Final Fantasy VII was a true revolution and marked a before and after in the history of JRPGs, a type of game whose presence was minimal in Europe and that laid the foundations for what Squaresoft would offer us during the following years. Since we entered this era of game remakes, there have been many who asked for the updated return of this classic, but there have also been many who were against it being carried out.
To remake a game is not an easy task, especially one as extensive and significant as Final Fantasy VII, and it is clear how much time has passed since it was announced that Square Enix was working on it. All this time of development has been full of criticism for the decisions that were being made such as changing the beloved turn-based battles for real-time battles, but Square Enix had things very clear and the wait was worth it, because this Final Fantasy VII Remake is a spectacular game.
History of video games
Perhaps one of the points that caused more controversy was to divide the original story into several parts, several independent deliveries and will be arriving over the next few years. In this first part we will return to the city of Midgar and we will relive the whole part until we left it. In the original game, this part was just six hours but now we will find an adventure that can easily take us forty.
This has led to lengthen areas, in some cases, a little unnecessary but in general has greatly improved the narrative, deepening much more in the history of the characters, in their past and what it means to be part of Avalanche, the ecoterrorist organization that wants to end the company Shinra, the great enemy company that is draining the energy of the planet.
We will once again play the role of Cloud Strife, a mercenary with a past linked to Shinra, who is hired by Avalanche to destroy the mako reactors that the company uses to supply energy to the city of Midgar. According to Barret, the leader of this group, this is draining the planet's vital energy and destroying it. Thanks to focus all their story on the Midgar part, they can afford to deal with issues in a more realistic way and also know the opinions of the citizens about what our heroes do, even questioning their actions.
The affection and respect with which the Square Enix team has approached the project is noticeable. There are many winks and details that will remind us of the original work and have replicated from the most inane conversation to the craziest mini-game. This is transferred to much more interesting and developed characters that get us on their side and make us care about what they are going through. Now their evolution throughout the story is much more believable and exciting.
What we liked the least about the story is the ending and what this will mean for the future of the saga. We are not going to delve further into this issue to avoid spoilers and we leave you to judge for yourselves.
We are back in Midgar
Now let's go deeper into the gameplay in our Final Fantasy VII Remake review. From the classic turn-based JRPG that came to Playstation in 1997 has become an ARPG, following more the current line for this type of games, as we saw in Final Fantasy XV or Kingdom Hearts 3. The scenarios that we will go through are very linear and everything is quite guided, although it is true that the number of situations that we will find will be quite varied and we will have several mini-games, side quests, and many clashes, both against waves of monsters and against bosses.
This combination of situations makes them with a lot and presents them to us with a lot of mastery getting a very satisfying gaming experience. The weakest of all this section has been the level design, with very little room for exploration in most of the scenarios through which we will pass. It is true that in the original game, this part was also quite linear and very guided, but then we had at our disposal the rest of the map and the game.
A combat system that will not disappoint
The change in the combat system also raised a lot of controversy by dispensing with the classic turn-based combat to focus more on action. I must say that personally, I also had some doubts about this change in the combat system, but they have achieved a perfect combination between real action and turn-based combat. We can move around the stage, block attacks, dodge and attack while the BTC bar is filled, when it is full we can perform special abilities, cast spells or use objects. This bar will be filled automatically, having the option to increase the speed with which it is completed when we attack, which invites us to always go on the offensive to have more actions at our disposal.
In the first fights of the game, it may seem that these actions are not so important and that it is more of a combat system "machacabotones" but as soon as we advance a little, we will realize that this is not enough, having to think well how we use the skills we have at our disposal to do more damage to our opponent and get out of the fight victorious.
An addition that we will find in combat is the stun bar. Each enemy has a series of strengths and weaknesses, if we use magics or skills that go where it hurts the enemy the most, this stun bar will rise much faster and we will leave the opponent exposed for a short period of time in which the damage he will receive will be much greater. This makes it essential to know our opponents inside out.
Boss battles deserve special mention, where the combat system shines even more if possible and where Final Fantasy VII Remake displays all its spectacularity. In addition, we will find a large number of these battles, each different from each other and where our enemies have several phases forcing us to change our fighting strategy or switch between different characters, if for example the enemy goes out of range of our sword.
During the fights we will be able to change between the characters of our team whenever we want, to fight with them and see their skills or simply from giving them orders to perform the actions that we want to perform the best strategy against our enemy. Of course we will also have at our disposal the powerful invocations, although they have also undergone changes, since we will only have them available in certain specific clashes. When we summon them, they will fight by our side for a while and we will be able to select the skills we want them to perform at the cost of a segment of the BTC bar. If the character who has performed the summoning is out of combat during the time it is active, it will perform its "final attack" and will also leave the fight, so it is better to be attentive if we want to get the most out of them.
As a complement to the combat system, the materials of the original game are back, their use remains practically the same and if we played the original game we will quickly master this system. Also, as a good RPG, we will have at our disposal several pieces of equipment and weapons to improve our characters, although not as many as the original game, as expected.
For weapons we will also have an individual upgrade system, in which each weapon will have its own options, having some more focused on magic damage, speed or physical damage. The upgrade points we get will be earned for all weapons and each of them will have a special ability that if we manage to master we can use with any weapon that we equip.
Once we finish the main story we will unlock several options such as Hard Mode, battle arenas or a powerful secret boss. This new difficulty mode hides exclusive rewards and in which we will not be able to recover life or MP in the banks or use objects outside of combat. The confrontations against the bosses also hide surprises in this mode. To pass this mode and achieve 100% of the game we will have to thoroughly master the combat system and know our enemies very well.
What has not convinced us much of the options that are open to us in the game once we have passed the story is that we will have to select the chapter where the task we want to carry out and to keep it saved we will have to pass the whole chapter again, so sometimes we will be forced to replay situations that in principle we did not intend to play.
A graphic and sound section at the height of his name
The graphics are brutal, with finishes that do not seem to be able to move in this generation of consoles. In part we are less surprised because the Final Fantasy saga and Square Enix have accustomed us to these deliveries are always a graphical benchmark and that must be taken into account as well. The excellent graphics are accompanied by an artistic design and scenarios that have left us with our mouths open on more than one occasion. It is true that in some moments there are textures that seem half-loaded and in general the models of the NPCs are very far in detail from our protagonists and their friends or the villains.
Another aspect that we loved was the soundtrack. We will be able to enjoy the classic themes remixed with absolute mastery for this remake, in addition to making several versions for each of them. The transition from the calm moments to the fights is perfectly recreated to feel that epic high in the fights. With our Kimera Ivory 7.1 gaming headset we were able to appreciate every detail of both the themes and the atmosphere of the city. The game has the option of putting the voices in English or Japanese, both options being a real delight and example of the care they have put into every detail. All the texts of the game are translated into Spanish.
As a conclusion of our analysis of Final Fantasy VII Remake is that we are facing an outstanding game, polished to perfection in every detail and showing affection and respect for the original work in each of its aspects. The narrative and visual improvement is exceptional and the soundtrack is a gift for fans and those who come for the first time to this work. It is true that the final change has muddied the experience a bit, but in perspective we have enjoyed it very much.
- The character development and its more developed story
- A combat system that knows how to combine the best of both aspects
- The boss fights and their different phases
- A soundtrack worthy of the Final Fantasy saga
Points to improve
- The design of some levels is excessively elongated
- Some texture overload
This review has been made possible thanks to a copy for PS4 provided by Koch Media