This post contains a big Final Fantasy VII spoiler which, chances are, you’ll know anyway but I thought I’d warn you.
Do you ever get that urge to go back and play one of the classics? I had that urge the other week to go and actually finish Final Fantasy VII, having never even made it past the first disc. My first attempt barely made it as far as Junon and my second came to an end when I got out of Corel Prison and realised that my lack of levelling had severely crippled my game. When I decided to play it again my old PAL copy was long gone, and since I had a chipped PS2 I thought I’d make sitting through those summon animations 17.5% less painful and go for a US copy. One trip to the local importer later I had in my hands a mint NTSC copy of the 29th best game ever (according to the worst list ever).
This playthrough has been much more successful thus far and I’ve done so much levelling that it’s becoming something of a cakewalk in places, but the real point of this was because I’d just seen for the first time the death of Aeris. It was such a beautiful scene – the way that the whole thing was done slowly in that ethereal location, the way that Aeris’ theme kicked in as a requiem when the materia hit the ground, and the way that the music continued through the battle with Jenova (which, incidentally, is a piece of piss if you have a Water Ring since every attack heals you).
It really shows how cinematic games can be and was an amazing way to end the first disc. Even though I’ve been told about it countless times the beauty and emotional impact of the scene wasn’t diluted at all and now I’m anxious to see the rest of the game. If I can make it to the end this will actually be the first time that I’ve finished a real RPG.