With the exception of some of Nintendo's Pokemon games, there is no Japanese RPG more famous and high-selling than Final Fantasy 7 [$15.99]. That might be the only non-controversial thing a person could say about the game. It's the JRPG's Star Wars, a game that changed the course of the genre in many ways. It proved there was an audience for RPGs in the Western market, but it was also a bold statement for consoles adopting optical media and perhaps even Sony's entire mission with the PlayStation. Here is the future, its commercials screamed, and though they were pretty deceitful in one way, those commercials helped pave a new road for console gaming's future. For many people it was their first JRPG love, and the passion it drove in its fanbase pushed Square into the limelight worldwide to the extent that they could push a ridiculously-budgeted CG movie into wide theatrical release. It spawned spin-offs, sequels, prequels, and merchandise galore. And now, in 2015, you can play it on the phone you keep in your pocket.

The funny thing is, behind the marketing and the visual tricks, Final Fantasy 7 is a pretty ordinary JRPG. From a gameplay standpoint, there's very little of the game that couldn't be done in a similar engine as its immediate predecessor. Even compared to other games in the same series, it's a remarkably safe entry from a mechanical standpoint. Some decry the game for that, but I think it's part of why it's a perfect ambassador for the genre. It lured players in with its (at the time) sweet presentation, kept them there with its woolly yet engaging story, and all the while taught everyone what a Japanese-style RPG was all about. The simple, satisfying way it handles character customization and growth through its Materia System remains one of the most broadly-appealing approaches to date for the genre. It's packed with fun secrets and amusing mini-games that help keep things fresh at just the right moments. The cast is strong, with plenty of memorable characters on both the good and bad side. If this was your first Final Fantasy, you certainly could have done worse.

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Most of that holds true even now, in this 2015 iOS port. The presentation has lost a lot of its jazz, to be sure, but there's still a certain nostalgic charm to its blend of simple polygonal figures and rendered, low-resolution backgrounds. It probably won't take your breath away anymore when video takes over one of those backgrounds and makes them come to life, but it's still a pleasing technique. In spite of its release on the PC the following year, Final Fantasy 7 was never really meant to be played on anything other than a PlayStation hooked up to a CRT television, so there are naturally a lot of things that don't look great on iOS displays. The backgrounds look more pixelated than ever, the polygon seams are more clearly visible, and the game uses borders if you're on a device that deviates from the supported aspect ratios from 1998, when the PC port this version is based on was released. There's not much Square could have done about any of this stuff without doing some extensive (and expensive) work. Many of the original assets have been lost for a long time, so they can either use what they have, or rebuild them. A remake is on the way for PlayStation 4 if you want the latter, but iOS users will have to make do with the former.

Likely for similar reasons, this is the first of Square Enix's iOS Final Fantasy ports that doesn't use the touchscreen for anything other than manipulating virtual buttons. You can use an MFi controller if you have one, but otherwise, everything from movement to menu navigation is handled by on-screen buttons corresponding to just about every button on a PlayStation controller. With the dynamic camera moving around constantly during battles, it's easy to see why they couldn't work in touch controls there, but it is a bit annoying to have to go through shop menus and equip screens without being able to just tap on the things you want. The virtual controls are decent enough, but having that many buttons placed on the screen doesn't look all that good, especially on smaller displays.

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In addition to the issues that Square Enix probably couldn't reasonably have done much about, however, there are a few places this port drops the ball where it could certainly do better. First and foremost, the save function. Final Fantasy 7 allows you to save in the same places the original did. That is to say, you can save at save points, or on the world map. Save points are generously scattered around, but you won't even see the world map until you're several hours into the game. If the game is booted out of memory for whatever reason, you can only resume from your last save. There's an autosave feature, but it only saves on the world map after exiting a dungeon, town, or battle. I can guess that Square Enix isn't big on save states, but it probably would have been better than nothing here if a quicksave or resume function couldn't be implemented. Mobile RPGs need convenient save functions. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about that. On the positive side, the game does support iCloud saving, so you can at least move your saves around or delete the game without losing your progress.

There are also a few bugs. None of them are particularly game-breaking, and they're even unintentionally funny in some ways. Certain iOS versions seem to run animations outside of battle at unnaturally high speeds. I'll say this, it makes Palmer even funnier than he already is. A device reboot sometimes clears this up, but not always. I have to wonder if this was a by-product of making the battles run at a better framerate, but your guess is as good as mine. Another problem comes from one of the few changes made in particular for this version. Your character now runs by default, rather than walking, and what was once the run button is now assigned to walking instead. This is a great change, but one sequence requires you to sneak out of Aerith's house unnoticed. Logic dictates you'll want to move slowly here, which means walking. Unfortunately, in this situation, the game is looking for you to not push that button that was once assigned to run, so if you try to walk out, you'll get busted. You have to run out instead. Not a big deal once you know how, and perhaps it shows just how difficult it is to make even a small change to the game without something somewhere messing up.

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If you can take that all in stride, this is actually a perfectly serviceable version of Final Fantasy 7. The mini-games work well enough with the virtual controls, the loading times are greatly reduced as compared to the original PlayStation version, and all of the interesting new options from the Steam release of the game have been carried over. That means players who just want to zoom through and enjoy the story can press a button to max out every stat, flick off encounters, and cruise through. Similarly, expert players who want to make things a little spicier can now simply turn off encounters to keep their levels low rather than the tedious process of running away. For everyone in between, being able to flick encounters on and off is a small, but appreciated update. You'll make it hard on yourself if you use it too much, but being able to double-back and check a different branch in a dungeon without getting slammed by meaningless encounters is pretty useful, as far as I'm concerned.

That just leaves the game itself. Although many people disagree, I believe very firmly that while certain aspects of games can age over time, a truly good game will always be good. Final Fantasy 7 has lost its visual shine that drew so many eyes to it, and there's no doubt that the series and the genre have changed greatly in the last 18 years. In those respects, Final Fantasy 7 shows its age. The sizzle has cooled, and what is left is a meat-and-potatoes JRPG with a wild, sometimes nonsensical, but nevertheless entertaining story. For better or worse, they really don't make them like this anymore, which means there's certainly room for another visit to Midgar and Nibelheim, provided you're looking for the usual JRPG trappings. Some of the mini-games are better than others, and what felt clunky then surely doesn't feel better now, but they're quite appreciated in terms of building the character of the game and busting up strings of ATB battles and trying to sniff out hotspots in the prerendered backgrounds.

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While the game itself is of average length for the genre, running about 40 hours or so, it feels incredibly big. You'll spend the first several hours of the game in a single city, and it's hard to describe the feeling that comes from taking your first steps outside of it. The plot is kind of silly, but the characters are interesting, so they manage to hold things together for most of the story. And you know, for as much as people rightfully pick at the story, I think Final Fantasy 7 has a lot of little scenes and moments that work very well. Cloud's recollection of his visit to his hometown and the conversations with his mother has a lot of subtle emotion to it. It's the kind of situation where we claw at our memories to remember something that we didn't feel was important to pay attention to at the time. It's not terribly important to the overall story, or even to the thread going on in that section of the game, but it's handled very nicely. There are lots of scenes like that, and while I won't list more for the sake of first-time players, I think they give the game an emotional resonance that lifts its overall narrative. Yes, a lot of stupid, wacky, and bizarre twists come, but there's also a real, honest melancholy tone to the game, and little bits like that help keep you following along when things go strange.

I also genuinely appreciate the game's cheeky sense of humor. This game is often cited as a dividing line for the series, with a lot of people putting the first six games on one side of the line and everything else on the other. I'm not sure I agree with that exactly, however. I think Final Fantasy 7 is a line in and of itself. It has one foot planted in the goofy charm the earlier games often displayed, with characters breaking the fourth wall, mugging for the camera, and suddenly developing the oddest of talents, while simultaneously planting its foot firmly in the self-serious drama many of the later installments would adhere strictly, too. This Final Fantasy isn't afraid to laugh at itself, even while it gets deadly serious at times. I feel like it has a lot in common with Final Fantasy 6 in that regard. Its use of slightly abstracted models for the characters helps greatly with that. There's a famous sequence in the Wall Market area of Midgar where you're putting together pieces for a disguise, and I simply can't imagine that working nearly as well when the remake tries to do it with more realistic models.

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As far as the mechanics go, Final Fantasy 7 mostly builds on those found in the sixth game. Limit Breaks return, but instead of being as rare as a solar eclipse, they're a regular staple in battles. The Magicite System in the sixth game gets a few tweaks and becomes the Materia System. Characters have their own stats, weapons, and Limit Breaks, but every other ability is contained in your materia, magical stones that you can add to your weapons and armor. Your characters will level up through experience, while materia becomes more powerful from AP earned in battles. It makes the characters largely interchangeable, since you can always just move your materia set-ups from one character to another. That works in the game's favor at times, but at the cost of feeling invested in any particular characters from a gameplay point of view. The main advantage to it is that there's no real way to lose out. Characters who leave your party for story reasons won't take your investment with them. It's not my favorite Final Fantasy customization system, but it's decent enough, and it is definitely fun to collect all of the various materia, even though assured madness lay down that path.

I feel like the game kind of loses itself after what was originally the end of the first disc, when the most well-known spoiler in video gaming happens. It's almost metafictional the way the game itself feels like it's in a state of confused grief for a while before it starts to pick up the pieces and move on. There are lots of side-trips that don't quite hit the mark, like the first trip to Wutai, or the bizarre business with an old friend of Barret's. The game sometimes feels like it's dragging during some of these jaunts, though they never actually last all that long. The move away from tile-based 2D also introduced some control awkwardness that the series would resolve in later games, but not here. You sometimes have to be in just the right position to talk to someone or examine something, and your character will sometimes stubbornly resist getting into said position. The battles can also feel pretty slow, especially when participants let rip with their powerful attacks. You can't skip summon animations in this game, nor can you skip Sephiroth's two-minute special attack, or any other overly-long sequence. They're impressively cinematic, but sometimes you just want to get on with things, and you can't do that here. My kingdom for a fast-forward button in battles to go with my bugged, sped-up Palmer outside of battles.

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Naturally, the usual Final Fantasy problems are here, too. Regular battles feel meaningless due to their lack of difficulty and the fact that you can cheaply heal up at a save point right before almost every boss. Finding certain items and materia can be so convoluted that it would be nearly impossible to figure out how to track them down on your own. It's a characteristic particularly present in this period of gaming where guide sales were the industry's up-sell of choice over IAP hats, and while it definitely becomes worse in the next couple of Final Fantasy games, there are still some absurdly obscure things here. Status ailments are extremely hard to stick on enemies, rendering too many abilities useless. The game doesn't have much in the way of teeth except in optional battles, so if you're looking for a challenge, this probably isn't the best place to get off the train. That said, the optional battles that are in here are absolutely wonderful tests of your mastery of the game. The rewards for beating them probably won't be of much use by the time you're strong enough to do so, but simple victory is a rewarding enough feeling.

While the visuals have lost a lot of their luster, Nobuo Uematsu's stunning soundtrack is still a treat for your ears. It goes in a very different direction from Final Fantasy 6 [$14.99], and while it's not my favorite in the series, Final Fantasy 7's soundtrack is home to some of the best tracks in the whole series. I swear, half the reason people even like Sephiroth is because of his epic theme, but beyond that famous track sits a wonderful variety of tunes that cover the many ups and downs of the game. Rounding out the presentation, the localization has seen a few touch-ups compared to the original. Don't hope for too much of an improvement, though, since the changes are mostly concerned with blatant grammar errors and so forth. It reads well enough, but it does come off a little stilted compared to the more recent translations found in Square's other iOS Final Fantasy releases. As a funny side note, they still haven't fixed the dialogue mistake in one of the early bosses that gives you the exact opposite advice you need to win the battle.

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Setting aside the lack of a decent save function and a couple of bugs, this is probably the best Final Fantasy 7 port iOS gamers could have reasonably expected. That said, although I don't think Square had many good options here, the lack of touch controls, the borders that appear on many devices, and the overall grainy look of the game are certainly things that prospective buyers will want to keep in mind. Support for MFi controllers, iCloud, and the addition of a couple of cheat options are welcome, but I really do wish Square Enix had done better by the save system while they were doing their thing. As for the game itself, you can love it, you can hate it, and I've certainly done both over the last 18 years, but however you rank it in the overall series, I feel like it's hard to argue against it being a really good JRPG.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Maglor

      \\ Λ_Λ
       \(´∀`) OMG!! THAT GODBLESS
        > ⌒ヽ TWINKLE ☆☆☆☆☆!!
       /   へ\ Alright!! I'm Lovin' It!! <3
       /  / \\ 👍👍👍👍👍
       レ ノ   ヽ_つ
      / /
      / /|
     ( (ヽ
     | |、\
     | 丿 \ ⌒)
     | |  ) /
    ノ )  Lノ

  • defunct32

    Completed it twice back on the PSOne in 1997, it's fun, but I still don't see the appeal this game garnered even after more than a decade.

    • Brendan Charles

      I will give this game another shot once I get my next iDevice- but I also never understood the unwavering love for this game. I tried to play it a few years ago and I found it so unbearably slow- and I'm a guy that likes turn based RPGs and strategy games.

      Also, maybe it's a cultural thing but I didn't get attached to the story or characters during the (limited) time that I did play. Nothing hooked me about it.

      • MrAlbum

        You can increase the battle speed to make random encounters faster and more difficult. Aside from that, the cheat options may be the way to go if that's still not fast enough for you. I certainly enjoy the more luxurious pace the game has me on right now, and that's with random encounters on and the battle speed increased, though that's just my feelings on the issue.

      • Brendan Charles

        It wasn't so much the battles that were slow- I'm talking about the pacing of the game early on outside of battle.

      • defunct32

        Perhaps it is a cultural thing? The beginning is slow but it picks up later, then gets draggy, picked up and got draggy again; pacing problem, but oh, the final battle and the music are absolutely delicious. I loved it!

      • defunct32

        Also Brendan, what's the next iDevice you'll be purchasing?

      • Brendan Charles

        Probably 6+S (6S+?)

      • Sporting my "Told you so" face

        The unwavering love is because it was the first final fantasy with 3D graphics and FMV cinemas. So, because of the eye candy, it was many peop,e's first FF game. FF6 is faaaaar better in my opinion if you can stand the lesser graphics.

      • http://howtokillasuperhero.net/ Pablo Greene

        Which game in the series (for iOS) would you recommend instead?

    • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2010758051/westerly Irabbit75

      Serious OCD. I had to get all the summon materia capture all the monsters beat Emerald and Ruby weapon. It took me a long long time to beat this game. Would I do it again. Yes. I loved the characters, mythology and the system they built to support them.

    • DenzilofDojima

      You played through a 40 hour long (minimum) RPG twice and you can't see the appeal? Interesting...

      • defunct32

        I play all my RPGs twice, first is a casual, blind playthrough no guide, nothing, second is with a guide trying to 100% everything. Just because I play something more than once doesn't mean I find it appealing and/or legendary.

      • DenzilofDojima

        Okay, it makes total sense that you would replay a massive game to 100% completion and not find that game appealing.

      • defunct32

        Right! Totally ignoring the fact that I did mentioned to you, that one: I play *all of my RPGs twice*, two: I find the game fun and three: I just find the the hoo-haa over this game very exaggerating and I don't see what is the appeal? If you love this game, sure, enjoy it man! I'm not even looking down or side-eyeing you whatsoever. More power to you.

      • defunct32

        If you're going to come back with another witty or snarky response, dude, get over it already. God forbids someone, anyone having a different opinion about something, jeez!

      • DenzilofDojima

        There's nothing to get over. If something is fun then surely it's appealing? It's your questionable command of the English language that created a contradictory statement and made you appear douchey. Learn the definition of appeal: problem solved. Good day.

      • defunct32

        Whoah! You hold it right, you crossed the line with douchey here. Here, I am merely stating what I think of the game and there you are getting all defensive? Why? Why were you so defensive in the first place? Or is it that perplexing to you that I did enjoyed the game and to a certain degree find it "fun?" but I still don't get why is everyone losing their mind over this game? Everyone else who replied to my comment are sensible, except you.

      • DenzilofDojima

        I don't think you understand what defensive means either. I couldn't care less if you like the game or not. But to say you played the heck out of something to the extent you describe and not see why people love it so much is daft. Also I don't believe that you play every RPG twice out of some habit even if said RPG isn't amazing. "That RPG wasn't so hot, now I'm gonna 100% it!!". I found your comment silly and I'm responding to your silly comment.

      • defunct32

        Goodness! You don't know when to give up do you? (I can say the same for myself actually), it's exasperating (wait... I probably don't know what this word means, shoot!). You know what? You win! I give up. I just do not have the energy and time to keep going back and forth arguing with you over trivial (I hope this is a word?) matters like these on the internet, it's like a battle of attrition (oh, another word I probably have no idea, silly me). Have a good week, bud.

  • Gamer_Kev

    The release got me thinking about the game so I got my PSX version off the shelf where it's pretty much sat since the 90's. While I don't put this game on a pedestal like a lot of people do, it was a fun RPG that raised the popularity of my favorite genre, bringing about a huge increase in availability of RPGs on consoles in the U.S., so I owe it that. What strikes me as surprising is that the new version looks hardly any better than running the original on my PS3 with smoothing on. I think I would have been much more tempted to buy this had it been given a real HD facelift. As it is, though, with my money low until next payday, a week off yet, I think I'll put my money on other games for my iPad.

  • NoodleBear

    Enjoying this game sooo much but playing on iPad mini 1 with a few lag spikes but '○3○ I'm an FF fanboy.

  • Inaba-kun

    "For better or worse, they really don't make them like this anymore"

    Actually they do. Bravely Default is a wonderful old school style RPG from Square.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      I feel like Bravely Default calls back to an earlier era of RPG than the Square PSX catalog. I agree that it's a great game, though like FF7 it hits its peak well before the game is over.

      • JindoFox

        I have heard that Bravely Default paints over some of the less player-friendly aspects of this kind of game: the terrible pacing, the meaningless random battles. I wanted to like FF7 in 1997, but couldn't get past the annoying parts that made it unplayable to me. I've since tried again on PSP but still lost interest. I think I've finally learned my lesson and will leave it alone on iOS...but something tells me I'll grab it when it goes on sale during the holidays just to be a completist.

      • defunct32

        You own a 3DS? What other RPGs do you play on it, Shaun? Got me all curious, TBH, with thanks.

      • Shaun James Musgrave

        Haha, I own two! A North American 3DS XL and a Japanese New 3DS LL. As for what RPGs I play on it, well, it's a pretty big list. Can I just say "everything"? Fire Emblem is fantastic, Bravely Default is great, I'm a huge fan of the entire Etrian Odyssey series, SMT4 was really good, Soul Hackers in English for the first time was a treat, Dragon Quest 7's remake is awesome, Persona Q is cool, Crimson Shroud is a nice light bite... well, you probably get the point, haha. And of course, Monster Hunter, Monster Hunter, Monster Hunter!

      • Pivi

        I have to second that Fire Emblem Awakening is great on 3DS. I should also add that playing Xenoblade Chronicles on the new 3DS is a fantastic experience.

      • defunct32

        Oh, we have the same taste sans Japanese only releases, if DQ 7/8/etc doesn't make it to the West I'll lose my mind. I got my New 3DS XL in mid June this year and I'm already missing out on 4-5 years worth of game. I have already finished FE: Awakening, played a bit of Fantasy Life but putting it aside for Bravely Default. Am getting Devil Survivor, Rune Factory 4 and SMT IV... Can't wait for Stella Glow, Legend of Legacy and Final Fantasy Explorers, aaaaaahh!

      • Pivi

        Get Xenoblade Chronicles for your shiny New 3DS XL, it worth it. Took me two months to finish it, there's so much content in there.

        Also, heads up for western Dragon Quest 8 release, somehow the iOS version doesn't click with me.

      • defunct32

        Already got Xenoblade when I purchased my New 3DS, I'm saving it for the last. Hopefully, Square will wise up and release DQ 7 and 8 in the West. 😉 what other RPGs would you recommend getting fir the 3DS?

      • Pivi

        Well, most of RPGs was mentioned by Shaun, but my here's my list: Xenoblade Chronicles, Bravely Default, the Zeldas (still has to play Majora's Mask), Etrian Odyssey Untold (I have EO IV too, not yet played), Fire Emblem: Awakening, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Tales of the Abyss (although I got a little bored with it).

        Also, I'm an adventure and puzzle fan, so the Layton series, Ace Attorney games and Virtue's Last Reward are essential.

      • defunct32

        Thanks! I have EO2 Untold and Bravely (in fact, am playing it now), I'm not big on puzzle games so I'll skip that. I might look into the Mario game 😉 is it a RPG in every sense of the word? I'll definitely YouTube it but more specifically if you have started the game I'd love to know your opinion on it? I'm also looking at Devil Survivor and SMT IV (I'm feeling 50/50 on this one).

  • Milotorou

    I am enjoying it a whole lot but your review is spot on, there are some flaws (my big gripes are the quicksaves being non-existant and the fact we dont get widescreen on iphone)

    By the way Shaun, i dont see any mentions of the 4:3 resolution in your review, did you play on iPhone ? On ipad its definitely not a problem but on iPhone it sure is an hindrance.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      I played on my iPad, but I did mention the borders. They're regrettable but I think not something SE could do much about, given what they had to work with.

      • Milotorou

        Well this is a port of the pc version, which plays full screen on a widescreen pc... So im inclined to think they could have done something...

        In any case the port is not as bad at it first looked, im enjoying it, though playing ff7 again just strengthens the love i have for ff6 and ff4, lol.

  • CyberData4

    I'm just disgusted that SE couldn't be bothered to implement a proper port of the game and gave gamers this sloppy mess. I expected better for a mobile port of FF7. Not clunky emulated control schemes. Not after all the experience they have porting their games to iOS.

    Sped up characters, Fisher Price My-First-RPG cheats, no widescreen support for iPhones, and really u intuitive controls means I can't justify the purchase. FF7 is a great game but there are too many other platforms that do the game justice to justify this embarrassment.

    • Levanax

      I can appreciate that this isn't the best port of the game that we could have hoped for but considering that Square said never wasn't out of the question, I'll take it. I'm about 6 and half hours is and I've gotten used to the controls to the point I barely register them anymore. The game is still fun in all the right ways and even though I own it on 3 other platforms, the ability to play this on the go can't be understated. This game remains a classic and I don't regret buying it for a second. Just my two cents.

    • curtneedsaride

      Nothing is worse than the lack of save states for me.

      • Milotorou

        ^ this.

        This is the only thing i wish was fixed, especially considering all their other games got that function (even DQVIII that is ported from PS2)

    • nini

      Like has been said before, the cheats were in the Steam version of the game too, this isn't something unique to iOS.

  • Tallgeese

    I disagree that it's a "pretty ordinary JRPG." I unfortunately don't see enough JRPGs (at least previous to FFVII, but please correct me if I'm wrong) having you fight anything other than rats, bats, or slimes in the first few levels of your tiny ancestral village's starter dungeon, cave, or forest. AND The Spirits Within wasn't what anyone expected but it was hardly terrible visually or narrative-wise (it's on the high-end spectrum of direct-to-DVD or the Fathom Events things we see nowadays). I am disappointed to hear that it doesn't look very good when you'd think making the screen smaller would have the opposite effect (without understanding the PS2 to iOS/computer emulator limitations). At the very least the music isn't .midi although that might be fun as an option (would be dope if they make a "sliding" update with the PS4 version where you can compare old and new graphics with a toggle and include a Tim Schafer commentary like in the Monkey Island remakes (I DON'T CARE. WHY NOT TIM?))

    • Shaun Musgrave

      Mechanically, FF7 is pretty ordinary. But even in terms of what you're talking about, it's no different from previous FF games and quite a few others. What ultimately distinguishes FF7 is its style, in my opinion, anyway.

      • Tallgeese

        Good, then let's just agree that it's the best game ever and you accidentally clicked 4 stars instead of 5. Huh? What's that, Shaun? You tried to give it 6 stars!?!?! -- But then the site got "confused" and Clippy transubstantiated into HTML and asked, if, "you meant to put 4 stars?"... And then published it... himself (I assume Clippy's a boy...who needs pants). Well that's ok, Shaun. I won't hold it against you forever... And Ever. And Ever. And Ever... Maybe... Ooooh, 7 Stars!?!? Well that's only fitting! Make it happen, Clippy!!!

  • Tallgeese

    I'm not sure your brain would remember anything three solid (I'm guessing that also means sleepless) æffected days in. Congratulations on turning the corner and your accomplishments, though!

  • BaronKrause

    Why do none of their ports ever support Gamecenter, they all have achievement support on other platforms that came before them.

  • smiffee666

    Got an air2 at the weekend and it looks brilliant, I know it's a bit dated by today's standards but I was in my early 20's, 22 If I remember correctly, when I got this on ps1 for Xmas for myself (sits bk in rocking chair and lights his pipe), it's funny but even then, I remember thinking that I would never find a game quite like it again, 10 and 12 on ps2 came close but no other jrpg ever captivated my imagination or took up so much of my time as much as 7, now I can play on my phone or iPad and I feel truly privileged to be able to do this. I don't even mind the borders on the phone cos if the aspect was stretched to fit, it would look a right old mess n the visuals on the phone, although smaller, are sharper than on iPad (air 2). It ain't perfect but for me, graphics never were THE most important aspect of a game(takes a drag of pipe n starts rocking back n forth)

    • curtneedsaride

      I've been smoking my pipe on the porch while playing. I'm trying to usher in Autumn, which I think will be full of FFVII.

  • smiffee666

    Oh, how could I forget 9? Loved that one too. Not as much as 7, never really got into 8 though for some reason!!

    • curtneedsaride

      IX was my first FF game. Love love love that art style! Hope we see it ported as well eventually.

  • Marvin

    I'm on an iPad Mini 3 before I updated and after I updated my iOS the sound hasn't worked for this game. What's even weirder, if I plug in headphones, it works just fine.

    • Marvin

      I feel kinda bad at leaving it at that, because I absolutely love this game. I had to charge my steel stratus specifically for this game. I've always thought this was one of the greatest games of all time. Despite some of its flaws, the materia system, the limit breaks, the chocobos, and many other components make this a very rewarding game. I maxed the timer out on my PS memory card at 99:99:59 on more than one play through. While the graphics don't appear as great as they once did, I'm okay with that. And when the remastered version hits, I'll probably buy it too!

  • Qaioud

    My general feeling about this has been, "OMG! Square really are giving the finger to iOS users."

    I do hear what you're saying about the cost of filling out graphics but... Good grief. Virtual buttons for menu navigation? Constant on-screen buttons that, afaict, I just won't use?

    I don't know if Square are expecting this to bring in a trivial profit, but it does feel like a "least possible effort" port. The graphics... Ok. Crt and all that. But the flicker and shudder is something chronic.

    This is a darned pricy game. (For iOS, of course). It will always have a solid market. But this does feel like it's a port that's edging towards "what can we throw at them, that the suckers will still buy"; rather than "how can we make this complete classic into a premium experience on iOS?"

    • Shaun Musgrave

      I think SE had a hard choice to make. Most of what you're asking for would require a new version of the game that would have to be built nearly from the ground up. I'm not sure the market for premium mobile games, even this one, could justify that size of project. So I really believe (with the exception of a few issues that I genuinely expect them to address) it was either this or nothing at all. Naturally, SE makes money from this route, but I'd also imagine most of the fans are happier having it like this as opposed to not at all.

      • smiffee666

        Hell yes Shaun, it could have been much worse, great review, always a good read

      • Agkelos

        Agreed. Also, I imagine SE is spending all their time and money on the actual remake for the PS4. I'm actually pretty happy with this port. There are some quirky spots, but considering the asking price is only a fraction of the original price I paid for my PS1 version, I still consider this a steal. Currently 20hrs into the game on my iPad Air 2 with an MFi, and I'm loving it!

      • curtneedsaride

        Hope they give in eventually and include save states on these ports, though.

      • Qaioud

        Would it really have been so hard to integrate a few more save points? Or to make the menus touch menus (instead of relying on D-pad controls)?

        These don't intuitively sound like huge pieces of work - but IMO would make quite a difference! Without a mfi controller, IMO the menu decision feels actively hostile - it's getting in the way. And save points... Ugh.

        I've played just over an hour. I would have played more, but rely on my iPad for other things. I have to balance a fair few demands on my time. So to know I'm chained to my iPad and, specifically, FF7 for eg 15 mins until the next save point - isn't straightforward.

        I've played in three bursts of play - and each time, I've found myself being called away to work on other (family) things. The save points have felt like a curse - and I've consequently found myself dashing through the game trying to find the next one, so I can safely leave the game without losing 13 minutes of cutscenes / progress.

        Those two things together - a sense of general "screw you, iOS monkey" from the game, plus the inconvenience of save points - have so far kept me from playing any more. It's the tipping point between coming back loads, and it being nudged out by other, iOS friendly games - that won't risk my losing x minutes of progress, or feeling stuck / chained to an app until it graces me with a save point gift.

        So, yeah. Fully appreciated many will prefer this to nowt! Currently I'm aware that I may've spent £12 on something that I'm unlikely to feel comfortable returning to, though.

      • Shaun Musgrave

        I think SE could have done save states. It likely wouldn't be hard to implement them into the wrapper somehow, but I can't say for sure because I am a writer, not a programmer. I think they don't like the idea of save states on principle (few Japanese-developed classic releases have them), but as I spent an entire paragraph of the review up there saying, the needs of the mobile audience should have been prioritized.

        The touch menus would be somewhat difficult, but probably doable. The problem there is that while adding them to the menus could probably be done, they wouldn't be able to make them work in battles because of the problems the dynamic camera would introduce to targeting. So they would have to be applied inconsistently, and I can appreciate why they wouldn't want to do that.

        In the end, the possibilities were greatly hobbled by SE failing to preserve so many of the original assets. I believe that, a couple issues aside, this was really the best they could do without going from the ground up. I can understand if it's not good enough for some, but I don't feel like there was anything cynical happening here. We got the treatment, more or less, as the PC crowd did. It's sadly just the best of a bad situation.

    • Morgan01

      "Least possible effort" means less cost and more profit.

  • 28monkeys

    i have played and frankly, this game is at most a 3-stars game in my opinion.

  • gakuka

    I don't know why, but I've always loved this game. I know there are "better" RPGs out there, with more interesting mechanics and better graphics, but there was something about this game... It's got soul. That's the best word for it. The music, the characters, the ruined cities and desolate backdrops of the Midgar slums paired with the abundance of the Gold Saucer, there was something in the message of the game that still speaks to players today.
    I know this is fan-boy talk. I am admittedly biased and I respect the opinions of others that scoff at this game, but it's undeniable that there's some kind of resonance FF VII has with gamers. It's evident in the many sequels, prequels, and spin-offs that continue to find an audience.
    Yes I will buy this game, as I have bought every other port of this game, and yes I will buy the remake. I do this not because I purchase blindly, but because I want to continue to thank the makers of this incredible game with my patronage, and because I want current game developers to know that if they make a game that can speak to people in the same way as FF VII speaks to some gamers, that their games will find success long beyond their initial creation, and might even become legendary.

    • Zephram

      Well worded comment, and I couldn't agree more. When Elmyra was talking about Aeris's childhood, and Nobuo Uematsu's melancholic music was playing in the background, I experienced a significant emotional reaction, and the thought occurred to me that this is why we still love this game years later: It has heart.

  • nini

    Still gonna wait it out for a true remaster for FFVII before plonking down (should that ever happen). Unless the graphics of 1997 are a siren call to you of a simpler time, save your dough.

    • JosephWelke

      That remaster won't happen for a couple years, and it'll be more years before you play it on your phone. Besides, the remaster won't be a slavish remake; they'll change it from the original.


  • Zephram

    Shaun, I see you renamed Aeris to the correctly spelled Aerith, but why not rename Red XIII to his true name, Nanaki ?
    BTW, I kept 'Aeris' as is due to sentimentality.

    • https://pcbushi.wordpress.com/ Bushi

      If you want to get technical, the official localization is Aerith, sure, but there is no "th" sound in Japanese. Thus "Aeris" is actually closer to the Japanese pronunciation.

      • Shaun Musgrave

        I was hoping to start this fight!

    • http://backloggery.com/TJF588 TJF588

      Really wish SQEX woulda defaulted her name in these ports to how they've had it for years. But, nope, let's drag this clash two decades longer than it ever needed to be.

  • diaskeaus

    I'm a little disappointed there are no Game Center achievements. I wonder what the logic was behind that move? Are Game Center achievements something you have to hard code into a game? Would they be too difficult to integrate into the port's code? I'm imagining frustrated Japanese coders staring at lines and lines of absolutely undecipherable programming, yelling obscenities in their heads at Sakaguchi. It's a funny image, regardless of truth.

  • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

    If this is a port of the PC version, does that mean the soundtrack is General MIDI instead of the original PlayStation soundtrack?? The soundtrack on the original PC port was horrendous. Don't know if it's been fixed since then.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      It's the PSX soundtrack. They patched it into the PC version after the backlash and it's in this one from day one as a result, haha.

      • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

        That's a relief!

  • AdamBoy64

    I haven't played it, but I appreciated the review,
    I think it's the first I've read about it.
    And it was a good read. Thanks Shaun.

  • klepp0906

    You remind me of me :p

  • Alex

    Does anyone know the piano keys for tifas final limit break for iOS?

  • Jaime Lannister

    Fanboy alert!
    Great story great characters great gameplay. Amazing soundtrack.
    Played probably over 10 times since it's release, not playing again until the ps4 remake is out.

  • http://twitter.com/ChaseBurr Newport Box 100s

    Does this have borders on iPad Air 2? I want to buy an iPad Air 2..

  • http://howtokillasuperhero.net/ Pablo Greene

    Can you guys recommend your favorite FF title for iOS? Wondering how many of you pick VII versus other installments.

FINAL FANTASY VII Reviewed by Shaun Musgrave on . Rating: 4