2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

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VideoGameCritic
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2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby VideoGameCritic » February 18th, 2018, 3:27 pm

These two new RPG reviews, written by ptdebate, fill a gaping hole in my review collection.
Let me know what you think!

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Stalvern
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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby Stalvern » February 18th, 2018, 4:51 pm

The Final Fantasy VII review starts with a massive pet peeve for me. Something can be the single most talked-about moment in gaming history, or it can be one of the most talked-about moments, but it cannot be "one of the single" most talked-about moments. That's completely meaningless.

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ptdebate
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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby ptdebate » February 18th, 2018, 9:35 pm

Stalvern wrote:The Final Fantasy VII review starts with a massive pet peeve for me. Something can be the single most talked-about moment in gaming history, or it can be one of the most talked-about moments, but it cannot be "one of the single" most talked-about moments. That's completely meaningless.


Ah, good point. My error. We need your critical eye on the RPG crew, Stalvern!

jon
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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby jon » February 18th, 2018, 11:46 pm

Well, since we're dissecting Ptdebate's review, I figured I'd chime in. The claim at the end of the review that the polygons may not compare to modern titles came out of nowhere. At least there should have been something leading up to that comment alluding to any possible drawbacks the game has. There wasn't any mention of the graphics aging badly earlier in the review. That last comment seemed like it was added because there had to be some criticism. What is the slant as far as how modern gamers would like the game despite its drawbacks? Obviously, I mean heck, I'm not even an RPG fan but my friend was crazy about the game back then and to me even in 1997 I found the graphics absolutely unforgivably atrocious. That seems to be the common theme among PS1 "classics", that they don't look good but the gameplay makes up for it. That's at best debatable in 2018.

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Retro STrife
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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby Retro STrife » February 19th, 2018, 1:45 am

Very happy to see these reviews finally on the site. If my username and avatar don't give it away, I'm a huge fan of FF7 and the FF series in general. To me, even setting aside my bias, the lack of a FF7 review has always been the biggest omission from the site here. It's easy to take the game for granted in 2018, but you'd be hard-pressed to think of a more important RPG. Probably the most defining PS1 game too. It almost singled-handedly brought RPGs into the mainstream on consoles, encouraged all video games to become more cinematic (not just RPGs), and sold a ton of Playstations (best selling PS1 game at retail), helping Sony beat Nintendo by a wide margin in that generation. It was also the game people would usually point to back then when validating the advantages of CDs over cartridges. And, along those same lines, I recall it being the PS1 game that N64 owners most wished that they could have.. while PS1 owners were most jealous of Goldeneye, it was FF7 for most N64 owners. So for lots of reasons, I think it's great to finally have these reviews on here. I hope the Critic will give FF7 a play as well at some point, although I know it's unlikely now that it has been reviewed.

As for the reviews themselves, I agree 100% with the scores and the points in there. Seems like we're on the same page with both of these, ptdebate. I played these both to completion back in the day, and my father did the same within the past 5 years. Based on his experience with them, they seem to both hold up well. FF8 is less accessible though, due to it's steep learning curve on the draw system. While I liked the game, I have no desire to ever return to it. Final Fantasy VII, on the other hand.. reading this review makes me want to pull it off the shelf.

GameOfThrones
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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby GameOfThrones » February 19th, 2018, 2:59 am

two good games. it is like i want the makers of the games to go back to these and see what made them great. then work from their. this is the reason i liked ff. Good reviews as well. i loved ff7 but though 8 was not as good which is reflected in these reviews. i do not always see eye to eye with the reviewer but i am glad we are on the same page with these two games.

Now time for a review of Game of thrones on xbox 360/ps3. it is a focus interactive game.

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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby ptdebate » February 19th, 2018, 10:06 am

jon wrote:Well, since we're dissecting Ptdebate's review, I figured I'd chime in. The claim at the end of the review that the polygons may not compare to modern titles came out of nowhere. At least there should have been something leading up to that comment alluding to any possible drawbacks the game has. There wasn't any mention of the graphics aging badly earlier in the review. That last comment seemed like it was added because there had to be some criticism. What is the slant as far as how modern gamers would like the game despite its drawbacks? Obviously, I mean heck, I'm not even an RPG fan but my friend was crazy about the game back then and to me even in 1997 I found the graphics absolutely unforgivably atrocious. That seems to be the common theme among PS1 "classics", that they don't look good but the gameplay makes up for it. That's at best debatable in 2018.


The 2D backgrounds in FF7 are works of art, so it's easy to excuse the simplistic polygons on top of them.

While we're on the subject, though, the polygons in FF7 look simple because they forego texture mapping, instead rounding out the shapes with gouraud shading. This is the exact same rendering technique that is used in the Jaguar games you praise, but with a much lower poly count and draw distance. Essentially, you're criticizing a superior execution of the thing you dubiously praised elsewhere.

I think you can agree with me that simple 3D is not necessarily a bad thing, and my review does not cast them in a negative light. The point is that just because a 3D game isn't hyper detailed, doesn't mean it can't be awesome.

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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby ptdebate » February 19th, 2018, 10:22 am

Thank you for your comments Strife and GoT! Glad you enjoy these games as much as I do.

I'll admit that VIII is something of an acquired taste. There are obvious drawbacks to such an obtuse character building system, but I have to give Square due praise for not playing it safe.

I'm so glad that in 2018, we can look past the Compilation and all of the other cruft that Square Enix has piled on since the merger, and look at FFVII for what it really is. A lot of my friends who are replaying it these days have noticed, for example, the humor. The grim seriousness of Advent Children really does a disservice to the delightful absurdity of the original.

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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby Retro STrife » February 19th, 2018, 10:57 am

ptdebate wrote:The 2D backgrounds in FF7 are works of art, so it's easy to excuse the simplistic polygons on top of them.


Same thought here. The character models are very crude by today's standards, but most of the "graphics" in the game are actually pre-rendered backgrounds (like the early Resident Evil games had), which means that most of the visuals holds up well enough today. The CG cinemas still look decent enough too, although it has always bugged me that Squaresoft didn't splurge for voice actors during them.


ptdebate wrote:I'm so glad that in 2018, we can look past the Compilation and all of the other cruft that Square Enix has piled on since the merger, and look at FFVII for what it really is. A lot of my friends who are replaying it these days have noticed, for example, the humor. The grim seriousness of Advent Children really does a disservice to the delightful absurdity of the original.


Yeah, despite being a fan of FF7, I'm not a fan of any of Square's other attempts to mooch off the success of the original. I didn't like the Advent Children movie, and found the Crisis Core game on PSP to be average at best. I never bothered with the rest. I'm looking forward to the PS4 remake, though. We'll see how that goes.. if/when it ever gets released.

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By the way, for anyone interested, Square Enix released an updated version of FF7 in 2015 for download on the PS4 and Steam. (This is not the remake, but just an improved version of the original.) It is a port of the old PC version, with slightly improved graphics and some new options. It is said to have a few bugs (especially with the music), but the new options - like turning off random encounters - make up for any issues by bringing the game more up to speed with modern JRPG expectations. Otherwise, it is the original game in all respects. Anyone tried this and have thoughts? I haven't tried it, but this sounds like the best and most convenient way for people to try FF7 that aren't interested in tracking down the PS1 game.

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Re: 2018/2/18: Playstation: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » February 19th, 2018, 1:25 pm

I don't know...VIII's review feels incomplete to me. It ably tackles the experimental gameplay..except for the part where the enemies level up as you do. And the detailed graphics come at the cost of a low resolution, even by PSOne standards. It's as often eye piercingly ugly as it is breath-takingly beautiful. And there's no mention of how you can break the game if you've got the patience for the lengthy summons and a walk-through FAQ.

Not does it talk about the optimal way to break the game, through the single greatest mini-game to ever appear in an RPG. (Sorry, Blitzball fans, but Triple Triad is pure digital cocaine.)

And while the review warns you about the villain swerve, the love story? How endearing is it, really? Two people find each other hot, and then she drags the world's sulkiest JRPG protagonist through the motions of a relationship, like she's giving a cat a bath.

While this could be amazing comedy, it's handled with a one note sincerity that's often cringe inducing, and it drives many players mad. Their potentially interesting dynamic too quickly becomes an epic Hollywood love that doesn't quite feel earned - giving us an early preview of Anakin and Padme. And then there's the amnesia storyline that breaks the suspension of disbelief when it comes to forcing everyone together. ("We just totally forgot about every single one of us growing up together, even before we started using the memory erasing summons we're spamming throughout this entire adventure.")

The Persona series would eventually tackle a lot of the themes here, way more successfully. (Especially V.)

I don't know..I want to love this game. I love its world and its characters. I love the feeling of being what Cloud only wanted to be. I love the chances it takes.

But it really feels like a bad fanfiction of itself. I can only wish we'd all played the game you experienced, instead of what was actually there.


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