Tidman’s Take: Betrayed

Or: Why I Will Never Play Final Fantasy VII.

By Matthew Tidman. Posted 07/06/2010 16:45 12 Comments     ShareThis

Final Fantasy VII Screenshot

I got into the whole RPG genre pretty late. It’s one of my absolute favorite genres now, right up there with platformers and action adventures, but back in the day I didn’t even know the genre existed. I think my sister played a bunch of Ultima on the NES, but I never did. I was just too young to appreciate it.

No, my first RPG experience was the SNES swan song known as Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and what an introduction it was! It opened up a whole new world for me. Oh, I’d heard about the “Final Fantasy” series and the “Dragon Warrior/Quest” games, but I’d never had any interest in playing them… until Super Mario RPG.

So imagine my surprise when a copy of Final Fantasy IV (labeled II as all you FF fans know) landed in my lap. As I previously stated, I’d never given the Final Fantasy series the time of day, but having heard what an amazing game it was, I decided to give it a try. I lost weeks of my life to that game. It was just that good. Unfortunately this was well after the N64 had released… well after the Final Fantasy VII hype train had run out of steam. I never tracked down a copy of Final Fantasy VI, though it is on my list of games I want to experience.

What Final Fantasy IV made me do is begin to look into the series as a whole. I would confess myself to be a fan of the series thanks to seeds sown by that SNES game, but there is one thing I will never do. I will never play Final Fantasy VII.

Alright, I’m sure I just lost all the hardcore Final Fantasy fans. They’re probably zipping down to the comments area so they can post incredulous messages questioning my sanity for refusing to play “the greatest Final Fantasy game of all time.” Please, let me explain myself. I’m not here to say that Final Fantasy VII is a bad game. I believe it is much over-hyped when it comes to games, but I feel the same way about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. However, I will defend that game to the death as an example of an amazing video game.

No, the reason I refuse to play Final Fantasy VII is because it is the game that symbolizes the point when Square quit caring about Nintendo. Why do I say that? Let me answer my question with another question: Did you know that Final Fantasy VII was originally going to be a N64 game?

Well, actually it was going to be a SNES game, with development starting just after Final Fantasy VI was released on SNES. The development transitioned to the N64 in order to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of the newer console. It seems like an amazing prospect in retrospect. Final Fantasy games had always appeared on Nintendo systems, and it was unsurprising that the series would continue on a Nintendo platform. But Square had a disagreement with Nintendo about storage formats. Square was right. Cartridges, while being more secure and having no load times, do not have the storage capacity of disc-based media and are more expensive to produce. But sometimes the only thing worse than being wrong in an argument is being right.

Square, maker of Final Fantasy IISuper Mario RPG, and Chrono Trigger, left Nintendo to develop games for Sony. I know it makes very little logical sense to deprive myself of an excellent game because it released for a console I loathed, but the feelings of disgust that accompany the game cannot be avoided. And that is why I will never play Final Fantasy VII.

12 Responses to “Tidman’s Take: Betrayed”

  • 258 points
    Joshua A. Johnston says...

    For what it’s worth, I’m a hardcore RPGer and you haven’t lost me. I’ve played FFVII and I do not think it a great RPG, even in its historical context. (Games like FFVI and Chrono Trigger were better games and they were older.) The plot is a fuzzy mess — to this day I have no idea what was going on — and is hampered by poor localization. The random battles are frequent and annoying. The characters are thoroughly imbalanced; your one and only healer / magic user gets killed off in the first ten hours of the game. It has some virtues (colorful characters, a couple of emotional scenes) but I can rattle off a dozen RPGs I’ve played that are better.

  • 183 points
    Williaint says...

    I agree with Tidman, mostly. The First RPG I ~really~ played was SMRPG.
    I’d played some FF, but it just didn’t interest me. I had seen some pics of FF7 in Gamepro, but I was much more interested by future N64 games. I didn’t even have a Playstation until a couple years ago, because it was $10, and I still don’t have any games. Of course, if I did want to, All I have to do is download them, and burn them onto a CD which, is what most my friends did at the time…
    Anyway, I can’t see myself playing FF7 in the near future. Maybe 50 years, when I retire, and can catch up on the rest of the series; not soon, because I have too many other games to play.

  • 318 points
    Greg Wampler says...

    The only thing I would say is that Nintendo is actually correct still in saying that cartridges are more advanced than disc-based formats and always will be.

    You are wrong in saying that cartridges do not have the capacity of disc-based formats because in all reality, the limitations are in the amount of how much RAM or FLASH memory can be shrunk and fitted into a plastic shell, where as discs are all about actual disc surface. Yes layers can come into play, but then the laser needs to be upgraded as well where as carts and cards can be increased past a certain size and all that the playing hardware would need is a firmware update.

    Carts and cards will always be more advanced and have an infinite amount of memory. Not to mention the ability to add more processing power to carts with CPUs, Co-CPUs and GPUs. Think Super FX Chip

    • 702 points
      Matthew Tidman says...

      Cartridges at that time did not have the capacity. I mean, I’m sure that they could have, look at flash drives. But cartridges were way more expensive to produce than CDs, which was the biggest real reason behind Square’s decision. Look at it, not as maximum storage but rather storage to size ratio.

  • 87 points
    chrisbg99 says...

    I really didn’t have much of an opinion on Square during the SNES era at most playing only little bits of most of their RPGs so FF7 was interesting to me since prior it had a good reputation.

    Suffice to say, I hate FF7. The game nearly killed my interest in the genre along with FF8.

    I also noticed how they barely advertised the game’s actual graphics. It was almost all FMV. I’m sure a lot of people were surprised to see Popeye the Sailor Cloud in-game after seeing the, at the time, well done FMV sequences.

  • 441 points
    Terr says...

    You didn’t loose me & people are always telling me I’m ‘hardcore’ :P Though, I respect your views on it & though I believe FFVII isn’t the omguber game everyone says it is, it’s a great game witha great story. Your reasoning though… it seems like a silly reason to not play ANY game, not just this one game. I hope one day you can look past this & just enjoy the game for being an ok game & stupendous story, not for who’s company label is on it.

  • 441 points
    Terr says...

    I enjoyed VII a lot, but I didn’t think it was an incredible game, but the story is one I enjoyed incredibly. Two of my favourite games period are FFVII world ones (Crisis Core & Dirge of Cerberus), but as for FFVII itself, yea it was great, but it’s not in my top 10 favourites of FF games. I loved the Materia system too actually, it’s my 2nd favourite magic system in a game ( the first being the draw system from FFVIII)

    • 258 points
      Joshua A. Johnston says...

      The Materia system was versatile, but what bothered me about the game was how ill-suited most of the characters were to use the game’s spells. Aeris was the only character with legitimately high MP… and we all know what happened to her. Vincent Valentine is probably a distant second, so he gets shoehorned into the role of healer and mage even though even his MP wasn’t as good.

      • 441 points
        Terr says...

        I never used Vincent as a healer, I always had Yuffie as my healer & it worked out mint. Vincent always laid the mad damage down with Cloud.

  • 3 points
    Bloodoath says...

    I’ll be the first to admit that I had endless arguments with my friends about what system is better than the other, but that was back in my high school days where such behavior is expected! Being so bitter about a developer’s decision to jump consoles (or being a system-loyalist) is so childish– All you’re doing is depriving yourself of good games! If that’s your thing, well, good luck with that. I think you’re a fool however. My suggestions is that you give up your bitter attitude and start enjoying all the amazing games that Square-Enix has been cranking out the past 15 or so years…

  • 702 points
    Matthew Tidman says...

    I don’t hate Square-Enix. I actually have played numerous games released by them since FFVII. It’s that game alone I have bad feelings towards.

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