>EOiNA: FF7: golden shiny wires of hope

>I’ve logged roughly 10 hours in Final Fantasy VII; I finished Shinra HQ, made it out of Midgard and am now in the Inn at Kalm, about halfway through Cloud’s story of his experiences with Sephiroth.

With the release calendar suddenly starting to get interesting (especially with SF4 and GTA4 DLC hitting tomorrow) I wonder how much time I’m going to be able to invest in FF7… but even if I stopped now, I feel like I totally understand why this game is considered a classic. The story is remarkably sophisticated and, well, adult, far more than I expected, especially out of a JRPG released in 1997. I am especially impressed with how much personality there is in each crudely-rendered polygonal character; it’s impossible to make out anything beyond the most basic human forms, and yet they’re all expressive and animated with an unmistakable clarity. I have absolutely no idea where the story is going, but I feel pretty invested with these characters already (even though I’m pretty sure there’s no way anybody could get away with making a character like Barret anymore).

Here’s the thing: I’m pretty neurotic about hanging on to borrowed goods. This game belongs to a colleague at my office and I can’t just hold on to it indefinitely, and my understanding is that FF7 could easily take 100 hours to get through; with all the new games coming out, it’s pretty likely that I could be idle in this borrowed copy of FF7 for some time, and that would just drive me crazy. But buying my own copy of 7 looks to be a pretty expensive proposition; the cheapest it’s going for on Amazon is around $60-70, whereas I could get a new, unopened copy of FF8 or FF9 for under $20. If any FF veterans happen to be reading this: how are 8 and 9? (My PS3 will not play PS2 games, so FFX is out for the time being.)