Final Fantasy VII Remake DEALS
After many years the time has come. Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake is finally out and expectations are very high. The original game was released in 1997 and has made quite an impact on the gaming industry. The adventure of Cloud and his new friends continues to be played on various different consoles after all these years.
The fans have finally gotten their way after twenty years of nagging at Square Enix (and we are very grateful for every single fan), but a Remake does, of course, involve some dangers. To what extent has the game changed and isn’t this an attack on the original? Has Square Enix taken Final Fantasy VII to a new level or has it become a major disappointment? Here is my Final Fantasy VII Remake review for PlayStation 4.
A LONG HISTORY
Final Fantasy VII (the original), has a big and beautiful story. Former 1st Class SOLDIER Cloud Strife is thrown into the middle of the action when hired by Avalanche, an eco-terrorist organization, to blow up a Mako reactor in Midgar city. The Shinra Electric Power Company extracts Mako (life energy) from the planet with this reactor and threatens its survival. You switch off the reactor together with Barret (the leader of Avalanche), Wedge, Biggs, and Jessie.
During the next operation, you will be assisted by Tifa, but this does not go according to plan. You end up in the slums of Midgar. Here you meet Aerith Gainsborough, a flower seller who is harassed by the Turks. This shadowy branch of Shinra hides their criminal activities and solves any problems. They’re after Aerith, so she hires you as her bodyguard. After several adventures in Midgar, you leave the city to discover the world and stop Shinra’s plans.
In Final Fantasy VII Remake, the story is told in several chapters. The Remake is much more extensive than the original, so it only tells the beginning of Cloud’s story. You stay in Midgar for the whole game and that’s a shame, but we already knew this beforehand. The advantage of this is that you get to know all the characters, the inhabitants of Midgar, and also Midgar itself better.
In addition, Square Enix now filled some previous gaps in the story, which is extra fun for the fans. There is plenty to see and experience for the newcomers, but the added value of the details is higher if you have already played the original. You also see the disastrous consequences of your actions much more clearly and in detail. It has a greater impact on your peace of mind than in the original.
Because, instead of feeling satisfied about the attack on Shinra, you see the negative results much more clearly and this makes you wonder if this is the right way of doing it. In my review for PlayStation 4, I noticed that in between operations you get to know Midgar and the residents by doing some side missions. This will build your reputation as a mercenary. Although, I found the amount of missions a bit disappointing.
In the original, you soon have to say goodbye to some Avalanche members, but in the Remake you get to know Biggs, Wedge and Jessie better and help them prepare for the next operation. You will also learn about their motivation, and they will provide some comic situations from time to time. It also all feels more intense than the original because you are closer to the action and the characters look very realistic.
A NEW COAT OF GOLD
The first thing I noticed on the PlayStation 4 is that Midgar and the characters look fantastic. The details of the science fiction-esque and post-industrial Midgar in the Remake really brings the city to life. Everything is much bigger and sharper than in the original. This ensures that you experience everything in Midgar up close. Even in the background you can see details of elements that make you think of the original.
For the fans, it is really nice to recognize places, but that also looks slightly different. For example, I occasionally saw images of the original in my head when I visited certain places and marveled at the splendor of the Remake. The graphic qualities help to convey the story. The characters are not made up of coarse polygons, but look lifelike.
They are not small dolls, but they are large and well proportioned in relation to the environment.The facial expressions of the characters and the details of their weapons and outfits are clearly visible and clearly convey the emotions. All this detail is supported by a beautiful soundtrack that immerses you even deeper into the futuristic and magical world of Final Fantasy VII.
Not only are the music and sound effects great in Square Enix’s game, but also the voices you hear when you walk past the residents of Midgar. You can no longer talk to everyone, but if you walk past the residents of Midgar, you will receive all kinds of comments like “who the hell blew up the reactor?”, and then you move on guiltily. The city seems to be more alive than in its predecessor from 1997.
Fortunately, you can choose between English and Japanese voices to enhance your immersion. In exceptional cases, I think the English version is really good and does not bother me like many other JRPGs. I’ve played the entire game in English and I hardly ever do that with JRPGs. But don’t you worry, I‘m still going to tackle the hard mode in Japanese on my PlayStation 4.
COMBAT IS DIFFERENT, BUT NO LESS FUN
Final Fantasy VII Remake has a different battle system than the OG where you fight with the Active Time Battle. You chose a command from the menu and you waited for the meter to fill up before you could make a new choice. The Remake does this differently, and the emphasis in this game is on action. You can use the regular attack constantly or alternate with your special attack and you don’t have to wait (although this is not the most effective way to win).
Magic, items, and skills can be assigned to a button and activated with L1. The downside to this is that you can only assign four things and sometimes have to make difficult choices. Because which skill, magic, or item is the right one to use at that time? You can also dodge button attacks and block some attacks with R1. If you have taken enough damage, you can use a Limit Break that usually vaporizes the enemies.
For the gamers who are used to the menus from the original, it is possible to go to your menu with X and arrange everything there. The advantage of this is that you have access to all your magic, skills, and items. Final Fantasy is known for its Summon Materia that you can use to summon mythological creatures to assist you in battle. At least, you can’t summon them at all times, but if you get a lot of hits or stagger the enemy enough, this option comes up.
Previously they attacked and disappeared again, but in the Final Fantasy VII Remake they fight and you can use their special techniques. Take note that before they disappear, they end with their special attack. You can only use them once per battle, and you only get access to a few from the original, as you will only see the rest later in the story. The animations of their special attacks look very good, but they have not surpassed those of Final Fantasy XV.
It is a nice addition and ensures that you can not constantly use a summon, but must do most of the damage. So each weapon has one slot for a Summon Materia, but multiple slots for other Materia. For example, the Materia system allows you to add magic, buffs, debuffs, and add-ons that expand your arsenal. In my review for PlayStation 4, I noticed that by defeating enemies, you earn ability points (AP) which grows your Materia.
This way you discover new or stronger magic that makes the adventure a lot easier. You can also sometimes link Materia together, which gives them an extra effect. This way you can attack multiple enemies with magic or heal all your teammates, but it is quite a task to find the right combination. I have not come across the special Materia such as 4x attack, but there are a few new ones that make your ATB meter fill faster or give your dodge an extra boost.
As mentioned, place Materia in the slots of your weapons and equipment. There are not many weapons and equipment in the game, but you can upgrade the weapons you have, which will allow you to add more slots and unlock other buffs. Each weapon also has a special technique that you can learn. To use magic and skills, you must fill the ATB meter by waiting, attacking your weapon, or defending at the right time.
Again, you cannot just repeat the same action, so you have to vary between different techniques. During the fighting you have enough options to teach the enemies a lesson. And if you are not satisfied with the results, you can always switch with a teammate to try a different strategy. Although it differs greatly from what the fans are used to, Square Enix’s game still offers enough challenge and variation.
NOT A PERFECT GAME, BUT CLOSE
Despite all the positives, there are a few things that disappointed me about the Final Fantasy VII Remake. JRPGs, especially the Final Fantasy series, often offer the opportunity to explore the world. In my review for PlayStation 4, I noticed that now you don’t see the entire world in this part, but I would have liked to see more of Midgar. The places you go are known in principle, but I would have liked to explore several parts of the city.
In a JRPG it is common practice to dig out the fields for chests, hidden items, and sub-plots. But, every time I tried, my teammates whistled me back. If you ignore them and walk further, the game will stop you. I thought that was a shame because that way little exploration remains possible. For example, I searched for secret locations, special persons, items or special bosses, but not much luck thanks to the way the game now works.
I was hoping for a secret dungeon for that extra challenge, but I haven’t come across it and doubt this will happen. The game does have a Colosseum where you can enter some battles for rewards. This was not very difficult, but gave that old school feeling. There is also a Shinra Combat Simulator that has about the same function. The battles are more difficult and once you have finished, you will see that they added more battles.
Unfortunately, these battles are only available if you play the game on Hard Mode. In Hard Mode, the enemies have more HP, they are stronger, they have new skills and different attack patterns. You do not have access to your items and it does not refill your MP at the rest areas. Also, not all items and upgrades for your weapons are available in normal mode so if you want to find everything you have to do Hard mode anyway.
Final Fantasy VII Remake for PlayStation 4 plays very differently from the OG, but that is not a bad thing, although the real diehards will be disappointed. In my opinion, the transition from the old game to the current generation was successful. The devs put a lot of love into this project, and it shows. The lack of exploration is really the biggest flaw because that is a big part of the series. I also discovered places where the enemies are just a bit too strong.
There are not a lot of weapons, hardly any side missions, and no monster hunts. In addition, I would have liked to see more of Midgar outside of the places I already knew and perhaps want to get a little more insight into the corridors of the Turks. When I have finished Hard mode, I will pick up the original again to discover the differences. So I can spend a year or two before the second part of Final Fantasy VII Remake comes out. I can not wait.
Do you want to try Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake? What do you think of my Final Fantasy VII Remake review for PlayStation 4? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Are you a big fan of Square Enix and its games? Check out our reviews for Kingdom Hearts 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Gravel, and Dragon Quest 8: Journey Of The Cursed King.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII Remake is a great game with a deep story, spectacular graphics, and challenging battles. I hope that a sequel offers more opportunities for exploration, and tackles other disadvantages. Despite the minor flaws, this remake is definitely worth it, and a worthy remake of the original.
- Spectacular graphics
- Deep and extensive story
- Materia system offers many options
- Intense fighting
- Weapon upgrades
- Beautiful soundtrack
- The game is fairly linear
- Little to explore
- Not many weapons
- Seems to have little post-game content