Cloud Strife + Aeris Gainsborough – a match made in gaming heaven

Final Fantasy VII logo

I played Final Fantasy VII when it was first released – yes, I am that old. I had never played anything like it before, but had read about it in the game magazines that were the only way to get info on new releases in those far-off days.

It took me hours to work out what was going on with the fight engine, and I was weeks in before I realised how materia levelled up, having run away from hundreds of fights in order to get on with the game. I still mourn those lost experience points…
It was the early days of the internet, when our office had one designated machine connected to a creaky dial-up that charged you by the minute. I sneaked onto it after hours to print out a list of the enemy skills and where they could be found, and then for a detailed run-down of how to breed a gold chocobo and get the Knights of the Round summon. And I still couldn’t defeat the Emerald and Ruby Weapons.

FFVII characters

The gang’s all here

So, following the thrilling news that they are finally remaking FFVII, I am playing it through again, and am totally reaching those Level 4 limit breaks.
Despite it being 19-year-old it is still brilliant. The dialogue is crap, obviously, and the storyline simplistic, but it still has all the elements of a compelling game.
A cast of superb characters (Red XIII and Vincent still my faves – please let there be Vincent in the remake. Dump Yuffie, but keep Vincent); a long but linear storyline; a near-perfect difficulty curve (something so many games fall down on); a slick battle engine; an even slicker magic system; the most haunting soundtrack in a game EVER; and humour. Cloud dressing as a girl to rescue Tifa, complete with perfume and sexy undies – what was all that about?

Cloud on a gold chocobo

Knights of the Round here we come

It also had one of the biggest shocks in gaming history, right at the end of disc one. This was way before GRR Martin did for Ned Stark – we just weren’t prepared for one of the main characters to be wiped out with no chance of rescue or redemption.
The remake has to be exactly the same but in HD and with better dialogue. And if you need any beta testers, I’m your girl. As soon as I breed this gold chocobo.

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