Last week, I mentioned I’ve been playing the original Final Fantasy VII. I wanted to experience what was it like all those years ago when this groundbreaking game was released on the original PlayStation in 1997 and how it stacks up to the Remake. I’ve already completed the Midgar portion, which basically covers the events of Remake so now I’m in totally unknown territory. I’ve been trying to avoid going online to see what I should do next and I’ve been doing a good job so far.
So imagine my surprise when I randomly ran into a thieving ninja while exploring the lands! This was my first encounter with Yuffie, the totally optional character you can recruit into your party. I already knew that but what I didn’t know of this grand side story you can take once you do get her to follow you.
Before I do that, I do like to tell you all the trouble I had to go through before I did get Yuffie. Like I said, I’ve been avoiding walkthroughs so I didn’t know what a arduous task it was just to get her to join the party! It was relatively easy to beat her as I guess I’ve over-leveled up Cloud and the group by that point. What made it difficult was that there was an entire process of dialog choices to make to actually get her to follow you! Heck, the first time I beat her, I was so nervous because I knew it was my chance to get her I ran to the save point. Little did I know it was a decoy and she ran off! I then was determined to get her so I ran through the same area over and over again, encountering and beating her then figuring out, by trial and error, no less, which dialog options to pick to get her to follow her! It must have took me a solid hour or two but I did it!
I loved this introduction and I think Square Enix (or SquareSoft at that time) did a really good job showing off her personality here. There were a lot of little eccentricities like her doing quick jabs when talking to her. Her really, let’s say, frank style of speaking shows she’s just a child trying to make her way in the world. I guess it did help I had to go through the conversation multiple times because I kept on making the wrong dialog choices. Trial-and-error, you see.
After she started following me, I honestly thought that was it. I had Yuffie and there was nothing more involved to do with her. So I went along my way, simply exploring all the places I could go. Once I got the Tiny Bronco, the weird seaplane, this opened up the world a bit more. I tried using the Tiny Bronco to get to the other areas I couldn’t get to before. I reached an area in the left side of the world map and I was strolling around when I seemed to enter an area. I didn’t have Yuffie in the party at that time but she all of a sudden rushed in and… stole all of my materia! I did not expect this as I just thought she was going to play nice throughout the journey! How naive I was!
This led me on the path to Wutai where I had to go through a side story involving the Turks and the return of Don Corneo! I first needed to track down Yuffie in the town of Yuffie where I did get to know her a little bit more, like her being angry that her once proud town has been made into a tourist trap by her father, no less. It also reveals why she’s so materia hungry as she needs them all so the town can regain its full strength and battle Shinra. It’s a nice segment where you actually get some character development without someone outright explaining it to the viewer.
Anyway, Yuffie, along with the new Turks member Elena, gets captured by Don Corneo who, like the dirty pervert he is, is looking for a new bride. Cloud and the Turks, specifically Reno and Rude corner Don Corneo on a mountain top. The Turks take out Don Corneo and free Yuffie and Elena. The Turks then gets orders to capture Cloud but, as they’re on vacation, they don’t bother. Once again, this is a neat way of showing what kind of people Reno and Rude are without being all in your face about it. Can’t wait to see this in the Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth!
Yuffie returns all the materia by the end and, once again, I thought that was the end of Yuffie’s side story. I was wrong again as she gets a really short questline to prove her worth by challenging the gatekeepers of a five-story pagoda. At the very top of the pagoda, Yuffie faces off against her father and prevails. She’s then tasked to follow Cloud as they have a common enemy in Shinra. Before she does join the party, Yuffie’s father whispers to her to steal the materia once the quest is complete, which Yuffie is happy to do.
This entire segment involving Yuffie, well, it was a lot of content. What’s really surprising is she’s an optional character you might not even run into, much less recruit into your group! You also might never explore the Wutai area if you’re just obsessed with following the main story.
This is why Yuffie’s story in the original Final Fantasy VII reminds me of some really good DLC. What I mean by this is nothing that happens here really impacts the story in any way. Heck, you might not even get Yuffie to fight for you, remember? However, the content feels so woven into the game so well so it doesn’t feel like it’s something extra. This is the kind of thing some gaming companies would carve out of a game and then repackage as DLC. DLC which you have to buy, though.
There is a part of me that thinks this is what the Square Enix of today would do. Maybe they would’ve done it then if it was possible to do DLC then. I’m still glad they didn’t and I hope they do the same with Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth and repackage this entire portion of the game as something you have to buy separate from the base game.
I mean, they already made Yuffie a DLC part of Remake, didn’t they?
What was your experience with the original Final Fantasy VII like when you hit this portion of the game? Let me know in the comments section below!