Final Fantasy VII Remake is an action RPG developed and published by Square Enix that released on April 10th of this year for the PlayStation 4. It is the first in a series of games that remakes the original Final Fantasy VII that came out for the original PlayStation in 1997. I did not play the original or any other game in the Final Fantasy franchise before this game came out. I decided to check it out during this period of quarantine as I heard great things about it. After playing it, I conclude that it is one of the best games I have ever played.
Remake takes place in the original game’s first area, the metropolis Midgar, as it covers an estimated 10-15% of the original’s story. The game follows Cloud Strife, a former member of SOLDIER, a team of elite warriors working for the Shinra Electric Power Company. He joins an eco-terrorist group called AVALANCHE as a mercenary to help them destroy mako reactors in Midgar. Shinra is harvesting mako to power Midgar and create advancements in cutting edge technology. He meets the leader of the Sector 7 cell, Barret Wallace and joins up with his childhood friend, Tifa Lockhart to take down Shinra.
Along the way, he meets the spiritual florist Aerith Gainsborough who joins the team on their quest. As Cloud and his allies battle Shinra throughout the game, Cloud is haunted by memories of Sephiroth, another former SOLDIER member who he knew growing up. Remake is fantastic due to its incredible characters, astoundingly good combat system and graphics.
Cloud is the main character of this game and it is glorious. On the surface, he is a stoic mercenary with a huge sword. However, he has many layers, one being his life in his hometown in his pre-SOLDIER days. He constantly gets flashbacks to his early years haunting his daily activities. You see he is a loving and kind-hearted person with a thick exterior. I love that contrast and it makes his development throughout this game satisfying.
Barret, Tifa and Aerith are tremendous as well. Barret is a wisecracking leader and he not only has some of the best lines in the game, but some of its best moments as well. Aerith is a vital character to the game’s overall plot and she is wonderful and vibrant. Her and Cloud have amazing chemistry which adds to the overall narrative effectively. Tifa is also spectacular with Cloud as she acts as his conscience and companion. Their dynamic is beautiful and I’m excited to see more of them in future games.
The combat system in this game is fantastic and possibly the best I’ve seen in any video game. A typical combat system nowadays has real time combat based on timing, strategy and the ability to use many different moves in battle. These aspects are all prevalent in this game, but what makes the combat unique are the party and materia systems. Most of the fights include multiple characters and I love using the abilities of the party members together to win fights. It spices up the combat and allows for many different strategies to be used. This is highlighted in boss fights where you need to use all your party members well to win the fight. The game’s completion is rewarding because of the challenging journey.
The materia system heightens the strategy to another level. There are many different types of materia, orbs that grant abilities, that all characters can equip. One can change them before each fight, but once the fight resumes, the materias are set in stone. One must choose the materia wisely before each boss battle. This requires much skill and strategy making the gameplay that much more fun.
Lastly, I am not usually a gamer that focuses on graphics, hence why most of my favorite games are over a decade old. However, the graphics and engine of Remake are astonishing. The atmosphere looks incredibly realistic and the fantastical elements flow into the world so well. Every detail looks realistic, and even with the game’s intense action, it does not look fake or out of place. The game looks and flows incredibly, aiding the immersion factor.
My only complaint with the game are the tedious sidequests. There are three chapters in the game that feature sidequests. Upon completion, they give the characters better gear making them necessary. While the quests make sense in the story, many of the quests feel tediously long and uncreative. It can bog down the adventure at times but they are worth completing so it isn’t a huge problem.
Overall, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a masterpiece of gaming. The visuals, characters and combat system are top-notch. If anyone with a PlayStation 4 is looking for a game to play as COVID-19 forces possible reclosures, this is a game I highly recommend checking out.