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While the story is the central focus in every RPG, Final Fantasy IX takes that to the next level. The plot often switches focus between different characters or parties. One particularly exciting sequence on the second disc features two separate parties trying to escape a sticky situation. The game cuts between the two parties and builds an incredible sense of tension. Moreover, changing circumstances force characters to switch from one party to the other, which creates a real sense of dynamic teamwork. These sorts of events are what have driven the masses to calling Final Fantasy IX one of the greatest stories ever told. See More
In most games, characters come with set abilities, gaining them at particular levels, or after defeating enemies, etc. In Final Fantasy IX, your abilities are tied to your items, making it possible to customize your character's skillset. In addition, if you wear some items long enough (meaning you've participated in enough battles), you'll permanently learn the skill and be able to use it regardless of what you've got equipped. See More
Chrono Trigger has an expansive and touching story that shows all the ways the world can change over time. You begin the story as the young man named Crono, exploring a fun festival called the Millennial Fair, when his friend Marie gets caught up in a malfunctioning time machine. Crono's quest to find her takes him on a journey across several different time periods in the past and the future where he meets the rest of his companions; together they find out about the greater problem overtaking the world, and so they set off to stop the catastrophe. Getting to see all the ways the world changes across centuries has huge implications that you discover as you go along, with some really emotional moments that still hold up today. See More
Even though there aren't any random encounters in the game, there are still the occasional battles that happen during scripted moments. These tend to break the flow of exploration and going about battles at your own pace, conflicting with the freedom you normally have to go wherever you want. As long as you know to expect these to pop up every now and then, it shouldn't be too bad. See More
You don't have to worry about random encounters in Chrono Trigger. Enemies are all visible out on the field, so you can avoid them whenever you want to focus on exploring. And, when you do get into a battle, there's no transition screen from the field to the turn-based environment. Everything happens seamlessly, with your party members taking up formation and moving around to take their turns to attack on the available space around the enemy. This was pretty advanced for its time, and it's a mechanic that hasn't lost its impact over the years, keeping the game from ever feeling like a grind. See More
The battles are pretty basic, with standard mechanics of characters and enemies attacking in turns, with various skills and spells that they have access to. If you're used to turn-based games, then Chrono Trigger might not be much of a challenge for you. There are some cool additions, like getting your party members to team up for flashy special attacks that do tons of damage, but this is still something most veterans would expect from JRPGs. See More
Depending on when and how you tackle certain bosses, you can get quite a few different endings. There are more than a dozen or so endings to go after, each of which show outcomes that vary from one another in some intriguing ways. Some are quite funny, while others have more troubling implications or positive outcomes for certain time periods. Going after all of the endings can be a fun challenge. See More
For your first playthrough, it will probably only take you about 20 hours to finish. Since Chrono Trigger is the game that pioneered New Game+, it's possible to give it some leeway, as the play time is designed around you playing through the game again to get multiple endings. Still, if you're not interested in chasing after the other endings, you may feel unsatisfied with the game's length, though your mileage will of course vary. See More
Chrono Trigger has a wonderful art style and soundtrack that make the game worth going back to over the years. The 2D sprites are expressive and unique to each character's personalities, all as a nice fit to the funny moments and the more serious points in the story. Their original designs have a cool and colorful anime look, hand-crafted by the creator of the Dragon Ball series. And the music, despite the old SNES sound from the 1990s, is filled with meaning in a way that makes it obvious the composer poured his heart into each track. Everything is still worth a listen today, giving off a timeless and classic feeling. See More
The combat system is easy to get the hang of, even at higher levels of play with all the customization options. It starts off with the standard three characters who can attack, defend, and use magic or items one at a time. The game gradually introduces you to more systems, like how to get the most out of your magic and summon abilities to exploit enemy weaknesses. Every character starts off as a blank slate, so you can equip one person with a bunch of elemental magic and summons as your caster, another with special tools to learn monster abilities, and tons more. The system is simple, but intuitive enough for players of all skill levels to grasp. See More
The most jarring flaw the game has is the graphics, especially the character models. Since Final Fantasy VII first came out in 1997, it's a given that the graphics are dated, but the characters just look distracting. They're shaped in weird ways, with huge, bulky forearms, tiny elbows, and giant shoulders with huge heads. It's comical enough to where it might not bother you too much. See More
Final Fantasy VII has an incredible story with a lot of thought and care put into it. Even with all the intrigue surrounding the environmentalist group named AVALANCHE fighting back against the evil Shinra Corporation who are destroying the planet, the narrative is still rooted in emotion. The characters you meet all come together for reasons that make sense, and the story affects each of them in ways that truly matter, especially the main protagonist, the mercenary Cloud Strife. The plot twists have weight in the way they challenge what's possible within the game's world, making for some truly stand-out moments. The story is one that stands the test of time and is still worth experiencing many years later. See More
While playing through the story, you may get lost from time to time. There are instances where the characters only give vague directions as to where you have to go next. Other times, the game makes you deliberately wander around looking for something without any hints on how close you are. You might want to look up a guide for these things, since it can be way too frustrating to keep running around without much guidance. See More
The many different characters you meet are all wonderful in their own ways. Cloud starts off aloof and uncaring, focused only on earning money from running missions with AVALANCHE, but he slowly begins to care about what the Shinra Corporation are doing to the planet. His childhood friend, Tifa, is much kinder and caring, encouraging him to change his ways and do what's right for the environment, even though she also has her own reasons for wanting him around. Their leader is Barret, the loud-mouthed and aggressive man with a machine gun grafted on his arm, who's actually a warm-hearted father who wants to do right by his young child and protect the planet. They meet so many other personalities, like a sorrowful man who sleeps in a coffin as he mourns for his mistakes in life, and a dog-like creature from an endangered species who speaks intelligently. Everyone has such different worldviews and experiences, but they all manage to come together in ways that feel right for the story. See More
The downside of the accessible battle system is that it can be too simple. There are plenty of times where you only have to mash a single button to get through battles. Since the encounters are random, exploring areas can get boring when all you have to do is press one button to rush through the fights. Luckily, boss battles are more challenging and engaging, but you have to slog through the regular, repetitive fights first. See More
Final Fantasy VII has fantastic music. It's a beautiful collection of melodic sounds, from the simplicity of the opening prologue that plays when you boot up the game, to the more bombastic and orchestral themes that play during the iconic final boss. Each song fits the moments it plays in, adding even more humanity to a story about human greed and lusts for power leading to the near-destruction of the environment. See More
When you're up for a challenge, there's a lot to seek out in Final Fantasy VII. Near the end of the game, before going after the final boss, that's when you can access all of the side content, like the optional superbosses and hunting for rare summons and magic spells. There are also some non-battle-related things to do that are still somewhat difficult, like earning the best prizes in the Gold Saucer, the game's theme park, and becoming the best jockeys in one of the mini-games there. You can easily spend dozens of hours just getting through these challenges and earning the best rewards to power up your characters. See More
There are some genuinely hilarious moments in the story. The game never takes itself too seriously, willing to be silly with comic mischief and ridiculousness for the sake of it. One of the best moments is a few hours into the story where Cloud goes on a rescue mission and has to go on a chain of quests to get prepared for the operation, finding himself in some seriously absurd situations that have become iconic over time. There are a lot of other funny scenes sprinkled throughout the game as well, keeping things entertaining to balance out some of the heavy themes that the story tackles. See More
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