What really made ‘Final Fantasy VII’ great was a consistent dedication to portraying a imaginative, original and fantastic world that begged for escapists to find refuge. Here are another five simply amazing moments in ‘Final Fantasy VII’ that really convey the experience of living and breathing in the world of Gaia.
Midgar Train Rides
The use of trains in literature, film and video games is a very intriguing one: often used as an effective form of symbolism and storytelling.
While the Midgar train scenes in ‘Final Fantasy VII’ may or may not have any direct symbolism, it’s hard to deny the full weight and impact that these early scenes have.
In these moments, the game directly thrusts players into the world. The overhead announcements, the fellow passengers and the visual style of the train all combine to create what feels like a living and breathing world.
The train scenes also carry with them a strong sense of sorrow or even desperation. Barret’s discussion about how Shinra’s policies not only directly harm the planet, but also create oppression for people living in the lower slums ties in with the musical themes to deliver the message that life is a struggle for many in this world.
If anything could be said about ‘Final Fantasy VII’ it’s that the game continues to go places many aren’t expecting. The unfolding of the plot and the progression of events keeps the experience feeling spontaneous and like a true adventure.
This is demonstrated well in the actual leaving of Midgar. From the few moments the party spends at the end of the highway, looking out at the stars, to the discussion about where to go to next sitting outside of Midgar, and then finally to the moment the player is able to take their first step outside of the dark, bustling city, there’s a constant sense of limitless potential.
Leaving Midgar opens the doors to the rest of the plot and the feeling that there is endless possibility in this world. While the search for Sephiroth and the need to stop Shinra all seem like monumental tasks, there’s still the feeling of boundless potential out there.
Along with the scope and proportion of the overall experience is the first time the player enters the city of Juno and sees the Highwind.
Whether or not players knew or had the feeling they’d be able to pilot the, one could not help but marvel at the beauty and scale of the vessel. What really made this ship so unique was the fact that it was of such a distinct and original design. It would have been very easy to create some kind of plane or ship: much like what the Tiny Bronco was (which was also used in a very different and original way.)
The Gold Saucer
Fiction can sometimes suffer from the portrayal of a setting in a way that only pertains to the plot. It’s very common to see a plot that has darker themes avoid any hint of brighter topics in its universe, and vice versa.
With films and literature, the telling of a story and unfolding of a world has more of a lecture-like experience. Video games, however, differ in that their universes are delivered to the player by means of allowing them to venture to the world and discover it actively. Even more linear games still require action on behalf of the player in some way.
The Gold Saucer in ‘Final Fantasy VII’ was an excellent way to avoid the pitfall of harping too much on the darker themes of the game. While things do take a turn for the worst the first time the player explores the fun and thrills the Gold Saucer has to offer, it still remains as a nice break from the chaos and stress of the world.
‘Final Fantasy VII’ is a very spiritual game; relying heavily on a deep environmental theme that hinges an incorporeal connection with the planet, the game’s experience makes heavy use of a religious/spiritual element in order to convey the importance of the protagonists’ struggles. This is felt the heaviest when the player first arrives at Cosmo Canyon
From the music to the drastic change in scenery, Cosmo Canyon fills the screen with a sense of tribal worship fused with scientific curiosity—much in the same way the game fuses fantasy and science fiction together.
The time spent at Cosmo Canyon is also one of reflection for the characters, and a powerful one at that. Here the characters begin to comprehend the enormity of the struggle they are facing—both against Shinra and the growing threat of Sephiroth.
It’s in the spiritual backdrop of Cosmo Canyon, and the intense tribal heat of the bon fire that Cloud and the rest of the crew face down their future before embarking on it.