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
Video Game Reviews for the PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
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