Final Fantasy VII
PS4 version tested
Review code provided
In a world where the rest of the cities and towns resemble huts and small villages compared to New York, and Tonberry Avoidance Measures are taught in elementary school classes to scare children, Mike Ross…err Cloud and a group of eco-warriors embark on destroying a facility. What they believe is that this will be a stepping stone to defeating an electric company hell-bent on taking over countries, ushering in a Jetsons floor plan for the hub city, and terrestrial radio (through a record label, I kid you not). What Cloud Strife, merc for hire, didn’t expect is a bigger game in the works when all he wanted was 2000 Gil. And this seems to only be the first 20 hours.
Final Fantasy VII Remake has finally made it to console. I toppled my first playthrough weeks ago, yet I figure I should rap about my experience, seeing that this was one of the most anticipated titles for me at almost 15 years in. Final Fantasy VII Remake is simply just that – a promise fulfilled by the likes of Square-Enix, its vets, and its new blood. After reports and despair of whether this was ample enough, Square reassured fans that FFVIIR would still encompass a full game experience – and they were right. As stated before, the remake covers the first near two dozen 60 ms of itself. Fully voiced, fully animated, cloud saving, and up to generational scratch.
Visually is the first notice. Aesthetics have greatly improved from its 32-bit origins. Advent Children did this first, but we were glad to get this back. Character models are no longer their blocky selves, though I’m hoping for a demake DLC soon. Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and Aerith, are better than we’ve remembered them. Unreal powers this game, with its voiceover cast providing the secondary beats. People are lifelike and have their own voices. Some passerby will make remarks. Conversations between characters happen, just like other modern RPGs. Banter within battles happens, also. From threats of violence to blessings of “Pastor” Barret, you get the full grip of it all. Mike Ross – err Cody Christian and John Eric Bentley gel nearly as well as peanut butter and jam. At times, playing too almost too well as Cloud and Barrett respectively. As much as I am not much of a CW Superman fan, Tyler Hoechlin’s Sephiroth was menacing whenever he spoke out. It doesn’t stop there.
There is even a BOSS BATTLE where a damn near play-by-play is given. It was too hilarious. The safety’s off on swearing, so everything but f*ck will be said. One thing I loved was the representation. Because of the height of the detail, we get more of a multicultural Midgar than we’ll probably ever get each time we visit Midgar. I did catch myself laughing during several moments.
Several parts of the 20 or so hours have been stretched out and events slightly changed to accommodate the extended story. Jesse, Biggs, and Wedge, are no longer the throwaway characters we once knew (especially Jesse because… things). The Turks actually have astute senses of candour. Shinra becomes an onion with grey moments that even your main team will put into question. The emotions, of FFVIIR are cranked up, as everything is drawn out. Arcs are thrown in, even with the new characters introduced to assist. The humanisation of the plot can be felt through this quite well. Shinra’s motives, the ancients, and the newer foes, all but interwoven. Each person, in the additional cast, pulls more than its original. Almost similar to Chrono Trigger’s major departure, FFVIIR’s sidequests fill in some gaps. Some mundane, like finding cats, and others nearly as long as the dungeons. Even random thugs get several touch-ups by the team. Time limits are there too. A few staple mini-games return such as the lunges and the pull-up challenges.
Final Fantasy VII Remake has several changes to compliment itself with. Battles are one of the most drastic changes. This is now an action RPG. The party roles are the same, with some of their signature moves turned into Skills that can be acquired from weapons equipped. After the proficiency is met, through repetition, the skill stays. It changes the thoughts as to what could happen. Weapon Skill Points are tied to each weapon, which in turn grants several perks like additional materia slots.
The way the game moves, this is dynamic enough. Then again, enemies can be seen without a special screen to throw around or musical changes to default battle themes. Free movement is happening. Classic Mode is more akin to Secret of Mana, whereas characters attack only when commanded, leaving them in a block state before and after. Still moving around, the characters will act on those. The intriguing parts is when a character is trapped or stuck. Another character has to use an ATB charged move to free them. Stagger’s ability to render enemies useless when their stun gauge is full is an added touch to battles. Certain criteria need to be met to fill gauges. Materia is also back, with its levelling ups. Chadley, a Shinra researcher, also gives out new ones for beating challenges within his battle network VR. Summons now fight alongside you when they are able to be called. Enemies can be seen as clear as day. Massive improvements to the battles were born in FFXV. Even frog spells don’t look so atrocious – seriously, get hit by one. Cloud’s sword is practically flying a the speed of death. In his other mode, Operator, it’s literally a whip to this young man’s bow. Blazing speed.
Final Fantasy VII Remake does have a few sticking points. Some technically jarring places seem to be mostly with character movement. Characters would sometimes move toward where they’re going without a decent amount of lead time. No footsteps at all, which can be jittery at best. Some models, in a different light, look a little undershaded. Sometimes, it feels as if enemies know when you’ve decided to switch characters to control i.e. Rude’s many encounters. Either he’s psychic, or he just knows. I get he’s about a certain type of enemy, but VRing way more enemies would probably help with the experience. There are other places that attempt to replace random encounters but these tend to be far and in between and monsters may or may not generate fast enough. Quests, at times, can be a little easier than they should be because of the linking items moments. Some can’t be done without completing one first in order to undertake another, which can lead to a lacklustre moment. A call for independence wouldn’t be a bad idea. Weapon points and perks should be carried over, because restarting having to undergo resets can be tiresome.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is quite the spectacle that only Square-Enix can conjure, well from a development hell survivor predecessor of FFXV, that only it can achieve. Cult classics only get better with age and Final Fantasy VII Remake amps up the levels to meet expectations. If Squaresoft ever had a Best-Of with its tropes, villains, mechanics, this would clearly be it without equal. The brains of Monster Hunter World’s battles is clearly in this one. Though, some of its flaws are not without note, this is clearly the evidence of Disney rubbing off on it’s Kingdom Hearts running mate. While it may take a different turn from its original motions, the dance of Final Fantasy VII remains without losing much yet adding heaps more for all to enjoy without having to think about the subsequent parts. Whether you were sucked in through several stat-boasting, self-deprecating commercials from the past (like myself and my ability to try to beat it in 3-7 days), or it’s the one you never jumped into, Final Fantasy VII Remake has something for everyone.
TBG Score: 9/10
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: 11/04/2020
No. of Players: 1
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Download link: PSN