If you told me back in 1997 that I could play Final Fantasy VII on the go one day, I probably wouldn't believe you. At the time, the PlayStation exclusive was a technical wonder with beautiful cutscenes and a captivating world to explore. The Nintendo Switch version isn't actually the first time the game has been available on a portable. The PlayStation classic saw release on the PlayStation Portable, which was fine at the time. However, the Switch port is certainly is the best way to play in 2019. This port doesn't just emulate FF7 wonderfully, but it also includes a set of cheats that allow it to truly shine.
Despite its status as one of the greatest Japanese role-playing games ever made, there are a number of issues with Final Fantasy VII. This is to be expected with any game that's over 20 years old. Especially one of those that's also an early 3D title. Thankfully, a lot of the design issues, such as requiring players to grind in order to claim rare drops and level up, are mitigated thanks to its cheats. On top of that, all three of the in-game modifiers help players experience the FFVII they remember rather than face the harsh reality. Facts are facts, and this game has aged poorly in spots.
The three cheats are as follows. You have the ability to toggle off the oftentimes annoying random battles. You can enable a "god mode" that restores the player's health and mana points after every turn (so only one-hit kills are dangerous). Finally, you can triple the in-game speed. These all make the Switch version a far better way to replay Final Fantasy VII. After all, if you're revisiting the title after decades away, you probably just want to see the story you fondly remember. You probably don't want to find yourself stuck in the frustrating pyramid dungeon all over again.
Of course, these cheats are all totally optional. If you want to play the beloved PlayStation title in all of its original glory, you can. This layer of choice is why FFVII on Switch is such a great version of the game. Exactly like the PlayStation 4 and PC port before it, players can cater their experience to exactly what they want. It serves both hardcore role-playing game fanatics and more casual players without compromising the experience for either.
With the ability to turn on god mode and turn off random encounters, it's easier than ever for players to focus purely on Final Fantasy VII's story. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, players get to experience what they want to see again as easy as possible. The downside is that the writing has aged quite a bit since 1997. It's easy to laugh about Cloud Strife's dark backstory and some of the more dated aspects. Still, I found that the story continues to hit plenty of high points. There's a lot to like even for more jaded players trying to see if it really deserves its hype.
As far as frustrations go, the Nintendo Switch version still has the same save game limitations of the original. That means players will have to locate a save point in-game if they want to quit without losing progress. That's an annoyance for sure, but the Switch's built-in rest mode mitigates the issue. Even if you don't have time to find one immediately, you can simply put the Switch on rest and continue playing when you have time. It's an example of the system itself helping mitigate one of the game's design issues.
Other than that slight complaint, the game runs wonderfully on Switch. I encountered no issues from a technical standpoint. The game never crashed and it ran just as well as its PlayStation 4 counterpart despite being on a less powerful system.
That's not the only time that the handheld nature of the Nintendo Switch comes in handy either. If you're looking to see everything that Final Fantasy VII has to offer then that will mean facing off against the dangerous optional boss fights. As mentioned before, FFVII requires a lot of grinding. Thankfully, this becomes much less of a hassle with the cheats turned on and being able to play as a portable title. The game no longer requires your full attention during the more annoying portions.
Due to all of these upsides, it's easy to recommend the Nintendo Switch version of Final Fantasy VII. It's an entirely faithful port that manages to hide some of its more dated elements if you choose to do so. 1997 me would be entirely wowed by this version. I'm still left impressed more than 20 years later.
TechRaptor covered Final Fantasy VII for Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher.