Listen up, all you FF7 fanboys and fangirls. Time for me to school all you chumps and hit you with a fat dose of reality. For years, you guys have put Final Fantasy VII on some kind of pedestal, as if it's somehow superior to other titles in the series. As if it's better than every other game that ever came out for the PlayStation 1. As if it revolutionized the genre and its lasting impact can be felt on every RPG that followed it. Yeah, right! No way, pal, the fact of the matter is, you dopes are looking back at Midgar through a pair of rose-colored glasses. Final Fantasy VII is overflowing with flaws. To be honest, just keeping this list of only 15 of them was a struggle. While it has created a few memorable gaming moments, when actually looking back at the game with a more critical eye, two things quickly become clear. One is that it has not held up over time, and two is that gamers have given it far more credit than it was due. In many ways. Final Fantasy VII is a stepping stone in the series, a game that got us to true genre-defining classics like Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X. So read on, but beware, your mind is about to be changed forever.
Agree? Disagree? Don't forget to drop a comment and let us know! And, as always, SPOILERS BELOW!
15 The Graphics Are Atrocious
Final Fantasy VII's graphics are rough. Everybody has squares for hands. People sometimes just don't have mouths. Those FMV chicks at Mt. Corel look weird! And it's not like the PS1 wasn't capable of delivering way better. Look at Final Fantasy VIII! If you put Squall and Cloud next to each other, you'd think one was a soldier, and one was a Super Mario character that hadn't eaten a mushroom yet. The characters that appear in the cutscenes look NOTHING like the ones you're actually controlling. Cloud has a belt? Tifa's wearing earrings? Wait, one of these characters is just a cat sitting on a mog? Oh, right. Okay. My bad, I knew that last one.
14 Random Battles Are Frustrating
Walk two steps. Get in a fight. Finish the fight. Walk another two steps. Get in another fight. Walk towards the exit door. Oops, fight! If this doesn't drive you insane, you have the patience of a saint.
It seems like with virtually every step you take in this game puts you in a random battle. In fact, the random battles are so annoying, there's actually a Materia you can get in the game called "Enemy Away," that you can equip to cut them down. Not totally eliminate them, just make less of them happen. In the iPhone FF7 port, you have the option to just push a button on the main screen and turn random battles off.
13 Severe Lack Of Smooching
It's a love triangle made in RPG heaven. Cloud and Tifa have been friends since they were kids and definitely seem to have some chemistry as a couple. Then, along comes Aeris and suddenly, Cloud looks like he might be falling for someone else. But does he? Despite some pretty tame innuendo (Aeris offers to trade Cloud a date in exchange for being her bodyguard), we never actually see any sort of romantic relationship develop between any of these characters in a way that culminates in something like, say, a kiss. Instead, we're just supposed to sort of fill in the blanks that something probably happened between somebody somewhere along the line. After Aeris died, I was just begging for Red XIII or Vincent to pull Cloud aside and be like, "Wow, this is sad huh. So, were you guys a thing?" It takes away from the reality of the world and the love stories the game is supposedly telling by presenting every character as inexplicably celibate.
12 Super Long Summon Spells You Can't Skip
Final Fantasy VII's summon spells are very well done. Seeing Bahmut, Odin, or Ifrit appear and annihilate your enemies in one fell swoop is amazing. The first time. But then, you gotta do it again. And again. And again. And every time, you have to watch the same, long animation. I'm not saying remove the summon animations, but not giving the player the option to skip them is frustrating.
This is never worse than in the final battle with Sephiroth. Not only are you casting the seemingly endless Knights of the Round over and over, and likely using Mime Materia so you can cast it even more, but Sephiroth has his own incredibly long, incredibly boring summon. Any kind of player interactive summons would have been a welcome change, and a way for the player to be involved with the summoning, instead of feeling the need to grab a blanket and pillow every time one of them started.
11 The ATB System Is Boring
The screen blurs. The music hits. The excitement of the battle is upon you! You draw your sword, ready your spells, and get ready to...select options from menus. Combat in Final Fantasy VII is about as interesting as adjusting the brightness on your smartphone.
As the Final Fantasy games have progressed, they've come to understand that gamers crave a more immersive combat system, or maybe just something where one of the buttons they push will actually swing their sword. The ATB system is slow, it's boring, it's unrealistic, and it takes away from the overall enjoyment of the game. Plus, you can set the game so enemies will actually wait for you to take your turn as long as you're in a magic or item menu. So hop into your spells list and then go make a sandwich! Go ahead. I'll wait. All done? No problem! This half-wall, half-dragon has been patiently waiting for you. How kind.
10 Materia Is Extremely Limiting
Over time, Mako reactors make rocks. These rocks get really hard and cool. Then, you can put them in your weapons, even though the only weapon that actually seems to have slots for them is Cloud's Buster Sword. This is Materia, AKA colorful rocks.
While learning the Materia system is simple enough, it's also cripplingly limiting. For the sake of contrast, consider Final Fantasy X's sphere grid. It's amazing. Every character in your party could learn every spell in the game if you really want them to. Materia offers none of that potential. It's a piece of rock you put in a weapon slot and level up till it's done, or you "master" it. And guess what you get when you master it? Another piece of the same dumb rock, except this time, unleveled up. Why exactly does Yuffie want this stuff so bad?
9 That Corny Date Scene
You know, we've been working a lot. Fighting monsters, trying to save the world from a deranged lunatic with a massive sword, it's time to slow down and just have some us time, am I right? Enter the Gold Saucer date sequence. Depending on how you've treated the other members in your party, you can either go on the date with Aeris, Tif— yeah right, look, you're just going to get Aeris. You'd have to unlock some kind of cheat code where you spit on her every step she takes throughout disc one to possibly get her to hate you enough not to go on a date with you.
What ensues is a cheesy JRPG sequence where Cloud and his love interest run around the Gold Saucer, participate in a play that's so bad they just let anyone from the audience come up and be in it, and take a ride on some weird wooden cable car. Speaking of the Gold Saucer...
8 The Gold Saucer Games Are Terrible
Let's be straightforward about this: all these mini-games are terrible. Trust me. They are awful. Let's quickly run down a few of the main offenders:
3D Battler: This is basically a game of rock, paper, scissors you will definitely lose. It's like Street Fighter 2, if Street Fighter 2 was replaced with a game of rock, paper, scissors. Fun.
G-Bike: Remember that annoying part earlier in the game where you had to protect a truck full of your friends from getting killed by riding alongside them in a motorcycle and flailing tirelessly at bad guys with your sword? Wanna do that again, but this time, with the potential to win a whole 10 GP? Me neither.
Mog House: This one is the absolute worst. It's basically a cutscene about a Mog trying to find love. PRO TIP: If the Mog looks hungry, feed him. If he doesn't, stop. How do they come up with this stuff?
7 The Fort Condor Mission Is Pointless
In theory, the Fort Condor mission is really cool. Another mini-game of sorts, it's a strategy game plopped right in the middle of FF7's open world map. You purchase soldiers and place them along the mountain to try and defend it from oncoming Shinra forces. There's just one problem: there's no reason to do it. Even if you do nothing, you'll just get the Phoenix summon Materia anyway. So why even do it? Just to dust off those old strategy game skills you've been keeping in your back pocket since you put away Starcraft II?
Side note: it's fun to go to Fort Condor with Aeris in your party, and then when they ask for help, tell them no. She gets really mad at you for not wanting to help people in need. Calm down, lady, I promise I'll come back on disc two. Unless you think something might come up for you before then?
6 The Flashback In Kalm Is Endless
I get it, the flashback is essential to the story and gets all the characters on the same page about their mission and what's going on. But man, this flashback is so long. At one point, it literally stops so you can save your game and decide if you want to keep going. Think about what's just happened in the game at this point: Sephiroth has reappeared and gone on a killing spree, sparing only you and your friends. You've made a daring escape from Midgar, stealing a motorcycle and a truck, and driving till you can't drive anymore. Wow, things are really happening! All is not what it seems, and the whole world seems to have turned upside down! What do we do next? Well, we go rent a hotel room, sit down, and listen to some guy talk about things that happened five years ago. Riveting.
5 Tifa Lockhart Is...Disproportionate
Tifa Lockhart is actually a pretty interesting and complicated character. She's known Cloud since they were kids and in a lot of ways, both grounds Cloud and helps keep the team moving towards their ultimate goal of confronting Sephiroth. She's also a total badass, and her slot-machine inspired limit break is among the best in the game. So why then, did Squaresoft feel the need to draw her as an enormous chest with a small woman attached to it? This is an issue that pops up time and time again in this game. Squaresoft is simultaneously trying to create exciting, new, progressive characters, but keeps falling into the pitfall of hampering them with unnecessary distractions that take away from their otherwise intriguing and fleshed out backstories.
4 Barret Wallace Is A Racist Stereotype
In some ways, Barret represents a real step forward in the Final Fantasy series. He is the first black character to appear in the series, and is a pivotal part of the story, with a fully fleshed out, dynamic, and interesting back story. Counterpoint, he looks like he is based on Mr. T from The A-Team, swears constantly, and speaks in what seems to be some kind of Japanese impression of African American slang.
It's not that there aren't positives to Barret, and future iterations of the character have toned down the racist elements that plagued his first appearance (his role in Advent Children, for example). It will be interesting to see how Square chooses to portray him in the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 remake.
3 Cait Sith
Cait Sith is a fortune telling machine, consisting of a cat with a megaphone sitting on top of a mog. Enemies, beware! When you first meet him, Cait Sith tells Cloud's fortune at the Gold Saucer, announces he is intrigued by what he finds, and says he is joining the group. Sure, why not?
Maybe if someone had asked him a few questions, they would have quickly realized Cait Sith is actually controlled by Reeve, an insider at Shinra. Reeve tricks and robs our heroes, and when Cloud confronts him, he reveals he's taken Barret's daughter, Marlene, hostage. Cool guy!
Cait Sith proves his worth when he sacrifices himself to obtain the Black Materia, but his bold decision to destroy his machine body for the greater good is nullified when, out of nowhere, another Cait Sith instantly appears to replace him. "There's plenty of stuffed toys like my body around, but there's only one me," he says, proving himself wrong as an identical version of himself arrives.
2 Chocobo Breeding Is Completely Impossible Without A Guide
Want to get some of the best items in the game (and one that seems to have virtually no reason for existing? I'm looking at you, HP/MP Switch Materia)? Well then, you're gonna have to breed some chocobos. Okay, no problem, you say. I'll just go catch some and breed them and probably be done with this in no time. But oh no, no, no. Of course, it's not that simple. You have to make sure you breed one from this area with one from this area. Oh, and make sure one is great, and one is wonderful. Got it? Okay. That should get you a blue. Now you need a green. But you can't do it right away! Those ones just mated. You have to wait a while. No, not yet! Soon. Now? No. Later. Okay, now! Great. Now you gotta go get one from—okay, I'm going to stop, you get it. Thanks for nothing, Chocobo Billy.
1 Cloud. Is. Awful.
He's moody. He complains. He's self-depreciating. He's Cloud Strife, the spiky-haired sorta-likable protagonist of Final Fantasy VII! From the second you meet Cloud, he's already talking about how he just wants to finish his job and then get lost. But as it turns out, you're stuck with Cloud for the whole game. Even though Cloud is technically the game's main character, the whole thing would never move forward if not for Tifa and Aeris, who constantly pull Cloud up off his bum and shove him through each part of the story.
Cloud is also dumb. Even though he knows Sephiroth has some kind of control over him, he goes to the Temple of the Ancients and gets the Black Materia, only to instantly hand it over. Sigh.