Final Fantasy 7 Remake (FF7R) brings a fresh new look to the classic action role-playing game by Square Enix. It features not only revamped gameplay but also an immersive retelling of the original story. If you want to fall in love with a whole new (and old) world, then this one might just be for you. Find more in our Final Fantasy 7 Remake review.
After more than 20 years, Square Enix has brought back one of the most beloved entries in the Final Fantasy franchise via remake. FF7R maintains the core plot of the original while remaking everything around it, from combat to each character’s story, and adding a great deal of new events to the main story.
Do you need a refresher on the story? Let’s go. We follow Cloud, a mercenary, Barret, the leader of an eco-terrorist organization, Tifa, a skilled pugilist and childhood friend of Cloud’s, and Aerith, a young lady with mysterious magical powers. The team has been bound together, by fate, to fight and save the world.
The first entry of a new trilogy, FF7R takes place in the city of Midgar, also known as the city of Mako. It’s a cutting-edge technological place, run by the infamous Shinra Electric Power Company. The whole city is powered up by the use of Mako, the life energy of the planet. Midgar is a massive city divided into sectors. Above there is a gigantic plate, which is where the richer citizens live, while, below the plate, the poorer citizens have found their homes, in the slums.
Square Enix has made the combat a mix of the old turn-based Active Time Battle system with the new action, hack-and-slash seen in later entries in the franchise, like Final Fantasy XV. In combat, there is an action bar that is always slowly filling up, allowing the character to unleash a powerful ability when full, just like the classic game of old. The new combat system, however, lets the player do normal attacks, dodge or block at any time. As the character deals or takes damage, the action bar fills up even more. Each character has their own playstyle and specific skill set that makes them appropriate for different roles.
If you are an old-school fan or you simply don’t enjoy the constant active combat, the game presents an option to restore the classic combat mode, which makes the characters move around on their own while they use normal attacks and defend automatically, thus the player shall only select an action when the bar is filled. However, the AI is not very great and your characters won’t be so helpful as when you are controlling them, so choose carefully.
As you fight and progress through the story, you will earn experience and ability points to raise your characters’ stats and weapon skills. You can choose from a couple of different weapons for each character, with each one having its own skill tree in which ability points can be allocated to unlock further powers and attacks. One great thing about FF7R is that it removes most of the unnecessary combat for the sake of grinding. Most places you can indeed visit just once while defeating the enemies there. It won’t be mandatory to go back there just to fight everyone all over again. Also, the ability points you have earned will be added to each weapon in their totality. This means, it is possible to get a new weapon mid-game, which will automatically have the same points as all the others you’ve already obtained. If you do require grinding, there are specific places where you can enter battle simulations and easily lose yourself in combat for as long as you desire.
The world, besides being all inside the walls of Midgar, is definitely more vast compared to the original experience. You go through different sectors and parts, including the famous Wall Market, known as the entertainment district. As a typical RPG, you will have several side-quests to complete, challenges to beat and, also, exploration is rewarded. Even so, the side-quests are restricted to only three chapters, and they can be skipped. Most of the side-quests are of the simple fetch or kill variety, while others require more skill and hand coordination, like the gym quest. They don’t provide much important information, but it is a way to force you to explore the area. Other than that, the game is solidly linear.
The game has a great pacing and an excellent contrast when it comes to content. You go from the peaceful towns to the perilous sewers, from the lively Wall Market to the evil’s lair. The game makes you easily grow attached to the characters and delivers a great and emotional story with several ups and downs.
On the artistic side, this game definitely looks like it belongs in a museum. The effort and the amount of detail used to recreate environments from a game that is 25 years old with ultra-realistic graphics can definitely be admired. Granted, not everything is perfect, some textures don’t seem to render with the same quality overall. Square also featured all-new original soundtracks, along with old songs that were specifically re-arranged for this game, as might be expected the Japanese company doesn’t disappoint in the slightest in the audio department.
Considering this is the remake of an old game, there are some parts where it is assumed the player is familiar with the original, not everything is properly explained to new players, along with some new additions that might have been added as filler just to pad out the game, definitely a common quality for many RPGs.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Final Fantasy 7 Remake can be easily recommended for both new and old fans of the series. It is still unclear the path the story will take on the following two sequels, but there are some changes that have already been done to the main plot, while still leaving room for the original story to unfold. This version brings out the best of FF7, and even if the gameplay might not be suited for all tastes, it is definitely worth giving it a shot. – PedroB