A doubled-edged Buster Sword.
I don't like being unoriginal. I really don't. But (deep breath)...Final Fantasy VII
is my favorite of the Final Fantasy
series. I love it. That said, I'm willing to examine it for flaws and I'm not blind to the negative consequences that has come out of it's success in the past decade or so.
First off, nearly everything in the game works for me. Most of the graphics (the world map, the pre-rendered backgrounds, the battle graphics, and especially
the FMV sequences) are still appealing. The musical score by Nobuo Uematsu
is brilliant. The gameplay/materia system is fun to play with. The characters are all memorable, with one of the best hero parties and
one of the best casts of villains in any RPG.
And the story is epic in the finest sense: everything escalates, the adventure becoming bigger and grander as it goes along. Even the back description on the box says as much! And while it does get highly confusing toward the end, all the pieces to the puzzle are present in game for you to put together and make sense of it all. There's a difference between complex (made of difficult-to-grasp parts that adds up to something) and convoluted (made of difficult-to-grasp parts that get tangled up in themselves), and this game's plot is the former, not the latter.
Now, the problems. While I said most of the graphics are still appealing, there's one obvious exception: the damn in-game field character models. Seriously, they look like mutated LEGO people. Secondly, while I said the plot all comes together, everything involving Cloud's identity crisis could
have stood to be less confusing.
Thirdly, while it's not a part of the game itself, the hype surrounding it can get bad. I'll say it's the best FF game, but the best RPG? The best video game period
? That's really pushing it.
Finally, the negative consequences it's had, from the "Compilation" of spin-offs to the waves of JRPGs copying it in terms of story events, characterization and complexity....these can't be ignored. As wonderful as the game is to me, it's greatness does come at a hefty price.
In the end, it's best to ignore the fan hype and negative outcomes, and just play the game. You may find it brilliant like I did, or you may find it dissapointing. But either way...you really ought to just play it.