Final Fantasy VII has several minor problems and one major problem. That major problem is that it suffers from one of the worst cases of Seinfeld Is Unfunny in the whole medium of video games. Many elements of the game were mind-blowing when it first hit in 1997. The opening cinematic might not look like much today, but when it first hit, the sheer amount of detail and realism was staggering. The world was more detailed than nearly anything else available, and seeing the battles rendered in full 3D after the static sprites of FFVI could send chills down your spine. The plot was more original and psychologically complex than nearly anything else on the market at that time. The problem is that games in general, and the Final Fantasy series in particular, continued pushing the envelope. Graphics got more and more detailed and realistic, worlds got larger, battle systems got more complex, and even more complicated and downright mind-screwy plots were written. In comparison, FFVII looks incredibly roughshod and haphazard at points. This isn't to say that the game doesn't have any inexcusable flaws. It certainly does. The translation is notoriously iffy, and the graphical push ends up being a hindrance sometimes when its hard to tell what parts of the screen you can walk on. The script, while ambitious, can be heavily overwrought and occasionally narm-y. The battle system didn't really make any marked improvements over FFVI, a lot of the quick-time event type minigames are more aggravating than anything else (I'm looking at you, CPR). But on the flipside, it has some solid merits to it beyond its ambition. The soundtrack (despite the fact that the sound files aren't of the highest quality) is still one of the best video game soundtracks ever, and the cast is one of the most memorable video game ensembles out there. Glitches aside, the gameplay is mostly solid, and it doesn't suffer from needless complexity or simplicity. Long story short, FFVII might not look like much compared to the numerous games it inspired, but it's still well worth playing even though many of the elements look old and outdated. Despite the appearance, there's plenty of substance there.
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