Final Fantasy 7 Remake review – seeing Midgar from new eyes

james playing Final Fantasy VII Remake

How can i get started with this Final Fantasy 7 Remake review?

Well, let’s do a little exercise, shall we? I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are an eagle flying through white clouds, a cool breeze ruffling your feathers. You are flying over a brown, bare wilderness that is soon hidden by the clouds that suddenly clears up to reveal a bustling metropolis full of trains, highways and the overwhelming metal towers and factories, with the roaring noise of industry.

Down on the streets, you can see the daily hustle and bustle of people going on with the daily routine and the peal of laughter of children riding on their bikes.

Further along, you can see some more children playing on a playground until their attention is suddenly stolen away by a flashing green light that is coming from the tower in the distance that lets out some green pollen-like sparks that falls down on the earth below, down unto a kneeling lady, eyes closed with a basket of flowers hanging from her arm.

This scene I have described may seem insignificant to the uninitiated, but to veterans of the Final Fantasy Series, it welcomes you to the world of Midgar.

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Gameplay

My Final Fantasy VII Remake copy

My much coveted copy of FFVII Remake!

When I first heard that dad’s beloved Final Fantasy VII was being remade by Square Enix, I was honestly indifferent to it. It’s not that I am not a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise (my first experience with it being Final Fantasy X on the PlayStation 2). Apart from trying to revive Aerith, I have never played the original, and as such, I could not relate to the nostalgia and excitement that fans of the game had.

It was only at the persistent badgering of a friend that I decided to get the demo on the PlayStation 4 and finally see what all the fuss was about. Once I had a taste of the world of Midgar and the possibilities it offered, there was no turning back. I decided that I was going to get a copy of the game, and there are no regrets (and dad is happy too, LOL).

Graphical Detail

A scene from FInal Fantasy VII Remake featuring Cloud and Jessie

Dad says he did not remember Jessie being so flirty, LOL

The game begins with you as the player being introduced to Cloud Strife, a mercenary working with the eco-terrorist group Avalanche (comprising Barret, Wedge, Biggs and Jesse) to take down a reactor in Midgar that is draining the planet of its life source. The attention to detail in the game was the first thing that drew me in from Cloud’s hair, eyes and armor to the lighting. This attention to detail moves over into the combat system where it is a mix of real time combat and turn-based. You can switch between the characters as needed and tailor the combat to suit the needs of the situation that you are in.

I also have to give the developers props for putting in a feature that allows you to access information on your opponents and what type of attacks that they are vulnerable to. The slow motion feature comes in as you are making a selection of moves and spells that you want and the real time illustrates how well-designed the motions are from how Cloud swings his sword to the spells that Aerith casts to how Barrett shoots his guns.

Moreover, there is an ATB gauge that fills up as you continue to attack the opponents, and the moment that it fills up, it allows you to unleash a special attack (depending on who you are playing as). The combat system further communicates the chemistry between the cast members, which makes you fall in love with them even more.
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Story and Character Development

Aerith Gainsborough in Final Fantasy 7 Remake

I am starting to understand why my father loves Aerith so much…

Speaking of the characters, you get to bond with them through the cut scenes that make a laudable effort to make them relatable as can be. The dialogue was well done, and it gave insight into the type of people that we are playing as/interacting with. It is awesome to see what the cast gets up to during their free time like having drinks at bars.

During the missions, we find that they are flawed characters, doing the best they can, fighting for a cause that they believe in. Moreover, the more that you continue to play this game, the more that you find yourself questioning the righteousness of your cause. Are you really the good guys, or are you just partaking in a crusade without really thinking things through?

The fact that the game is willing to make you raise such questions is evidence that the plot was well-thought-out. They make you feel emotions; you laugh at their antics and cry with them when they experience loss or frustration.

Soundtrack

A picture featuring musical notes

Nobuo Uematsu has still got it… Masashi Hamauzu is a genius!

The soundtrack is also an aspect of the game that needs to be applauded. The game is set to some of the best music I have heard in a game.

It makes the game even more immersive and gets your blood pumping as you are fighting off hordes of enemies or just strolling through the streets.

Not once does it feel repetitive or boring and the composers need their props.

Flaws

A thumbs down image

Yes, there are some flaws, but none of them will make you want stop playing. And I feel hopeful about the next episodes…

Not every game is perfect, and the Final Fantasy VII Remake is no exception to the rule in spite of its aforementioned crowning moments. The camera has some annoying instances where in fight scenes, you will not be able to see outside of your character’s field of view.

This can be especially annoying when you miss an enemy then you are suddenly caught unawares by an attack from said enemy. I am not sure if this is something that can be fixed in the settings since I never did bother with it myself, but it is worth trying.

There are also parts of the game that feel dragged out, especially with the side quests – which can be repetitive – and the puzzles, and make you long for the original plot. As for the materia system, there was not much incentive to use it, more so if you are a new player to the game. I honestly felt that there should have been a tutorial for such systems to emphasize on it.

The bigger issue was apparently, this was not the full game. This was apparently six hours of the original game, which was fitted into forty plus hours of gameplay, and there will be more to come. It made me wonder whether this was done to make more money off of a beloved game. This is not to say that this first part was not executed well, but it does raise that question (for me, at least).

Final Thoughts

The word "yes"

Yes, it is a must-buy!

All in all, the Final Fantasy VII Remake was a masterpiece, and it definitely lived up to the hype that my friend gave it. Moreover, it made me hungry for the next installment in the series and definitely eager to see more of Sephiroth, seeing as he was relegated to a subplot as Shinra (the evil corporation draining Midgar’s life force) was the main focus of the game. This first part has set the standard of what I expect the rest of the games in the series to be and hell, even raise the standard a little bit higher if they can.

If you are a new to the Final Fantasy franchise, this game is a must-have in your Final Fantasy journey; it will definitely make you fall in love with the series and make you a Tifa/Cloud/Aerith stan. If you played the original game, it was a given that you were bound to buy the game but nevertheless, if you do not have it now, stop whatever you are doing and get it.

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See you soon,
James

About James

James is Andrew's eldest son and - just like his father - is a healthy carrier of the retro gaming bug. Currently eleven (as of 2018), he expressed his desire to write his own Retro Stories on his dad's blog. Initially a trainee blogger, an adorable father - son interview earned him his coveted James's corner.

2 thoughts on “Final Fantasy 7 Remake review – seeing Midgar from new eyes

  1. Charne

    My husband was a major Final Fantasy 7 fan when it first came out. With his birthday approaching and the remake of the game I am definitely considering buying it for him. Thank you for the review, it convinced me to go through with the purchase. I hope he likes it. Fingers crossed. 

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