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Difficulty Review: Final Fantasy VII HardTypeFinal Fantasy VII...a game that began a new generation of RPGs. At the time I got this game I had an N64, waiting patiently for the anticipated "Zelda 64" that kept getting pushed back. I was an avid Final Fantasy fan at the time, playing through all the main titles to that point. When I saw FF7 come out...it was too much to resist. I walked through the snow to the flea market, about a 30 minute walk to trade in my N64 and my games for a Playstation and Final Fantasy VII. I was in 8th grade then and spent the next 2 weeks playing the game as long as I could, finally beating it and the wrestling Emerald Weapon before beating Ruby finally one day before school.
Difficulty wise for me back then it was ok, a couple bosses kept me on my toes but the big prize was killing the weapons. They were the most difficult enemies I had fought in a game to that point and to kill them was pretty special to me. I have played FF7 countless times since then, enjoying it for story if nothing else. It started to hit me though, difficulty wise the game itself really isn't that difficult and even the weapons can be tamed easily with a few strategies. Final Fantasy 6 suffered from the difficulty issue as well, really it was even easier in my opinion, but I digress. I tell you this story to get you warmed up for my introduction of by Final Fantasy VII HardType by our own GalenMyra.
FF7 HardType is a difficulty hack that aims to keep as close to the main game as possible while adding a balanced, much more difficult experience. Balancing is the most important thing I think because just by creating a balance you automatically raise the challenge level to some extent. How does it balance you say? A lot of ways, mainly in tweaking of damage output and certain Materia and equipment abilities. By nerfing HP Plus for example you eliminate being able to easily max out your HP. You also allow it to be used earlier because the bonus is not as great. This is only one example, but it demonstrates the idea behind the hack. Your characters are no longer able to easily become overpowered through things like source farming and item duping, and you get to find use out of things that were not normally as viable like the Premium Heart, which has had its damage formula changed.
To go into too much detail of each individual change would rob you the experience of the game, so I want to go into the enemies. What I really like about HardType is that it gives you the feeling of easing into things. Midgar itself is not overly difficult but the damage output obviously raises as you get closer to the outside world. It is like a way to show you the features and get you prepared to go outside and play, so to speak. Encounters are now more interactive due to the increased durability and damage of the enemies meaning you have to make sure you stock up on items, and take advantage of things like Steal. The fact that you can get a lot of use out of many different items and abilities is a shining point of HardType.
In my current playthrough I am still on the 1st disk, and I am seeing noticable difficulty shifts after each area. This in itself shows me that there is a lot more to come and I will definately be pleased. I can't end this without giving you all some kind of sample of the game though, so I will leave you with the Midgar Zolom. This battle may seem daunting at first but with careful strategy you can gain control of the battle.
Feel free to shoot me any questions you have, and happy playing! You can check out more info and download the HardType here.
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