Way Back When
For many gamers who grew up during the 90s, Sony’s original PlayStation was the hottest commodity and their first introduction to three-dimensional graphics. But one game in particular opened those same enthusiasts’ eyes to a new genre, and without it, it’s quite likely that the entirety of the video game market would be different than we know it. That title, of course, was Final Fantasy VII – or as many may remember it, their very first role-playing game.
Indeed, there was a time before RPGs were mainstream, but that era came to a close when the 1997 release of Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy VII, which as the name makes clear, marked the seventh mainline entry in a franchise that had been around for a decade by then. Prior to the game’s launch, role-playing titles had only experienced minor success outside of Japan, but thanks to a massive marketing campaign, cutting edge graphics, and a considerably more mature story than most games of its time, Final Fantasy VII quickly became a resounding triumph for Sony and Squaresoft. In turn, PlayStation sales skyrocketed, and an often overlooked genre saw fresh games begin pouring in from respected developers across the globe, turning Sony’s first console into the absolute best place to experience such adventures.
But as phenomenal as many of those other titles were, few managed to have the same effect as Final Fantasy VII with its dark, engrossing tale of revenge, heartbreak, and self-discovery. Casted as mercenary Cloud Strife, the game saw players join an eco-terrorist group in the city of Midgar, where they would mount an effort to bring down an evil corporation actively draining the life from the planet. However, those same players soon realized that the initial five hours of the journey were simply leading into a deeper narrative taking place across the entire planet and filled to the brim with multiple compelling villains with ambiguous motives and a handful of devastating moments that would haunt them for decades. By melding such a captivating tale with the franchise’s familiar turn-based combat, a cast of unforgettable playable characters, and a stellar soundtrack that has been touted as one of the greatest of all time, Final Fantasy VII became the closest thing to a perfect game for thousands of PlayStation owners.
Even better, not only did Final Fantasy VII win Game of the Year from myriad publications, sell nearly 13 million copies worldwide, and set new standards for its industry – it also managed to stand the test of time. Though its dated visuals may not wow players in the same way they did two decades ago, the game remains a solid experience even by today’s standards thanks to all of its individual aforementioned elements. That being said, its immense popularity finally resulted in 2020’s full-blown overhaul, so for those who never got a chance to experience the magic of the PS1 version and simply don’t want to take a trip in time, Final Fantasy VII: Remake provides a perfectly viable entry point, too. However, it only covers the first quarter of the original game rather than the entirety of the tale, leaving room for future releases to flesh out the remainder of the lengthy story laid out in the 1997 classic.
Where You Can Play It Now
Final Fantasy VII is available on a variety of modern devices, but it’s worth noting that they’re all based off of the PC version. Additionally, the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch versions offer an optional turbo mode that allows you to speed up the game, which can help speed up grinding significantly and makes obtaining trophies and achievements on respective platforms much faster.
Additionally, the PS4 and Xbox One versions are playable via backwards compatibility on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Final Fantasy VII:
- PC (via Steam)
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Nintendo Switch
There’s clearly no shortage of places to play Final Fantasy VII, but you’ll have some issues if you want to catch up on the rest of the series. Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core remains exclusive to Sony’s discontinued PSP, while Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis was only released on old-school mobile devices. You can, however, dive into the first entry in the Final Fantasy VII: Remake saga right away on PS4.