Final Fantasy VII PC Re-Release Impressions

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.

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34 thoughts on “Final Fantasy VII PC Re-Release Impressions

  1. Wow, no new models, huh? That’s some serious 1997 up there. Except, of course, for the logins and download managers that you didn’t have to deal with in 1997.

    There must have been a lot of demand for them to re-release this game if they went through the trouble of developing new software for it. Now that it’s been given such bad press, I have to ask: was it really worth it? How much would it have truly cost to just re-print a new run of FFVII disks? Or just rip the installer off it and offer $10 DRM-free downloads of that instead?

    As it sounds now, if you have one of those old disks lying around the house, you’ve pretty much got the same experience. Or hell, just emulate it with your PSX disk. Neither will ask you to tie your email to yet another username and password.

    Ya know, know that I think about it, there was an error with the video codecs in Windows XP that caused this game to crash at a certain part involving a big, snowy mountain. Any word if they at least fixed that little nad?

      • Of course! Do not forgot about showing off to your friends as well!

        Also….also… the ability to max out Materia, AP and Gil with one click. Would not want that!

    • If I remember correctly, there is a community patch that fixed the snowboarding crash. If that is the one you are remembering.

      I am with you. Square could have done so much more. I really have no clue what the brass there was thinking. There are some who have brought up the Japanese development angle in that only Capcom seems to know what they are doing with PC development and what those fans want.

  2. So instead of simple character models made of flat lo-res polygons we get simple character models made of hi-res polygons, and we are supposed to be impressed? Square Enix had a chance to do something really great here but instead just put a little polish on something old and are reselling it as a new item. Sort of like Disney re-releasing its old movies as “Digitally Remastered, get it now before it goes back in the Disney vault.” I may go so far as to blame this all on Kingdom Hearts.

  3. It is what it is but the achievements are really weak…do clouds first limit break…whoopie. Why not make an achievement “Find all of the Turtle Paradise flyers” SOmething people may not have thought of back in the day.

  4. There is only one thing that I noticed that was not on the original release of the game: the character models for the overworld have mouths. Oh, and the models in battle have been simplified to give a faux-smoothing effect. Besides that, it almost looks like the framerate is at or below what the PSX was churning out in ’97.

    For 10$ you can just pick up the PSN version that runs smooth as silk and retains the awesome ability to load on your PSP/Vita.

    • When I captured the video with FRAPS, the FPS indicator became stuck at 15, but out of battle jumped between 35-40. The really odd thing is there was no major visible drop.

  5. OK, here are MY thoughts on this. They are going to be fairly detailed and honest so I hope you will see where I am coming from:
    That being said, here are some of my thoughts on this version.

    The game, as oppose to the PSX version, is superior from a texture smoothness standpoint. However, like many others have said, this is just a little bit of gloss on a game that is, by today’s standards, pretty drab. It is the game you remember, just enhanced slightly. If you played the first Final Fantasy 7 PC game, this will look REAL familiar. In fact, the only real difference, besides the obvious additions of achievements and cloud saves (do not get me started on the max hp, gil crap feature), is that it is a lot more stable than the old PC version. You could almost call that a win in it’s own right. The old version was real buggy. Other than that, no real significant changes.

    I own the original discs (I keep my discs in pristine condition so they have lasted a LONG time) and have used them to play on an emulator. The effects the emulator is able to produce are probably greater than this remake can offer. You can quasi-increase the resolution which makes the textures nice and sharp, with the sacrifice of the backgrounds being a bit messier. This game was not designed to run at higher rez and it shows.

    In closing, after seeing this game in action, I have to agree that this feels like nothing more than a blatant attempt to cash in on what Square-Enix KNOWS we want. They are not dumb. This is a business for them. They are in this business to make money. I would not be surprised at all if the release of this game was nothing more to test the waters with an acutal product before they decide if they want to remake FF7 with current gen technology. I do not think that this release of Final Fantasy 7 for the PC is bad per se. I just do not think it is what the gaming public expected. Had the models been slightly upgraded and the backgrounds been remastered into high res, this would be a very good release. However, the fact that they DID NOT do that for this game gives me hope. It could mean they are saving their resources for a REAL remake of this game. Only time will tell.

    • Thanks for the comment, Rocky.

      As I said in the article, if someone does not have a console or the original PC version, this may be worth their money. For everyone else, you will get no recommendation from me.

      I can see the theory of wanting to test the waters, but the problem with that is simply looking like an evil greedy corporation (Shinra?) when a year later, they release a true HD remake. All they had to do is use ask their fans. Square would have gotten an overwhelmingly positive response and we could have had the game we really wanted.

  6. brb dying of lols

    This totally looks like a brilliant example of those mid to late 90’s console ports of games with pre-rendered backgrounds. Anything that’s polygonal looks way sharper than the console version but anything pre-rendered still looked super janky blown up 320×240 or whatever and it was just this awful contrast on a PC monitor. Who would have thought we could revisit this port jank here in 2012! Good job square, I’m on a real nostalgia trip!

  7. You know, I was somewhat hoping that they would at least re-render the FMVs or the backgrounds in higher resolutions.
    I don’t think that they worked on the backgrounds in this resolution originally, they scaled it down afterwards to not give the weak hardware too much trouble.
    I “know” that Square Enix still has the originals somewhere lying around, who would delete the files?

  8. I like Squeenixes western Eidos side – Sleeping Dogs, Deus Ex, Hitman, Just Cause 2 – fantastic games with amazing PC versions. But their japanese division is utterly, utterly clueless.

    • Well, to be fair, Square Enix or Capcom’s PC ports of new games are just as badly optimized. The only difference here is that FF7 is old. They don’t give a crap on both situations.

      This of course, is lost on most people nowdays since everyone always have uber PCs.

    • I am sorry to hear that. I have 5 hours so far and not a single problem. You would think a bare bones port like this would have no issues. Does the crashing happen in the same areas?

      • 3 different areas so far, the proper square enix download too! Sometimes screen freezes other time black screen…

      • I agree you should not have to mess with anything. I would still try to play with different resolutions and such. It could be something as simple as unticking a check box or there is something else going on under the hood. With a poor port like this, I am pretty sure Square did very little testing so a wide array of issues could be at fault.

        I would also check on the Square FFVII Forums. They may be able to help better than I can.

  9. I felt like FFIX was the most well rounded of the PSX games. Sure, the story was cheesy, but the good kind of cheesy. It was a throwback to the older games in the series. I did like VIII though, even with all of its problems I liked the fact that, up until the 4rth CD, the characters were more developed than VII. And the ‘modern’ setting helped as well since I was getting tired of all RPGs looking the same (medieval or space opera). So, I will not be playing FFVIII again any time soon but FFIX has aged pretty well and I wouldn’t mind playing an HD version.

    Btw, nice website 😉

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