Final Fantasy VII is an RPG made by Squaresoft (now known as Square-Enix). It was originally released on the Playstation back in 1997, and it was kind of a big deal. The game remains the best selling Final Fantasy title even twenty years later. It was also released on PC in 1998 – with a Steam port in 2013 – and also was released on the PSN which allows you play on PS3 and PSP. The Steam port was also made available on PS4 and iOS, and an Android version was released in 2016.
And then there is, of course, the upcoming remake of the game looming over us.
And all those releases I mentioned above? They're all for the original game only. The Compilation of Final Fantasy encompasses a number of games, a movie, an anime OVA, and some novellas. Characters from Final Fantasy VII also appear in various other games and spin-offs, such as Kingdom Hearts, Dissida, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, World of Final Fantasy and various others. They get around.
If you haven't previously played Final Fantasy VII and are looking to try it, as you can see, there are many ways to play. And I really do recommend the game. It obviously looks incredibly dated and it is not without it's flaws; however, it is a charming and eccentric beast of a thing with a great cast of characters and an emotional story. I enjoy the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII to varying degrees but it will never, ever come near the original game for me – no matter how good it looks. The Compilation lacked a lot of the charm and humour of the original game. Final Fantasy VII had it's dark moments, but it was also one of the most ridiculous games. And I think that is my biggest concern about the remake – I hope it's amazing, but the doom and humourlessness and utter nonsense story of Advent Children and other parts of the Compilation just has me a bit concerned, even while I did enjoy parts of it. Although, somewhat hilariously, it has been stated that the Compilation won't be considered canon in the remake, so perhaps I'm worried about nothing.
Anyway. Basically what I'm saying is this: you should play the original game. It's great.
Okay lady that's neat, but what is the game about?
Final Fantasy VII is about a group of eco-terrorists called AVALANCHE blowing up mako reactors to save the planet. Or at least, it is at the start. Like any good Final Fantasy, it ends up a bit more complicated than that. Mako is the life blood of the planet – a literal Lifestream of spiritual energy that contains the essence of the Planet. Based on your feelings towards Compilation canon, it's a river of souls. Regardless, it keeps the planet alive and the mako reactors take this and turn it into energy – and that is a thing some people like AVALANCHE have an issue with. All of these reactors are owned by the Shinra Electric Power Company – a powerful corporation that does a lot more then just provide electricity. AVALANCHE believe the Shinra is killing the planet with their use of Mako Reactors, and are using hit and run tactics to take out the reactors in Midgar – a massive city that is the seat of power for Shinra.
The main character of the game is Cloud Strife – fair of hair, large of sword, and an ex-SOLDIER of Shinra. We first meet him when he is working for AVALANCHE and assisting them on a job to blow up a reactor. He's in it for the paycheque, and is initially completely disinterested in what their leader Barret has to say about the planet or the group's goals. He just wants the gil. However, his childhood friend Tifa is also a member of AVALANCHE, and she manages to convince him to stay when he'd rather leave. It is through his actions with AVALANCHE that makes everything change for Cloud and the others. (The shit hits the fan.)