Connect with us


Long Play: Over 500 hours with Final Fantasy VII

Long Play is our semi-regular segment on the games that have consumed people’s lives. This week, we asked Tom why he has poured quite so much time into Final Fantasy VII.



The Long Game Final Fantasy VII

Long Play is our semi-regular segment on the games that have consumed people’s lives. This week, on the day it’s released on Nintendo Switch, we asked Tom why he has poured quite so much time into Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII is a big RPG. Great choice. How long would you say you’ve spent on it?

All told, I reckon over 500 hours at the very least. It might be a lot more than that.


Sorry, 500? You know it’s only about 30-50 hours long, right?

Yes, I know.

Did you, er, did you get lost? Or stuck? Are you a little slow?

No no, it’s not like that. I did the same thing as everyone else: I raced to the North Crater in around 30 hours – and went in, full of enthusiasm, and got my ass handed to me – then spent another 10-20 hours levelling up so I was actually in a position to beat it.

So your first playthrough was around the 50-hour mark, then? How do you explain the other 450 or more hours?

Well, first of all, there’s all of the extra stuff. Once I’d beaten the game, I then reloaded my save and proceeded to do all the other – entirely optional – bits and pieces the game has to offer. I bred chocobos; I maxed out limit breaks; I beat most of the Weapons; I went back to Midgar; I bred a gold chocobo; I got the Knights of the Round materia; I beat Ultima Weapon. All in all, that completionist playthrough was probably around 100 hours.

Right, but that still doesn’t account for the other 400 plus hours?

Replays. Lots, and lots, and lots of replays.

How many times can you play the same linear story? And presumably, you didn’t do the 100-hour completionist thing each time? That would drive you crazy.


For a game I’ve replayed dozens of times, I’ve only actually completed it once or twice. In many respects, beating Final Fantasy VII is the least appealing thing about it. I’ve certainly not been compelled to breed a gold chocobo or tackle Ultima Weapon more than once!

There usually comes a point, when the world opens up, that I get distracted by something new and tail off. Sometimes that’s straight after leaving Midgar; sometimes that’s after the Village of the Ancients; sometimes it’s after the rocket launch. Then the next time I come back to playing it, I always find myself drawn to starting a new game. I just can’t seem to help myself. I love those opening few hours. Getting caught up in that opening bombing run, it sucks me in, every time.

You know there are lots of other games you could have been playing though, right?

To be fair, other than double-dipping on the PSP and PS4 versions, I haven’t actually replayed Final Fantasy VII in quite some time. I think I managed to break out of that loop, eventually, but I used to replay it all the time. It almost got to the point where I’d punctuate every new game with at least some length of run at Final Fantasy VII (or IX, if I wanted to mix things up a bit).


Wasn’t that a bit, er, repetitive?

Possibly, but I was a student, I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on new consoles and games, so the classics saw plenty of use. Plus I was sick a lot of the time – what are you doing? You don’t have to move away from me! Cancer isn’t contagious – I was sick, so Final Fantasy VII was sort of like a comfort blanket for me.

Sorry to hear that. Sounds rough.


Don’t worry, I’m better now. But when you’re sick and you’re not able to go out as much as you’d like, out of necessity, you find ways to pass the time. It’s like a coping mechanism. In many ways, Final Fantasy VII probably stopped me losing my marbles.

And I spent some time in hospital in isolation, when I was highly radioactive following treatment – sadly, I didn’t come away with superpowers – with no internet access, so of course, I replayed Final Fantasy VII on my laptop on an emulator. I also read a bunch of books, too. Ploughing through Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy over and over again was probably my literary equivalent of Final Fantasy VII.

But Final Fantasy VII was the one thing you kept going back to?

I guess it was. Don’t you have that one movie you always want to watch, when you’re sick or you feel down? Star Wars or Back to the Future, something fanciful, that lets you forget your troubles for a few hours and live out an adventure? Final Fantasy VII was that escape for me.

How did we do?

We hope you found this article useful, or informative, or thought provoking, or maybe even a little entertaining. Perhaps it was a guide that helped you through a tricky bit, or we even saved you some money? Lovely stuff! If you'd like to say "thanks" you could always buy the team a cup of coffee.

Recommended for you

Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.


Latest from Thumbsticks

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Aliens: Fireteam Elite
News5 hours ago

Aliens: Fireteam Elite release date and trailer revealed

Cold Iron Studios has confirmed a release date for upcoming third-person survival shooter Aliens: Fireteam Elite.

PlayStation Store sale - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order PlayStation Store sale - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
News20 hours ago

Save up to 60% in the PlayStation Store Mid-Year sale

Outriders and Crash Bandicoot 4 are among the games on sale in the new PlayStation Store Mid-Year Deals promotion.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles - Objection! The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles - Objection!
News24 hours ago

Investigate the new Great Ace Attorney Chronicles gameplay trailer

A new trailer from Capcom showcases some of the new gameplay mechanics featured in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.

Immortals Fenyx Rising - Xbox Immortals Fenyx Rising - Xbox
News2 days ago

Save up to 90% with these new Xbox digital game deals

This week's Xbox discounts include a Ubisoft publisher sale and a new crop of Deals with Gold.

E3 2021 logo E3 2021 logo
News2 days ago

The award for most tweeted about game at E3 2021 goes to…

The latest gaming insights update from Twitter reveals which game at E3 2021 generated the most conversation.

Star Wars Vader Immortal - PS VR Star Wars Vader Immortal - PS VR
News2 days ago

Star Wars: Vader Immortal physical edition is out now on PSVR with exclusive extras

The Vader Immortal special retail edition includes all three episodes and a bundle of exclusive extras.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania
News3 days ago

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania 20th Anniversary Edition detailed

Sega has confirmed details of the Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania 20th Anniversary Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition.

New Nintendo Switch eShop releases New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
News3 days ago

New Nintendo Switch releases (June 21-25, 2021)

Mario Golf: Super Rush and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 top this week’s lineup of new Nintendo Switch eShop releases.