Flashback FridayWhy has the Final Fantasy series never been able to recapture the success of Final Fantasy VII?

Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada recently said of the chances of a remake of the infamous Final Fantasy VII:

We'll make a Final Fantasy VII remake once we've made a Final Fantasy game that exceeds the quality of FFVII.

So … what is it about this game that still makes people go nuts?  How can Square Enix have gone this many years without recapture the magic of a game that, lets be honest, wasn't that impressive to look at even back in its day?  Yes, the cutscenes were gorgeous, but somehow you turned into the weird squatty people when game play picked back up.  That never made much sense to me.

And don't even get me started on what I had to go through to breed a Gold Chocoobo.  The amount of time I spent racing lesser breeds?  I will never get that time back.

That's why it strikes me as funny that people still look to FF VII as a touchstone RPG.  I played the game all the way through, and I have no fond memories of it, I just think, "Wow … I really, really hated racing Chocobos."  For the time, it was groundbreaking, and it helped demonstrate the power of the PlayStation, so I'm not even trying to judge its graphics by today's standards, it was just … okay.  It didn't change my life, it didn't make me judge every other RPG ever released against it – for me that would be Zelda II: A Link to the Past – and yet it seems to be a curse that Square Enix must now carry around with it for time eternal.

If you've never played it, you of course can't judge it by the short snippet above, but, for those of you who have, what was it that made it so amazing to you?