Final Fantasy 7 Remake can be said to be a nostalgia lovers dream. One of the most acclaimed and cherished games of all time brought into 2020 with Advent Children visuals! A game that has fresh new life breathed into it with a hybrid battle system, mixing the old turn based battle system with a fresh new action oriented one. There have also added new story editions and new side content that gives the player insight into characters that weren’t as developed in the original. And some might view this as padding, making an 8 hour section of the original game into an extended 40+ hour one. Which in some people’s view can either be a welcome addition or one that seems to drag on and on. But be warned, the original story has been altered in many places, which will confuse new players, as it expects you to have played the original.
The graphics for the most part feel like you’re playing a real time version of Advent Children. Which is what we all wanted! The character models are top notch, even looking like they could be next generation PlayStation 5 quality. But nothing is perfect, as npc’s look like PlayStation 3 quality. Not to mention certain backgrounds in the far off distance of Midgar are literally flat, blurry, jpeg images. But, these are minor annoyances as everything else from: the monster designs, towns and cinematography are top tier.
Battle System: 8
The battle system is a welcome addition for fans wanting something new and exciting. But it’s not without its flaws. It tries to be a hybrid of the old turn based battle system mixed with an action rpg system. And it really needed some tweaks here and there. For the most part, it’s fun enough, but without some further investigation you might be playing the game wrong. Basically, you attack an enemy with its weakness. Like let’s say an enemy is weak to fire. You attack the enemy with fire, get it into a pressured state where you’re then supposed to use an attack ability, the attack abilities will then get it into a staggered state. It’s in this staggered state that the enemy is completely vulnerable and susceptible to all attacks and able to take heavy damage.
So, you might have figured that part out but there is something the game doesn’t tell you. In order to make use of this system of constant bombardment, you can never stay on any person too long. On the surface you might think it’s an action game, but it’s really not. This isn’t Devil May Cry! You have to constantly switch to another character immediately after you select an attack or spell. This keeps the heat off of you and allows for a constant assault of moves and magic, rotating from one character to the other, in fast succession. And unlike FF15 you can use your amazing summons a lot more, but there are some restrictions: a meter has to fill and certain battle areas may be too small for certain summons. And not to mention, there are some amazingly scripted moments while you’re fighting as well!
What I didn’t like about this battle system is: the materia system. For the massive length of the game, you just don’t get enough slots for your magic. I had to get almost half way through the game before a had any considerable amount of materia slots. And I had to use some of the weakest accessories, just because they had more materia slots. Other than that, you unlock more slots by leveling up your weapons which takes forever by the way. What they should have done is let you equip as much materia as you wanted. That would have made things more fun and not so much a chore, having to rearrange accessories or only have certain characters equipped with certain magic, because you don’t have enough slots!
The music is just phenomenal. All the old tracks have been re-worked and sound amazing, The new additions and battle songs are all amazing and fit the mood perfectly!
This is where I’m taking off the most points. There are a lot of new additions and side content in the remake. New story segments for certain characters like Jessie and completely new characters added in. It can be said for most people, that this breaks up the pacing of the story and for the most part they might be right. But that is up to the player to decide. There are also a boat load of new mmorg like sidequests to complete. While optional, you could almost say they are “not” optional. Because, if you don’t do them, you will miss out on some of the best magic in the game!
Now, we get into some of the major problems with the story. Without spoiling anything, let me explain: the game follows the original Midgar storyline to a point. And to that I give it credit, but certain things have been changed or added. And from the very beginning, right down to the climax of the story, the remake expects you to have played the original. If not, you will be completely dumb founded and confused as to where the story is trying to go.
The worst thing is: for a 40+ hour game the main villain Sephiroth, just appears out of nowhere, with no explanation or backstory as to who he is and what his motivations are. I get it, in the original we didn’t learn anything about him at this point, but this is potentially a 60 hour game. And you need to have a little more motivation over the course of 60 hours, than a couple visions of a bad future. Completely new players will have no idea who this guy is, what is going on, why he’s following Cloud, or what Cloud’s connection to him is!
Let me say though: the worst part is the end of the game! In order to understand what they are setting up, it is a requirement that you have played the original or you will have absolutely no inclination as to WTF is going on! I’ll just let you see for yourself!
This remake is certainly a must play for any original fan, but it’s not without its faults. The materia system and battle system could use some tweaking and there may be a little too much side content. And while old players will feel at home, already having the backstory to some major characters and story moments, new players will not. And this will likely confuse new players to the point where: they will either have to play the original or simply research and look up story information. Which they shouldn’t have to do in my opinion. That’s not how you tell a good story, but this is only part 1 I guess, so some liberties had to be taken I suspect.
In the end though, this is a great re-imagining of an old classic, with top level presentation, fantastic music, and a fun battle system!
Final Score: 9 out of 10