In August of 2015 Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy 7 would be coming to both iOS and Android. There was no release date commitment but rumor had it that it would be coming during the holiday season. In January of 2016 I had had enough. I wrote a post titled, “What Happened To Final Fantasy 7 on Android?” It quickly became the most read story on EpicDroid. It averaged more than double the views per day than all our other posts combined! One month short of a year later and Square Enix finally released Final Fantasy 7 to Android!
The release came with no fanfare. I was looking to download something from the Play Store and on a whim searched for Final Fantasy. The first item in the search results was none other than Final Fantasy 7! I quickly posted to Twitter with a screenshot and the statement, “Holy crap! I just wet myself! Final Fantasy 7 is finally out on Android!!!”
Needless to say, I was extremely excited and quickly hit the purchase button. After an incredibly slow download I started up the game and was quickly presented with the New Game screen that I remembered and loved. I immediately pressed new game and began to watch the opening scene where you meet Aerith and the city of Midgar. I was still excited and felt like I was in 7th Heaven (that there was a little pun for Tifa and my Final Fantasy 7 friends).
Now before I get in to my feelings, there are a lot of mixed reviews on the Play Store. Everything from, “it doesn’t work on my device” to, “the black is teal” or, “the colors are negative.” I’m not sure where the color issues came in to play as I didn’t have any issues on my NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, my Nexus 5X or my Nexus 6P. All devices worked without any issue and performed very well.
As for my feelings… For the first few minutes I was very excited, as I said on Twitter, I almost wet myself! After I started playing I started noticing the flaws in the game. When I first selected New Game at the beginning I just tapped on the menu. After the opening cut scene a bunch of buttons, like a PlayStation controller, appear and overlay on the screen. In addition to the normal A, B, X and Y buttons there are two new buttons at the bottom of the screen, the one on the left reads, “Encounters On” and the one on the right reads, “A” (or “D” if you press it).
Pressing the Y button takes you to the menu. You are no longer able to just select an item by tapping on it. You now have to use the directional pad to scroll through the menu items and then use the A button to select it. I immediately went to the Config option to see if there was a way to change the controller so it is more like the other Final Fantasy games that are out for Android. I found the Controller sub menu and found options to change the opacity and the layout of the buttons. There was no way to customize the layout beyond the four pre-defined options. None of which met my fancy.
I then went back to the Config menu in the hopes that maybe there was something that would let me pair my SHIELD Controller to it so I could use the my controller instead of the onscreen controller. Once again, my hopes were dashed. There was nothing there.
As I looked through the Config menu I came across an option that read “Max Stats.” Curiosity struck me. Using the arrow keys I scrolled down to it and selected it. Up pops a prompt that basically told me that if I continued all of my character stats would be set to their maximum values. It was then that I realized I wasn’t happy with the release of Final Fantasy 7.
The gameplay itself wasn’t bad. It is a game from 1997 made to work on Android. My frustration was with the lack of effort that Square Enix put in to bringing the game over to Android. Rather than putting some love in to the production they basically grabbed the necessary files, created their own emulator and slapped them together and called it a done deal. They didn’t even add gamepad or Android TV support. To add insult to injury, rather than spending their time on making the game better; maybe by adding some quality touch controls, getting rid of the blue bars on the sides, improving the graphics a bit or any other improvement they could have done, they instead spent that time on creating an easy way for users to cheat.
Square Enix made the assumption that we would devote as much love to the game as they did to porting it. They loved it enough to do it but not enough to make it a quality production. They assumed that we would love it enough to throw down almost $20 to play it, but not love it enough to dedicate the time to playing it through. They cheated on the production and they allow us to cheat on the gameplay.
Now I’m not going to ask for a refund and I’m not going to stop playing it. I love Final Fantasy 7 and I still enjoyed playing it. I didn’t experience any of the catastrophic bugs that many others did. I just hope that some day Square Enix will devote as much love to the game as they have to other games and give us a quality product. Until then, Sephiroth, I’m coming for you!
If you care to give Final Fantasy 7 a try you can get it here: Final Fantasy 7 on the Google Play Store.