Review: Final Fantasy VII (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, May 17, 2019

Review: Final Fantasy VII (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

The introduction to...well, a lot of firsts for many gamers. 
Final Fantasy VII is a special game for many people, myself included. For a number of people, it was their introduction to anime boobs…or I mean, Japanese RPGs. While clearly debatable, VII is regarded as one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Regardless of your first impressions or long lasting memories of the game, there truly are a lot of great things to take away from VII as a whole. For the Switch port, this also holds true.

If you have interest in this game and are checking out this review, it’s pretty likely that you’ve played the game before. With that said, you probably know (for the most part) what to expect out of the story. The game does have a lot of tropes that we all know by heart (i.e. Cloud having amnesia, etc), but at the time when it was originally released, the game was unlike anything I had ever played. Cursing laced throughout the story (covered up with random symbols) and some of the screwed up situations that the characters would find themselves in was really eye opening. It’s by no means highbrow narrative, but I found the characters, then and now, endearing. I liked Barret being a bit of a meathead, Cloud being a loner, Sephiroth as THE biggest god damn maniac and the whole slew of other optional characters that could join your party. If you’re looking to relive the story that you might barely remember from 20 years ago, you can’t go wrong here. Even if you’re new to the Final Fantasy series, VII isn’t a bad place to start.
While Final Fantasy VII on the Switch retains the crude low polygonal look of the original, it is cleaned up a little bit visually. Similar to Final Fantasy IX (you can check out our review here), while in towns/caves/etc, the game features polygonal characters navigating through pre-rendered backgrounds. The cleaned up character models look fine, but seeing them on these backgrounds really makes the game show its age. FMVs also suffer a little bit from being somewhat low-resolution, too. The battle sequences look fine, with the character models appearing sharp and animating well. Overall, the visuals are a bit of a hodgepodge of old and new, but I didn’t have a problem with it.

The game’s soundtrack is awesome with tons of memorable, awesome tracks. As of right now, there is a glitch in the game where the music gets screwed up after entering battles. In the original Playstation release, the overworld music would pick up from where it left off before entering into battles so that you could hear the entirety of the track. In the current Switch version, tracks reset after entering battles. It’s a minor annoyance, and honestly, I don’t know if I would have even noticed it if there wasn’t such an outcry about this all over the internet. This does not ruin the game.
Gameplay and the systems found in VII have always been one of my favorites in the series. I enjoy the relatively quick pace of the battles and always found the Limit Break system to be pretty intuitive. Namely, I like the different options you have for your Limit Break attacks/actions. Finding and optimizing Materia can be challenging, but when you level it up and are tearing apart some of the tougher enemies in the game, it’s extremely satisfying.

Similar to Final Fantasy IX on the Switch, VII also has a few quality of life improvements to make the game more playable on modern platforms. Gamers are able to turn on a 3x speed mode (increases game speed), turn off random battles and activate nearly infinite Limit Breaks. These all can be very helpful. For me, since I played Bravely Default on the 3DS, I felt like I couldn’t go back to older RPGs. In that game, I got into a habit of grinding to gain some levels for a bit, but when I wanted to get on with the story, I would turn off random battles and just get to where I needed to advance the narrative. I played Final Fantasy VII the same way. Story, grind, story, grind. All of the options - 3x speed, random battles off, infinite limit breaks - were really beneficial to making me feel like I could enjoy VII on my own terms.
Final Fantasy VII on the Switch isn’t a perfect port, but there are definitely a lot of positives to walk away from here. The appeal of this version of the game is obvious - you can easily take the game on the go and also play it on the big screen whenever you want. Be aware, there are some issues, namely some minor annoyances with the sound and some graphical letdowns. If you can over look these small flaws, VII is more accessible than ever thanks to portability and the gameplay enhancements.

Final Score: 9.0

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