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Fynn's positive life blog

On FFVII (part of my Fmarathon rant)

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Decided this is worthy of being a blog-post, since it turned out to be a much bigger rant than I expected and I'm not sure the marathon's audience is really there for that kind of stuff

Quote Originally Posted by Fynn View Post
Welp, got all the way to the Shinra building. I was thinking of barging in for once, but it just feels so stupid. I just had to take the stairs again. What sane person would just charge in, guns blazing, when there's a clearly safer, less-disruptive option?

So far, I can say that FFVII has definitely one of the strongest beginnings in the series. Though linear and story-heavy, the Midgar section of the game is incredibly gripping and memorable. Considering how Midgar is what I mostly remember fondly when I think back on this game, I'm kind of worried this is as good as it gets.

But I guess this is as good a place as any to devote to talking about this stuff - but what was it really that made FFVII so successful? Just today I saw the extended version of the FFXV legacy videos, which are basically interviews with random fans about their experience with the series. It included actual game directors of other games, like Bioshock, and they were all talking about how revolutionary VII was when it comes to proving what games could be.

And fair enough, the game is very cinematic, and as I said, it grips you from the very beginning, but honestly, it kind of has everything people seem to hate about JRPGs now? And it wasn't really the first to do a lot of these things. VI started the whole "involved storytelling" business, the battles are pretty much identical to VI only even easier, and the story has a very solid start, but becomes what many people describe it, "convoluted anime nonsense". I mean, you start as a group of eco-terrorists against an evil corporation, oh but there's actually this evil hero dude who is even worse. Oh, and he thinks he's an alien baby and wants to... sail through space... by blasting the planet with a... meteor?

Don't get me wrong. I like the story of FFVII, I love the tone and the atmosphere, especially in Midgar, but these twists (that IMO kept things fresh and interesting, as you can't really say you expected what would happen by the end judging just by the Midgar section) and people's reaction to them doesn't really make sense. So FFVII gets a pass for being non-sensical on paper, but things like any Kingdom Hearts after I, Xenoblade, or any other modern JRPG get categorized as unplayable, overwrought nonsense?

I get why XIII got treated like this, since it really deserved it due to putting half of the relevant story in datalogs, but most of these criticisms nowadays seem to be based purely on prejudice, while Final Fantasy VII gets a pass because of all the nostalgia. And as much as I like FFVII, I think this is incredibly unfair.

Of course, there are many gamers out there who are JRPG fans and accept the genre for everything it stand for, but Final Fantasy VII isn't just accepted by JRPG fans, but by gamers as a whole, as an important piece of gaming history that revolutionized not only the genre, but the entire medium.

So I just wonder, do the people who loved FFVII back then and think JRPGs are trash nowadays actually remember the plot of FFVII? And I don't just mean the Midgar slum dystopia. I mean the planet-surfing, the Sephiroth clones, the cackling Shinra employees, the crossdressing, the remote-controlled cat-robot riding an overweight moogle-bot, the &@#% room, President Shinra acting out some weird fetish with his employees. All the times that require you to suspend your disbelief so hard your eyes roll so far back your skull that you can see your brain. Because those are all the things people hate about JRPGs today, and FFVII had them all.
And I feel that right now, as we are REALLY close to XV's release, this is especially relevant. Was FFVII's success just a result of circumstance? Or was it the passion of the creative crew that really made it work at the time, rather than the tropes that were acceptable then and have since become discredited? Can XV really become another FFVII, as SE are hoping? It seems different enough, and the passion seems to be there, but isn't the gaming environment too different now?
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  1. Galuf's Avatar
    Basically. The answer is sephiroth