Final Fantasy VII came out in 1997, when I was just a wee 5 years old. I could not play it, but my mum could. Whilst I spent my childhood years playing Crash Bandicoot and Mary-Kate and Ashley games, I also spent them watching my mum play the “grown up” games – including Final Fantasy VII and VIII.

Cloud from FFVII, graphic created by Rhiannon Szulc. I do not own the character.

Which means my view of these classic (and arguably the best) FF games are… peculiar. I love the games, especially VII, and agree with the majority of the gaming world in the fact that VII defined the RPG genre. The FF series exploded onto the scene with that game and brought something the Playstation may not have really seen before. I agree with all these opinions – and I haven’t even played it.

Don’t get me wrong, I did try. At the age of about 11 I attempted it myself but only got a few measly levels in before getting horribly stuck. I put it down to inexperience. Although I do indeed love FFX and X-2, where I can safely say I have played both… despite getting stuck near the endings. But that’s besides the point. I have dabbled in other, less memorable, FF games and have now started XIII since I have my PS3. I have also played the Kingdom Hearts games (these being my favourite video games) where classic FF characters were once again introduced back to me.

But I always feel like a fraud. People discuss FFVII and I join in emphatically – “yes! The best FF game! FF was all downhill from there! You can’t beat the classics!” Maybe the warm gushy feelings are just because the game was a key part of my childhood – I do not know. And since my mother eventually traded the game back at the game store (something me and my brother consider a great sin nowadays), I never got to play it later in life and find out.  It honestly hurts not to be able to say “I love Final Fantasy” with more gravitas than just childhood memories of drawing the characters.

Aerith, from FFVII. Graphic created by Rhiannon Szulc, I do not own the character.

Until now. Having just downloaded it for my PC, I can re-enter the world of Cloud and discover the game for myself. I am not very far in at all yet, but instantly you can see the achievements of the game for its time. The world that is created to play in is vast (considering the era) and thoroughly considered, and the graphics are way ahead of its time. But what stands out for me is the characters. If there’s anything that Final Fantasy does best it is its characters, and you find yourself yearning for a modern-day version with voice-overs and 3D graphics to truly bring these original people to life. You can fully see this standing its own against the likes of Skyrim if it was first released tomorrow. It is such a shame that the newer Final Fantasy games do not seem to capture the wit, ambition and overall charm of the older classics.

When I get further with the game do expect a tearful post on the terrible fate of Aerith. That haunted my young mind for years after.

Advertisements