Playing this 'ere game through again is something I really should have done back in 2019 or early 2020, in order to act as a refresher before its remake/sequel came out. But unfortunately, I didn't really have any motivation or desire to play JRPG-style games. Which is odd, considering this is my favourite game of all time, and I've had quite a good time going through it again for the first time in over 20 years.
And it is most certainly a JRPG.
This is my big, and probably final, playthrough of Final Fantasy VII.
At first, I thought about playing this 25-year old game, on my old PS1, just for the added nostalgia factor. That old console is still plastered in a cheesy sticker that came with a games magazine just after the game was released. However, there was no way to connect it to my current monitors, and I didn't want to get my old TV out of the loft.
So instead, I just carried on from where I left it a couple of years ago, where I was leaving Midgar and heading into the Kalm flashback.
Can you believe it's really been 25 years?
My old PS1 couldn't get a look in
As I'd pretty much always just used Tifa and Barret as my party members in the past, I decided to change it up and focus on Red and Yuffie this time. However, not using Tifa at all quickly started to feel weird, so I instead decided to rotate through all the characters except Vincent and Cait Sith, who I don't like because of their crappy limit breaks. Oh, and Aerith of course. Because of, well... you know. Reasons.
I'd made it through most of disc 1, when an idea formed in my tiny brain. Surely, I thought, if this was going to be my last play of this game, maybe I should make it worthwhile, and actually try and do all those things I'd never really tried before, upto and including the two superboss Weapon fights.
Of course, I made this decision just as I was about to do the Temple Of The Ancients, and I had not used Aerith at all by this point due to... reasons. But now I needed to make sure she got her final limit break, which I had never bothered with before. So off I trudged to at least try to get her stuff unlocked so I can say I did it at least once.
Luckily I ended up having to stay away several times for work during March. So I took my laptop along to whittle away the evenings, and give me something to look forward to after digging all those holes and filling them in again.
And so it was that, after some grinding, I was able to cast Great Gospel for my first time. Probably my last.
Tifa really likes somersaulting
I hope his name wasn't Jimmy
Barret and Dyne sorting out their differences
That's a lot of frogs
The one and only time I will ever use Great Gospel
Now that the cat was out of the bag, it seemed anything and everything in the game was up for grabs. I decided to do as much as possible while Cloud was out of the party, so the other members could catch up in levels a bit.
After doing some research, Tifa led my team in some grinding, item finding, and even some forced RNG shenanigans in order to get an early gold chocobo so I could start levelling the materia from the caves. This then allowed me to use my new chocobos to get to the Ancient Forest early. I brought Vincent along for this as he was my only current member with a 255% hit chance weapon, which would apparently counter the high dodge rates of the enemies here. But he still kept missing, meaning I had to do a lot of the work with magic. Well done Vincent, your one and only job and you screwed it up. Go get back in your coffin.
After Cloud returned, I took some time off to deal with the FF7 Remake again, then hit the Gold Saucer for races and battles until I'd got all the items I wanted.
And then there was more grinding. So much grinding. Man, that materia is thirsty.
After I finally continued with the story, I was able to get all of the Turtle's Paradise flyers, and then made my first loop of the Northern Crater. For this, I brought along Cait Sith for his one and only moment in the spotlight. Well, he performed better than Vincent, I guess, and I was able to get all the items I needed to set me up for my last round of grinding.
How are they going to handle this in the remake?
Tifa and Vizna go materia hunting
How did all of this train fit in that tiny reactor?
Cloud unleashing on the enemy
Here comes big boi
Smacking Proud Clod all up and down the street
From there it was some more grinding until all of the necessary materia was mastered. Off I trudged to Cosmo Canyon to pick up my very first set of master materia. This set me up nice for an attempt at Emerald Weapon.
I read up on a few methods for tackling ol' big, green and mean, but most of them looked really cheesy. I wanted to fight. So I went with the tactic that utilises the Fury status and lots of level 3 limit breaks to twonk that big bugger nice and good. Cloud's and Tifa's limit breaks, while doing some work, didn't seem to do anywhere near the damage Yuffie's "Doom Of The Living" did. Pretty sure she outdamaged both of the other party members put together. I was well impressed.
Cid and Red subbed in for the fight against Ruby Weapon. I went with the same style of tactic, but added in heavy use of an item called Dazers to keep the big bastard stunned as much as possible. Still, this fight was incredibly hard. After scapping for a good 25 mins or so, he ejected two of my party members, leaving just Red, who could not do as much damage as the others, and I failed. As far as I had read, Ruby Weapon could not eject characters from the game during this phase so I was well miffed.
Another attempt created a similar situation, but this time leaving Cid on his own. And after a good long 40 minute scrap, Ruby Weapon was defeated.
With seemingly nothing else to do, I then ventured into the crater and killed Sephiroth. These end fights all felt very strange after the fights with the two super Weapons, as each of the fights ended in victory after just 4-5 normal attacks. It just shows how much stronger you have to get to take on those Weapons.
But that was the end of this run. So surely now I was done with the game?
Or was I?
I'm just as bad at rolling dice here as I am in Warhammer 40K
All that grinding pays off
Zack is best boi who didn't deserve this
Yuffie damn near took Emerald Weapon on her own
Red and Cloud get sucked down into the sand...
...but Cid is able to complete the task alone.
I remembered there was one other thing I had never done, and never even tried to do. This was to get Cloud chosen as Don Corneo's bride. To do this, I had to start the game again and get to Wall Market. This entire little subquest must have been very strange for people to play through and discover for themselves back in the day. For me, it was incredibly weird just going into the original Honey Bee Inn for the first time ever, especially after knowing how it looks in the remake.
But it didn't take long to accomplish this task.
So finally, I truly was done with the game.
Though it's my top game of all time, I readily admit that FF7 is certainly not the best game of all time. It has its fair share of cheese, and of janky mechanics. But it holds its top position because of what it did to me back in the day. All I had ever played before this were football games, fighting games, racing games and other action games. There are only two games I can think of that I had attempted prior, being Resident Evil and the 7th Guest, that were even slightly different to my usual types of games, in that they even had any kind of story. Even then, story wasn't really the focus in those games.
And plus, it's not like I even finished those games back in the day either.
This game is so, so different. The story and characters shine through even amidst all the obvious cheese and jank. And even the long slog moments like getting through the northern continent, and the times I was grinding, did not annoy me as much as the slow moments playing FF7 Remake again.
It really is a shame the new game is so annoying with its slow moments. Because lets face it, the writing quality is so much better in the remake. Though the characters are cool in this old game, they seem so simple and cheesy in comparison. All I am hoping, is that they don't ruin it with the next games in the franchise, like how they damn near ruined it originally with the spin-off games in the past.
Twonking Sephy for what maybe the last time
My first visit to OG Honey Bee Inn gets really weird
You have been chosen
Well, if I never revisit you again, Final Fantasy VII, thank you for the wonderful memories. I will cherish them forever.