|Submitted by Cameron Amess |
(Aug 03, 2005)
I never played the original version of this game, so this is entirely from a PS standpoint.
Games like this are today having to face hefty competition from games that may seem prettier and glossier on the outside, and that have graphics that are becoming gradually more eye melting. But this, as an RPG, stands the test of time, in some respects. For one, the story is surprisingly deep and emotional. The characters all have their own perks and personalities. The journey of Cecil, a man forced to master the dark sword at his guardian's command, is a truly engaging one. His transformation into a pure-hearted paladin and his conflict with his former self makes us feel for his cause.
Although some aspects of the story seem a little world-weary and cliched, they still stir a sense of excitement and intensity that even some of today's most popular games cannot match. I played through this game once simply because I am an FF fanboy, and wish to finish every FF game, but afterwards I got an urge to play it again some 12 months later, so it really does hold a replayable tale.
The graphics are typical of re-released games. They've been improved slightly, but they were obviously a lot better looking back in the day. They still hold some charm, but for those less open minded about games, it will get on their nerves. Personally, the graphics of a game (especially an RPG) come second in terms of importance to the gameplay and storyline.
The gameplay is good for it's time, but it has been pushed back now by some of the more elaborate, intense gameplays of the next-gen consoles. The simple, turn based battle system does, however, make for a challenging game. It has made a return in FFX, but has undergone some tweaks and changes, so still holds out somewhat today. The bosses, however, are pretty difficult and because of that, a lot of random training is needed, and this can quickly become tedious. Also, the RPGs of old often don't tell you where to go next to progress in the story, and this is the case in this game. At one point, you have to place something down a random well in a random town to progress in the story, which you wouldn't know how to do without a walkthrough.
The score is typical Final Fantasy. Eerie piano solos, immersive battle tunes and the obligatory Final Fantasy up-down scale at the title screen. (It may seem simple, but I still love it!) Nobuo Uematsu does himself proud with music that would still be hard to match. Although, the scratchy MIDI format sounds do sometimes annoy, and I found myself often listening to other music while playing this game. But still, it weathers the storm.
Some little niggles bring down the whole feel of the game, though. Take, for example, purchasing weapons and armour. You can see what you are buying, how much Gil you must cough up for it, and who can equip it. But it does not tell you if it will improve a character's stats or not. If it doesn't, you've gone and wasted what could have been a lot of money. Also, in today's games, often to obtain an "ultimate weapon", (a specific character's best weapon), you must perform a specific task or side-quest, or fulfill a certain requirement. In this game, they are hidden inside random monsters, and you have just 1/64 chance of finding your desired weapon, and this poses two problems. You would not have ANY idea where to find it without a walkthrough, and even when you do know where they are, it is potentially very time-consuming. There are more, but I won't go on.
Besides these little problems , this game is probably one that any RPG player will enjoy. For those who don't like this sort of thing, this is probably not the kind of game to make you switch your allegiance, but still worth a try. In a nutshell, I love this game, but unfortunately, it isn't anything truly special.
Gameplay: 7/10 ----- Still good all-round fun, although there is a lot of random training to be done.
Story: 8/10 ----- Timeless FF storyline, with all the elements of today's RPGs.
Graphics: 6/10 ----- Good for it's time, but doesn't do much now. Still, little sprites are tip-top.
Sound: 8/10 ----- Great tunes, poor quality.
Overall: 7/10 ------ Fun for RPG fans, but those who don't even like FFVII should stay well away.