- System: PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release Date: March 3, 2020
- Price: $59.99 (standard edition) - $329 (1st class edition)
- Genre: RPG
Finally, after twenty-two years since the release of what some consider the best Final Fantasy game, and certainly the most iconic, Square Enix revealed that the upcoming remake of the legendary Final Fantasy VII is—finally—coming out next year! Besides the obvious graphics boost, Square Enix upgraded the entire experience. If you played and loved FFVII as a kid/teen, you will for sure get it. If you just love RPGs and/or more recent Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games, you will most likely enjoy the quality of Final Fantasy VII Remake.
We had a chance to visit Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake booth at E3 for a sneak peek!
About Final Fantasy VII Remake
The original Final Fantasy released in 1997. In a world where a planet’s lifeforce can be processed and used for energy—and more—there are many who want to control it or abuse it and those who won’t allow it. Shinra is a megacorporation doing the most damage and has its hands in everything, including making “Soldiers” (humans enhanced with Mako), and with undercover bodies everywhere. Cloud Strife is an ex-Soldier who now works with an eco-terrorist group with Barret and Tifa to oppose Shinra. Action, magic, and adventure ensue as we follow our hero Cloud as he befriends many other characters and meets lethal enemies.
Of course, having been a game from 1997, this was all in almost lego-looking polygonal rendering, no fluid cinematics or good voiceovers; and yet, it immediately launched itself into the history books as one of the best JRPGs of all time and as having set the standard for RPGs. As expected, old-school fans have been clamoring for a remake as we all want to play our game but with the characters looking like the ones in Advent Children. Well, Square Enix stepped up, gave us better graphics than even the 2005 movie, and more! The FFVII world has been expanded and built in a way that not only retells the story we know and love but goes deeper into it, revealing new details and allowing for a more immersive gaming experience.
Before letting us play the game, about 40 of us were brought into a small theater where we would get ready for the action. A short cinematic gave us a quick run-through of the situation we were going into and explained the gameplay and controls and hinted that certain attacks and spells may work better on certain enemies—basically the intro to the game and the first stage. Just the gorgeous cinematic and the gameplay preview were enough to know that Final Fantasy VII would never be the same. And we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it!
Final Fantasy VII Remake will only cover the Midgar portion of the game, as we mentioned earlier, the world doesn’t just look, sound, and handle better, it is bigger and more in-depth—there’s only so much you can fit into two Blu-ray discs. The level we got to play was the bombing mission at the reactor. The world is beautifully rendered, of course, and moving around is easy so we climbed up and down and looked around our newly discovered surroundings. It feels like seeing with glasses for the first time! Like, you know what’s going to happen and where things are—kind of—except everything is sharp and clear and you end up finding things you didn’t even know where there before! Granted, they literally weren’t there before in the case of FFVII Remake, but still! Same level of excitement.
Once we got to the boss battle, it was time to stop looking around and get serious. Luckily, the game mechanics are similar to Kingdom Hearts and more recent Final Fantasy entries so it wasn’t hard to get into the groove of things—there’s an active battle system, but you still need to scroll through menus. It is a bit slow scrolling through spells and attacks and whatnot—though less so than the original—but the active battle system and the beautiful graphics make it all a spectacle to behold. Watching these battles unfold with these gorgeous, realistic versions of Barret, Cloud, and the huge Scorpion Sentinel makes the wait so worth it!
One of the new game mechanics is Tactical Mode, where you can slow the action down to maneuver your camera and more accurately attack your opponents, giving it that cool Matrix-y feel and giving you the chance to open your menus to choose your next move. You’ll need to fill up your gauge by using standard attacks first, though. Regular attacks are launched with the square button and each character handles differently depending on their weapon.
You can also switch between characters while facing an opponent and even give orders to the other character you’re not using at the moment to send full-on attacks without having to fully switch from one character to the other. It feels fluid and pretty intuitive and we used this mechanic to split up our attack of the Scorpion and heal Barret while Cloud attacked and vice-versa.
We fought a few minor robots on the way to see the Scorpion and they helped figure out the mechanics a bit more, giving us some—unedserved—confidence when we faced the boss. Well, that things is much more impressive in high res than it was in the original version! And it was considerably stronger than the minions we’d fought. An awesome cinematic introduces the giant Scorpion Sentinel and Cloud and Barret are all in! We were able to split our attacks between the two heroes, using Barret’s thunder attack (which we realized it was weak to!) and Cloud’s Focused Thrust to keep the Scorpion Sentinel at bay until finally defeating it in a blaze of glory.
It was a 15-minute demo and we got to experience a few of our favorite characters in action. Though we didn’t get to use Tifa, we got to see what she’s capable of in the gameplay footage before we played. It really is a treat to see the Final Fantasy VII world brought to life in this way and that it has been brought to the present in such a lovingly crafted way. The amount of effort and work that has gone into this game is obvious. We’re looking forward to playing the whole thing come March 2020! And we can only imagine what’s in store for the next installment… Have you been anxiously waiting for the FFVII Remake? Have you pre-ordered it yet? Will you get the 1st Class Edition!? Let us know in the comments below! And keep an eye out for more E3 impressions!