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When I sat down to do this review it dawned on me that I was attacking it from the wrong angle. People don’t want to know if they should play Final Fantasy VII. If they haven’t figured that out in the last 14 years, I probably can’t help them now. What I needed to look at was if they should play this version, and less on whether it’s worth a purchase as a game in 2012, because most people who pick it up will be buying it for the nostalgia factor. We need to decide if this release is worth the money.
The new features in this build are cloud saves, achievements and a character booster that maxes your characters out. On all three of these Square Enix is hit and miss. The cloud saves are completely frivolous to me since I’m only playing this on one PC. Unfortunately the game sometimes has connection issues and you can’t save the game, or retrieve your saves. After enough fails at this the game will usually let you save locally but it’s just a big, unnecessary hassle. The achievements are an ok touch but there are too few and they don’t really amount to much.
The big “WTF’ feature was the character booster. Once assumed to be paid DLC, it is instead free for everyone to use. My complaint is that it’s advertised as a way to get past a point in the game where you’re stuck, but once you enable it you’re stuck with it. You also have to go to their website and choose one of your cloud-stored saves from there – the same ones the game won’t always let you access in-game. I tried it on an early save and it gave my characters over 9k HP, 900 MP and 49,999 gil. It’s a huge help for sure but it would be more beneficial if you could engage it in-game and turn it off when you get past whatever point was stumping you. In it’s current state I can’t see myself using it.
As for the game itself I’m happy that it looks sharper, but one thing I can’t get over is the censoring of Barrett. It was a big deal when the game originally was released that Barrett swore freely since that was almost unheard of in the genre – and games in general – at the time. It was a sign that the industry was maturing. Now, for whatever reason, we get your usual ASCII censoring. It makes me really &*#$ing mad.
The game has aged surprisingly well, save for the amount of downtime in battles spent watching the same long attack animations from some of the bosses and tougher enemies. I struggled with movement since you can only move in four directions and my analog stick doesn’t like doing that. The biggest nostalgia hit for me, since that’s the big reason I wanted to play it again, was the music. I associate strongly with some games through their songs, such as Shenmue, and this is one such title. Fortunately that doesn’t seem to have been messed with.
If you’re buying this, it’s because you liked it when it first came out and don’t want to have to dig out your old PlayStation to play it (or are like me and don’t have a working PSX anymore). You’re not buying it for the achievements, the cloud saves or the character booster. You’re not buying it because they improved on it, because they didn’t. You’re buying it because you want to play this classic again or share it with a new generation. In that light it works. It plays solid as a rock on modern hardware and is still as good as you remember it. So long as you’re not looking for anything more, this is a solid purchase.
|Still fun after all these years; Story still holds up; Great music||No new story added; No improved visuals; The new features don't add anything|