Storytelling, combat, music and overall gameplay blend together to make Final Fantasy VII Remake feel like a dream you never want to wake up from.
Delivering a near-perfect performance in every facet possible, the game makes almost 40 hours of gameplay feel like a cinematic breeze. The deep emotions overwhelm the senses during storytelling cutscenes of the game and combat sequences alike.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is an action role-playing game from Square Enix that was released April 10 for Playstation 4. It trades in the turn-based skirmishes of the 1997 original for real-time combat. The game follows the story of Cloud Strife, an ex-member of SOLDIER, a group of warriors that works for the Shinra Electric Power Company, the corporate overlords of Midgard. The story follows Cloud in his ever-changing life as a mercenary.
In this journey, players meet characters such as Tifa, Cloud’s oldest and closest friend; Barret, the leader of a radical eco-friendly group called Avalanche; and Aerith, a florist who hides a big secret. These characters make up the ragtag squad of playable characters in this adventure. The story takes players on a rollercoaster ride that starts slow and ends in mountain-climbing highs and dramatic, heart-wrenching lows.
As someone who has never played a Final Fantasy game before, I was skeptical about a franchise with 15 mainstream editions to its name dating back to 1987, along with dozens of spinoffs. However, my skepticism was met with intrigue for the high-end remake of one of its most acclaimed entries. Final Fantasy VII is often cited as one of — if not the — best games in the series by many critics and fans. That said, to remake such a game comes with expectations, especially for a top-notch game riding 23 years of nostalgia. Although I cannot speak to how fans of the original or the series may feel about this game, I can say how it spoke to me.
High-quality animation, cinematics and music made me question if this game is really just a 30-plus-hour movie. Whether it’s watching Cloud interact with the over-the-top characters of the game through cutscenes and side quests, or listening to the music rage on during battles, the game truly makes your heart pound nonstop. Not to mention when all of these things combine into an epic boss battle, delivering cutscenes that transition into stages of battle and music that keep the pace up.
Speaking of boss battles, combat in this game is essentially flawless. Whether I was charging into battle with Cloud’s behemoth Buster Sword, Barret’s absurd minigun arm, Aerith’s staff of magic or even Tifa’s comically underwhelming gloves, I always found combat to be engaging and enjoyable. All four playable characters have different play styles with their weapons, making the switch between them during battle feel refreshing throughout the tremendous amount of gameplay. All characters can obtain variations of their weapon style to change and upgrade, mixing things up further. Along with weapon upgrades in battle, there is a magic system. All of these elements combined make the plethora of combat options a neverending joy.
While there is still so much to talk about with this absolute joy of a game, I recommend playing it for yourself. You will fall in love with the characters. The combat will make you wish you actually had the strength to hold up a behemoth weapon like the Buster Sword to fight evildoers. The music will have you waving your controller in the air, in and out of combat. The story will build you up to tear you down, just to build you back up again.
Final Fantasy delivers one of the greatest performances in video game history from start to finish, with everything in between being nothing short of spectacular.