Like all sorts of art forms, in video games, some are so masterfully made that they are stuck forever in everyone’s memory. Final Fantasy 7 is definitely one of them. This remake of the 23-year-old game is wild, ambitious and innovative in all aspects leading to one of the best Final Fantasy game ever since, well, Final Fantasy 7. Its real-time combat, extravagant music, the perfect storylines have us wanting more for the next chapter of the game.
The Story (No Spoilers)
Instead of remaking the entire Final Fantasy 7, only the first portion of the game which takes place in Midgar has been remade. In the original game, The Midgar section took 3-5 hours of playtime. This has been extended to more than 30 hours of playtime this time around!
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If you’ve somehow not played Final Fantasy 7 in the last 23 years, the basic gist is that you’re playing in the shoes of Cloud Strife, a mercenary that’s been hired by Avalanche, a group of eco-activists that is fighting against a giant energy mega-corporation called Shinra. So, while Cloud initially takes on Shinra for a paycheck, he eventually becomes part of the cause, once he sees just how far the company would go on the pursuit of power and wealth.
The spirit of the narration is maintained and the game isn’t afraid of making wild choices.
Lessons from the Screenplay
I’ll be lying to myself if I said that Final Fantasy 7 remake had a good screenplay for the cinematics. Yes, it doesn’t affect the gameplay but the screenplay is a far wide sin to NOT consider. Each of the dialogues feels weird. Even when the plot is in critical moments, a lot of the seriousness just isn’t there for the badly written dialogues. The imperfect voice acting doesn’t help either.
An action-packed JRPG doesn’t require a Sorokin for its screenplay. But the screenplay being to point of funny and ruining the ambiance of a scene, now that’s worrying.
Final Fantasy 7 remake looks perfect. Each of the different environments, from Midgard’s deep Industrial areas to the overpopulated slums has its unique look. The brilliance of character design is there. They are modeled perfectly for each environment. Keep in mind, the original game was a 2D and Square Enix has done a great job of converting it into a full-fledged open-world 3D environment that seems just as similar and welcoming as the previous one.
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That being said though, the game has MAJOR texture problems. Often I would run into a corner that contains lots of buildings and pipes and the texture isn’t there. The whole thing just seems like a blurry mess. The same kind of problem occurs with the building far in the background where a partial Depth of Field looms around, often obstructing important visuals. However, this game was reviewed before release so it can be expected that the problems should be solved by the time the game drops on April 10.
On a PS4 PRO, the game is automatically locked at 4K 30 FPS and it runs really well. Even in huge action sequences that included many buildings collapsing, it never once stuttered or dropped any frames.
Innovative “Real-Time” Combat
As far as gameplay and combat are concerned, the game is top-notch. Button mashing won’t get you anywhere. Instead, you have to fully depend on actual tactics and using all your combat abilities and weapons properly. The original Final Fantasy 7 was the peak of JRPG’s turn-based combat even in today’s standard. However, deviating from the original spirits, Final Fantasy Remake contains a real-time combat system That is not only innovative but wildly ambitious with its techniques.
It’s a rewarding and stylish combat system. At times you’ll feel like the ultimate fiend hunter as you Rambo your way through a hoard of enemies. Other times you’ll need to be far more strategic, slowing combat down at particular times to take advantage of attack patterns and enemy weaknesses.
Again, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect though. The materia system — magic orbs that slot into your weapons and armor, allowing you to use magic and other abilities — feels a little out of place, too. Often times you will find yourself whirling in the main menu in confusion on what to upgrade and what not to.
Often than not, the camera angle is also problematic. Regardless, the developers did so much right here. The difficulty is just right, forcing you to strategize. Boss battles are reliably exhilarating. And, like everything else in the game, the combat is visually marvelous.
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- Gritty and Ambitious Reimagining of the first chapter
- Beautiful Visuals
- Eye-Popping Color Palette
- Fast, Challenging and Rewarding Combat System
- Brave Story Additions
- Individual and Consistent Character Development
- Accessible to both Veterans and Newcomers alike
- Amazing Performance
- Square Enix’s Decision on not adapting the entire game might be disappointing to many
- Very mediocre dialogue and screenplay for cinematics
- Linear in most terms
- Side-Quests are infructuous and not interesting
- Hit-or-Miss Voice Acting
- Textures on many surfaces are inconsistent
Should I Play The Original First?
In short YES.
If you are among those people who have never touched Final Fantasy 7 till now, it is the perfect time to do so. It’s not at all essential to do so in order to play the remake. In fact, most of the time, the remake feels like a completely new game. However, you will definitely be missing out on a lot of inside jokes, themes and just the general warm and fuzzy nostalgia that Final Fantasy 7 Remake gives.