Final Fantasy VII Remake - Review
During all this time we have been waiting, Square Enix has not stopped throwing promises in different interviews . And although everything they showed visually did not raise too many doubts, the development has not been as easy as might be expected. In its day it had to be restarted, and there were many who did not trust a company that, in recent times, has not shone as much as in the past. But all those doubts are dispelled from the first moment this remake starts.
The demo, in fact, is not even a good sample of what is coming our way. If the original game stood out for something as soon as it started, it is for doing it with a brilliant start, frantic and full of emotion . And, obviously, this remains here. But Square Enix's reimagining goes far beyond bringing the game up to date on a technical level, offering us a new and unique combat system on the market, and even paying tribute to the original and masterfully expanding it . It is also a roller coaster not suitable for those who are afraid of heights. Why? It goes up and up, but it doesn't go down.
And taking advantage of the fact that the original game was already a title that transmitted sensations, we are going to try to make this analysis go the same way, avoiding talking in depth about many aspects that you must live yourself , but explained here with subtlety so that people can know that the title offers something much more profound than what has been discussed in interviews prior to the expected release. And on the other hand, I can't think of a better way to start than by dedicating a few lines to Midgar. The beautiful and decadent Midgar . The city that never sleeps. The city that is sucking the energy of the planet because of the ruthless Shinra. And the most human and at the same time dehumanized city that we have ever seen in a video game.
When Square Enix decided that this project was going to be so ambitious that it was impossible for the title to come in one part, we all put our hands to the head. And the normal thing was to think that they wanted to take the money from us. We don't have to blame ourselves; It is what it seemed. But we were wrong. Final Fantasy VII Remake is a complete game . It is a story that respects the original and leaves it when leaving Midgar, yes, but it is also a "closed" story that will leave all players speechless when they finish it. If you had dreamed of being able to wander around Midgar, to be able to witness how people live (especially the most disadvantaged) in it, your dream has come true .
In this way, not only can we soak up the life that takes place in the city, but we will also be overwhelmed by its technical beauty . In addition, some mythical scenes from the original game but that were barely explorable, such as Sector 7 or the neighborhoods of Sector 5, where our beloved Aeris lives, are now very large towns, with a large number of tasks to complete, charismatic characters to meet , and magnificent stories to live . In fact, they are usually the enclaves where Square Enix has introduced the game's side missions.
And once again, we have to say it: Square Enix was not lying. Side quests are interesting . We can not say that they are the best you have ever played in a video game because we would lie thoroughly. But they are of quality in general lines and, most importantly, addictive to the maximum because of the possibility of getting awards at the height of the circumstances . With some exceptions, of course. Plus, all of these commissions mean you end up exploring areas of the map that would otherwise be empty and often involve taking on brand new and tougher monsters .
As if that were not enough, the game is so varied and has a development so well structured , that these missions are not always present. In fact, we can only address them in very specific scenarios of the game, with other fully guided chapters . And not only those corresponding to what we remember from the original game (such as the demo reactor and the fight against the mythical Scorpion Guardian); There are also brand new and quite inspired dungeons and guided moments, by the way. It is also true, however, that not all game scenarios are treated with the same originality and mastery . Although personally I have not had the feeling that the game has artificially lengthened, because even those less inspired scenarios have given me something within the lore of Midgar, apart from unforgettable boss fights.
In this way, we can draw two major conclusions regarding side missions. The first is that the game does not force you to comply with them constantly , which is ideal for those who prefer to skip past. And second, that even if we take away those hours of gameplay that add up to side missions, the duration of this title is absolutely amazing . Without going into spoilers in that regard either, I can assure you that the Midgar remake is longer than the main story of Final Fantasy VII . Yes, that the entire original game (without counting sidequests and secrets of that one). And with respect to "endgame" content, without being new or revolutionary, they are presented in an interesting and original way. And much of the blame lies with the combat system, as they will give you reasons to perfect it . And all without forgetting the mini games, simple but very addictive and with some incentives to modify certain events of the story in second games.
Returning to the theme of Midgar, this remake is not just a new way of discovering a city that is as surreal as it is credible at the same time (and with brutal design and imagination). It is also a title that allows you to create a type of narrative that is very consistent with current times. Square Enix has already commented in an interview that this game has also drank from titles like God of War (PS4) . And the truth is that it shows. In the demo you can guess, from the conversations between Cloud and Barret even while we control the characters. But in the final game this is multiplied by ten .
In this way, we have constant conversations between the characters in our group. In addition, in many occasions with spectacular shots of the camera and some transitions between those shots and the playable shot that remove the hiccups. And that's not all: we will also realize that cities and settings have a life of their own, with a very original way of interacting with citizens. With some you can talk, as in any role-playing game. Others simply talk when you pass by. And, obviously, you can read everything they say on screen . And they are not exactly few.
In fact, a feeling of realism and life has been achieved that we have hardly lived in other RPGs . And all that, with the blessed grace that the game has the plot and charisma of characters from the original title. Therefore, it will be exceptional to see how, even the most secondary citizen of all has interesting things to tell, without the need for us to stop to listen to him . And on top of that, his comments will further accentuate the symbolism and metaphor of Midgar, present throughout the remake. Because yes, the issue of ecological terrorism, of social classes, of oppressive politicians, or of deaths due to war are more present than ever. And they generate very strong emotions for the player, especially in the most memorable scenes .
Because that's another one. The characters have the charisma they already had in the original Final Fantasy VII; but it expands in an overwhelming way in this remake . Much of the blame lies with the brutal expressions of the characters, which are on a higher level for this generation. But other aspects also help, such as the fact that the character of each of them has been further marked . From the most edge Cloud but that evolves throughout history, to the appearances of Barret, who looks like a badass (and sometimes he is, shooting at everything that moves), but who is later a good-natured.
And in that equation the components of Avalanche also enter. Again, the demo was only the tip of the iceberg that is Final Fantasy VII Remake in that regard. Biggs, Wedge and Jessie are now more prominent than ever, even with expanded and quite cool moments in history. You become so fond of them (they have a lot to do with Cloud's evolution, after all), that some later moments in the adventure generate even more emotion than in the original game .
On the other hand, the game also boasts a series of additions in the form of completely new characters . From those that have to do with the cities we visit (point and aside for a Wall Market that offers epic dimensions and memorable moments), to those that are related to some of the additions of this remake at the plot level. The latter, could be named as "licenses" of Square Enix . Some will especially like it; others will be disappointed. Personally, I feel that they are not superfluous thanks to something very important: they expand rather than change . With some exceptions, it is much more debatable.
Recently, its creators commented in an interview that reimagining was based more on expanding than on changing the events of the original. Well, although there are some important changes, big and debatable, that the most purists could reject , they are generally subtle changes or with additions. Without going into spoilers, an enemy you are waiting for may not appear at the moment you thought, but then it ends up masterfully .
Surely, the most controversial changes will give a lot to talk about among fans, but we can say that, as a general rule, this remake has managed to show us everything that has already happened in the original, and at the same time expand it with very good do. In fact, some characters from the original game that in this part had less presence, such as the Turks, will now be able to satisfy the needs of those players who thought that Midgar would fall short . And there are unforgettable surprises, too.
And not only to give more prominence to the villains (including those who were not just part of Midgar). The fact is that Final Fantasy VII Remake is aware that this title is aimed mainly at lovers of the original . Yes, it can be played without knowing it and, probably, you will enjoy it just the same. But it introduces a lot of winks to later moments in history with which the connoisseur of the original is familiar, and also justifying them at the plot level and with the utmost respect. In this way, you will get more than one surprise. And two, and three ...
And speaking of controversies, what about the combat system? Here the answer is more complicated, understanding that this analysis is dedicated both to those who will know Final Fantasy VII for the first time, and to those who know the original title on which it is based. But the answer, for me, is again clear. And this is that, regardless of whether you prefer turn-based combat or not, the combat system of this reimagination is delicious .
The demo was a good sample of what we could expect, but the final game brings much more complexity. It is not Kingdom Hearts, as much as the comparisons are going to be there . Among other things, because a quite powerful balance has been achieved between pure and simple action and the "pounding" of buttons, and strategy. And the latter ends up having much more importance as the story progresses. Both due to the increased difficulty and the extraordinary way in which certain combats have been tackled .
If you have enjoyed this demo, you will know that it is possible to control all the characters, changing in real time from one to the other . And, at the same time, it is possible to perform actions with which you are not controlling, pausing time and selecting the menu quietly. And all that is complemented by a rather interesting reinvention of the ATB system. In total we have two bars, which are loaded as we hit the enemy or defend ourselves against their attacks. And certain actions require an ATB bar or even two .
In fact, except for the attack command itself, which has variants in each of the characters (and above all they are very different), all other actions require the ATB bar, including objects . In this way, the game forces us to always be aware of this so as not to end up dying when we need to heal ourselves. And at the same time, it plays very well with the position you adopt, for example, being able to cast a magic before the enemy hits you and you end up losing the MP and without healing yourself .
In addition, the strategy goes much further, with the possibility of causing fatigue and vulnerability to enemies . Although more than a possibility it ends up being an obligation with the toughest enemies. Basically because the fatigue bar only fills up under certain conditions. For example, there are enemies that require you to use magic (or even specific magic). And that's another point of differentiation with Kingdom Hearts; if you just hit the button, there are enemies you could be fighting with for 4 hours (if you don't die), and you wouldn't finish the combat. Basically, because some don't take enough damage until they're in vulnerable mode. And the ways to achieve it are sometimes very original .
To make matters worse, there are bosses that force you to do many original things . From attacking by parts, finding beneficial positions on stage, using certain characters to weaken them ... They are a waste of originality . And watch out, because they are not few. When Square Enix warned that they would not change but would add, they were also talking about the bosses. Those you remember are here, and they are amazing. But there are other fights (which we will not tell you anything about), which will leave you completely frozen. I have played in normal, and they have killed me many more times than in the original game , which was rather simple. It is not that the difficulty is very high here, but it does force you to always be attentive and know well the weakness of each enemy. Otherwise, more than one combat can be complicated.
In addition, the game makes exquisite use of some elements that were already present in the original in terms of customization. And, of course, add many other pretty cool . To begin with, the subjects continue with the same operation as in the original. There are some of pure magic, others of support, others that improve the attributes ... And although some change their names, you will not miss practically none compared to the original game. Rather, you will be overwhelmed by the number of options they offer us , also to adapt it to the combat system that we have briefly explained.
Thus, we will not only be able to choose the ones that we need the most at all times, but also combine them to achieve very concrete results . From a magic that can be applied to the entire group at the same time (or to the entire group of enemies), to being able to add elemental or status effects to our weapons and armor, including materials that will add more abilities to the list of our protagonists.
And speaking of abilities, weapons are now much deeper than the original. For starters, they are all spectacular and also pay homage to the classic. But aside, each new weapon we get comes with a new ability for those who carry it equipped. And until we learn it, we won't be able to use that ability with another weapon. A system that has reminded us of other games in the saga such as Final Fantasy IX and that makes the player enjoy much by improving their characters.
Furthermore, each weapon can be upgraded through skill points. These are achieved as we level up, and can then be distributed in a sphere menu reminiscent of the Final Fantasy X system as well. There is no way to choose paths, however. We can simply unlock more spheres. What are unlocked in those spheres? Basically new attributes for the character as long as he equips that weapon. Sometimes also new matter slots for it. And that contributes to doing something that we have almost never considered in an RPG. Reuse an old and theoretically weaker weapon .
We could continue talking about a lot of aspects, but again we believe that the best thing is that you discover all its ins and outs for yourself . What we can do is talk about the technical section of the game. This is, without fear of being wrong, the most brutal we have ever seen . And that's saying a lot, considering that, without going any further, on PS4 we have games like God of War or Horizon. Yes, it does have some flashy glitches, like loading some texture at certain times or the fact that some supporting characters suddenly spawn before your eyes. But for every hit you find, you can talk about 10 great colossal hits .
Midgar is a wonderful city and looks spectacularly good. But other scenarios are also a waste of pure muscle. Also, the animations and expressions of the characters are at a higher level , never seen before. Being able to look at the details of the buildings (sometimes collapsed) around us and see such a lot of details on stage is sometimes overwhelming. As if that were not enough, the design of the final bosses will take away your hiccups . Some of you have already seen them, but there are many more. So many more. And each one is more spectacular than the last. And all this with fairly short loading times , taking into account that the setting changes every two by three.
Finally, there is something that should be highlighted yes or yes regarding the graphic. And it is the constant appearance of epic moments , which is undoubtedly the great narrative addition of this remake with respect to the original. I have lost count of the times when explosions, robots, flashes, buildings or bullets have filled the screen with color . And I have lost even more count the times in which the protagonists have had to face adversities. Many times, saving himself on the last breath. Hollywood falls short in that regard . And it shows that he drinks a lot from Advent Children in that regard, although with much more elegance and respect for the classic, which is very important.
The soundtrack puts the finishing touch on a wonderful adventure. Not only because there are new melodies that fit perfectly with that constant and overwhelming action that we will see on screen (with amazing shots). But also because the original melodies shine with the most absolute magic. Something that is achieved thanks to the fact that this music is totally organic . In other words, it adapts to the context and it is possible to listen to 10 different versions of the same melody . Each one more inspired than the last.
Ultimately, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a dream come true. A game that will not leave anyone indifferent . And that despite some disputable licenses, it should be considered a masterpiece. It is not a perfect game, because that does not exist. And because the original game slab weighs a lot, a lot . And it also has some very notable problems such as somewhat linear scenarios as opposed to much more complex ones. Some will even be disappointed to have a game that almost always guides you by the hand (yes, there are corridors), although that also has its positive side because of the desire that the game generates at all times in order to continue with that great story and with that incessant action. But even all this does not prevent you from finding, with every anger that can (and will) produce you, a thousand details that move you and make you cry .
Final Fantasy VII Remake is a JRPG that others will need to watch from now on. And above all, it is the living proof that we are at the end of a generation. A wonderful generation that has left us with such fantastic, addictive, epic and transcendent experiences like this one. If you bought a PS4 to play this, you have already depreciated your console. A must-have classic that will make history again , just like the original game did in 1997.