I have been waiting for this for 15 years! Ever since the e3 tech demo in 2005 I had been checking regularly for FFVII Remake news so to say that I was hyped is a huge understatement.
I’m not going to jump through all the traditional review hoops, this will be a mini-review so I can compile my thoughts on some the specifics on the game that I feel that need to be talked about (the ending mostly).
Spoiler heavy for whole game!
I finally feel like Square-Enix had nailed the action-rpg battle system after failing with Final Fantasy XIII and XV and maybe Crisis Core to a lesser degree. The battles feel fluid, fun and challenging which is great!
Boss battles are absolutely amazing; Rufus Shinra stands out, the Airbuster and Reno/Rude fight on the pillar stand out as well. It was hilarious to fight the Hell House, but honestly it was a pretty long and boring fight. Maybe I was doing something wrong.
The pacing overall is obviously a lot slower than the original FFVII with some chapters that kind of feel like anime fillers. Most of these “fillers” are fun and expand on the original in a good way, but some of them just feel like shameful padding like when you have to chase a monster for 20min that stole your key to a door that Barrett should easily be able to shoot open. Side-quests are also too traditional and “fetch-questy”, and how you get summons in the game feels kinda cheap and lazy.
Rest is pure fun!
Incredible! Not a perfect score since some NPCs look a bit bad and the system takes a bit too long to render sometimes. Some textures look low res, I hope all this is fixed with a PS5 update.
The original music is to me is the best OST of all time, real simple.
I feel Masashi’s new FFVII Remake OST has too many generic action movie tunes, and while some arrangements sound absolutely awesome, others are mediocre at best.
This might sound a bit harsh but I feel like they should remove Masashi Hamauzu as the main music man from FFVII Remake and give it to Yoko Shimomura. Or at least let her help him a bit.
Masashi has the FFXIII trilogy which (in my opinion obviously, I’m not shitting on the guy) is much more generic and lackluster.
Yoko, with Kingdom Hearts and FFXV has a much more unique and catchy style. I dislike FFXV but by far the best part of that game is Yoko’s music.
Still, I’m not trying to shit on Masashi Hamauzu, he did a pretty good job. I just feel Yoko is better suited for this huge undertaking and could shoot that “music” review score to a perfect 10.
Or just get more Nobuo Uematsu, the only new song he composed for the Remake “Hollow” is an amazing song and I really liked hearing the instrumental version in the Sector 5 slums.
Voice Acting 10
I have no complaints with the English voice acting! Every role is spot on and everyone did a fantastic job!
HEAVY SPOILERS! LAST WARNING!
I don’t mind any of the minor changes! I love the depiction of all the characters in the game! The main cast, Avalanche members, Red XIII, the higher ups at Shinra, all of them!
Marle and the Sector 7 expansion is cool, Avalanche is bigger which is cool, the new cross-dressing storyline is cool, the fates of the 3 Avalanche members are different which is cool, additional dialogue between characters is awesome and just about every opportunity to see more of Midgar is just like a dream come true.
FFVII Remake would be a dream come true as a faithful remake of the original with some expansions, such as adding to the lore, adding more character depth etc. Just don’t change any core plot points of the original and we will be fine!
BUT! Of course they went out of their way to do just that!
It seems they basically go full Star Trek 2009 on us and split the timeline of the game. Our protagonists fight these black creatures, arbiters of fate who want to keep the timeline intact. They represent the planets’ will and their job is to keep the remake the same as the original. Every time the game seems to start to deviate from the original, the arbiters intervene and make sure there are no changes to the original game.
But what happens is that it seems like Sephiroth is somehow aware of the fact that he will lose in his battle to become one with the planet and starts messing with the lifestream in a way that he can convey his image to our protagonists in visions and through the black-hooded reunion men. By showing our protagonists parts of what is to come (Aeris dying, meteor as it is almost falling and more) he tricks our protagonists into thinking they are destined to lose and that now they think they have to fight the arbiters (destiny) in order to ultimately defeat Sephiroth.
This plays right in the hands of Sephiroth since he indicates earlier in the game that he is somehow “in the know” about the events of the original game, and now he has a chance to win. Aeris seems to know this as well but I’m not sure to what extent.
Anyway, the ending was totally over the top and out of place. I understand that they wanted to make FFVII Remake a complete game on its own but they totally jumped the gun by making us fight Sephiroth in that tacky Advent Children setting, and since our protagonists defeat the arbiters of fate, they are now free to deviate from train tracks of the original game and can now shape their own destiny, meaning that anything can change from now on. Maybe Aeris lives, maybe there will be a bigger war with Wutai since they are mentioned a lot in the remake, or maybe there won’t be many big changes at all… Who knows?!
If the final boss fight would have been Roche, first on bike on the highway and then maybe somehow Sephiroth takes over is body (he has a tattoo too maybe?). I would have been plenty hyped in that case. Weren’t we all expecting Roche to show up on the highway anyway? I mean what was he doing in the meantime?
One more thing. Zack is not alive in our protagonist’s timeline, that timeline with the golden sparkly thing is another timeline (hence the different dog). In our protagonist’s timeline sector 7 is not rebuilt, Biggs is dead, Zack is dead and the dog is still the same.
I will cling to that until proven wrong.
This of course is a huge slap to the face since all of us were just hoping for a faithful remake with expanded lore and characters. Now we have been Nomura’d. It is my hope that changes in future games will still only be minor and that they do not go full Kingdom Hearts on us. But for now I am willing to give the creators the benefit of the doubt, I am greatly curious about what will happen in the next game which I look forward to with much excitement but with trepidation as well.
Is It Fun? 9,5
In this section I sum up the game, as well as giving the gameplay and playing experience higher value in the overall review score of the game. And in all, this game is absolutely amazing. Combat is great, graphics look stunning, music is excellent and the voice acting is perfect. Then the overall gameplay, the fan service, the atmosphere of the game and the nostalgia trip is just a jaw dropping experience for all fans of FFVII.
Too bad they went and fucked it all up…………….
Like I said I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now and whether I like the ending twist of FFVII Remake or not wholly depends on how they will carry on from now on. But regardless of what they do in future games, this ending was just a little ridiculous. I understand the excitement and hype about it, and I’m partly in! But to say I’m nervous about it is an understatement.
Let’s hope they do not change the original story drastically.
Voice acting 10
Is It Fun? 9,5
Overall 9,25 – A Masterpiece!