In 1997 we were a couple of years into the PlayStation 1 life cycle. A lot of games had already been
released over here in the UK and across the world by this point. Certainly in the UK, we didn’t get a
lot of JRPG’s in this time, nor was the JRPG genre as prominent or as popular as it is now. Developers
Squaresoft had always had their previous Final Fantasy games all on Nintendo Systems. That all
changed. Sony managed to acquire Final Fantasy 7 to be exclusive to PlayStation. Good job too.
Square had major reservations about bringing FF7 to the Nintendo 64. There was no possible way
they could get what they wanted to bring to the game in a cartridge. The benefit of CD-ROM was
more information could be put on the three disc masterpiece that we got in 1997.
I consider Final Fantasy 7 to be one of if not my favourite game of all time. I was in awe of this game.
From the opening credits and the opening bombing mission, I knew this was going to be all kinds of
awesome. I could go on for ages about what FF7 means to me, I am sure it means the same to many
other gamers all across the world. For years around about the 360/PS3 generation, rumours had
been circulating that Square Enix was about to unleash a full remastered version of FF7 for current
It never materialised until one day June 15 2015 at E3. We finally knew that it was coming. We didn’t
get much more info than that. As later press releases came along we found out that it was coming to
is 2020. However it would not be the full game. FF7 Remake would only cover the events that
happen in the story in the city of Midgar. So in the grand scheme of things we was getting a remake
of the first six hours playtime of the original game.
When this was announced and we saw gameplay, cinematic sequences and the battle system, I was
not optimistic. I certainly had my doubts. Just because it looked good, would we miss the great
story? Would the battle system hold up to the classic turn based combat? How could they create a
massive game using only Midgar as the main and only World?
So it’s time to sit down, relax, have a brew if you like and let’s get into this review of Final Fantasy 7
Remake. I just want to point out that this review will have spoilers as I feel I cannot do the review
justice without mentioning storyline elements of the game. This is also just the main game review,
this does not count the “Intergrade” extras with Yuffie. When a game comes with two discs, you
know nowadays it’s going to be a game with some real meat on the bones, so fingers crossed for
Right off the bat, a player like me is looking for that nostalgia wave to flood me with all the motions
and feelings I had twenty or so years ago. That definitely happens as the original theme plays with
your close up of Aerith and the camera pans out to show you Midgar in all of its glory at night. Only
then to zoom back in to Cloud arriving in at the train station ready for the first bombing mission. At
this point I was happy as a pig in muck. This was going to be good.
When I hear of remakes or remasters, I always wonder if the game has enough nostalgia for the
older players, and whether there enough new mechanics in the game to make it feel fresh, whilst
also welcoming new players to dip their toes into a new genre or new franchise. I personally feel the
game does this. All of your classic themes are remastered and remixed to bring them into life. My
confession is I will listen to the updated battle theme on loop whilst I do my housework it’s just so
Like we said earlier the game had to be fleshed out and given more content to the story in order to
make a small segment of the original feel like a full epic saga. The game is broken up into eighteen
chapters and to complete the game without any side quests you are looking around 35 hours. Which
is pretty much the standard for an RPG these days. Square Enix have done a fantastic job with this,
making sectors 5, 6 and 7 into sprawling towns with lots of areas to traverse in between them. Some
sections of the game (especially in the sewers) does feel like filler rather than anything else and
those are the parts when the game can get tedious.
However, there are sections in the game when you spend time and complete missions with Wedge,
Jessie and Biggs. These three members of Avalanche didn’t do much during the original game. But
here we get a real introduction to them and their characters and what makes them tick. They are
great additions to the cast of the game. Speaking of the cast. You will only be able to control four
characters during the game. Cloud, Barret, Tifa and Aerith. Our trusty ally Red XIII does join the party
towards the end of the game, but you are not able to control him, or have any influence on what he
does. For me that was a shame, but I can understand why, as he gets introduced so late into the
game, there wouldn’t have been much point in building his stats or Materia XP with him.
The characters are great though and all the voice acting is fantastic. I really think Barret impressed
me most out of them all. He acts and sounds exactly as I expected him to. My only quip with the
voice acting, and this is coming common place in most JRPG’s is the over use of characters nodding
or making a move and doing a HMPH noise. I get it’s a more of a culture thing of the Far East, but it
gets annoying (even more annoying when your wife starts copying it too).
On the whole the plot pretty much follows the original game. The game takes you from the first
bombing mission to the end battles just after escaping the Shinra building with Red XII in tow with
you. There is one massive over arcing twist within the overall plot with the spirits that are flying
around intervening in your quests and missions but I don’t want to spoil that. I personally did not like
this about the game, why change something when it isn’t needed. I don’t think it adds anything to
the current plot and that left a bitter taste in my mouth.
The combat system has had a few tweaks and changes about it. You can opt to go for the classic
traditional gameplay if you wish, but I decided not to. The action takes you moving around the arena
where you can dodge and avoid enemy attacks. When you control your party leader (mostly Cloud)
you can attack with your sword as a regular hack and slash type move, and as your ATB meter builds
at the bottom, you have the option of using an item, casting a spell or using an ability. Your partners
will be controlled by the AI, but you have the option of flicking between them in combat to best
utilise their attacking skills. I much more enjoyed the game when I did it this way as I felt at first it
Materia is freely available in the game by finding in chests, or by purchasing at the various item stops
around the game. Again all the classic Materia are there, Fire, Ice, Thunder etc. The one missing
Materia from the previous game is the “All” Materia. This has been replaced with an alternative
called Magnify (and there is only one orb of it in the game…). The same premise applies with Materia
than you fit it into various slots within your weapons and armour to give you capabilities of casting
magic or being immune from certain spells. A new addition to the game is the ability to upgrade
weapons using SP acquired throughout the game. The SP can be exchanged for further Materia slots,
higher attack power, defensive boosts and so on.
I am in no doubt that FF7 Remake is a truly wonderful game. It was a wonderful experience to play
and I didn’t bother me one jot that I played the entire thing in Easy mode. I like a challenge but in
RPG’s I much prefer to play an easier difficulty in order to keep the storyline flowing. Is it perfect?
No, but it’s pretty damn close to it. Hours can easily fly by playing the game, it looks wonderful, and
the music gets a massive Chef’s Kiss from me. It’s a magical orchestral score. The gameplay is spot on
and nearly everything added to the game, fleshed it out, gave more meat on the bone and enhanced
that experience from two decades ago.
But I have a problem. A major problem. If it took so long for Square to make this first instalment,
how long will it be until the next instalment? Square haven’t said anything. We do know we are
getting Final Fantasy 16 coming soon, surely this must be their next focus. Also what will happen in
instalment 2? How many instalments will there be? What happens to the characters whose XP I’ve
built up, the HP they have amassed and the weapons I have developed. That’s a big can of worms for
me, but I’m certainly excited for the next game. I want to see what the likes of Nibelheim, Costa Del
Sol, Gold Saucer will be like. But most important of all. How will they depict Sephiroth killing Aerith.
I cant wait to find out. Until the next time. Keep Gaming.
Guest Blog post by Adam Foster @AngelicWiganer / @snoopfozziefozz
Hi Team 24 I am back with another review. I do apologise for the lack of content lately. I had been tied up in Balan WonderWorld and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. There will be reviews of them to come, once I get over how poor they were to play. So it’s with great pleasure that I get to review this PS5 exclusive title from Sony and Insomniac.
The Ratchet and Clank series is one of Sony’s most valuable and most loved IP’s. Ever since its inception on the PS2 way back in 2002, we have seen a number of games and sequels released on all Sony’s hardware since then. The tried and tested formula of 3D Platforming combined with a third person shooter has proven to be very successful. In addition to that, we’ve been treated to a great cast of characters over the years to fill out the great stories which have always been fun.
We knew that Rift Apart was going to be one of Sony’s flagship titles within the PS5’s first year of being available to the masses. Its debut on the PS5 Showcase, gave us a small insight as to what we were able to expect in terms of the graphics and the new rift function which would essentially pull players into new dimensions and areas of the map instantly without any slowdown, pop ins or load times. Truly showing that this was a next generation game and showing off the power of the PS5.
Our story here once again pits our favourite Lombax Ratchet and his buddy clank against the evil Dr Nefarious who once again is plotting to take over the galaxy. Nefarious this time is trying to use a tool called the Dimensionater in order to cause chaos all over. We are also joined this time in the alternative dimension by another Lombax call Rivet and her partner Kit. In unison they must stop the evil Doctor to restore balance to the galaxy. A simple story but well told throughout.
One of my friends had the game and played it before I had (usually the case with my backlog). I wanted to gauge his opinion of the game before I started it. I always ask my friends if they have the game what they think of it. Just to get a different perspective or opinion and try and appreciate the little nuances that may matter to them, but not matter as much to you. So I said to him “What’s it like?” His response “It’s amazing, like playing a Disney Pixar movie". That is a pretty bold statement. After five minutes of playing I could see exactly what he meant. This is a truly wonderful game in my opinion.
Up until this review, I had never played a Dragon Quest game at all in my life. In Japan this franchise is essentially a cultural phenomenon, it’s massive. I read articles where Enix and later Square Enix would only release a new Dragon Quest game on a Saturday. This was due to prevent kids skipping school and adults skipping work, just so they could play the latest release. I’d had the game for a while in my backlog, I picked it up on a whim and thought it may be worth a go. My inspiration for buying it and playing it was from YouTuber Happy Console Gamer.
Johnny speaks so highly of the franchise and how much joy it had given to him from his early years in gaming when the game was known as Dragon Warrior (due to a trademark issue) on the NES. So we are now up to the eleventh game in the series. All of them have followed the traditional JRPG formula over time, except for Dragon Quest X which ventured into the MMO universe. Various spinoffs have been released such as Dragon Quest Builders. But as I said this is my first foray into this IP and before I go into depth about the game, I say this. Why did I wait so long???
Before we go in depth into the review, I need to say I am reviewing the original version of the game. I am NOT reviewing the definitive edition which was released a year or so after this one. I also want to add that I will try to review this without spoilers. No one wants their experiences ruining. The old saying in life goes as follows. “If it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.” That’s exactly how I feel about this game. Dragon Quest XI is probably the most cookie cutter JRPG game I’ve ever played, it feels like a pair of old slippers, that fit perfectly even after a long time. That is not a bad thing. You can play this game, leave it for a week and seamlessly go back into it where you left off. I didn’t ever at any point struggle with getting back in to it because the gameplay is simple and effective.
Nobody can deny that Marvel and all of their IP’s have been flying high in a numerous media tie in’s over the last twenty years or so, and it certainly peaked with the Avengers. I’d go on record to say that even if you aren’t a comic book fan, all of the films in the MCU have been good to fan bloody-tastic. It would make sense that for AAA films we get AAA games wouldn’t it? Now before we proceed; I was lucky enough to get the PS4 version of the game of Marvel Avengers but you get the PS5 Upgrade for free as a digital download as soon as you pop the disc into the PS5 which was nice!
The basic premise of the story initially focuses on a young protagonist, Kamala Khan who attends a fan appreciation day to celebrate all the Avengers and all they have contributed to the world. During the celebration, an attack on San Francisco occurs putting thousands of peoples lives in jeopardy. We then flash forward to a number of years later and it’s shown that during this attack and the years following that Kamala has developed powers that manipulate her limbs, such as increased reach, stretching, punching and so on.
The Avengers are nowhere to be seen having all split up as the world blames them for the recent attack. The baddies in question are intent on taking over the world and there have been a spate of missing people (who also have new abilities). Kamala decides she needs to reunite the Avengers in order to stop AIM from taking over the world and prevent its immediate destruction I would describe the game as an Action game with elements of RPG’s. As you make your way through the storyline and each subsequent chapter, collecting Avengers along the way, you will gain XP which will obtain you Skill Points which can be used to increase levels of combat and new moves to use. There is also the options to increase and modify armour and accessories along the way. Each new Avenger also becomes playable as you progress through the game, but you will realise and also learn to pick which character suits you best which is a nice touch.
Cast your minds back to just a few months ago. All the hype regarding E3 and the upcoming Nintendo Direct we was about to see. The rumour mill going wild. Would we see Metroid Prime 4? Would we see Bayonetta 3? However, the main one swirling around the gaming community was would we see a revision of the Switch? Would Nintendo finally dip their toes into providing a Switch which would provide 4K visuals when in docked mode, and an overall more powerful version? Sadly, the answer to all of these three questions was No.
Was I disappointed? I would have to say No, for me I have a PS5 and an Xbox One which can provide those ultra-smooth visuals and processing power for the bigger badder games which are out now and the future ones which will be released. The Switch and Nintendo in general for me has always been about software. Nintendo we have seen over time, never follow the norm, they always want to be innovative rather than just follow the normal trend which is out there. Side Note, I would LOVE Nintendo to do a Stars gimmick for their in game achievements similar to Trophies and Gamerscore. Again don’t hold your breath.
So back to the present day, it’s a few weeks after E3, we’re happy in the knowledge that we’re getting a new Metroid in the form of Metroid Dread. We saw updates for Breath of the Wild 2 and there is so much more games to be looking forward to such as Shin Megami Tensei V. Then suddenly we get an announcement from Nintendo, a revision to the Switch. But not the revision we hoped for.
The New Switch is now the OLED version. It comes with a brand new, bigger screen of seven inches, which will provide sharper visuals when in handheld mode. It has a bigger stand and it has a LAN port. That’s It. Oh and for the privilege of having this model it will set you a pretty £349.99. That’s a £70.00 increase on the standard base model.
Back in 2018 Insomniac Games treated us to an epic piece of gaming. In my humble opinion Spider-Man was one of the finest games I’ve played. Not only on the PS4, but in all my years as an active gamer. Being a fan of the Marvel universe and all of its characters, I felt Spider-Man was as near perfect experience of how playing the web slinging superhero could be. The graphics were great, the music was a delight and most importantly the combat was spot on.
Roll on to 2021, we knew from Sony’s press launch that Miles Morales was going to be a launch title for the PS5, but also would be available on the PS4 as well. I didn’t get my PS5 at launch, (believe me not for the want of trying) I got it a few weeks ago, but I knew the one game I wanted to play first above all was this one. For some reason I felt drawn to it. The footage I had seen made it look so close to a real life Hollywood blockbuster in your living room, where the player had the control in their own palms.
I want to try and review this spoiler free, as I feel to get the most out of the game you need to avoid them. I believe it’s better for the player to make their own opinions and experience the storyline and twists first hand. That being said we do have a great cast of characters here who fill out a number of roles within the story.
Guest Blog Post by Jack @ThePnutbean
Blinded eyes finally saw, after faceless streets and bolted doors, the dreaded hand conquers all. We watched a myriad of lonely smiles reflect our own, as isolations palm clutched our chest. And as the doors unlatch; let us embrace and socialise. Let us game together. Let us play Monopoly Gamer -- the Hasbro classic with Nintendo characters. But is this a senseless cash grab or does Nintendo’s design philosophy flow through it? I shall elaborate.
The usual Monopoly mechanics are here: go around a board earning money to buy properties (no houses or hotels) so you can charge rent. Nevertheless, the aim isn’t to crush your opponent economically. Instead, whoever has the highest score wins. Properties and money add to your final score, but so do defeating bosses. Each time you Pass Go, you can pay the Bank to start a boss fight. You battle via a die check displayed on the Boss Card, and if you’re successful, you keep the card along with its points. There are ten Boss Cards and when you defeat or fold the last boss, the game ends.
All the properties display levels from New Super Mario Bros, along with Warp Pipes, Coin Blocks and Thwomps. However, the Go to Jail/Just Visiting space remains the same. But where the Nintendo magic lies is in the Super Star spaces.
There’s four characters to choose from: Mario, Peach, Yoshi and Donkey Kong; other characters are available to purchase. Unlike traditional Monopoly, characters have unique powers. For example, if Peach lands on a Super Star, she collects from the bank rent for each property she owns. Yet Donkey Kong’s Super Star power is stealing three coins from every player. Likewise, players use a Power-up Die on their turn. This allows you to fire Green and Red Shells, send Blooper to steal coins or use a Pow. But each character has a unique Power-up Die bonus. So, as every player can fire a Green Shell forward, however Yoshi has the unique option to throw it backwards. So, is Monopoly Gamer a senseless cash grab? No.
COWABUNGA! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back! Well kind of! Let's just say that they will be back later in 2021 to Consoles and Steam. Yesterday, developers Tribute Games and Dotemu took to social media to showcase the brand new TMNT: Shredder's Revenge Trailer. Talk about exciting, especially given that these are the same developers behind the hugely successfulStreets of Rage 4.
The trailer starts off with a very 80's cartoon vibe with the classic theme tune blasting out over the action. The crippling nostalgia soon set in. But wait, there's more! We had some delicious Alpha gameplay too! On runs Raphael, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo to take on Foot Soldiers galore! Imagine Streets of Rage meets Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and we have Shredder's Revenge. I could not be happier.
Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably one of the most hyped video games since Grand Theft Auto V back in 2013. The success of The Witcher 3 on PC and all major consoles left big boots to fill when it came to CD Project Red’s (CDPR) next adventure. Fast forward to December 10th 2020, and after Cyberpunk’s multiple delays the gaming universe was finally graced with the release. Sadly that release has fallen flat on its face and us gamers are not happy. Cyberpunk 2077 has been branded “a buggy mess” and even more so on base Xbox One and PS4 consoles. It warrants the question; why did CDPR bother releasing such an ambitious game on base consoles? Why not exclusively release on the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X? I believe money is the most obvious answer. Not everyone has been able to acquire the latest generations’ consoles which would have meant a very large portion of the market not being able to play Cyberpunk 2077.
So here we are, two days after launch as I write this! I have been live streaming Cyberpunk on my PS4 Pro. The textures seriously lack, rendering takes quite a few seconds (especially on vehicles), the city feels drastically empty and the combat is very lethargic. In summary, I completely agree that Cyberflunk is a broken mess. Gamers unable to see the console performance prior to launch too. All previews and reviews showcased PC footage. CD Project Red also provided reviewers with the actual review footage. That’s right!! The embargo did not allow reviewers to capture their own gameplay. That is a red flag right there. I would go as far to say that this is very misleading in the marketing of Cyberpunk for console gamers. To cap it off Cyberpunk 2077 is rocking an eye watering and painful Metacritic score of 2.3 on PS4 as I write this. For a game studio as big as CDPR this is unacceptable. In fact I believe it is heartbreaking for gamers that are trying to play on base consoles. With most other game developers I would be worried that the game would be broken forever but as we know, CDPR are a dev team that show long term support for their games.
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