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As time goes we get more into retro gaming (which is funny to use for my generation), and more games get rereleased or remastered. It doesn’t matter which one is better, as everyone has different tastes. When we talk of classic games, it’s hard not to think of Final Fantasy and specifically Final Fantasy VII. It is considered one of the greatest games of all time!
No matter how many lists it tops, it still leaves gamers speechless with the plot twists, sudden decisions, and plot twists. The lore of Final Fantasy VII is so massive that there were many follow-up games and movies added to the Compilation of FFVII to help everyone understand the story even more. The game gripped gamers by the throat and hasn’t let go since, nor will it ever.
Bottom Line Up Front: Over two decades have passed since its release on PlayStation in 1997, but Final Fantasy VII established itself as one of the greatest games ever made. The gripping saga of stoic mercenary Cloud Strife is about love, friendship, and the price of self-sacrifice.
Introduction to FFVII
Final Fantasy VII was loved by many. Before news of its remastering became official, its fans eagerly awaited a remaster since the days of PlayStation 3. Kingdom Hearts showcasing Cloud and Aerith Gainsborough brought plenty of interest of the younger audience to this classic. People were reading up the plot, watching Let’s Play videos, and trying to pass it themselves on PlayStation, PlayStation 2, or emulators.
I know plenty of people who used to say that Final Fantasy VII is their favorite game before ever actually playing it. I also knew all of the lore before I finished the game. It was that addicting to find little nuggets of information in my time and figure it out.
The Success of Final Fantasy VII
In the 1990s and 2000s, almost all gamers were obsessed with Final Fantasy VII. The game was a breakthrough with its graphics and anime looking-appeal in characters. Most of the time, they are chibis rather than the more realistic depictions.
In 1994, PlayStation consoles sold out across Japan in anticipation thanks to the heavy marketing and interest of the Japanese audience. The interest grew around the globe. As of 2021, Final Fantasy VII has sold 13.3 million official copies worldwide!
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII needs no introduction. Many have known the plot or parts even without playing the game. If you’re into JRPG, you know Final Fantasy VII. However, if you’re new to the game, I am jealous! I wish I could experience it all over again for the first time.
It is a game also widely known for being one of the most gripping love triangles ever created. Final Fantasy VII was Tetsuya Nomura’s debut as a character creator. His work on the game made him one of Square Enix’s most valued employees and set him up for the directorial role in the Kingdom Hearts series. He is also in charge of the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
The setting takes place on Gaia, but it is mainly referred to as The Plante throughout the entire game, so even I had to look it up. The Planet is already dying at the beginning. We can hear its literal and metaphorical cries as it crumbles under the greedy, bloody claws of Shin-Ra. The company gathers fossil fuel from the Lifestream.
The Lifestream consists of Mako. It occasionally gathers on the surface to crystalize and form Materia. These items allow the characters to use magic.
The game is known for many plots which run through its veins. There are a lot of subplots when it comes to relationships between the characters and one’s relation to nature and The Planet. None of the titular characters have one-dimensional relationships with themselves as they go through personal loss, disappointment, and even identity crisis. Who are Cloud and Sephiroth? The doubt manages to run deeper into the series, allowing a long line of lore and interpretations.
Cloud’s identity seems initially solid and quickly explained. We see him for the first time in the game, explaining that he was a first-class Soldier, wearing the uniform. It’s not hard for anyone to connect the dots. We then learn that Cloud seems to have some lapses in his memory.
The first theory to come up is his exposure to Mako energy. Shin-Ra put Soldiers through this process to make them stronger than regular humans. Soldiers go through a lot of training and experiments to serve the corporation.
Cloud feels like a cold mercenary who wants to get the job done and has severed his ties with Shin-Ra.
We later find out that he had confused himself with his mentor Zack Fair, whose identity he adopted. Zack was everything Cloud had hoped to achieve after he had left Nibelheim, his hometown.
Instead of reaching those heights, Cloud became a shadow of Zack and stalled as a low-ranked guard. Cloud was indeed friends with the actual first-class Soldier but was nowhere near his fighting abilities. Even when he came back to Nibelheim, Cloud decided not to tell anyone in shame.
Sephiroth also has a different identity which even causes him to lose his mind. He first thinks he’s human, a super-soldier. Sephiroth comes to find out that he had been even more of an experiment and ends up hating The Planet while listening to what Jenova inside him tells him to do. He breaks from his humanity, which is the opposite path to Cloud. The latter embraces his human nature and puts the well-being of the Planet and his friends first.
Identity crises define many Final Fantasy VII characters. Examples include Cid with his astronaut past, Red XIII as the savior of Cosmo Canyon, Aerith being the last Cetra, and others. The game also follows the idea that the future isn’t as linear. It proposes that we can outgrow our past, define what the present and past mean to us as we form our reply to a future.
Another crucial plot is the environmental aspect of the story, which then seeps further into the plot by actually taking shape in saving the Planet at all costs. Only Red XIII showed up in the post-credits scene, hinting that the Planet had healed and maybe even cleared the previous inhabitants as a way of cleansing itself.
One of the most famous and well-loved characters, the protagonist Cloud Strife made everyone fall in love with him, identify with his icy character or watch his entire story unfold with suspense. Known for his spiky blonde hair, Cloud is rather bony for a professional soldier. This fact led to many discussions as Final Fantasy VII Remake came out. It was hard to tell that the mako poisoning had affected him to such an extent, but Cloud had experienced severe poisoning.
Cloud starts as a cold, uninterested in anything but work Soldier, but he shows his vulnerability and how he had failed to raise the ranks. He realizes that he shouldn’t even worry as the stakes go well beyond himself. He also has a love triangle with Aerith and Tifa, which is a very heated question. Who did Cloud love in the end?
The last of the Cetra. Her plot twist makes many cry and feels empty, as no one saw it coming, despite Final Fantasy games having a lot of death focused around them. Aerith is a gentle flower girl who takes care of the flowers in a church in the slums of Midgar. She was tormented by Shin-Ra ever since she was little, which restricted her freedom growing up.
Aerith outgrows her fears and joins Avalanche, thinking of her kind and how much it means to be the last of the Cetra. She is the only one who can save the Planet. Her love connection to Cloud made many fans shed a tear or two, which left her showing up in Kingdom Hearts (another series by Square which included Final Fantasy characters in the first games) as a nice homage to the classical video game couple.
Tifa is Cloud’s childhood friend and other potential love interest. Many speculate that Cloud has loved her all this time. He had promised to protect her once he’d back to Nibelheim, but we all know that it didn’t go as planned. Tifa is a fan favorite for her strong personality and appearance.
She’s a fierce fighter with her knuckles, the owner of the Seventh Heaven bar, and a devoted member of Avalanche. Tifa sees through Cloud but keeps it to herself, which causes some questions from fans.
The leader of the group Avalanche is the main enemy of the Shin-Ra corporation. Barret has a personal hatred for this corporation for what they did to him and the Planet. He starts as a swearing, loud big guy with a gun for his arm. Barret softens up even to Cloud despite the latter being indifferent to all the causes. But the chief receiver of his kindness is his adopted daughter Marlene. She means the world to him and is for whom he wants to create a better world.
Once an astronaut with big dreams, Shin-Ra gave up on him. His whole story arc is touching from beginning to end. He had a heart of gold. Cid took up a career as a mechanic. He teams up with Avalanche to pilot his ship and help them travel the world in their quest to destroy Sephiroth once and for all.
An esoteric addition to the crew is this toy cat on a giant stuffed mog. The identity gets revealed later in the game, so there is plenty of doubt. Eventually, once the person behind them comes clean, even more trust is built in Avalanche.
When it comes to battles, the robotic cat shouts at the fat Moogle through a megaphone to perform the attacks needed. Cait Sith first appears as a fortune teller in the Golden Saucer.
Despite Red’s advanced age, he is still relatively young for his species. He was labeled Red XIII by Shin-Ra even if his name back home is Nanaki. He is a red-furred animal on four legs and a tail on fire. He doesn’t speak very often and can is as a young creature who gives great insight and understands the Planet. Red XIII is a valuable addition to Avalanche and a great companion in the final battles.
Everyone’s favorite annoying ninja! Yuffie first appears as a bratty teenager who only hogs materia and feels like a comic relief character. She is one of the options presented to Cloud to go out on a date in the Golden Saucer.
This cheeky ninja is the heiress of Wutai and an unlockable character. But at this point, everyone unlocks her to get the complete experience as she has also shown up in different games and has been a heavyweight liked character from Final Fantasy VII alongside Vincent Valentine. She also appears in numerous parts of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
You discover this beast-changing lad in a coffin at the Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim, his hometown. A former Turk who got too close to Lucrecia (Sephiroth’s human mother) and Hojo, Vincent Valentine has enough of a tragic story to follow. He is one of the most handsome and mysterious loved optional characters in Final Fantasy VII.
Vincent is great to use in the party as his limit break is him turning into a Beast that unleashes powerful attacks on enemies. He sealed himself in the coffin due to his mistakes. He was named after actor Vincent Price if to believe the lore.
The greatest villain of all time! Once deemed dead and lost at the beginning of the game, Sephiroth makes a triumphant return. Players consider him one of the evilest and most fascinating characters in the Final Fantasy series. Sephiroth discovers the truth about his past, which makes him insane as he tries to understand everything that had been lied to him.
Sephiroth takes his twisted way to destroy the Planet to be united with his true mother, Jenova. She was a calamity that hit the Planet many years ago and then was used as an experimental device, locked away in Shin-Ra’s laboratories and researched by Hojo. Sephiroth shows no mercy in achieving his goal, even taking what is the Cloud loves in the most gut-wrenching scenes in video game history.
Sephiroth is the backbone of the series and what attracts so many time and time again. Long silver hair, a Masamune Sephiroths Sword, and black attire, there is no way not to admire or have a shiver in your back as you look at Sephiroth with his iconic One-Winged Angel theme song. How cool is that?
Final Fantasy VII has the funny gimmick where you can have the character walk all over the map. You can choose to ride a Chocobo or Cid’s Highwind to get to locations faster. You traditionally control Cloud as you progress through the game. For battles, you can select two party members, as most of them also appear in cutscenes to talk about whatever is going on. But don’t let these cuties fool you! It’s all cool and fun until you have to fight hordes of enemies.
The game also has a wide range of mini-games. The majority takes place in the Golden Saucer. Other than that, it’s a classically structured 3d final fantasy, which was the first to adapt to this style and then was used again in other successful entries like Final Fantasy VIII.
Final Fantasy VII uses a mix of turn-based and real-time systems. The main characters need some time to cool off between the attacks. The same applies to enemies, from Tonberries to Sephiroth himself. You get to control three party members. For a flashback scene, Sephiroth joins your party with his impressive power. Every character also has a limit break unique to them.
Yuffie’s favorite! You can equip different materia throughout the game. If you are up for a challenge, try collecting all of them. The different types of materia hold defensive and offensive magic skills. All of them will take one slot in the desired character’s equipment. Make sure to look around and see what works better for you. It is essential to understand how materia works to keep the game going.
Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
The Compilation of FFVII consists of many games, but it all started with the original Final Fantasy VII. Cloud and others also made their appearances in other Square games or fan favorites like Nintendo’s Smash series. A few movies and games compile it all, making all of it ripe with lore and fun.
The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII answered a difficult question: did the cast survive after the end of the original game? Well, as you can see, they indeed did. It’s no longer left as ambiguous with only Red XIII running with his cubs around the restored Planet. Despite Final Fantasy VII being the banger opener as the first game to this compilation, many items in this pack are excellent and provide more depth to the series and characters.
Advent Children was a big hit and gave people a long-awaited wave of nostalgia and desire to know more. It also attracted many people of later generations and new fans to fall in love with the gripping story just as everyone else did. Tetsuya Nomura rose through the ranks of Square Enix thanks to his character creation skills and became one of the most celebrated game directors in the world.
The First Soldier
A new mobile game where you get to pay to play as you try and make your way to be the first Soldier of Shin-Ra. There isn’t much narrative or plot here. You play in groups of three fighting three enemies. The First Soldier does follow the game’s plotlines, and it is part of the official universe.
A more fleshed-out mobile game. Unfortunately, it was only available briefly and was exclusive to the Japanese market. There were plans for a worldwide release. Those never amounted to much. There is plenty of info on what went plotwise on every episode on the web. It was based on the Turks before the game started and in and out of Shin-Ra antics.
The gripping PSP game takes place seven years before the event of the main game, as it follows Zack’s journey until his death, even ending the epilogue with when Cloud claims to be a Soldier, his memories already mixed up with Zack’s. This game is a great standalone release and a fantastic addition to the series.
A short anime movie shipped with an edition of Advent Children is also no longer available to buy, which follows the events of what happened in Nibelheim with Sephiroth, Zack, Cloud, and Tifa in the mako reactor. It’s a pretty good short anime which is a must-see for every Final Fantasy VII fan.
The iconic anime movie had us all on the edge of our seats. Most fans originally watched it with Japanese audio and English subtitles at first. Many sequels do not follow the joys of the original, but Advent Children breaks that curse.
The movie fills fans with more hope and love through advanced animation and notable fight scenes. The new story centers around the reconstruction of Midgar.
Dirge of Cerberus
The sequel to the sequel is also a great shooting game. This time Vincent and Yuffie are the main characters, giving them plenty of time to shine. The game wasn’t a massive success, but it is a fun addition to play and discover more about Vincent and the regrets he has that he calls sins. A fitting ending to the compilation and a good game to follow for any hard-core Final Fantasy VII fan.
Why play Final Fantasy VII before FFVIIR?
When comparing Final Fantasy VII to the Remake, I prefer the original one. The original is not just complete, but it covers the story in full. The Remake still feels like a great addition or a new way to lure people to Final Fantasy VII. However, it lacks the depth its predecessor had. We don’t know how the plot will progress, as we already have seen that the stories are not a perfect match, and different things are happening.
Tetsuya Nomura is directing it, and things have been great. However, he has been less reluctant to kill off characters these days. This may lead to a confusing plot solution in the worst-case scenario.
To understand the whole story, you must play the original Final Fantasy VII first, then enjoy the first part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Question: How many Final Fantasy VII games are there?
Answer: There are six games in total.
Question: What’s the difference between Final Fantasy VII Remake and Integrate?
Answer: Intergrade is a DLC with additional content where you get to find out what’s been Yuffie up to in Wutai and is only available to those who managed to get through or from a scalper a PlayStation 5. As of March 2022, there are no official details on whether the new titles will be available for PlayStation 4 consoles.
Question: Is there a Final Fantasy VII movie?
Answer: Technically there is a short anime movie (Last Order) and an anime movie, Advent Children. They are both fun to watch. A must-see pair for sure!
Question: Does Cloud ever smile in Final Fantasy VII?
Answer: Cloud technically only smiles in the movie Advent Children and not in the game Final Fantasy VII itself.
Question: Why does Sephiroth have a wing?
Answer: Sephiroth considers himself to be a God. Character designer Tetsuya Nomura said the wing’s color is black to symbolize the evil within him.
Final Fantasy VII is one of, if not the best game ever created. It has unique characters, cute chibi designs, an extensive plot, love triangle mess, mini-games, materia, shenanigans, and the evilest villain ever. Final Fantasy VII is a game that everyone should play, enjoy and love.
When it comes to the remake, as it is not as closely following the plot and leans a lot on previous knowledge of the story, this is more than an incentive for many to get Final Fantasy VII on any console and enjoy the journey of Cloud’s identity and fight for the Planet!