Final Fantasy VII on the Nintendo Switch marks the first time the JRPG classic has ever landed on a Nintendo console. It’s been a long time coming, and it definitely shows. This version is far from the promised remake Square Enix is working on, but it still gives fans, both new and old, a great look into arguably one of the best games in the Final Fantasy series.
Like the recent Final Fantasy IX port, this Nintendo Switch version is also taken from the PC and PS4 version. While it hasn’t changed much from the original, the character models have been polished to a point that sets them distinctly apart from the pre-rendered backgrounds.
It does a great job of making them stand out, which normally isn’t a problem. There are times, however, when Final Fantasy VII suffers from the same issue that Final Fantasy IX did with its updated models. Depending on where you are, the inconsistency between the blurry backgrounds and your polished character can seem a bit jarring.
On top of that, the Nintendo Switch port also doesn’t support full screen, forcing you to play with black borders on your screen. It does take some time to get used to, but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
This console port also comes with the same handful of cheats you can turn on by simply pressing a button. Some of your options include a no encounter mode, an invincibility cheat, and a x3 turbo mode option. Seasoned players might overlook most of these added features, but they can actually be incredibly useful during your journey.
Some of the battles or cutscenes in Final Fantasy VII can feel incredibly slow, so the x3 option can save you plenty of time. The same goes for when you’re grinding levels or Gil, as you can always speed things up (and even turn on the invincibility mode) to get it over with quickly.
One particular issue that might turn players away is the infamous music bug that the PS4 version and Final Fantasy IX ports suffer from. Essentially, whenever you enter a battle, the overworld music will continue to reset instead of pausing. Couple this with the fairly high encounter rate, and you’ll be listening to the start of a track each time.
Final Fantasy VII has some amazing tracks, and it’s a shame that Square Enix still hasn’t managed to patch this issue yet. I wasn’t particularly bothered until I reached Mt. Corel, where I couldn’t enjoy one of the best songs in the game. Since the PS4 version still suffers from the same issue, it’s pretty likely that the Nintendo Switch port won’t get any fixes for it either.
Nevertheless, the Nintendo Switch port has to be one of the best versions you can get if you’re looking for the original experience. The console is one of the perfect places to play JRPGs thanks to its portability and functionality. Final Fantasy VII is a long game, and save points can feel a bit too few and far between.
Thanks to the Switch’s handheld mode, you can sneak in a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how long you want to play. Moreover, you can even dock your system and play on the big screen seamlessly, which is something you can’t do with the mobile and PSP/PS Vita versions.
For everything it brings to the table, the Switch port is still the same nostalgia-packed adventure fans know and love. It took 22 years to get here, but Final Fantasy VII has finally found a great home on a Nintendo console.