We are now 6 weeks since the release of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. The dust has settled as people have finished the game. While some people were eager to rush through the game, finish it, and then start talking about it on YouTube, etc, I wanted to take my time and appreciate the game for what we thought was going to be a generational game. After playing the game, I don’t feel the game has quite the impact that the original Final Fantasy 7 had on gaming. It definitely had its ups, down, and moments of huh? I want to give full disclosure there will be small spoilers in this article, however, unlike most outlets, I will not reveal any major plot points as I still want people to be able to enjoy them as they play.
Lets take a look at the shiny moments of Final Fantasy VII Remake. This game is more about the legacy of Final Fantasy just as much as it is about Final Fantasy 7. From the second you are introduced to weapons abilities, it harkens to Final Fantasy 9. Final Fantasy had a great system where you learned abilities from the weapons to be able to mix and match to your preference. Final Fantasy 7 Remake allows you to have all abilities at your disposal after you have learned them. Final Fantasy XIII is represented in two big ways. The first is with the weapon leveling. The weapon leveling system is similar to the Crystarium upgrade system in XIII. Each weapon has multiple cores that each has abilities to learn from each core. You spend SP to learn the weapon abilities like you would CP in XIII. Final Fantasy XIII’s biggest contribution to the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is in the ATB combat system. ATB segment system was biggest component of XIIIs combat system. Through a combination of items and materia, it is possible to have your character start out with a full ATB bar at the start of combat much like you could a character in XIII. Final Fantasy XV lends its action based combat system to Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Much like XV, you can switch between characters on the fly.
The biggest place this game shines is in the incredible voice cast that was assembled for this game. Every person chosen for their roles, whether that is Brianna White as Aerith, John Bentley as Barret, or Gideon Emery as Biggs, the voice actors bring their characters to life. I was impressed with how Square Enix was taking care of these characters as well as giving smaller characters like Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge more involvement and more of an impact on the story. It was great to see more of the conversations that take place between these characters while on their journey. In the original Final Fantasy 7, you only experienced dialog between character during preset areas. In Remake, there is banter that takes place during combat, but while moving from area to area, much like Final Fantasy XV.
For me, one of the biggest disappointments was how linear the game is. Outside of some side quests that take you back to previous areas, the game is extremely linear, and almost on rails. There are tons of areas that are there just to hide load screens. Final Fantasy 7 was all about exploring the areas you are in. Final Fantasy 7 Remake puts barriers up in the form of dialog that prevents you from exploring in certain areas are prevented.
The other area that is disappointing is bringing part of the Final Fantasy XV summon system to VII Remake. One of the best parts of Final Fantasy as a whole has always been the summons. XV made it so summons would only show up under certain criteria. Final Fantasy VII Remake summons, although gorgeous and fight along side like the XIII summons, they too, only show up under certain criteria. Those criteria make no sense as well as some times all three characters could potentially summon in their summon. There are other times it was only one character who could summon in their attached summon.
Chapter 18 is where this game goes from really great to a step or 2 below that. Chapter 18 feels like Breath of the Wild and can’t make up its mind on what timeline it wants to be in. It is revealed that this game is taking place in a different timeline. Square revealed both in game and the published Ultimania that came out recently in Japan. I think saying this game is in a different timeline is a copout that allows Square to add in more elements and change story where they see fit.
The second area of Chapter 18 that I felt was a huge let down was the Harbinger fight. It felt like I was fighting the Darkness from Kingdom Hearts the whole time. The Harbinger even has a striking resemblance to some of the bosses from Kingdom Hearts.
Overall, even with the bad and huh moments, the game was still fantastic and I do plan to replay chapters to see what I might have missed. I am extremely excited to see where they take the story, although I am cautious if they will change major moments from the original, that in my opinion still need to take place. For any fan of Final Fantasy, this is a must play. Those that are new to the series, I definitely recommend picking up the original game on the PSN store so you can truly compare the games and get a feeling for what some reviewers are upset over. In the end, there is no right or wrong view on this game and I hope everyone enjoys the effort that the dev team and voice actors put into the game. Overall I would give this game an 8 out of 10.