Final Fantasy VII

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Final Fantasy VII is a Square-Enix console role-playing game released for the Sony PlayStation in 1997 (and later the Microsoft Windows platform), and the seventh installment of the Final Fantasy series, the first one on a 32-bit CD-ROM-based platform and the first to feature 3D graphics and full-motion video.

The story is set on the planet Gaia which is run by the Shinra Electric Power Corporation who - through Mako energy plants - drain the planet of its Life Force. The protagonist, a former high-ranking member of Shinra's elite fighting force SOLDIER turned mercenary named Cloud Strife, is hired by a ecological direct action group called AVALANCHE run out of a bar in the slums of Midgar, Gaia's largest city. AVALANCE set to work trying to blow up the city's power plants. During the second raid on a Mako reactor, the plan is rumbled and Cloud is caught in the blast, falling down into a church in the Midgar slums where he is helped by Aeris Gainsborough, a flower merchant who has been pursued by the Shinra Corporation all her life. As soon as AVALANCHE regroups, the Shinra Corporation destroys the area in which their base is located, leading to a dramatic escape. After this, they sneak into the Shinra building in order to save the kidnapped Aeris and exact revenge.

The gameplay is very similar to the previous Final Fantasy games, albeit with better graphics and a more advanced combat system. During combat, the player selects attacks or magic that is performed by the different characters. The types of choices they can make is determined by the materia, colored magical orbs that allow players to perform magic, summon monsters to perform attacks or do a variety of special support abilities. These materia can be combined in a variety of ways, but materia also reduces other statistics - magic materia tends to weaken physical attacks. Characters can also perform Limit Breaks, a special ability which is triggered by a measure of how many times they have been attacked.

Final Fantasy VII was critically acclaimed and had record-setting sales in both Japan and the North American market. To this day, it is still acclaimed as an influential and important part of the history of video games, and as an excellent piece of storytelling. It has been followed up with several games and movies making up the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.