By Dylan Del-Rio
Despite being a retelling of the opening hours of the original “Final Fantasy 7,” “Final Fantasy 7 Remake” is a solid game with enough content to warrant the price. Even for those who have no nostalgia for the original.
The game is set in the fictional city of Midgar which is run by Shinra amoral megacorporation that is slowly killing the planet for profit and power. The main character is a mercenary known as Cloud Strife who is hired by Avalanche, a resistance group dedicated to stopping Shinra from destroying the planet.
From the outset the plot is relatively simple, but as time goes on it expands with elements like ancient civilizations, a dark figure from Cloud’s past and the idea of fate being predetermined and if people have the power to change it. While it gets really complicated especially near the end, the characters help make the ride enjoyable. One thing that should be noted is that several minor characters from the original are given more screen time and character development, which does wonders in fleshing out the world.
Gameplay wise “Final Fantasy 7 Remake” is split into two main parts. The first is exploration in which Cloud can walk around the slums of Midgar, buying items, talking to characters, looking for treasure and taking side-quests. These side-quests range from finding items, minigames or combating monsters. This leads into the other focus of the gameplay, the combat. Combat takes place in real time with every action being chosen via a menu.
As the battle goes on each character’s meter will fill up and once full you can unleash special attacks, use items or cast spells. More powerful spells and attacks usually have a longer wind-up, which can leave your player vulnerable. Every enemy has a health and a stagger bar and if the latter is filled up it leaves the enemy open to a volley of attacks. Every playable character has their own unique abilities. Cloud is able to switch between battle modes, changing from a fast but weaker operator mode or a slow but powerful punisher mode. Barret mainly uses guns making him key with fighting enemies from a farther distance. Tifa fights hand to hand with one of her key abilities raising her offensive stats etc. It helps make the playable characters feel unique from each other.
One key item that helps in combat is Materia, orbs of energy that give characters various abilities ranging from offensive magic, healing magic, special abilities, increased stats and summon magic, which allows you to summon a monster to help you in battle. Finally, there are weapon upgrades which can be used to strengthen your weapons and give them added properties. Each weapon also has a unique ability which can be mastered after using it enough times, allowing you to permanently learn that ability. It is the kind of system that rewards variety and encourages the player to switch up strategies as the game goes on.
“Final Fantasy 7 Remake” is a great reimagining of the original, modernizing several things while still retaining its identity. While the ending will raise a few eyebrows and may warrant concern for the story going forward, as long as they retain the excellent gameplay and characters it can still be a fun ride.
Screenshot by Dylan Del-Rio
Sora and his friends reunite in the retelling of “FFVII,” in the newest series release.