Final Fantasy 7 debuted way back in 1997. Originally an exclusive for the first PlayStation console, the game subsequently came to PC in 1998. And then, as times continued to roll on, has been made available for near-every modern format. You can readily pick up the game for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles, PC and smartphones. But is it worth playing the original Final Fantasy 7 in the light of the remake series?

Final Fantasy VII Nintendo 64 Tech Demo screenshot

Final Fantasy 7 Origins

Even before launch, the game had a long and protracted story. Development famously originally began on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). However, development resources were delayed in order to help finish Chrono Trigger, and by the time full development had resumed the industry was moving towards 3D graphics. The decision was made to delay the game further, and await the arrival of the Nintendo 64.

Even that however, didn’t come to be. A rift between Square Enix and Nintendo – allegedly concerning Nintendo decision to use cartridges over CDs for the Nintendo 64 console – saw the development of the original Final Fantasy 7 pivoting. All that was ever seen of this Nintendo 64 build was a publicly displayed tech demo rebuilding characters from Final Fantasy 6 (screenshot above).

Square Enix reportedly considered many different formats – including PC and the Sega Saturn – before settling on the PlayStation as their format of choice. It’s this final PlayStation version that has become the basis of every edition of Final Fantasy 7 released since.

Final Fantasy 7 PSone screenshot

Playing the Original Final Fantasy 7 in 2024

So if you want to play the game today, in the fresh light of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, what’s the best way to go about it? Well, fear not. You have plenty of options!

The PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One all have digital versions of the game available, as does PC. The Nintendo Switch even received a physical release. These versions are more-or-less the same across all formats.

The game has been updated with smoother-looking polygons than the original PlayStation release. However, the pre-rendered backgrounds are largely untouched. They also include a number quality-of-life features, such as a 3x speed toggle, the ability to avoid random encounters, and a setting that instantly heals characters to max health and raises their Limit Break status.

What’s more, the original English translation of Final Fantasy 7 has been improved. It still features some awkward phrasing and even defaults to naming Aerith “Aeris” just as the original English version did in 1997, but of course to can rename the characters however you like!

Worthy of note is the fact that the Steam version, unlike the console iterations, does not include the aforementioned quality-of-life features. This edition however, can be modded.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis screenshot

How about Ever Crisis?

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is the curve ball here. The game is essentially a highlights reel from the expanded Final Fantasy 7 universe. It’s an interesting aside for mobile gamers (also now available for PC). However, it is recommended that if you want the original Final Fantasy 7 experience, you stick with the above options.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is heavy on the microtranscations. As stated in Chit Hot’s Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis review: “You can play the entire game without purchase, but Square Enix are constantly going to remind you that a small investment means fancier digital goodies.”

Final Fantasy 7 PSone discs

I Still Have my Original Final Fantasy 7 Discs!

That’s fantastic! Though, your options to play them are somewhat limited. If you have a PlayStation 3 console, you’ll find that they are fully compatible. However, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 will not play original PlayStation discs.

If you do happen to have a PlayStation 3 lying around – or an original PlayStation console for that matter! – there’s a few things you should take note of. Firstly, the original Final Fantasy 7 contains a bug that makes it impossible to increase your party’s magic defense. Modern re-releases of the game have fixed this. Secondly, the original Final Fantasy 7 does not feature an autosave. Be sure to save, preferably in a new slot, every single time you see a save point or step out into the field. If you die, you’ll go back to your last save point. It’s very easy to lose hours of progress if you’re not careful!

Final Fantasy 7 PSone screenshot

Is it Worth Playing the Original in 2024?

Unquestionably, the original Final Fantasy 7 remains worthy of your time, even today. And even within the light of the Final Fantasy VII Remake series. It’s a deep and rewarding RPG – one that arguably set the template for all that followed in the genre. It is however, significantly more clunky than modern game experiences. As a result, newcomers may find some of the more abstract mechanics a little awkward to handle. What’s more, the visual quality is obviously far from what is expected on modern platforms.

Taking all this into account, players who have already experienced the game should certainly be planning a return visit. If you’re new to Final Fantasy 7 however, come on board with the expectation that things may not be as smooth as what your accustomed to, and you’ll still find a game of remarkable quality.

Categories: Games