i warned you!
after years of reading Destructoid in the closet i (finally) decided to come out and embrace my inner dork.
yes.my first "blog" will be typed in t minus... now.
and what better topic than one written about ten million times, but never once getting the point?
Final Fantasy Seven, of course.
I'm 28 now, to give you an idea of my understanding of games at the time this was released.
it was my 2nd FF game (after 6) and 3rd Square game (after ChronoTrigger) and it blew me away.
there is one simple reason to remake this: not to play it again, but to share it with people that haven't.
i can't imagine a friend of mine willing to play a horrible pixelated and dated looking game, much less one that takes 40 hours to finish. FYI i don't know any "gamers" besides myself, at least no one that i consider a close friend (ok, so i got my girlfriend to play PvsZ on her iPhone does that count?)
i think the reasons this game are so timeless can be better described by using film criteria rather that game criteria, after all, the main reason i love it is because of the eco-terrorism storyline and themes of friendship and trust. the characters may not be as developed as possible, but they are iconic in their quirkiness. it's like Mario. he doesn't need to say much more than "its-a mee, a-mario!" and jump on a few goombas to become lovable. the visual design, the backstory, their exaggerated weapons, their attitude, it all just makes a classic cast of protagonists.
the set design is amazing. there is no repeated textures like in 6 or 13 (which look ugly) but every single scene is a miniature piece of art. even with the constraints of being designed to layer over a 4/8 way moving character, it works. there is life in the scenes, from the mako glow in the beginning to the lifestream at the end, from the frog forest to the gold saucer each backdrop oozes polish and charm.
while the story is hit and miss, and there are times where it seems the plot is twisting simply to advance the group to the next town, the themes and dialogue address freemarket economies gone uncontrolled, oil as a limited resource, and the game even gives a very buddhist philosophy on life that makes alot more sense to me than christianity. it all works together to create a completely encompassed universe with tons of stories weaving together from characters all over the world, be they major characters, or just the ramblings of some NPC's. the fact is the game creates a universe for you to visit and live in for your duration of playthrough, where sidequests feel as natural as walking down another street in real life, rather than hitting "x" over an option menu.
the serious nature of the game was presented in an adequately quirky way... i mean its told through bobble headed characters that ride giant chickens that play surf music, so its never preachy, just relevant. but where the real magic lies in the game is with the comedy. the man on the toilet you give laxatives to, only so he can help you dress in drag to fool a pimp into sleeping with you... and even this isn't done in some over-the-top Will Ferrell sort of way, it fits perfectly in with the charm of the rest of the game.
i could honestly give less of a shit about the old english bs the characters in ff12 told me. besides the bunny girl and the main character, i can't even recall another cast member, let alone their personality.
in 13 the characters were just as shallow and annoying and preaching to me some BS about comas or something. i played up until my 3rd trophy then returned it, and i don't see the series getting any better.
mass effect was cheesy because ti tried too hard to be serious as well, its kind of like art class, when you are old enough to draw better than stick figures, but not refined enough to draw a real face... at the point right where it resembles a real face, but is slightly off, is where it looks creepy.
Thats the problem with games trying to be Nietzsche... they are far from. With a game designed as comic and distant from the real world, the player is able to see it as an allusion, a metaphor that he or she translates into real the world around them. With this advent of serious games, the inherent cheese of less-than-Steven Spielberg storytelling shine through like the sun glaring in your rear view mirror. i think part of what made ff7 so perfect was accident. it came at a time when squaresoft couldn't make the super serious cheese it makes now, but at a time after the snes era which was primarily geared towards 13 year old boys. it was like a great relationship: a result of timing. and thats why they will never return to that glory, because they don't realize why they were so glorious (i mean fuck look at the ff7 sequel games).
that right there is why i would love for them to outsource a FF7 remake much as Capcom did with SSF2THD, because only an outside party can see where the magic lies. In the hands of a developer that cares, it would be amazing. Hell, i'd help work on it for free if they let me.