Posted on July 23, 2013, James Murff The Best Mods For Final Fantasy 7
If there’s one great thing about games receiving a PC port, it’s that you can mod them.
Despite Square Enix’s efforts to the contrary – cease and desists issued to modders, as well as no actual support for their work – modding the PC edition of Final Fantasy 7 has been going strong since the port’s original release in the misty years of 1998. Thanks to a Steam release, players now have easy access to one of the best RPGs ever made, as well as the perfect opportunity to mod it. So let’s take a look at the best mods for Final Fantasy 7, and just what you can expect them to do.
Be forewarned: using these mods (except for the music and cutscene mods) requires you to patch one of Square Enix’s game drivers, making it impossible to get achievements or use cloud saves. Only use these mods if you are okay with that.
Tifa’s Package is the largest of Final Fantasy 7 mod compilations, and is easily the best. It includes a huge variety of graphical and gameplay overhauls, with the most notable being high-definition textures and new character models for both in battle and on the field. Since flipping the mods on involves selecting each element you want individually, you can mix and match how you like.
The price you pay for such fidelity is high. Tifa’s Package is a whopping 20+ gigabytes, on top of the normal installation. Configuring it also takes a very long time, as you need to learn the ins and outs of the bootleg loader and properly set up all the models and features you like. Once you finish, though, you will have the prettiest and most full-featured version of Final Fantasy 7 ever released. At least, until Square Enix finally caves and gives us that remake players constantly clamor for.
Up for constant death? It’s time for the Nightmare Mode pack, then.
This pack significantly increases the difficulty of Final Fantasy 7. Enemies are smarter and tougher, weapons and items are weaker, and every fight is a challenge. If you want to be on the verge of death when you cross the world map, this is the mod for you.
The most notable changes in Nightmare Mode are resistances and materia growth. In order to make fights tough-yet-fair, most enemies have weaknesses. However, they are not always readily visible, and may sometimes surprise you; for example, not all robots will be vulnerable to electricity, as some are shielded against it. Materia is now stronger per each level, but also levels significantly slower and has much higher bonuses/penalties to character stats. Check out the forum thread for more detailed changes.
Aeris Revival Patch
Tired of having all that hard work to get Aeris up to speed wasted on her death? No longer!
The Aeris Revival patch does just that: It revives Aeris after her death. She returns to the party almost immediately. However, she lacks dialogue for many scenes, is frozen in place in a few others, and requires the sacrifice of another team member to be used in the final boss (the game is hard-coded for eight party members in the final fight, not nine).
The modder put a lot of work into making Aeris’ revival functional and relatively glitch-free, so this mod is probably the best of the bunch when it comes to getting everyone’s favorite timid flower girl back for vengeance. More importantly, it gives you access to her limit breaks, which are absurdly powerful and render most of the game a cakewalk if you use the revival patch. Either way, it’s up to you.
High Fidelity Cutscenes and Music
These are actually two separate mods, but they fall under the same general theme: The cutscenes and music for Final Fantasy 7 were poorly ported, so changes had to be made to fix them.
The first are the movies. The PC movies were rendered at an incredibly low resolution with a mediocre codec, and modders have taken it upon themselves to up that resolution and restore things to the PSX standard. The result is the FMV Restoration mod, which gives players much nicer cutscenes for a fractional increase in hard drive space. It doesn’t make the models any nicer – these are FMVs, after all – but it does make the picture smoother and more pleasant to watch.
Second, there’s the music. Unlike the PSX release, the PC port of Final Fantasy 7 used MIDI instruments instead of samples and synthesis. The result of this decision was a butchering of the classic soundtrack. Assuming you want to hear some nice, high-quality, original soundtrack music, the Anxious Heart music mod has you covered. It replaces all of the mediocre MIDI music from Final Fantasy 7 PC with high-quality rips of the PSX soundtrack. Great for the player wanting the full Final Fantasy 7 experience.
Have any suggestions for cool Final Fantasy 7 mods? Leave them in the comments below!