The remake of Final Fantasy 7 is the first game in a planned series from the original 1997 JRPG classic. Cloud Strife and his planet-saving allies, called Avalanche, battle the evil Shinra corporation, who is using the earth’s energy to supply the city of Midgar. The first five hours of the original Final Fantasy 7 stretches to cover the entire remake’s story, which took me more than 35 hours to complete. With Midgar being the only place where the story unfolds, character development is an excellent opportunity to reveal depth. Scenes with Barret and his daughter become sentimental while learning about Jesse, and her crush on Cloud deepness the story. Cloud’s back story slowly unfolds throughout the game, making you want more each time you come back.
As a first-time Final Fantasy player, I became quickly immersed in the city of Midgar. Square Enix gives the player full immersion from the I.D. scanning train rides to the vivid walkthrough of the poorly built houses in the slums. Walking through each sector of Midgar shows the player just how ruthless Shinra can be to their citizens. The Wall-Market sector opens the doors for lawless city lights, shows, and action. It is the only sector not controlled by Shinra where people can live life on the edge. The streets are filled with people, tents, and giant neon lights. Every corner turned you could hear people talking and gossiping as they filled up the streets of Wall-Market. The lights and sounds of Wal-Market made it feel like the hustle and bustle of a big city. I found myself spending more time here than anywhere else; the dark back alleys, dive bars, and pleasure hotels were very intriguing. The catchy tune and strange side quests kept me wondering the streets of Wall- Market for hours.
Small textures throughout the game looked like they had come straight from a PlayStation 2, but they can easily be missed given the world around you. The graphics overall were outstanding in detail when it came to characters, their emotions, and the surrounding areas. You can see each defined curl in Aerith’s hair while watching the flowers sway in the garden.
Although the remake does not use the traditional turn-based combat system, the action-based approach is fun and exciting. Each character has a different weapon giving the player what feels like a weapon choice. Every party member has something new to offer. Cloud’s sword feels quick and fluid, while Barret provides the power of the tank that he is from afar. Tifa’s quick hands help put the pressure on enemies, and Aerith’s healing abilities come in clutch multiple times over. Each member offers different spells and special moves through the options menu. Within a couple of hours, I was in control swapping between players, using their abilities, and taking down the enemies systematically. While battling in combat, it is easy to lose focus from what spells do more damage and other party members’ health levels. Some fights get frustrating as the game throws back to back boss battles, feeling a bit overwhelming and unfair at times.
Using Materia for the first was a little challenging to grasp, I was uncertain about what the orbs did, and how to use elements to enhance those orbs. Halfway through my game-play, I was experimenting with materia and its elements that offered a different type of play-style. Materia provides the chance to assess each situation based on the enemy and its weakness.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is what we wanted, and it delivers. Whether you are a first-time player or a die-hard fan, you will fall in love. The combat is fluid and offers different options but can get frustrating at times. The scenery sets the tone in the industrial, corporate-controlled city of Midgar. Some textures look outdated but can easily be overlooked by the other beautiful surroundings this game has to offer. Characters’ memorable moments their stories kept me thinking on it and immediately wanting more.
The Ruling Score: 9