Final Fantasy VII Remake Review
Are you looking to obliterate foes, looking like an absolute badass, whilst barely breaking a sweat? Well then Square Enix might just have the game for you with their old-timely remake of what once was thought to be amongst the best RPG’s of its time. That game is none other than Final Fantasy 7: Remake. If you haven’t yet had the privilege of playing the original; I would most definitely recommend that you get your hands on this game as soon as you can.
This exotic blast from the past takes everything so extraordinary from the classic gem that used to be FFVII and from the ashes, came a majestic phoenix that completely wipes out its predecessor in every way possible. Square Enix have really outdone themselves this time!
From the get-go, you are immediately put into action as you have been recruited by a small group of unique individuals that go by the name of Avalanche. You play as the main protagonist, Cloud, who was once a soldier working under Shinra’s rule, but you now spend your days seeking out work as a mercenary – for the right price, of course.
Cloud finds himself working with Avalanche for what is only to be a “one-time gig” but it’s fairly obvious that these guys aren’t going anywhere, at least not for a while. Before embarking on your journey, you are offered to choose between classic, easy and normal mode as a difficulty setting. The differences between easy and normal mode are pretty self-explanatory, but classic mode, however, offers the ability to utilise your characters built in AI functions to use their, simplistic, basic attacks for you. You can decide to control these characters in battle again at any time if you so choose upon selecting classic mode.
Since FFIIV Remake is completely linear, the story is typically the main focus of the game, which has been executed to an exceptional extent. The story feels steadily paced for the most part and makes you feel as if you got the most out of each character. It offers enough content in each segment to ensure that you, as the player, stray as far from boredom as you possibly can.
The battle mechanics are by far some of the best mechanics that can be featured in a game with this style – so, let’s begin with the basics. Initially, each character attacks with their basic, but not to mention; stylistic, movesets that don’t necessarily do much damage at all.
What using these basic attacks does do, however, is charge the players ATB meter, which allows the use of special attacks, spells and item usage. Each character can only fill up two bars at a time, so it is important to prioritise. The very thing that makes the combat system so great is the fact the you are granted the ability to open up the command menu, which subsequently stops time. This can be utilised to take a breather from the heat of the battle and to construct an effective battle strategy, such as commanding your fellow comrades to initiate different attacks or by figuring out what method of attack/defence would best fit the battle plan.
For some players, I can see this to be somewhat tedious as it breaks the immersion and flow of the battle by ripping you straight out of it. You should, however, be pleased to know that there is an option to use these skills or what not via the use of a quick short-cut, which doesn’t break the flow of the game.
Graphically, the game is such a totally exhilarating experience that really makes you
appreciate the effort that that went into the overall game design. There have been some circumstances where the background has appeared to be obnoxiously pixilated, almost like a low resolution PNG has been cut and pasted into it, which I personally found to take away the whole vibe of the experience. Understandably, there may have had to be some sacrifices in order to put more resources into other aspects that are considered to be more important considering that it is a big enough game as it is. Aside from that minor setback, there is nothing much bad to say about the stunning visuals that really pull the user into an immersive experience.
Upgrading weapons is quite a simplistic task that can be achieved using two methods. One method to upgrading equipment is to collect these little orbs that are referred to as materia. Materia can come in a variety of colours that are either found/obtained in green, blue, red, yellow or purple. Each of these colours represent different types of materia, such as how green represents spells (e.g. fire, ice, lighting).
I won’t delve too deep into the other types, but you get the general idea! Materia is very unique as it can be infused into different weapons/equipment and swapped out at any time. This is very important to note as, depending on the situation, you may need to swap these out in order to defeat your enemies more effectively.
The second method is used to upgrade the weapon directly, this can be done by using an accumulated amount of SP, which can then allow you to unlock different buffs within the upgrade system, such as increased damage or defence. With these two systems working hand-in-hand, it doesn’t necessarily make the game too complex to understand.
If you aren’t one to care much for taking the upgrade system into your own hands, you can easily select the option to auto-upgrade, which can either be set to balanced, attack or defense, this does all the hard work for you by prioritising different upgrades that effect different stats.
The sound design of the game, in terms of music/themes, is highly reminiscent of the 1997 version, but has been amped up with more dramatic and intense instrumentals to make the gameplay more exciting. The game contains no lyrical music within it, which is to be expected as neither did the classic version, but there are moments where it would make a lot of sense to incorporate it to incite more emotion.
The themes alternate in order to match the situation you find yourself in, whether that be a battle, town or beautiful environment. The battle music creates a sense of intenseness, which really gives that drive to absolutely go ham on the enemy; with anything you can find within your expansive artillery of weapons and spells. Whereas, when you come across sections of the game that are natural and incredibly visual, the music then shifts to become quite calming, thus giving the player a chance to soak in the moment.
The sound design, when it comes to the sound effects, is another component in which this game really shines. Let’s say, for example, when
you clash swords with another form of metal, you can really tell by the sound design that you are interacting with the object in a way that makes sense.
Throughout the game, Cloud is given the opportunity to party up with various different characters that are greatly unique individuals, each with their own signature weapons and abilities to utilise in the battle field. For example, Barret wields a mini-gun for an arm and serves his purpose of being a long-ranged character that can attack from a distance and reach enemies that, say, Cloud or Tifa can’t reach. Not only are they useful for battle situations, but you may find yourself having to work together in order to solve puzzle-ish tasks that can come in the form of a mini-game. Having these characters by your side make your travels seem a lot less lonesome, which greatly enhances the experience.
It is clear to see how this changes Cloud as a person as he has, for the most part, had an immensely lonely and tragic past that can be seen in his many vague flashbacks. Having this strong bond and companionship with the characters allows Cloud try new experiences and better himself as a person.
The currency featured in the game is referred to as gill, which can be used to purchase items in vending machines, vendors or may be used in some sections in the story. Side quests are a rather important aspect of the game to consider as they could potentially lead to you getting new materia, gill or even weapons. They are certainly nice to have as it acts as bit of a break before heading back into the main story. There have been some cases where I have found some side quests to be quite tedious and annoying – but then again, they are optional!
- GAMEPLAY - 96%96%
- GRAPHICS - 90%90%
- AUDIO - 90%90%
This is an extraordinary game that I would highly recommend for any diehard fans of the series or even new comers that are looking for an immersive and flowing experience. The games core mechanics are very fluid and work exceptionally well with the whole feel and vibe of the game. It offers versatility in that you can upgrade weapons and chose different materia to alter your play style, whether that spell focused, special attack focused, or even a balance between the two. It offers a wide range of characters that tag along with you in your many ventures, which makes it feel very wholesome. For me, personally, the only negative things I can find to say about the game is that there is an absence of lyrical music within the game where I could totally see it draw in more emotional connections. One of the biggest things to point out, as mentioned before, is that in occasion there may be some circumstances in which the background may appear to be very dull in resolution, making it look like a png has been copied and pasted there as a place holder, but it is very easy to look past given most of the other aspects that make the game so great.
For more on Final Fantasy, check out our previous coverage.