G56. Final Fantasy VII is the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series, it is one of the best-selling games of all time, with the highest sales of any game in the Final Fantasy series, and the second highest sales for a game on the PlayStation platform. Unlike Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI, which in North America were renamed II and III (II, III, and V were not yet released internationally at that time), Final Fantasy VII retained the number seven for its westernized release. The game has spawned a sub-series of sequels, prequels, and “midquels” called the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

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The story centers on the young mercenary Cloud Strife, who is fighting against the evil Shinra, Inc. Along the way, he meets an unforgettable cast of characters such as his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart and the grumpy pilot Cid Highwind. All together, it is an unforgettable and engrossing single-player game that can last for over 60 hours!

Gameplay

Final Fantasy VII is a menu-driven role-playing game. Initially, the player is restricted to the city of Midgar, but as the game progresses more of the world becomes accessible and the scripted adventure sequences give way to greater freedom and opportunities to explore. At several points the game is interrupted by scripted dramatic sequences, some of which are lengthy.

During its turn-based battle sequences, the game uses the same Active Time Battle (ATB) system utilized in the three Final Fantasy games preceding it. Unlike previous games in the series, which traditionally allowed for a maximum of four to five party members to participate in battle, Final Fantasy VII allows for only three characters at any one time.

Final Fantasy VII’s skill system utilizes Materia, magic orbs which can be placed in slots on weapon and armor. Materia can be combined in a fixed number of ways, and strategic use of the Materia combinations allows the player to use various tactics suiting their personal style of play.

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A feature introduced in Final Fantasy VI, the “desperation attack” returns in Final Fantasy VII in a new, modified form now known as the Limit Break. Every playable character has a “limit bar” which fills up proportionally to the damage received by the character in battle. When the limit bar is filled, they can unleash his or her Limi Break, a special ability which generally inflicts much more damage on an enemy than normal physical attacks; some Limit Breaks target all the enemies and other Limit Breaks support the party, such as healing HP or providing status buffs.

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Final Fantasy VII popularized the inclusion of difficult optional bosses to offer reward and challenge. A series of strong monsters called Weapons appear and the player must confront several of them through the plot, but two of them — Ruby Weapon and Emerald Weapon — can only be encountered if the player goes out of their way. These two bosses were not included in the original Japanese version, but were added to the European and American versions.

Characters

The nine main playable characters in Final Fantasy VII are Cloud Strife, an unsociable mercenary who claims to be a former 1st Class member of Shinra’s SOLDIER unit; Barret Wallace, the leader of the anti-Shinra rebel group AVALANCHE; Tifa Lockhart, a martial artist and a member of AVALANCHE, also a childhood friend of Cloud’s; Aerith Gainsborough, a flower merchant who has been pursued by Shinra’s special operations unit, the Turks, since childhood; Red XIII, a wise lion-like creature who was experimented on by Shinra scientists; Cait Sith, a fortune-telling robotic cat who rides an animated moogle doll; Cid Highwind, a pilot whose dreams of being the first man in outer space were not realized; Yuffie Kisaragi, a young ninja and a skillful thief; and Vincent Valentine, a former member of Shinra’s Turks unit, who was experimented on 30 years prior to the start of the game.The game’s main antagonist is Sephiroth, a former member of SOLDIER who reappears several years after he was thought dead.

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