Fair warning, this article contains several spoilers for the Final Fantasy Seven Remake.
“Final Fantasy 7” is one of the greatest RPGs, and possibly one of the greatest games of all time. Whispers of a formal remake for a next generation of consoles have been going around the watercooler since 2007. A remake was considered for the Play Station 3 – so much so that developer Square Soft put out a tech demo. But the project languished until well into the Play Station 4’s lifetime.
For the uninitiated – “Final Fantasy 7” follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who is hired by the eco terrorist group AVALANCHE – led by Barret Wallace and Cloud’s childhood friend Tifa Lockhart. As the story progresses – the eventual final boss, Sephiroth – becomes a more prominent threat to their world.
What is great about this old game is the cast of playable characters. Every character develops as the plot progresses – and for the most part these main characters are dynamic and likeable.
There are many dated aspects of the original game – most notably the visuals. Cloud’s avatar, for example, looks like a six-sided die with pipe cleaner Popeye arms. The remake’s visuals are exceptional – every model and setting is gorgeous to look at. Square Enix has not had the best track record with the voice acting in their games – many classic games have some comically awful recording or line delivery or almost anything under the sun. FF7R features strong voice acting across the board.
There are issues: for one, the choice by Square Enix to split the plot of the original game into three separate games comes off like a ploy to milk money out of any interested parties. $240– $80 per game– is a lot to pay for a padded version of a far less pricey Playstation One game from twenty years ago.
The plot of the first third is a faithful adaptation of the first 10 hours of the original game – with the ending promising that the remake will break from the plot of the original game. This is represented in “The Whispers” – agents of fate whose job is to ensure the plot of the original game plays out as intended. In the final battle – The Whispers are destroyed by Sephiroth, now ensuring the following two parts are not bound by blood to the plot of the original game.
The combat is complicated – the original FF7 used turn based combat, where your characters take turns attacking your enemies and vice versa. The remake discards that in favor of more of a free for all brawl. A catch here is that the player cannot direct the party members that they aren’t controlling, however, the player can switch between characters mid-combat in case they need to use a different skill or execute a strategy.
A concern for the two inevitable follow ups is whether Square will keep a world map. “Final Fantasy 10” gutted the world map that was present in the earlier games and that element has rarely been used in Square’s games. The world map was one of the most exciting elements of the original Final Fantasy Seven – a retooling would be well received.
The Final Fantasy 7 is available now – for eighty dollars retail price.