Heralded by many of it's time as "Quite possibly the greatest game ever made". Final Fantasy 7 was Squares first 3d RPG and the game that popularized their series in areas besides Japan. Follow Cloud Strife and his allies on an adventure to save the world.
"Of the 3 new Final Fantasy games launched for the PS1 (not counting tactics), this one is probably the best of them."
Plot / Concept: 9 / 10
The movement and plot of this story was constantly on the go. There was always something to do, somewhere to go, some hole that needed a lot of filling when you were not busy chasing down some crazy psychopath.
Gameplay: 7 / 10
I feel like I am walking a line between a soft bed and sharp thorns...
Overall, I would say the gameplay was solid. The level system worked, even if it seemed a little easy to level up (IMO). Use of magic was introduced through the "Materia" system which could be chained, comboed and grown into more Materia, offering a potential to expand what you have.
While I do like some mini-games, FF7 had too many. There was a LOT of odds and ends stuff to do which I felt was quite distracting from the main purpose of the main game itself: Chasing and saving the day.
Controls: 8 / 10
Reasonably intuitive. The "X" and "O" is flipped for the '97 and earlier games for Square, so some may find that a bit confusing at first.
Music: 6 / 10
I give Final Fantasy 7 credit for taking it's music role very seriously. The game had around 4 CDs worth of music content to play through the game, offering a lot of variety.
What disappointed me with the music was the choice of sound fonts it used the the MIDI system. It came across as sounding a bit square and retro, which I think was the antithesis of the game, which tried to come across as the most advanced style of gaming for it's time. Even it's predecessors (FF5 & 6) sounded more convincing. Even Final Fantasy Tactics which came out not much after FF7 had a MUCH superior sound.
Sound Effects: 7 / 10
I would say... about what I was expecting. Nothing stood out as really disappointing or exciting.
Graphics: 8 / 10
Uses a mix of 3D-based polygon graphics, still backgrounds and animated sections. The Polygon stuff did not fit in well with the background work, so it stuck out like a sore thumb and it was easy to tell if they were used as in-game triggers. Fortunately, in the game, a lot of the time the 'triggers' were part of the background or simply highlighted with special in-game arrows.
The makers of this game paid attention to how up-close some of the camera shots would be, so they made sure the combat version of characters were suitably designed.
Takes a LOT of time to play, so I am not sure I would be in a hurry to get the game going again.