You may be wondering why I haven’t opted to do a review for Final Fantasy VII Remake. The reason I decided not to was simply because, at this stage, we know the story of this game along with its history as it’s rated as one of the best RPG of all time. Instead, I wanted to talk about the remake side of it. Remakes tend to go one of two ways; great or awful! Look at how recently panned the remake of XIII was, as an example. They tend to be a hit or a miss and nothing in-between.
I recently finished the remake of Final Fantasy VII and I have to say, it’s a hit in every way. It still nails the themes of the original, whilst making it feel new. The characters have truly been brought to life. Aerith still has the adorable charm she had originally. Barret is another one that has really benefited from this remake. The graphics play a massive part in this (of course!) along with great voice work for them all. What helps here is the character design is still near on the same with very few tweaks, so it feels old but new at the same time. The other aspect that is dramatically different is the combat. We no longer have the turn based system – instead we have a system very similar to the one that was present in Final Fantasy XV, which was brilliant then and it’s more refined in this, but damn does it work and flow well. It allows for quick switching between characters during battles, giving more freedom to the combat itself and makes you feel more involved. Like the original, it still has the ATB system in place along with the limit breaks, so it doesn’t feel too different from before. This is a key element to what makes this remake truly amazing, as we keep the links to the original whilst moving forward. This feeling comes through in multiple ways whilst playing.
We also have a far more detailed world which only brings Final Fantasy VII to life even more. Graphics of course help with this but not just that, as it’s clear to see allot of effort has gone into the worlds when exploring around the map, building details, NPC’s, shops, etc. all add to this. I was always intrigued how they would handle the Honeybee section of the game. Safe to say that’s been done very well with new ideas brought in, but keeping the cheesy elements from the original. The game has been expanded on as well, with more side quests to do I did enjoy doing them all too, which is always a nice bonus for any RPG. Its story parts have also been expanded on; none of which feels like fluff. Example being the Honeybee section when you have to earn your way to seeing the Don. This was my concern when this was announced, especially with it being in parts that we may end up with too much filler, and we genuinely don’t. Each addition feels like it’s meaningful – characters get more screen time than they did originally, and we still get the same emotional side of the story like we did many years ago. The Materia system has been tweaked along with a weapon upgrade system, making it feel like a modern title that’s pushed forward but not forgetting its roots.
This is a game that’s managed to honour the past version and move forward into the modern era at the same time, without sacrificing anything. It’s very rare a game can do this, let alone a Final Fantasy VII Remake can do this. This could be enjoyed by people who have no history with the original, as it was such a long time ago, I suspect many people won’t have played the original either. Starting with this would be great for people who don’t like older games as there are some people who need the modern graphics. I would say however, the original should still be played. I felt like this all needed to be mentioned as remakes can get a bad reputation, however when one comes along that’s as good as this, it needs to be praised. I finished this on 27 hours, loving every moment and I cant wait for the Yuffie expansion coming soon.