Final Fantasy 6
There is no "Final" to this Fantasy: Its three CDs are being re-issued--and if you like complex, emotionally involved story lines and stunning, beautifully colored backgrounds, this RPG warrants your attention. In fact, this classic received perfeet scores when it was released a year ago, and its appeal has not weakened in the interim.
Final Fantasy VII is not a static experience. Active Time Battle allows you to engage in almost-real-time combat, while the Limit attack system kicks in with a life-saving special move if a character is in desperate need. And we shouldn't forget Materia, which enables you to mix and match your magic in almost limitless fashion. Fantasize no longer about the perfect RPG--it already exists. And with Final Fantasy VIII on its way, it's a good time to get reacquainted with the series.
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If you own a PlayStation and you're into RPGs, don't make any plans for next summer. That's when Final Fantasy VII is coming to the PlayStation, and this--the latest (and what looks to be the greatest) installment of Square's immensely popular Final Fantasy series-is going to keep gamers adventuring for a long time.
Square's developers haven't been dragging their feet since the company announced that FF7 would be coming to the PlayStation; more than 100 programmers and artists have been working on the RPG. Although Square plans to release the game in Japan in December, Japanese gamers have already tasted the FF7 experience. Packed with each copy of Tobal No.1-Square's first fighting game-is a playable, 20-minute demo of FF7. The demo dropped jaws when played in EGlWs offices, and it gave the editors a good idea of how the finished masterpiece will play and look.
When boiled down to its essentials, FF7 plays much the same as its Super NES and Super Famicom predecessors. The turn-based battles still flare up mostly at random, and they're kicked off by the same screen-smearing effect that has always heralded combat in Final Fantasy games. The standard menu commands are found at the screen's bottom and laid out in the familiar format. In fact, the gameplay is so familiar that the non-Japanese-speaking members of EGIWs staff had no problem figuring out FF7's menus and playing through the demo.
But the game's look (and sound-the orchestrated music is phenomenal) is a different story. As reported earlier, FF7 drops real-time polygon characters into a 3-D, prerendered world. Square's artists used state-of-the-art SGI workstations to render FF7's environments, which are extremely sharp and detailed. And game characters can move between and behind buildings and structures to give the landscape the illusion of being truly 3-D.
Every aspect of the game is also highly cinematic. Cut scenes send the camera zooming in on the party or panning across the landscape, so the game might be viewed from an overhead perspective one minute and a ground-level, heads-on view the next. Battles are watched from four switching camera angles, each panning and zooming to give the combat sequences a straight-from-a-movie look.
The game's stunning visuals are precisely the reason Square decided to develop the game for the PlayStation, since only CDs are capable of holding the huge amounts of data needed to create FF7's huge world. (Incidentally, that world will fill two CDsO But the use of CDs raises a concern: Will load times bog down FF7?
Square officials say no. "This is actual real-time gameplay," a FF7 developer in Japan told EGM editors. "The loading time is just as fast as on the Famicom games." Sure enough, the FF7 demo never slowed or showed a hint of load delay once it was up and running.
FF7 is set in a world that appears to be a bit more technologically advanced than the heavily industrialized world of FF3. Players will guide their party-which might include as many as 10 characters-through run-down cities, trainyards, fortresses, power plants and other dingy locales. They'll also run into familiar Final Fantasy beasts and vehicles, such as Chocobos and airships.
Unfortunately, U.S. gamers will have to wait until next summer to explore the game's world-the only bright side being they'll have plenty of PlayStation RPGs to play in the meantime. Of course, FF7 looks like it will top them all.
It's going to be a long year.
I'm not really sure you can possibly compre-I hend the epic quest that will be Final Fantasy VII. Well, let's start by saying that it will come on two CDs and have, oh...about a 1000 megs or so worth of pure gaming. Of course, a lot of that memory is the graphic muscle used to deliver this saga, and there should also be cinemas and a great soundtrack and they're bound to hog a lot of disk space too.
Even so, I'm positive that this is going to be the RPG event of the year, aside from Lunar for the Saturn.There isn't much story available, except for character and enemy sketches, but we do know that the FF mainstay, the Chocobos. are going to be in VII. As you can see from the pictures, the world you navigate through looks unbelievably detailed and bursting with color.The characters themselves don't look as good as the SGI models that were supposedly from the N64, but they get the job done and Square is going to try to put expressions on their faces!
It doesn't look like there'll a simultaneous release for the Japanese and U.S. versions, but I've been assured that the time-lag will be short. I'll keep you updated with any big developments concerning this monster release.