A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Final Fantasy VII is a downloadable action role-playing game for the Nintendo Switch. The game is a port from the classic game from a long-running franchise that was originally released in 1997 on the PlayStation, and has been revamped with new features for its debut on the new system to make the experience easier and faster than before. While players will fight humans and monsters, damage is shown by numbers, and defeated enemies vanish without blood or gore. There are some environments that are covered in blood, and some scenes where people are impaled or shot. There's sexual innuendo in some dialogue scenes, and one character wears a low-cut top with some cleavage shown. There's occasional use of "goddamn," "jackass," and "s--t" in dialogue as well.
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What's it about?
Decades after its initial release on the PlayStation, FINAL FANTASY VII has made its debut on the Nintendo Switch, bringing the RPG (role-playing game) classic to players at home and on the go. The game is set on a planet that has a special amount of processed energy called Mako, which helps to fuel many industrial machines on the world. Because of its many uses, an evil corporation known as the Shinra Electric Power Company has started siphoning this energy for dangerous purposes. An eco-terrorist group known as Avalanche has dedicated itself to dismantling Shinra and its schemes by all means necessary, including guerrilla warfare and targeted destruction of Shinra facilities. Players take on the role of Cloud Strife, former Shina elite soldier and new mercenary member of Avalanche, as he and the group attempt to dismantle the corporation, gathering like-minded individuals to fight Shinra, as they slowly uncover its dangerous schemes that threaten everyone on the planet. New to the Switch version of Final Fantasy VII are three new game enhancements: 3x speed mode to accelerate gameplay, battle enhancements to make fights easier, and the option to turn random battles off.
Is it any good?
This classic RPG makes its debut on the Switch with a group of updated enhancements that make it perfect to take on the go. Final Fantasy VII has been considered a classic by many gamers over the past two decades for its sweeping story, its balance of tactics and action in combat, and its striking emotional moments that made many gamers cry. With its release on the Nintendo Switch, there have been some updates. While characters still look like chunky Lego figures with Popeye arms, their visuals have been smoothed out so that they're a bit more cartoonish and graphically appealing.
But true enhancement comes in the three updates to make the game more accessible to newcomers. The first one is 3x speed mode: clicking the left thumbstick turbocharges gameplay. With the exception of cutscenes, everything moves at an accelerated pace, which makes navigating the world much faster. The next enhancement is the option to turn off all random battles by clicking both thumbsticks. As many role-playing gamers know, random battles can drag out gameplay for multiple hours when players try to improve their party members. This option makes it easier to run through dungeons and areas without feeling like you'll be ambushed at any minute. The third option is the battle enhancement mode, which can be triggered by clicking the right thumbstick. This option effectively triggers a "god mode," turning parties invincible and continually filling their ultimate attack meter. While some players may be concerned that this would make the gameplay too easy, these enhancements are completely optional, and simply give players the ability to explore the game at their own speed and at their own skill level. For players on the go or under time constraints that won't let them invest more than 100 hours in leveling up all of the playable characters for their party, these tweaks to Final Fantasy VII are an excellent way to make it even easier to explore this classic adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Final Fantasy VII affected by the lack of blood and gore shown in battle? Is the impact lessened by the unrealistic visuals and older, blocky character models?
If people are fighting for the greater good, should they be willing or able to do any and everything to accomplish their goals? Does this make them as bad as the thing they're fighting against?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $15.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release date: March 26, 2019
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Fantasy Violence, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: December 28, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.