Final Fantasy VII is a magnificent look into a machine-run world on the Playstation and computer platforms. It excites the imagination and screams reality. It is the best, in my opinion, of the series thus far. I like it for the magic system, diversity of characters, storyline, and theme; although the music could have been better.

The magic system in FF7 is different than any other that I know. Items called materia allow you to cast spells. For example, you would need to equip a character with the Fire materia before he/she could cast Fire. The more you use the materia, the more powerful it becomes untill it eventually a new materia is born. Some materia can be used in conjunction with other materia to produce interesting effects that increase the strategy in the game.

Each character in this installment of the Final Fantasy series is unique. There's the reclusive, mysterious Cloud, the strong, perky Tifa, and the brute, Barret with a soft spot for his daughter. There are numerous other characters that appear later in the game that are really different, including two secret characters. The way they interact is well thought out and often times very humorous. I couldn't write about the characters without mentioning Sephiroth. Of all the characters, Sephiroth is the most intimidating and ominous. Starting around the time you get to control him in a flashback, you are afraid of him. He is the (misunderstood?) antagonist of the story, and numerous cutscenes will have your blood run cold, including one of the most atrocious acts ever shown in a video game.

The story to this game is amazing. One would never expect twists and surprises as they exist in this game. To this day, I still converse with some of my friends about it, and some of it we are still trying to figure out. If a video game can inspire conversation years after it is played, I consider it phenominal.

FF7 is a very dark science fiction. It is my favorite theme of all the Final Fantasy's I've played. It closely matched that of FF8, only it is a bit darker. The theme inspires extremely interesting enviornments, filled with gears, oil, and water vapor.

Sidequests make the game seem less linear. If you're tired of trying to beat a boss, there's almost always a place like the Gold Saucer (an amusement park) or the Chocobo Racing Track that you can go to. These places aren't time-wasters, however, each of them offers many useful rewards.

My only (small) complaint is with the music. There is a whole lot of it-4 CD's full-and there is so much that almost no repition occurs, excepting the obvious battle theme and world map theme. Also, each song perfectly matches the mood at which it is played. The problem is that with so much music comes the need for space. Because there are so many songs, they are all arranged in MIDI format. For those of you who don't know, MIDI music is always extremely small. The downside to it is that it is computer generated music, which is painfully obvious at times.

All in all, Final Fantasy 7 is one of the best video games to my knowledge, if you're into RPGs. Even if you're not, check it out. It might turn you over.