FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE (Square Enix – PS4/PS5 – March 3, 2020) – Let’s get the housekeeping out of the way. The Final Fantasy 7 Remake has two Blu Ray’s worth of content. The first game coming in March will cover Midgar and game producer Yoshinori Kitase promises a full standalone gaming experience.
So no worries, weebs; despite the land of Midgar being a small share of the O.G. PlayStation original (like, 8-10 hours.. maybe?), FF7‘s initial story is going to be a massive JRPG worthy of your time and money. Unless you want that “First Class” Collector’s Edition, which at $330 is open to interpretation…
At least now we know the purpose of all those heavy delays. The great news is that the remake plays great and looks just as spectac, bringing back a ton of memories from over 22-years ago. Mako Reactor? Ahh.. I remember this. I especially enjoyed getting bits and pieces of my memory back throughout the FFVII: Pāto 2 demo.
It took me about roughly 10-minutes or so until I confronted the Guard Scorpion, the first boss you battled way back when. Fun, challenging yet never frustrating stuff. My palms got sweaty digging into the new combat — the perfect balance of Western RPG slash-dodge-and-go and extensive meter work that provides more explosive options further into the fight.
The ATB (Active Time Battle) meter returns, but works in real time. It’s as if Square’s goal was to find the perfect medium between FF7‘s traditional turn-based combat and FFXV‘s modern hack-and-slash. They’ve found it. Unlike RPG’s like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Xenoblade Chronicles II, you can’t just pause the action in the FF7 Remake at will; at least not until your ATB meter is full from attacks.
Square encourages the player to battle as one would until the magic begins, literally, especially since taking damage will fill your Limit Break – critical moves that can alter the nature of battle, such as the return of Cloud’s Braver triple downward slash.
The ATB meter, which can be assigned to shortcut buttons for those not wanting too much of a pause in the fight, leads to special abilities (triple slashing, rolling cannon shot), item/potion use and turn-based magic. The most fun I had with combat was effortlessly flipping between Cloud’s up-close swordplay, Barret’s distant sniping, and their ATB’s. With this intense new strategy, chaining together attacks against the now triple-staged Scorpion Sentinel fight was a riot.
So far, everything about the FF7 Remake has expanded yet stays true to the core game. Cutscenes are lengthier, full of life and bit players from the original now have stronger personalities (say hello to Barret’s AVALANCHE partner, Jessie, who you’d never remember from the original). With a recharged classical score, absolute gorgeous cinematics and robust, thoughtful combat, it looks like the world’s most famous JRPG is getting the next-gen treatment is deserves. Don’t be surprised if a lot of weebs are suddenly “sick” on March 3rd. 4.5/5 Bibles.