During high school I discovered the RPG Final Fantasy VII, by Square Enix. It was the first RPG I ever played and it still holds up for me today. It took me seventy hours to beat and was a very satisfying game. Final Fantasy VII is the best RPG because it allows the player to use their imagination, has a sprawling world, and a fun battle system.
This installment of Final Fantasy was published in Japan in 1996 and in the United States in 1997. It represented the pinnacle of computer graphics at the time. Although its graphics look primitive by today’s standards, it allows the user to use their imaginations to play and be an active participant in the story because there are no voice actors and they manually click through the speech bubbles.
Final Fantasy VII has a sprawling overworld after the first climax that player gets to explore. Each city is represented by a small icon which the player walks on top of to enter. Although the story progresses in a linear fashion, it is still possible to complete sidequests and learn additional information about the characters by exploring specific buildings and talking to minor characters. Before the story is all done it is still possible to indulge in sidequests like Chocobo breeding, summon-hunting (to find some very challenging bosses), and submarine missions.
The turn-based battle system is the most fun part. It forms the meat of the game. Elemental attacks are determined by magical Materia, which can be put on weapons and armor to give the characters different powers like Ice, Fire, or Water, to name a few. Other Materia pieces can raise a character’s stats like Strength or Magic. However, the drawback to the battle system is that it is quite easy, meaning that battles are over before the player knows it, and usually only the bosses are truly challenging.
Final Fantasy VII still holds up today because it incites the player’s imagination, has a sprawling fantasy world, and a customizable battle system. It captured my imagination back when I was fifteen years old and has been a major influence on my fiction writing to this day. It has made me see what is possible to do with less in computer graphics. Overall it was a fun game that I played after school to whisk me away to a fantasy world.