Developer and Publisher: Square Enix
Writer: Kazushige Nojima
Platform: Playstation 4
Release Date: April 10, 2020
After the long wait, it’s finally here. I feel like this game was announced such a long time ago, and at some points I never thought it would release, but Final Fantasy VII Remake has actually been released! Now the real question is, was it worth the wait?
I loaded up my digital copy as soon as it became available to play and was immediately met by beautiful visuals. The game looks gorgeous even on my launch model PS4. The environments look amazing, but the first thing that popped out for me was how good the characters themselves look. The character models hold true to their anime art-style roots but at the same time have a feel of realism. The way Cloud moves through the environment and interacts with Jesse, Barret, and the others blew me away. The voice acting coupled with the realistic facial animations created an experience nearly on the same level as a Naughty Dog or Rockstar offering.
Alongside the brand new visual experience, we also got an overhauled battle system. In the original version, this game was a traditional turn-based jrpg. You would wait for your ATB gauge to fill select the moves you wanted each party member to use, eventually working up to the limit break. In this remake this all still applies, but it is layered on top of full control of each character attacking, blocking, and moving freely through the space while your gauges fill and allow you to use abilities, spells, and items. You are also charging up your limit break throughout these fights which allows Cloud to unleash an ultra powerful attack. I wasn’t sure how the battles would transition to this new format, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that while it was a completely different experience it retained much of the spirit of the original. You can pause the fight at anytime and switch between characters to give them orders, getting them to fire off spells or use their abilities, before being placed right back into the action with whatever character you wanted to control.
Square Enix paid attention to so many little details that add up to one of the most polished rpg offerings outside of Persona 5. There are so many things that add to the immersion in a game like this, NPCs talking amongst themselves as you walk by, the subtle nuances of Jesse’s body language whenever Cloud is around her, even things as minute as the sword showing the materia gems that you currently have slotted in. The game is amazing even without these details, but the fact that they went that extra mile to really hone everything in shines through.
The game has exceeded all my expectations in the short time I’ve spent with it. The biggest compliment I can give it is that I can’t wait to get back to playing. These days it feels like it is rarer and rarer that a game can grab my attention and hold it so firmly, but this is one of those special ones. If anyone is a fan of rpgs, even without any nostalgia for the original PS1 version, this is a must play. I honestly cannot recommend this enough.
As always thank you so much for reading! If you are playing this one, or thinking about picking it up, let me know in the comments down below or reach out to me on social media to chat about it! I post (at least) every Wednesday and Saturday, so check back then for more or sign-up via email to make sure you never miss a post.