Final Fantasy VII Remake Review: The Train Came Back

The twenty-year-long wait is over. Final Fantasy VII Remake is finally here, and fans have a chance to return to Midgar, though it might not be the same one that they remember. Final Fantasy VII Remake is an awesome action game experience that has a tendency to falter whenever it branches out from the content of the original game.

We won’t go into story detail in this review, so rest assured that the secrets of the game are safe from this point on. In short – Final Fantasy VII Remake is set in a world where the evil Shinra Electric Power Company is draining the literal life force of the planet to use it as a cheap source of energy. A mysterious mercenary named Cloud Strife is hired by an eco-terrorist group called Avalanche, in order to save the world from ecological disaster.

Final Fantasy VII Remake only covers the Midgar section of the original game and it’s incredible to see the city remade in such incredible detail. It’s not hyperbole to say that Final Fantasy VII Remake is the best-looking game on the PlayStation 4, with amazing character models and detailed skyboxes that show the grandeur of Midgar on a scale rarely seen in gaming. The streets are teeming with people and walking through the city is nothing short of amazing, especially to those who have played the original game.

The soundtrack of Final Fantasy VII Remake is equally phenomenal, with orchestral and remixed versions of one of the best OSTs in gaming history. The new tracks also fit in well and compliment the selection of songs in the game. Final Fantasy VII Remake is a treat for the senses.

Advent Children Combat

Final Fantasy VII was a turn-based RPG, while Final Fantasy VII Remake is an action RPG in the vein of the Kingdom Hearts series. The party members can attack, dodge, and block, as well as perform a number of spells and special abilities based on a meter that fills over up over the course of the battle.

The player has the ability to switch between their party members at all times, and each playable character has their own distinct combat abilities. This switching mechanic helps keep combat encounters interesting, as the player is forced to keep swapping their attacks in order to beat opponents. The combat system is one of the highlights of Final Fantasy VII Remake and battles remain a thrill until the end of the game.

There is one big problem with the combat system that crops up whenever there are too many enemies or the fight takes place in a small room, as the camera has trouble keeping up with so much happening at once. This is an issue that keeps happening and the game would have benefited from more open areas, or at least ensuring that enemies that didn’t spread themselves out so much.

The Materia system from Final Fantasy VII returns, but it’s not as in-depth as in the original game. Materia is used to equip special abilities and passive buffs, while Summons act as temporary party members that can only be used in specific situations. The weapon upgrade system is similar to the sphere grid-style system used in Final Fantasy XIII, though it feels a little unnecessary here, as there aren’t enough options to make the choices worthwhile.

A String Of 10×10 Rooms

For fans of the original Final Fantasy VII, one of the biggest thrills of Final Fantasy VII Remake is seeing so many classic scenes being brought to life with the hardware of the PlayStation 4.

Where Final Fantasy VII Remake falters is with the new story content that wasn’t present in the original game. Final Fantasy VII Remake expands a storyline that only lasted a couple of hours into a full thirty-hour game, which means that a lot of new content needed to be created for the story. Some of the new scenes in Final Fantasy VII Remake work adding to the lore of the original game, but a lot of it feels like padding that only exists to stretch out the run-time.

The dungeon design in Final Fantasy VII Remake is also inconsistent, with some being little more than a chain of rooms with enemy encounters. It seems that Square Enix didn’t learn its lesson from Final Fantasy XIII, as this linearity starts to grind after a while and it can make exploration feel like a chore.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is broken up into chapters and the game world isn’t as free to explore as they were in the original game. This won’t be a problem for everybody, but players can expect to be held on a tight leash by the story throughout most of the game.

Bleeding The Planet Dry

Final Fantasy VII Remake is an awesome game with a few annoying flaws that stop it from reaching the same heights as its predecessor. Final Fantasy VII was lightning in a bottle, while Final Fantasy VII Remake is just a really good game that wears its skin. The story of the remake series isn’t over yet and we hope that Square Enix improves upon the formula for the later entries, but for now, Final Fantasy VII Remake is still well worth your time.

A PlayStation 4 copy of Final Fantasy VII Remake was provided to TheGamer for this review. Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released for PlayStation 4 on April 10, 2020.

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