Friday, September 15, 2006

Final Fantasy VII: "Expanding"?

Final Fantasy VII made quite a momentous splash when it was first released on Sony’s little grey box in 1997. Cherish it or loathe it, Final Fantasy VII single-handily changed and redefined the role-playing genre with its big-budget cinematic style. While some old school role-playing fans weren’t pleased by the new change, most loved the fresh style. Not only that, but Final Fantasy VII’s mature story and memorable characters signaled a refinement to video games, offering characters you care about greatly (have many references have you heard that apply to Aeris’ death?) and a story that captivates you nearly the whole way through.

So what is a publisher to do years after arguably the most popular and well-known role-playing game is released? Do they try to live up to fans expectations and remake it, offering a familiar though fresh experience in the next generation? Or perhaps, do they try to expand the original story in some sort of way on a more recent platform, and create another 40+ hour epic release? Of course not! While the ideas that were mentioned above may seem logical and fitting for Square’s classic, Square-Enix has decided to milk the Final Fantasy VII name for all its worth, releasing atrocious off-shoots and spin-offs instead of actually pleasing its original fan base that has supported it for years (even though they’ll buy anything bearing ‘Final Fantasy VII’ in the title or relating to it). Here are the games Square-Enix has released lately that tie in directly to the Final Fantasy VII universe.

Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII

An original mobile release for specific cell phones (read: advanced Japanese phones that were one step ahead of other region’s at one point), Before Crisis wasn’t exactly received very well in its homeland of Japan and since then has not found a release anywhere else. A U.S. version has been long-rumored, but it has not yet seen the light of day. The reason for this may be because the game itself isn’t very fitting with an international market outside of the Land of the Rising sun (it was designed specifically for working Japanese people that take trains and buses to work on a daily basis and need some time to kill here and there) and that the cell phone it was released for may (A powerful Panasonic phone) may be too expensive for other regions of the world or other phones haven’t quite caught up to it yet in terms of specs.

Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding

An enhanced port of the min-game found in the original Final Fantasy VII, I, like many other people, have no desire to relive this quirky mini-game in cell phone form. Not only that, but this piece of fluff was severely lacking in the options department and came with a hefty price tag for what it was – ten bucks.

FF VII Snowboarding in
all it's glory.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

This beautifully computer-animated DVD is known to be the high point of the Final Fantasy VII tie-ins. Nostalgic fans ate this DVD up, resulting in high sales and increased prices of the original Final Fantasy VII PSX game on eBay (the game was selling for around $15 on eBay for years but when Advent Children was released the values for the game sky-rocketed, sometimes for more than four times what it was worth before the DVD was put on the market).

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII

If not for those forgettable cell-phone releases, Dirge of Cerberus would definitely be the red-head step child of the Final Fantasy VII tie-ins. A shameful third-person spin-off, Dirge also incorporated some RPG elements into its design. However, the game, in no way, could compare to the countless number of far superior action games already clogging the store shelves. The U.S. version was superior to the original Japanese release (Square-Enix fixed a number of features wrong with the version that hit Japanese retail stores), but that’s not to say it was a game worth playing in any way. If not published by Square-Enix and not bearing the behemoth of a name, then Dirge of Ceberus would have been quickly forgotten not long after release (remember X-Squad for the PS2? How about Hidden Invasion? Urban Chaos: Riot Response? Yeah).


At 9:39 AM, Anonymous gnome said...

An amazing post... Who would have thought such games could be based on FFVII.. really...

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous elderly said...

Excellent, they actually release the snowboarding mini-game, jeez they must have been hard up for cash

At 5:20 PM, Blogger TheTimeRunner said...

I can see it. They left so much open to the world of FFVII that it just demanded for more fleshing out. The only thing good to come out of it was actually the movie. After seeing that I was glad to have a proper ending to that epic game. too bad the other releases were not on par with the rest of FFVII. here's hoping that after crisis on PSP will be the best thing we can get or the last nail on the coffin.

I can sadly say that if they did release a remake of FFVII on PS3, I'd pay the 600 dollar price tag for it.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Wedge14 said...

I saw the movie it was actually pretty darn cool, sure it wasn't as good as commando (which is truly deserving of numerous spin offs and sequels) but it was good.

At 6:26 PM, Blogger DEITRIX said...

The movie was alot better than expected to me... The visuals were awesome I must say!

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