FFVII remake review: 5 things you need to know about Final Fantasy VII remake
The remake of the year is here - this is what you need to know.
One of the biggest games of the year is here - and when we say big, we mean literally, huge. This action RPG is going to be the source of a serious number of hours of quality Me Time, perfect for the times we find ourselves in right now.
In what has to be one of the most ambitious games ever made, 1997’s iconic ‘Final Fantasy VII’, which changed the fantasy genre and video games as we know it, has been reimagined and expanded in stunning high res, using 2020 tech, to make one of the most immersive, action-packed games ever: ‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’.
Despite its sequel-sounding title, you needn’t have played a Final Fantasy game before to get into this one - it stands alone. Here’s everything you need to know about the biggest game launch of 2020 so far…
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1. You play one of gaming’s most iconic characters
You play as Cloud Strife - the guy with massive, spiky hair that you’ll recognise from all the trailers, and from cosplays at every Comic Con since 1997. He’s also recognisable from his gigantic weapon, the Buster sword - which comes in super handy when it comes to bashing through bad guys and delivering killer blows to big bosses.
2. You’re on an environmental mission
You might already know that you play as the iconic character Cloud - but what you might not know, is that this is a eco-centric story. Think Extinction Rebellion - in a dystopian industrial, corporation-led planet-destroying world (yes, it’s a stretch, but try). You are a gun-for-hire, drafted in by eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE to join them on a mission to take down the evil Shinra Electric Power Company - a megacorporation mercilessly mining the world’s natural lifestream for their own gain, and destroying the planet in the process. You join the team to take down the company’s ‘Mako’ reactors - and save the planet… your journey through the huge, industrial city of Midgar starts from there.
3. Fights are dynamic, strategic - and there’s a knack to them
Battles in ‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’ are a bit complicated, but more fast and fun than ever. In true RPG style, you have standard attacks - like close-range swings of Cloud’s sword, or, controlling your other AVALANCHE party members, your teammate Barrett’s long-range gun for an arm, and fellow teammate Tifa’s powerful martial arts moves. Your characters can also unleash powerful magic and special moves, which use up your ATB gauge - a bar which replenishes during battles as you repeatedly attack your enemy. If the fast-paced action isn’t your thing, OG Final Fantasy VII purists can choose to play the game in ‘Classic Mode’ - where battles are more like the original 1997 format, and the ATB will automatically charge up over time, leaving you to focus on strategic commands with your time. Deciding which characters to use on which enemy’s weak spots, and when to use your most powerful moves, requires strategy and skill - but as you come to know your team and their moves, it’s incredibly rewarding. And no weapon feels better to brandish than Cloud’s big boy Buster sword.
4. There is detail in everything
Midgar, with its slums and nuclear reactors; magical residents and industrial city life, really feels like a living, breathing city in this game. The attention to detail will blow you away - from the fan-serving posters in the underground, to the distraught citizens in the city streets after its reactor explosion. There’s also great attention to detail to be found in the game’s story - it’s no wonder these characters are so beloved by fans. With so much history to be uncovered between these characters as this story unfolds, expect relationships more intertwined than between the residents of Wetherfield. The decisions you make when you interact with them as the story progresses impacts how your relationships develop too - so choose what you say to them wisely. Whichever character you develop a new appreciation-for-slash-embarrassing-crush-on, you’ll be satisfied with how the story unfolds. Don’t worry, everyone does it.
5. Get into it now, and you’ll be playing for years to come
This game takes place entirely in Midgar - but in the original, blockier ‘Final Fantasy VII’, this was only the first setting before many more in the game. So, as this remake expands that first area so enormously, it makes sense that the developers behind the game have confirmed that there will be more future instalments to come, and that they are already working on the sequel to this upcoming game. With a universe this big, the series could go on for decades. Not so ‘Final’ Fantasy, then…
FFVII remake review: our verdict
Having played the FFVII remake, you won't be disappointed. This is a bold, brilliant game that takes something that's 23 years old and polishes it for the modern day, without once erasing the charm of the original.
This version isn't the whole game, however. It makes up around a third of the game in total, with the rest to come in time. As for the storyline - it's very Final Fantasy: confusing, frustrating in places and gargantuan.
The gameplay is complex - and the boss battles are there to challenge you, so strategy is needed rather than just button mashing. Side quests have been added which give FFVII more of a modern-day feel and the characters feel much fuller than ever before.
Final Fantasy VII does what a remake should: it gives you that lovely warmth of nostalgia from the past, with visuals and gameplay that make it a modern day triumph.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is out for PS4 from 10 April - pre-order now