So I thought a little more about how to format the blog, and I figured a good place to start with each game would be to do a ‘first impressions’ post about the first hour or two of the game (if it’s gonna be a long one.) I think there is a lot to be learned from the first bit of the game, and the difference in opinion between 2 hours and 20+ hours might be interesting to compare.
So the first game on the list was Final Fantasy VII – I’ve played a decent amount of Final Fantasy X, and my urge to throttle Tidus was stronger than my urge to continue playing it so I dropped it in favour of other things.
I was expecting a similar thing from Final Fantasy VII, but actually the first couple of hours were better, surprisingly.
I was worried I’d be put off by how janky it looked in the screenshots, but actually the backgrounds look nice, the models aren’t terrible and there is some animated cutscenes which set the tone pretty nicely.
You start off in the middle of a Reactor which you are supposed to blow up for reasons I still don’t understand. My first minor complaint is that it doesn’t set the scene for you in any way, it throws a load of random jargon about e.g Mako Energy, Shinra, AVALANCHE, SOLDIER – was like mate, slow down I don’t understand any of these references. But I have an inkling this will improve as it starts to introduce all the concepts to me again but in more detail.
Within the first 5 minutes you are put straight into gameplay, and the combat system at this point seems simple and effective. It didn’t have much tutorialisation but I had no issue with that due to it’s simplicity. The combat is turn based and I started off with a basic Attack, Magic and also some Items (standard things, Potions etc.) It has a 2 bars, one for TIME and one for LIMIT. Time is obviously the amount of time between each attack which I find useless cos I just keep bashing the attack button until it’s the next turn much to the dismay of everyone watching me play the game. LIMIT carries over between battles and once the bar is full you can do a special shiny attack which is quite nice, but I had to waste it on some low level noobs ‘cos I didn’t know how to save it up.
I battled some random enemies which seemed to be unrelated to the environment; there was a purple panther-dog, an evil floating plant, some soldier dudes with lasers, and of course some robots (standard.) It would have been cooler if they made sense, maybe they do but I didn’t get it. Oh, and the boss was a scorpion thing, again with more lasers… like okay sure? Haha.
Generally though, I had fun exploring the reactor and killing stuff and leveling up. There is the famous level up tune that even I know despite not playing the game at all 😀
I noticed in the Options you can configure the UI colour, so of course I made it pink, but it was eyebleedingly pink and I couldn’t read the text anymore, so it’s a lovely shade of dark lilac now.
Once I blew the Reactor up, we went back to base. I chatted to a few locals and they were all like ‘omg why did these randoms blow up the reactor, it’s so bad, people died. we have no electricity now boohoo’ etc. and that distressed me, I felt mega guilty. But apparently I did it all for 1500 Gils so… worth? I was then able to spend that on weapons, potions and something called ‘Materia.’ Materia are essentially weapon and armor upgrades, that can give a character spells and change their stats.
On one of the train journeys between missions, it told me a little more of the story – there is a ‘plate’ above the ground, where all the resources seem to go, and below that there is the slums, where people are trying to survive. And it’s very difficult to move between the slums and the upper area. And with that explanation complete, I set off on my next mission to destroy another reactor… which hopefully they’ll explain further later.
Overall the combat was kinda fun, a lot of the dialogue is interesting and amusing at times, and I liked messing round with Materia combinations. I definitely prefer this over 10, and while Cloud is annoying I don’t want to choke slam him as much as Tidus so that’s a win too.
Have you played FFVII? What were your first impressions? I’d imagine back in the day the graphics were a lot more impressive! Also, I’m sure some of the concepts in the game today that are now commonplace in RPG’s would have been innovative at the time!