Final Fantasy 7 Coming to PC (Again)

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

It has been announced recently that Final Fantasy 7 is to be re-released, and (shock) is PC bound. Of course, this has already been foretold – ever since the PS3 tech-demo featuring Aeris was shown to gob-smacked crowds at some presentation or something (I’m not big on the PS3), there has been a deep murmur in certain parts of the web that a remake may be in the works.

Shame then, that it isn’t.

The key word in the big announcement is this – “re-release”. Not a remake, not a re-imagining… a re-release. Now, this is a game that was originally released in 1997 – fifteen years ago for you hard of counting. And a wonderful game was had by all who partook of it’s splendor, myself included. To this day, there has barely been a game that has captured my imagination in the way that FFVII did – from (spoilers!) the destruction of sector 7, to the monstrous acts of the game’s main nemesis, all the way to the murder of… well, play it and see.

My point is, it’s a memory. An experience that most of us of a certain age will remember fondly – the Golden Saucer, Bahamut Zero, Knights of the Round, Meteor, Cait Sith… it’s a part of my childhood. Sitting there alongside The Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart, Sonic the Hedgehog, and all the other nonsense I played when I was a kid. And as anyone with memories like these will tell you – time is never kind to them.

FFVII is ugly. It was ugly when it was new on the PC – blade-sharp 3d characters on poorly rendered 2D backgrounds, blurry cutscenes, and the audio was up there with a Gameboy Colour game. Yes, the music was amazing, inspired and full of emotion, but it all sounded like it was being played on a digital watch. I vividly remember, just after blowing up the first reactor, you end up outside with flames licking from the tunnel you just somersaulted from – and thinking “Wow, that fire sounds like shit”. This was in 1997, I might add.

If I was to brutally, childhood-wreckingly honest, the Final Fantasy games were never that good. Sure, we all remember them as something precious, something that will stay with us forever. But the combat was little more than slightly entertaining sums, the plot made almost no sense outside Japan thanks to a properly bad translation, and random battles? Random bloody battles? You are kidding me, right? The thought of going back and playing it again, despite my fond memories, makes me feel slightly ill.

But think about it; I was 14 when I played FFVII. It was probably the first ever RPG I actually played and finished. And whatever flaws the gameplay had, it was Epic (capital E!) in a way I simply had never experienced. We all joke about gamers “saving the world hundreds of times” and so on, but I think FFVII was my first time. And no matter how embarrassing, no matter how clumsy, we always remember our first time with a kind of wistful smile. And that’s that.

If you’re going to resurrect something like this, you simply have to make it compatible with standards. Remake The Ocarina of Time in the Skyrim engine. Splash a lick of HD-paint on Metal Gear Solid. Anything, but for the love of god, don’t re-release a game cherished by so many as flawed as it was back then, with the promise of “Character boosters” (cheats) and “Cloud saves” (fuck off), like that’s some kind of incentive. Every gamer’s rear-view mirror is rose-tinted for some game, a game that would simply not work in the modern world, and I fear FFVII may be one of them. It’s certainly one of mine.

So, my memories of this game will remain that – memories. If I ever want to revisit that mad, wondrous and broken world, I’ll watch the recap-disk that came with Advent Children. At least then I can avoid the random battles…

Of course, if you have never played FFVII for some reason, you totally should. If only once. It’s great.

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