5 years feeding the hype. And not only after seeing the technical demo that was shown at E3 5 years ago about the Final Fantasy 7 remake, but for all the information, demo, and content that had been published so far. I’ve been a fan of the franchise and enjoyed this game in its original version some years ago. So I was looking forward to seeing the new approach. Now, after more than 45 hours spent on it and after having overcome the final battle with the fearsome Sefirot, I can tell you what is the best and the worst of this game.
Bigger and More Epic
If there’s one thing that’s been surprising since the first few minutes of this FF7Remake is it is epic. You only have to look at how throwing pyro magic, how enemies jump through the air, or how each action is shown is far ahead of what any game of this genre is offering. It is increasingly engaging and cinematic that has nothing to be ashamed of the films of this franchise.
The dramatic moments are very dramatic. And the big fights are really exciting. Everything is multiplied by 10,000 from the original. Except for the stages, which although they are close to different villages in the poor parts of Midgar show a great deal of space thanks to the platforms in the distance. But they are still a few crossed streets. However, you never lose the feeling of being in front of something big. Before a great story. Before a great stage. And that’s nice. At least I do.
Maybe it was because of the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but I never knew when to stop playing this Final Fantasy VII Remake. And that’s something that only happens to me when the way the story is woven, the action, the exploration parts, and the curiosities are well measured. And it happens a lot in this game.
If you’ve just played the classic game, you might miss more fights. But the action always takes you forward. Whether it’s just combat, exploring how to get to a subject that seems inaccessible on the main path, or just knowing where the next step in the story is taking you. And beware, the morbidity of the latter also helps. Because even though I’ve played classic and know what’s going on, they’ve added more characters, more plot arches, and modified some details. And, the truth is, knowing how they’ve done it has also been a great incentive to keep playing.
There are more characters, and there’s also a lot more depth in the characters that were already known. The members of Avalanche like Jessie stand out, in the original barely had any weight, and in this title we know practically all the details of her life. Something that makes you end up struggling not to cry at a certain point in the game. No doubt focusing on just a portion of the original game will make you connect more with the characters and their motivations. And learning new things about a title that has made a mark on your life makes you stick with the controller.
Turn-based but Dynamic Combat
Although I solved my most serious doubts with the demo that was released a month ago, the turn-based combat of FF7Remake has room to surprise you during the game. For better or worse. It looks like a Dark Souls-style role-playing game, but it’s still turn-based combat where you can move around the stage. The funny thing is that this time you have BTC bars to fill if you want to perform certain actions. From special attacks that depend on the weapon, you’re carrying, to casting magic. So you’ll have to plan each action and time well to fit the best hits and carry out different strategies according to each enemy.
But once you begin to master this you begin to discover that you have shortcuts to perform certain actions. Or that you can and should also control the BTC actions of your teammates. In the end, all of this involves paying close attention to everything in combat, breaking away from the calm, and sometimes boring, of the classic combat system.
However, I won’t spare Square Enix the new implementation of the summons, which is a mix of what was seen in Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XV. In the end, I’ve overplayed the game and I can count the number of times I’ve summoned one of these beings. Something that in the original game was much more frequent and practical.
The Design of the Characters
The rusty iron texture of Cloud’s shoulder armor. The texture of Tifa’s shirt. Barret’s body hair. The expression in Aeris’ eyes, makes you happy to always look. Even when you don’t play on a PS4 Pro enjoy textures and modeling in real 4K. Anyway, all these details are appreciated in the juice and are a real wonder.
Because the characters, their outfits, and also their animations are full of all sorts of details. Something that helps to form even more the charisma that their story and behavior already offer us. It’s good to see what has been achieved at the technical level. Although this makes it clash with the rest of the NPC characters that appear in the game and are less defined and detailed.
If something is missing in this game is a photo mode to get a glimpse of the characters, their settings, etc. This FF7Remake is also pleasant to watch. Although there are a big few lines below in this review.
References for the Classic Players, Charisma for the New
Square Enix meets the nostalgia of classic players to sell this FF7Remake. But they make a good job of it. It’s not an exact copy of the original title, but a new approach based on that one. But it doesn’t leave out anecdotes, details, stories, and elements of the original. They even take the opportunity to improve them. From the squatting mini-game to the motorcycle races to escape from Midgar.
When you play the original, these details will make your arms stand up and you’ll be swamped by a little bit of worm all over your body. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. We were also looking forward to seeing Cloud strife wig and we’ve been pleased with that, even enhancing it with a dance mini-game. There’s no doubt they’ve done it lovingly.
But if you look at it with the eyes of a new player you’ll see a title full of eye-catching situations. It’s full of elements, mini-games, conversations, and characters. A full-blown Fantasy finale to enjoy from start to finish. You won’t know why you’re fighting a house in Don Corneo’s Coliseum, but you’ll enjoy an epic, surreal battle. And so on with everything else.
But if you’re familiar with the franchise, have seen the movie Advent Children, recognize the face of a brown Cloud or know what happens in that blue pond where a couple of subjects fall you will enjoy twice as much of this experience.
But, what about those Textures?
There is no review without a but. Although getting a remake of such a mythical and charismatic game out of your sleeve and only being criticized for a couple of details says a lot of good things about Square Enix. In my case that one but it’s starred by low-resolution textures. A technical detail that breaks the magic of the big and epic scenarios they have built for this experience. Maybe it’s to make everything move smoothly, but it’s a detail that’s too obvious. From those Chocobo posters that could almost be from the original game because of their pixel resolution, to the Midgar backgrounds that have not been resolved as much and are shown as a Google Maps image that looks like 3D but is not really.
If you don’t look at these backgrounds you’ll see an epic and overwhelming recreation of Midgar above your head. If you look at the outlines, lights and so on you will see that the image is excessively pixelated. And the same goes for the slums you see when you take height in Midgar. Shanties that are flattened but try to keep the perspective to give the impression that they are in 3D. I’m afraid that the result is not delivered and, even if you are in the action, discovering these details throws those moments away. A pity. They don’t make this game bad, though.
What about the rest of the Story?
The downside of being a seasoned player in the franchise is that you’ll be thinking about this at the end of this episode. Because, yes, it is an episode. I’ve spent about 48 hours completing it and I’ve stayed at the gates of Midgar. Without being able to control the adorable Red XIII like another character, without knowing other characters, or without fighting Weapons. The good narrative makes this last minute of FF7Remake a perfect cliffhanger. The problem is that we don’t know when it will be continued. It’s a satisfying game on many levels, but it will leave you wanting more if you know the story. Also with a little thorn in your side like knowing who the hell that motorcycle warrior is. Or why Avalanche is an even bigger organization. Even knowing what’s going on with Shinra and understanding why the biggest enemy in this game isn’t this company. Details to come soon. No official date at this time.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a great game to enjoy. If you already know the original you can’t miss it to know what they have done with that story, characters, graphics, and mechanics that already dazzled you once. But open your mind because you will find some details, changes, and elements that you might not like so much. Although the experience is close and complete in itself. Except that you know the story goes on. You have to play it yes or yes.
If you didn’t play the original FF7 this game will show you epic situations, an angry battle format that will make you outdo yourself combat by combat, and a visual finish that will blow your mind. You may not feel the nostalgia boost and it’s logical to wait for a price reduction. Maybe with all your episodes. But the Square Enix production is worth enjoying at some point.
There are buts, and while they tarnish the outcome of a game that was long-awaited, they don’t tarnish the final sensations. Do we want more episodes of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake? We want more episodes of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. And we want them now.