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RTTP: The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII (nearly ALL of it)


Reseterror Resettler
*Full Spoilers for Final Fantasy VII and the entire Compilation*

Okay. So, some of you may recognize me and therefore will not be surprised to see this topic coming from me. I have spent the last year of my free time playing through all of the mainline, single player Final Fantasy entries. Backwards from XV. I've played them all before, but some of them were ten years ago (until now) and I wanted to see how my preferences changed or strengthened over the years, have some nostalgic little evenings, all that fun stuff.

In May, I arrived at The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. This past week, I've officially "caught up," to the VII storyline current spot. I decided, as a basically lifelong fan of FFVII (it was my second video game ever, after OOT) to share my ideas about the entire Saga of FFVII. Things that I thought worked well, things that I thought sucked or weren't cohesive, whatever. It's gonna be a long post (maybe a couple of posts) so there will be no tl;dr and if you're happy for me or sorry that happened, thanks for caring. This Isn't your thread.

Now, I tried to be thorough, and I went in chronological canon story order, as opposed to release Order. I missed a few because they're either Japanese (which I'm not), were never released in the West, or were battle royales. Ahem. The entries I dove into were:

Before Crisis (the RPG Maker "remake,")
Crisis Core
Last Order
Reminiscence of FFVII (there's a REAL short little radio drama spliced in between the recap)
The Maiden Who Travels The Planet
On the Way to a Smile
The Turks - A Lateral Biography
Advent Children Complete
Dirge of Cerberus

I started and ended my little marathon with things I had never played before, so it's cool. So, onto my thoughts:

Before Crisis: This one sort of surprised me. I had never played it before (I still technically haven't, RPG Maker Remake is definitely something only a REALLY invested person would fuck with, it's not a very good *game*, down to having an equipment screen and no actual equipment to buy, ever. Or forcing you to play one character out of the Shonen backup roster of Turks they have) so I had a real blindspot going in.

The story focuses around The Turks and their role in the conflict between Shinra and AVALANCHE/Wutai, set before the original game. There are things I like about this and things I don't. Pacing. Pacing is Your biggest obstacle in creating engaging media. This game feels like half of it should have been saved for another title or something. It's not because it drags, or it's a particularly long game, no. Quite the opposite. There's one title in what was proposed as an expanded universe, and Plot. Stuff. Keeps. Happening. It's kind of a Disney Star Wars syndrome prototype. It pulls me out of things when this random Turk is there, arbitrarily, when Corel burns down, when the Shinra # 26's launch gets fucked up, when Sephiroth goes insane. There are some really cool ideas in the narrative, but the FRAME of it just seems very...Assassin's Creed, "here's a famous guy doing the thing that made him famous, and it wouldn't have been possible without YOU, UrMom69!"

Also, and this is a repeated sin in the Compilation, STAKES. Like my previous point, no, they aren't too low, because the devs felt they couldn't overshadow the Main game's conflict, no. By the end of the game there's a building sized homonculus summon fused to Uryu Ishida from Bleach on top of the Shinra HQ bending over and taking hot steaming dumps of Behemoths and Dragons all over Midgar.

So like, why are these people freaking out when Meteor appears? Or when the Negative Lifestream and Geostigma take hold? Or when Omega WEAPON appears? Why is anyone still living in Midgar? None of this shit happens at like North Corel. Why isn't Everyone moving there? Or just committing suicide en masse because they live on the planet Australia? Zirconiade, The name of said Summon, has a neat enough little story, but he HAS to have the motive of destroying the world? Just like everything else? Ehhhhh.

Things I enjoyed: some cameos were done well. Vincent appears and has a talk with an old coworker before fucking off and going back to sleep. You know, brief, tasteful, not ramming the wide end of a baseball bat up the canon's rectum.

And uh...there was a pretty gnarly Remix of Crazy Motorcycle that I can't find on YouTube anywhere. That was the bees knees.

It wasn't the real game, so I can't speak on too much, this is more an introduction to the style of rambling this topic will contain, and it establishes a couple of points that I'm going to hope ADHD doesn't muddy too much. Essentially, Before Crisis is a sign of everything wrong with the Compilation. Or everything that WAS wrong with it. They were trying to make a connected narrative, but it was just between expanded universe entries. There were times when it felt like they were just BASING it on FFVII and didn't respect their own world. I've got some theories about where I think they're taking their disparate design philosophies in the future that I'll ramble about later, maybe. I'm bushed, so I'm gonna post what I have to at least get some discussion going maybe. There's far more where this came from. Be excited/annoyed.
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