I almost can’t believe that it is finally here. I have waited so long — we have all waited so long! But finally the Final Fantasy VII Remake is upon us, and personally it’s more than I could have ever hoped for! I will try to keep this mostly spoiler free, but for those of you who have not yet played and want to jump in with nothing spoiled at all, I suggest you put off reading this for now!
As most of you will know by know, this is only the first release of what will be an episodic remake of VII, and it is based on your time in Midgar (which in the original game was just disc 1 of 4!). It feels so good to see so many of the places we know so well get a full makeover, fleshed out and teeming with life! Many new aspects have been added to the game to achieve this including new places, people, plot points, mini games and features.
We will get to meet all the existing characters who we are already so fond of, as well as a whole host of new characters, all of whom fit into the world we know so well.
One of the biggest changes between the remake and the original is the battle system. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the original, Final Fantasy VII was before the time of active battles in the franchise, and so it worked on a turn based system. This meant choosing whether to attack, cast a spell, use an item etc. once each party member was ready to do so. But now, everything has been totally revamped to fit in with the current style of the franchise. This means totally active battles, controlling only one character (but being able to switch between your party members), moving around the battlefield, dodging, parrying, experiencing a true battle. So where do spells and such come into it? Well, as you battle your party will each have an ATB gauge that fills overtime. The gauge is split into segments, and these segments are used to perform abilities, and use your spells or items. No more spamming potions and phoenix downs! You’ve now got to have your characters be strong enough to survive taking a few punches if you want to heal up in a dire situation!
One of the many things that the Final Fantasy franchise is known for is have beautiful soundtracks. FF7: Remake is absolutely not an exception to this rule. The original game has some iconic tracks itself, and of course we will have to wait for future episodic releases before we can hear it all, but what I have heard so far is exceptional. A perfect balance of nostalgia from the redesign of existing tracks, and pleasure of experiencing the new tracks for the first time. Besides the actual background music, there are also CDs to be found around the world, all of which have a retro/nostalgic feel whilst also having their own themes.
There were many pivotal moments for me whilst playing – meeting the characters that I already knew so well and seeing them truly brought to life, being surprised by how much I suddenly adored characters I already knew and didn’t care about (shout out to Jessie, Biggs and Wedge), and seeing iconic scenes and places from the original.
So of course, being the same game but remade, the plot is virtually the same … right?
You are of course following the same characters and the same story, but it is not entirely identical. In fact, I noticed some key additions (and even differences) as I played. How about the mysterious ghost-like entities that seem to harass the party at pivotal plot points? And Avalanche … weren’t they just a tiny group? Now apparently a small delegation of a much larger group? And Aerith … I don’t know about the rest of you that have played, but something feels different. Of course, she is much more fleshed out just like everyone else, but in a way that just makes it more obvious. It’s almost like she has an awareness of some sort. I have a theory in mind, but I’m not going to get into that here.
So in short, Final Fantasy VII Remake really is everything that I hoped it would be, and that much more on top of that. I totally recommend it for anyone who enjoyed the original game, and for any RPG fans who never got a chance to play the original! In fact, the game is so good that I actually payed full retail price for it just because I wanted to get it as soon as it came out. Trust me, that almost never happens.
- Platform: PS4
- Release Date: 10/04/2020
- Genre: Fantasy RPG