Vulgar Knight

Final Fantasy VII Remake Preview: Every Cloud…

With reports that retailers such as Amazon are no longer stocking non-essential stock until the 5th April due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that a lot of Final Fantasy VII Remake pre-orders won’t arrive as planned.

Of course, there are much more important things to attend to at the moment, but other than digging into an ever-growing backlog, a lot of us have extra time on their hands and the lure of playing the first episode on the Final Fantasy VII Remake would have fitted perfectly. Alas, what will be, will be, so I decided to have a stab at the demo in the meantime to see if it’s worth the wait.

Unfortunately, it is.

Reminising back to the late 90s, I recall playing the first Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation as the previous owner would rather play Crash Bandicoot. Fine by me, I was up for a challenge and have never looked back. Without a doubt, Final Fantasy VII is one of the best games of all time.

Final Fantasy VII Remake - Intro
Barret and crew make their intro.

Final Fantasy VII Remastered

Investing in the remastered version on the Switch didn’t bring back as many fond memories as the graphics now feel quite dated and the quality of the painted backdrops in the game made it equally difficult to navigate, meaning I didn’t stick it out.

Final Fantasy VII Remake tells the same story, but the visuals and control system has been completely overhauled. Everyone has surely seen screenshots of the new game at the very least, and it does not disappoint. What is perhaps quite immediately apparent is how stupid Cloud’s hair is, but having lived in Japan at one point in my life realise that this sort of boy band anime hair is quite prevalent in the Land of the Rising Bum.

Instead of describing the presentation, how does it play? Almost immediately we’re thrown into the action, reliving the events from the first game and a path that resembles the original. However, rather than the classic side-on turn-based battles, action is much more fluid and plays out like Final Fantasy XV. There are a handful of options where you can play in the same way as the original, but this is a new game, let’s go with the new system.

Final Fantasy VII Remake - Limit
Taking it to the limit. Break.

Final Fantasy VII Revisited

Without a doubt there’s an intensity and you feel that the story is moving along like the locomotive you first arrive on, but there’s no real time for exploration or multiple diaglogues. First off, this is a demo, but secondly, it’s just a teaser with what to expect.

As well publisised, Final Fantasy VII Remake is episodic with the first instalment only covering Midgar. That’s all very well considering that it is one of the most prominent areas of exploration. But as short as it is, the demo does feel like the series is taking a new direction, much like the Resident Evil series. It’s for a new generation, but that’s not to say those of us who fondly remember the original can’t enjoy it either.

Final Fantasy VII Remake - Motivational
Like a cat motivational poster.

I’d like to say that I finished the demo in about 45 minutes or so. It could have been longer, but it felt over pretty darn quick. Possibly this was a mixture of the excitement of waiting the four years to relive the game; the Switch remaster only briefly filling the void. Still, it was well worth playing and the set pieces where neither too over the top or too distracting from the story.

My only disappointment? The victory screens and music – hands down one of of my favourite game jingles of all-time. There’s still the menu system which depicts level-ups and iventory lists. It’s without a doubt much more polished than before, but nostalgia rears its head and encourages me to load up a YouTube video just to hear that tune once more.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is a PS4 exclusive for one year on the 10th April 2020. And no, you can’t play Red XIII.

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