After years of delays and postponements, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is here, but was it worth the wait? Our Tom reveals all to give you everything you need to know before you play.
We check out the updated gameplay, graphics and story to find out whether this 23 year old game still has something to offer in 2020.
Hello and welcome to our review of the Final Fantasy VII remake. We’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know before you play, but before we do, make sure to hit subscribe and the notification bell for more videos every single week.
Final Fantasy came out 23 years ago. 23 years is a long time. For context, when Final Fantasy VII first hit shelves we still hadn’t experienced Pokémon, Harry Potter or the best film of 1997 – Con Air.
The fact Final Fantasy VII remains the most iconic entry in this storied series speaks to its legacy. It was a true paradigm shifter that gave the world a glimpse at the future of 3D gaming, and the story of Cloud Strife and his ragtag team of eco-warriors fighting against the evil Shinra corporation is arguably more relevant now than it’s ever been.
When a remake was announced in 2015, excitement was palpable. But after 5 years of delays and postponements, is it worth the wait? Grab your Buster Sword and watch on to find out.
Firstly, it’s great to see that, on the whole, all the elements that needed to be updated for a modern audience have been. They’ve done a good job of refreshing the story to make it a little less convoluted than the original. The fact that this release only tackles the first stages of the game, set in the cyberpunk metropolis of Midgar, means it’s easier to understand the stakes before the more fantastical elements of the later game come into play.
They’ve also done fantastic work fleshing out the personalities of the supporting cast of characters. Cloud might still be a gloomy Gus, but you’ll soon find yourself personally invested in the narrative like never before.
The gameplay has also had a complete overhaul, changing the traditional turn based combat into a third person brawler. Special attacks, spells and such are still on a timer, maintaining the tactical element of these heated battles, but it’s overall everything has a much faster pace, suiting a more modern palette. There’s also plenty of minigames to try out when you fancy some downtime from all that freedom fighting.
And it’s just great to experience this familiar setting with a new coat of paint. The world is gorgeous, and feels like the game Square always wanted to make all those years ago. It feels lived in and expansive, from Shinra’s headquarters to the serenity of Aerith’s house.
Alas it’s hard to shake that this is really only part of a larger game. That isn’t itself a problem, many games have utilised episodic release models for a number of years. It’s just when it took half a decade to get this segment, it’s difficult to get too invested in a story that might take just as long to pick up again.
What’s more, not all of the new additions land as well as others. For instance, a lot of the side missions feel like filler, often requiring you to fetch an item or clear an area of baddies, and don’t fit in with the very linear approach of the game. In hindsight, it feels like a case of less, would’ve been more.
To wrap up, the Final Fantasy VII remake does a great job of making a nearly quarter of a century old game feel fresh and modern without betraying its heritage or identity. It does have its quirks, as it did back in the day, but overall these pale to the enjoyment to be had here. It evokes the spirit of a bygone era of gaming that is often imitated, but rarely replicated.
And although the game does end on a cliffhanger, the sense of scale when you realise Midgar is just a small part of this grander world is just as awe inspiring now as it was in 1997. All we can hope for now is we don’t have to wait quite as long to pick up the adventure again.
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