FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE
By Michael "Magic Mike" Dumee on April 10, 2020
Okay, so twenty-three years ago, I played a little game called Final Fantasy VII. It was one of the best games I ever played in my whole life. I was thirteen at that time and to me it was one of the most beautiful games available on PSX, as well as one of the biggest. I mean, the thing needed three whole discs!
I have so many great memories of this game! And not only because of the game itself, but also because I played it together with my younger sister. We took turns sometimes, but most of the time it was her watching me playing the game. Later on it was one of those games that I would easily pick up for another replay. So how cool would it be to replay that good old classic game again, but with the modern gameplay and graphics to match? Well, it would be excellent and Square Enix obviously agrees, because they released the Final Fantasy VII Remake and I'm the lucky gamer of our crew who gets to play it and write a review about it!
Now, I realize that not everyone played this golden oldie already, so I'll do my best to explain everything as best I can without spoiling too much of the fun there is to be had when experiencing the story for yourselves. Final Fantasy VII Remake is, just as the original, an RPG. Unlike the original game, this remake will be released in installments, the first of which just released. In this first episode, the action will exclusively take place in the fictional city of Midgar. Let's start with meeting our main character: Cloud Strife. Yes, that actually is his name and he is a mercenary by trade. He is hired by a resistance group Avalanche to fight against the growing power and greed of a company called Shinra. An important detail here is that Cloud used to be a soldier for said company. Cloud says he's just in for the money, but the more missions he will complete for Avalanche, the more he gets involved with the people of this group. Along the way, the story also reveals things about his troubled and forgotten past.
As you start the game, you'll gain control of Cloud, but as you progress through the game you will meet more characters who will join your party. You can easily switch between characters during the game by pressing the appropriate button, giving you the opportunity to pick the character who is best suited to the threat at hand. At some points in time, the game will automatically switch between them as well. Personally, I like Aerith the most, simply because she's super awesome and her abilities kick some serious ass! But, to be honest, every character in this game is awesome. I laughed out loud when I was running around with another character called Barret. He's best described as a tank class character and has e very low and deep voice. At some point we defeated a group of enemies and he was humming the victory tune of the original game! Every character has his or her own back story to bring to the group and one of the cool additions to this remake is that it offers you a lot of background information on the several characters in the game.
Each character comes with their own unique weapon and abilities. With the skill points you earn throughout the game, you can upgrade them. Trust me when I say that you will want to do that on a regular basis. And not only because the upgrades are cool, but also because overcoming enemies becomes harder and harder as you progress through the game. Now, I know it feels good to play it safe and use your skill points on health and attack upgrades, but you could also try to focus and specific direction when it comes to the abilities of the characters and allow him or her to reach their full potential. This way, each character can increase his or her worth to the team. Don't be afraid to experiment with this. If you are afraid to make the wrong choice, let me reassure you; as soon as you meet the character Chadley, you will be able to change your upgrades around.
While you are hacking and slashing your way through enemy forces, you fill up your so-called ATB meter. And no, you're not going to get to ride a cool bike when it's full. You see, ATB stands for Active Time Battle. The meter that says how much ATB is available will automatically refill slowly over time, but you can really help it along by bashing in some enemy skulls. Yes, attacking actually increases the rate in which you replenish ATB. When te meter is full, you'll be able to put the action around you on hold and open up a separate menu. Here, you can choose between casting magic spells, using items or perform a number of awesome actions, all related to the character you're playing as at that time. The ATB system is really different from the one used in the original game, but don't despair; this 2020 version absolutely works like a charm!
Another thing you should probably know something about is Materia. These crystal orbs can be added to weapons and equipment to channel certain additional elemental powers like fire, ice and lightning. The more of these orbs you equip, the better they get. Fire becomes Fira and then Firaga and each one is (as one might suspect) better than the last one. Making good use of Materia might just tip the scale in your favor, so use it wisely! It's also good to know what type of enemy you're up against, because every one of these types has a weakness and are vulnerable to a certain elemental type.
The difficulty of fighting enemies and successfully beating them will steadily increase over the course of the game, the base difficulty, of course, depending on the difficulty level you chose at the start of the game. Regular enemies can be challenging, but never too hard to beat. But Final Fantasy is known (or should I say feared) because of their amazing boss-fights! If you played the demo of this game, you might already met one of them, so you know what I'm talking about. As always with Final Fantasy games, you need to discover its attack pattern and adjust your attacks to match the openings in its defense. Talking about attacks; when you've pre-ordered Final Fantasy VII Remake, you might get your hands on a pre-order bonus: the Chocobo Chick Summon Materia, which you can use during a fight! And let's not forgot that this remake offers you a new combat system, which combines real time fighting with turn based elements. For those among us who flinch at the sight of everything not the way it was; you can choose the "Classic" mode, which allows you to play the game in a much more traditional style that offers you mechanics that are much closer to the traditional turn-based system.
So, is the Final Fantasy VII Remake worth your time and money? Well I sure think so! I think fans of the series will enjoy this game, as will newcomers to the series. Whether you know the original game or not, there is fun to be had for everyone. And, as you might expect, this remake looks soooooooo much better than the original game ever did. And, as I've already mentioned at the start of this review, the Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released in multiple episodes, of which this one is the first. At this point, it's not yet clear in how many installments the game will be split or when we can expect the next one. But Midgar will offer you more than enough stuff to do and is guaranteed to keep you entertained for many, many hours to come. Whether you are returning after 23 years or if this is your first journey into Midgar, I have the feeling you're going to thoroughly enjoy this grand and truly awesome adventure!
FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE
April 10, 2020