Analysis of Game Design: Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII was released in 1997 for the Playstation. It was the first Final Fantasy game in the series that was released on the Playstation, and this meant that the advanced hardware of the console allowed for new things to be brought to this series. FFVII was the first in the series to use full motion video for cutscenes, and use 3D models superimposed onto pre-rendered backgrounds in gameplay, which at the time was revolutionary. Even the 3 disks that the game was released on was a step up from the last title, because previous titles were released on the NES and SNES, meaning that they were released on cartridges as opposed to disks for the hardware of those consoles.

Final Fantasy VII was released and marketed for the teenage to adult audience, and this is greatly apparent from the gritty and action packed trailers, however this game has appeal towards people of any age because of the action packed fight scenes. FFVII is set in a dark dystopian setting that is targeted towards young adults to adults, and some of the overall themes of the game include dealing with loss, moral justice and misguided morality, power and the dangers of abusing it, the dangers of genetic modification, and to an extent, how being in the military can affect a soldier’s mentality, which are all adult themes that a child might struggle to fully understand.

The games design in FFVII is overall impressive. The turn based combat is similar to the games before, using the active time battle system to determine who attacks next and showing how long each character has to wait until their next attack. The use of pre-rendered backgrounds was new for this series, and at the time was a popular solution to creating an illusion of 3D space (for example, pre-rendered backgrounds can also be seen in houses in the legend of zelda ocarina of time). Visually, FFVII looks amazing for it’s time. The environments well reflect what their story and mood, for example the slums of Midgar look dark and gloomy, with areas like the train graveyard that look desolate and reflect despair and abandonment, whereas the Costa del Sol is a bright and warm beach resort, which reflects that everyone in this place is mostly rich and happy, and that they can live their lives in ignorance of the awful things that happen on the other continent. The full motion video cutscenes are even now amazing to watch, and they show the awesome moments of the game which couldn’t otherwise be done justice, for example the reactors blowing up, or pan shots of an impressive plane or action sequence that the 3D models couldn’t do justice. FFVII as a whole was so successful with it’s audience that Square Enix has even announced a remake for the PS4, which will feature a new combat system (which has changed to a real time combat system similar to that of Kingdom Hearts).

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