argue that the fun factor of the game is relinquished for the sake of pleasing the fanboys and fangirls, sacrificing the deep integrated storyline that made the original RPG such an amazing game for the sake of indulging in characters such as Sephiroth, Vincent, and Zack.
The main game itself. Oddly enough, some fans just don't seem to be able to grasp the concept that Final Fantasy VII was popular for two reasons: it was the first RPG to receive major advertising, and it was the first RPG to actively sell itself to the mainstream through said advertisingnote as broken as the base is, some dislike it for just those reasons: that its best virtue is PR. Neither of which makes it a bad game at all, mind you, but don't try to convince someone who hates it of that.
The option to say to Aeris "you're the slum drunk!" is infamous. In response to the question of Aeris or Aerith, some suggest naming her "Slum Drunk" when she joins shortly after.
Misaimed Fandom: Vincent is not emo. Not until Dirge Of Cerberus, anyway. In the original game, talking with him whenever you get the chance shows that a distinct lack of expressing any feeling is a big characteristic of Vincent, rather than moping or being depressed.
Moe: Tifa, thanks to being incredibly shy around Cloud.
For the players it's usually Sephiroth killing Aerith, but it all truly starts when Sephiroth begins walking out of the Shinra mansion, and states to a bewildered Cloud: "Out of my way. I'm going to see my mother." The nightmare begins with that sentence, complete with the beginning of a trend with Cloud and Sephiroth: Cloud being just a step behind, following a path of dead bodies and sprayed blood.
For Shinra, especially its late President and Heidegger, it's destroying all of Sector 7 just to wipe out AVALANCHE, which has a grand total of six members.
What Scarlet did to Corel and all of its residents, including Barret and Dyne.
Hojo's probably is how he experimented on his unborn child.
Most Annoying Sound: "Rufus Welcoming Ceremony", which plays when the party sneaks through Junon to the oil tanker, is by no means a bad song. But when you have to listen to a straight hour or more of it as it plays during the entire sequence except for a brief break in a single room where the Turks are...
Regarding Cloud, out of all Final Fantasy characters who can Never Live It Down, he gets it the worst, pretty much being synonymous with the word "Emo" when he was just serious and didn't angst very much at all in Final Fantasy VII save for during his Mind Rape, but you wouldn't know it from his spin-off appearances.
When it comes to Yuffie, some people just can't let go of that Wutai Theft, even though if you level her up properly, she'll more than make up for it to you in battle.
One True Threesome: Cloud/Tifa/Aerith is one of the archetypical examples in video games. For yaoi fans there's Cloud/Sephiroth/Zack. Crisis Core added in Genesis and Angeal, and can be combined with the latter threesome in pretty much any way you like. Though not as widespread, Cloud/Zack/Tifa or Aerith is out there too.
Porting Disaster: Not as bad as some games, but the PC version has a truly tragic cut because it made the jump to a 100%-MIDI soundtrack. However, this meant that the choral track of One Winged Angel was lost for some people because it was in a format that not every sound card could play.
Ron the Death Eater: Thanks to the Love Triangle, both Aerith and Tifa—depending who you ask, Tifa is a slutty jealous bitch who won't accept Cloud's love for Aerith and wants him to forget about her, or Aerith is a clingy skanky bitch who pushed herself between Cloud and Tifa so she could steal Tifa's man (even though in-game and stated by Word of God it's clear that Tifa and Aerith were very close friends.) Even though the competition has ended, really the arguments in defending the ship were 90% saying why the other sucks.
The Scrappy: Cait Sith is an intentional one, as he joins your team against your will, has unimpressive stats, Limit Breaks that are unpredictable at best (granted, one possibility is instant victory, but that occurrence is freakishly rare, and another possibility is instant death for your own party), and players' dislike of him only increases when you find out he is actually a Shinra spy robot who is holding Marlene hostage. He is often considered Rescued from the Scrappy Heap later in the game though, as shown above.
The game created, popularized, or deconstructed many RPG tropes and conventions that see popular use todaynote not nearly as many as some would have you believe, but also not none as others would say, but people who weren't there to experience the game at launch tend to see it as a dated Cliché Storm. Even the deconstructions became tropes in and of themselves.
Of special note: characters with amnesia and/or who appear to be one thing but end up really being something else entirely have been used so often in Square Enix games since that, playing the game now, one wouldn't see anything remotely special or shocking about them.
Sequel Displacement: While obviously nobody thinks that the seventh game in the series is the first, since the wider distribution and promotion of the title compared to previous entries (as well as its status as the first high profile JRPG on the Playstation) means that many, many fans of the series played this game first and define the series by this game. It didn't help in Europe, it was the first mainline Final Fantasy to be released there. Mildly hypocritical It's Popular, Now It Sucks and apathetic Hype Backlash followed among a minority of fans.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: The game came out in 1997. A decade and a half later, there are still websites, forums, and debates about who Cloud loves between Aerith and Tifa. While the original game gave evidence for both, supplementary creation materials and the expanded universe have established that Cloud ends up with Tifa. The original draft of the game even had an implied sex scene between the two that was toned down because it was too risque.
Squick: Hojo's plan to breed Aerith with Red XIII. Also, whether the headless body with the squid-eyeball-nipple in Shinra HQ had this effect on the player or not, it apparently did on Barret (or it just ticked him off a lot).
That One Sidequest: The Chocobos, both the breeding and the racing. To get four of the best Materia in the game, you need to catch specific Chocobos in specific locations around the world, feed them thousands of gil worth of food, race them over and over to improve their rank, then breed them. Do the same with the offspring, then breed them, then do the same with those offspring yet again to finally get the Gold Chocobo you need. To complicate things further, there's the potential for them to produce the wrong color Chocobo when breeding so try again, the amount of food needed can potentially bankrupt you, racing them will force you to face Joe who is very difficult to beat, and the entire quest is a Guide Dang It from start to finish.
In the original game Hojo is presented as a calm and calculating individual, but as time goes on his insanity seeps through and he goes off the deep end at the end of the game. In Dirge of Cerberushe's reduced to a nasally nutcase who loves ranting about his evil plans. While justified in that it's a computer version of him made after going off the deep end at the end of the original game, one wonders why Hojo was needed in the game at all if he wasn't going to be as considerable a threat.
Villain Sue: Genesis for many, but Sephiroth has a few of these qualities as well, particularly past the original game.