It was once my opinion that Final Fantasy VII, amongst other classic titles, did not need to be remade or remastered. But, after experiencing the remake for Final Fantasy VII, its safe to say I was wrong. This is an incredible reimagining of the 1997 classic, featuring updated visuals, fast-paced combat mechanics, and new plot twists that will surprise more than its fair share of established fans.
While there are touches of nostalgia sprinkled in throughout the 30 or so hour playtime, it feels far more connected than the original. Characters are given more exposition, Midgar feels like its more than a short blip in the journey, and there are so many other original ideas added, that everything feels fresh even when familiar sequences surface.
With this in mind, it can be said that its slightly disappointing that this game will be released in parts. As you reach the end, it becomes obvious that there is so much more to the story than whats being shown. While it can be appreciated that all this time and effort was put into just this first part, you feel as if this is only a taste of what’s to come. Whether thats by design can only be answered by the developers, but it does build anticipation for what comes next.
The biggest change to Final Fantasy VII comes in the form of its combat. Its fast, frantic, and requires the constant shifting between party characters to maximize effectiveness. Player controlled characters are practically the only focus of every enemy so shifting will allow you to preserve HP and give those characters a break in the action. The active time battle gauge charges when you attack so being aggressive is rewarded.
Fights early on are a breeze, but escalate as you progress. One fight in particular was a massive spike in difficulty and required the use of multiple limit breaks and potions to survive. This was a fight that changed my perspective on the combat mechanics and encounters. At first, I believed the change was just ok, but my mind changed once the difficulty began to increase.
By the way, do you like boss encounters? Because there’s a ton of them and they range from relatively simple to half an hour fights requiring trial and error to do significant damage. The close of every chapter usually culminates with a boss encounter and honestly, they are always something to look forward too.
Even though the game will take roughly 30 hours to complete, it feels much shorter. This is a testament to the pace, which rarely slows down. When this game starts to get into the teeth of its narrative, it doesn’t stop moving until you reach its conclusion. Surprisingly, the new additions to the plot wrap up loose ends to the original and open up doors that will hopefully be explored in the future.
Cloud and company return with the same backstories as before, but they are each given ample screen time to make them feel more realized. Barrett, while still brash, has some powerful emotional moments that will surprise you given his rough exterior. Kudos to the voice actors who do a strong job in bringing these characters to life. There is a nice balance to each of them even if they’re a bit too hopeful at certain beats.
Simply put, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a looker. Its hard to deny just how good everything in this game looks. From thecharacter and enemy designs to the various details that can be found in the environments, its simply stunning at times. While there are muddy textures in certain areas, the slums in particularly can be rough, there is no denying how beautiful this game is, the visual design overall is outstanding.
Now with respect to the visual team, the true standout production wise is the music. Holy shit, is it fantastic. Every piece that was composed for this title is 0. You can sit back and listen to this music for hours on end and be entertained. Certain character themes have been updated and Tifa is one that immediately pulls you in, its that good.
Final Fantasy VII was already considered a masterpiece. The remake, if it keeps up, is well on its way to being mentioned and revered as the original. Time will tell how the entire game will end up turning out. But I do hope that the development team continues taking risks with the narrative, they’ve done an excellent job in reimagining and modernizing what is considered one of the greatest games of all time. Give me more Red XIII. The best boy.