After multiple false alarms by Square-Enix, the re-release of Final Fantasy VII for PC has finally seen the light of day. Unfortunately, it appears to be an extreme bare bones rehash of the original PC version released in 1997. Below will chronicle our first, and quite possibly last, impressions of this title. You can also jump straight to our 10 minute gameplay video via YouTube.
At the moment, the only method of getting your hands on Final Fantasy VII for PC is through the official Square-Enix online store. After purchasing, an e-mail was sent with all of the pertinent activation information. You are asked to download the Final Fantasy Download Manager. No installation for this is needed as the only thing this application does is download the install files.
Installation goes without a hitch. The game runs a launcher which allows the FFVII to be updated. Even though the game was updated just a few seconds beforehand, an error message appeared stating no internet connection was present. After nine attempts at reloading the launcher, the login prompt appeared. Yes, apparently the player needs to be online to run the game.
Login goes through and the game begins. You are prompted with the usual New Game/Continue option. No problem, right? Well, if you use your gamepad to select New Game, a menu for keyboard commands will appear. From here, none of the gamepad buttons or keys work. After consulting with friends, you must use the keys to begin the game. Only then, can you use the gamepad.
As you can see by the footage, the game looks to be a graphically untouched version from 1997. The game was running at 1360×768 which ended up being badly stretched. Even unchecking the “Keep Aspect Ratio” resulted in terrible boxing. Black bars were present at the bottom and along the sides. An “Original Graphic Mode” is available, but seemed to be no difference at all. This was a great opportunity wasted. The prospect of an updated Final Fantasy VII for PC users was met with high expectations. High resolution characters, backdrops along with a plethora of other bells and whistles danced in the heads of PC gamers everywhere. Imagine 1080p widescreen with an orchestra or Black Mages soundtrack. Instead, this is what we have been given – stretched pixels and midi.
In addition to all this loveliness, you are limited to three installs/activations. Any more than that, you will have to contact Square support.
The price is $9.99, but if you still have your PS1 handy or any other device that runs Final Fantasy VII, it is recommended you stick with those options. However, if you are a PC gamer who has no consoles, and does not care about the graphical ineptitude, it may be worth your money. The good part about FFVII is during the first 2 hours of gameplay, no bugs or crashes were encountered. Below are screen shots and an embed of our YouTube video.