The original process of development and publication of Final Fantasy VII has a separate place in the history of videogames, it could well cover 2 chapters, one for the relationship between Nintendo and Squaresoft and another for what it supposed as a point of change in the franchise that was able to mark a before and after. Today, after 22 years, that RPG originally planned for Nintendo platforms that opted to change course and take advantage of the possibilities that the incipient Sony console proposal presented, is finally available in a Super Mario house console Bros. and, although it is not about that original version, in strict terms, it is able to remind us why Final Fantasy VII It is one of the best games of all time.
THE STORY THAT WAS NOT IN NINTENDO
Preceded by the -considered by many- top moment of the 2D franchise, Final Fantasy VI , Final Fantasy VII began its development keeping in mind the plans that Nintendo executed in the mid-90s, whether they included an iteration of the Super Nintendo or a new hardware that little was known. The bet was clear, take the next step in technical terms and follow the line that the trends dictated at that time: present 3D experiences to the players. Nintendo made its decision regarding hardware and the efforts of Squaresoft around Final Fantasy VII they gave of themselves, reason why the Japanese company played a very important letter and decided to lean towards the offer of Sony with PlayStation, same that, in the end of accounts, allowed that the equipment reflected everything that had been thought.
After 22 years of the launching of Final Fantasy VII in PlayStation, fact that meant an important rupture between Nintendo and Squaresoft, the successful Switch receives to the legendary RPG in an adaptation of a launching that saw the light years ago in PlayStation 4 and PC. Finally, the title came to a Nintendo console, perhaps not what was expected, but in one that allows you to enjoy those elements and details that captivated a generation of players.
AN ADAPTATION THAT BRINGS YOU AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE TO THE ORIGINAL EXPERIENCE
Given that almost everything has been said about Final Fantasy VII and for 2 decades has been analyzed in its smallest detail, I consider it pertinent to expose the most important elements of the title and the way they are deployed in the Nintendo hybrid console, indicating whether they meet or remain to be.
If it is the first time you play the title, it is worth mentioning the essence of its history. The events of Final Fantasy VII occur in a world that has gone through a technological revolution in the exploitation of natural resources – Mako, the planet’s energy source – but all this has happened under the hegemonic control of the company Shinra, who has left all kinds of traces, harmful and lethal, after executing their projects, successful and failed. The adverse conditions facing this world, where inequalities have increased, generated anti-systemic movements that seek to put an end to Shinra and save the planet, even through acts of sabotage and terrorism.
One of these is AVALANCHE, a group led by Barret Wallace that recruits Cloud Strife, a former member of SOLDIER, Shinra’s armed wing, dedicated to being a mercenary. Precisely, the adventure of the game will start with an attack perpetrated by AVALANCHE against one of the Mako reactors built in Midgar. From there, there will be no turning back and your adventure will take you through a world divided into continents where hours and hours of combats and adventure await you.
A PLEASURE TO SEE YOU AGAIN FINAL FANTASY VII, WE ARE GETTING OLD
Although I am not a regular RPG player, at the time I had the opportunity to enjoy Final Fantasy VII and 20 years ago I was surprised by the visual display of that original version with pre-rendered backgrounds in which deformed aesthetic characters acted, talked, fought and they suffered. Today, after that time, the experience of Final Fantasy VII in Switch left me satisfied, although recognizing that there is not much that can be done if the objective is to transfer the original experience to this time by making the minimum adjustments so that it looks good.
Although the deployment in the dock mode of the hybrid console becomes more evident over the years, the portable mode is responsible for doing justice to this version. Yes, after all this time seeing those backgrounds, in those detailed moments, and the design of the characters may seem strange to those who remember the original delivery and more to those who will live the adventure for the first time, however, it is not something that ruin the gaming experience.
Precisely, the visual section of Final Fantasy VIIfor Switch it can be considered from 2 perspectives, that of history and battles and that of video sequences. As for the first, the port meets what is necessary to be an enjoyable experience, although today these scenarios could be considered as empty or lacking in life, the truth is that attention to detail and the particularities of each place are there. Whether you move through Midgar, Junon, Nibelheim, Costa del Sol, Gold Saucer or Wutai, the essence of each city is there, reflecting the specific conditions of the place and the importance they have in the development of history. Some places will show the excesses motivated by development in the hands of Shinra, while others will expose the drama they live after being forgotten or exploited by the company.
As for the battles, Final Fantasy VII for Switch comes out well, because the necessary adjustments for the realization of this port are able to display the original action in a way that is pleasing to the eye and functional for the gaming experience. For obvious reasons, these characters, enemies and invoked creatures maintain their polygonal structure and at the height of the 4K, there will be someone who has to make an effort to find the form of some of them, however, it is nothing that affects an adaptation that It is sincere in its origins.
In the same way that Final Fantasy VII for Switch does things well in terms of scenarios and deployment in battles, the same can not be said in terms of video sequences, because here there was no improvement or intention to adapt the material. For those of us who play the original delivery, this is irrelevant, but the coin will be in the air for those who approach the title for the first time. In any case, the deployment is the same in the dock and portable mode of the hybrid console, so do not expect much in that section.
The music of Nobuo Uematsu and his talent to highlight the smallest detail
As in its original delivery, the soundtrack of Final Fantasy VIIIt stands out for itself and the work of Nobuo Uematsu is present in every moment. Something that the composer should be grateful for is his great talent for giving life to every situation, even those that at first sight seem irrelevant, such as exploration or in sections where there is nothing else to do but move forward. However, the important moments look great accompanied by their respective musical themes, which highlight the emotions that the characters experience in specific situations, such as the drama lived by the inhabitants of the areas devastated by the passage of Shinra and the heartrending stories that lash the past and present of Barret, Cloud, Tifa, Aeris and Sephiroth himself, that angel with only one wing that externalized the hell that was inside.
It is worth mentioning that one of the negative points of the RPG is presented in this section because of a bug that was also present in previous versions, which restarts the theme of the map, something that will find a solution with an update.
A SIMPLIFIED PROPOSAL FOR THE NEW GENERATIONS
This adaptation of Final Fantasy VII respects the original game structure. In general terms, you have an RPG with turn-based battle schemes in which various factors come into play, such as the use and combination of spells, weapons, equipment and items. Also, you have a world at your disposal with diverse activities and situations that will require your skills in other areas, since there will be missions that will have to be fulfilled in escape sequences, Chocobo races and games of skill and endurance. After all, Final Fantasy VII has a lot of content and it is up to each player to follow the main line of the story or get lost in the varied alternate paths that will lead you to new places and characters.
That said, the Switch version, just like its peers on PS4 and PC, has some implementations that make the experience more bearable and easier. As soon as you start the session, the system will inform you that there are 3 options that you can use at any time, the first one is activated with the left stick and increases the speed in X3, except in some video sequences and moments of the narrative. This allows to accelerate the development of history, it makes the transfer to places shorter and gives speed to battles. Obviously, this can be used to make “grinding” and level up the characters faster, after all, we know that doing this is very important in any traditional RPG to better cope with enemies and quickly develop the skills of the protagonists.
On the other hand, by pressing the 2 sticks, you can avoid the battles that are generated randomly on the map and in specific areas. This option, I want to think, is implemented for experienced players who have already finished the game on occasion; Not so for those who will venture into the adventure for the first time because it is clear that they will not get anywhere without reaching the right level and to do that, there is no other option but to fight.
One of the options breaks the game, but it is at the discretion of the player its use
Finally, perhaps the most controversial option of the adaptation of Final Fantasy VIIIt takes place when you press the left stick during a battle as, by doing this, you will immediately regenerate all the bars you have, points of life, magic points and Limit Break level, although it will not serve to remove spells, poisonings and other attacks that have permanent consequences on the characters. Yes, it is evident that this breaks the game and turns the battle experience into repetitive sessions in which it will be enough just to press “A” again and again, change from a limit break to an invocation, and wait for the enemy to succumb. Like the previous options, it is not obligatory and it is at the discretion of the player to use it, although it can not be denied that the temptation is great and there are combats in which you do not want to waste time and you will prefer to overcome them as soon as possible.
As you know if you know the series, Final Fantasy VII maintains the essential elements of the battle system of a traditional RPG and an important part of its essence is the development of each character according to their abilities and the potential they have in specific areas. At the same time, the combination of weapons, armor and equipment with the materials we find as we advance will help us to know the strengths and weaknesses of each character to prepare the right strategy and analyze the conditions of the enemy and the battle. This is an experience in itself and it is very worthwhile because it is enjoyed greatly, however, it is everyone’s decision and the important thing is that there are options that cover different audiences.
Beyond the debate that this option may generate, it must be taken into account that its presence obeys the need to attract the attention of a new public or facilitate things for that old school player who no longer has time available to spend Dozens of hours in Final Fantasy VII . In any case, they are decisions that are due to marketing planning and although the game is a milestone in the industry, enough to have a very good reception among the public, Square Enix tries to give it a greater boost by adding these options and letting each player decide how you want to live the experience in one of the best games in history.
Finally, the gaming experience in Final Fantasy VII for Switch can be hampered by the Joy-Con controls in terms of its size and its buttons. Being an adaptation, there are no major changes in control, although there is the option of using the stick to move the characters but, as can be expected, these move according to the movements of a directional pad, so that there may be difficulties in that area. Also, when using the directional buttons, the size and position feel strange, although nothing that can not be solved with the gaming experience.
Final Fantasy VII , in its version of Switch, presents a well-adapted adaptation and adapted appropriately to the hybrid console. For the simple fact of offering the original experience with some adjustments in visual matters, the title comes out well and is worth all the time you dedicate; After all, Square Enix is giving us a re-launch of one of the best games of all time and if it reached that category it is because its proposal, mechanics and design have gained transcendence. Yes, the options implemented to try to capture new generations can be debatable, but there is the freedom to do things in the traditional way or to support a little or a lot, depending on what is wanted.