Editors’ Choice: Final Fantasy VII Remake is Worthy of its Name

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Editors’ Choice: Final Fantasy VII Remake is Worthy of its Name

This bold reimagining of one of gaming's greatest stories earns its place in the series' pantheon.

Final Fantasy VII is an important game. Not only to the millions of gamers whose lives it has touched over the past two decades, but to Square Enix as well — FF7 is far and away the most recognizable game developed by the JRPG powerhouse.

So the idea of going back to square one and retelling this timeless story with a completely new game built for modern hardware seems like an impossible task. The tech of the 1997 original may be dated at this point, but the feelings we all have for our first visit to Midgar have only strengthened as we’ve grown older. How do you rekindle that love? How do you recreate Final Fantasy VII without disappointing — or enraging — one of the most passionate fanbases in gaming?

Many of the cinematic shots in Remake will pluck at the heartstrings of those who played the original game, while still evoking a sense of magic and wonder for new players.

Final Fantasy VII Remake, against all odds, achieves this and more. 

The act of playing Final Fantasy VII Remake is a fascinating experience. This is not a slavish, blow-by-blow recreation of the original game with a new coat of paint. Instead, it feels like Square Enix used the original as a framework and asked “What kind of game would Final Fantasy VII be if it were made today?”

That isn’t to say this grand, ambitious revisit doesn’t tug at my ever-nostalgic heartstrings — it manages to find just the right balance between old and new, impressively evoking its legendary pedigree while simultaneously surprising die-hard fans by sprinkling in clever twists and entirely new sequences. A special shout out to the vocal performances on display, too: Characters are cast perfectly, somehow sounding just like I imagined they would during my very first playthrough of the 1997 classic.

Fan-favorite side characters like Shinra’s Turks are impeccably realized, supported by pitch-perfect performances that highlight their distinct personalities.

The music in Remake is a high point (I, uh… may or may not have already pre-ordered the 7-disc soundtrack). These are not just orchestrated versions of the songs we know, but ground-up rebuilds from their very foundations, honoring what made the original compositions legendary but taking confident — and wholly earned — liberties with them. This one’s gonna be in my daily rotation for a while.

And the cutscenes! In the JRPGs of the 32-bit era — Final Fantasy VII included — cutscenes always felt like a reward for conquering a section of the game. I was constantly waiting to see what graphical marvels the next pre-rendered scene had in store. Technology has improved to the point that the lines between gameplay and cutscene are dramatically less clear, but Remake still has plenty of bombastic action sequences up its sleeve. More importantly, the cutscenes in Remake evoke the same direction and quirky energy of the original, often drawing a clear line in my mind between the two and reinforcing that this is, indeed, still Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII Remake embraces the quirkiness of the original game, especially when it comes to some of the more… outlandish Summons you can invoke during battle.

In battle, characters have unique, wholly distinct abilities and fighting styles, all of which are built around the character’s personality and how that character would, you know, actually fight. Tifa’s setup is most intriguing to me: her kinetic, lightning-fast flurries of punches and kicks weave effectively with her more powerful command attacks, making for a playstyle that should be interesting to see at higher levels of play, once players start to truly wrap their heads around the potential of Remake’s combat system. An honorable mention goes to Aerith, though: as you hold Square, she twirls her staff with a carefree grace, deftly lobbing long-range magical attacks from a safe distance.

Trying to sum up this grand, ambitious, almost impossible project is exceptionally difficult. The word that keeps coming to mind when I try to describe Final Fantasy VII Remake to people is “spectacular.” But I don’t just mean spectacular as in “really good” — I mean it in the literal sense. This game is a spectacle on multiple levels.

Aerith’s magical prowess earned her a permanent spot in my party by the end of the game. Combining her devastating spells with Cloud’s unrelenting physical attacks can make short work of most enemies if you know how to exploit their weaknesses.

Final Fantasy VII is a rare entry in the pantheon of all-time gaming greats that truly deserved to be remade so a new generation of players could experience this timeless tale, and so those of us who grew up bathed in the light of the lifestream could experience that magic once more. Final Fantasy VII Remake stands proudly alongside its forebear, ready to inherit its legacy and keep its flame burning bright.

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27 Comments

  • Great job Justin! FF7R is my game of the year so far! I can’t wait to see where they take the story next.

  • Spectacular, indeed, as well as phenomenal and nostalgic

  • Everything is great except the elephant in the room that is chapter 18. Love this game to death, but the writing to that leads up to that is bad and not FF7. All the other changes are great and fit.

    • Hopefully all the stuff with the whispers will make more sense as things unfold in the next parts, cuz right now I’m not really sure what the point of them is either.

    • After the last bike sequence, the writers took some time to let us know a message. The game that we all know and love is going to have some big changes and may have some big deviations from the original story. That’s why it seemed so detached from the whole story. They felt it was necessary to set the fans’ expectations.
      At least, that’s what I think.

    • I went back and watched again and read up on original events again (haven’t played original or crisis core for a good 10 years) and wow ok. I read the whole situation with a certain character appearing at the end completely wrong. I’m beginning to understand now. This is gonna get very weird…

  • Gonna be a long several years waiting for the next part though.

  • SquareEnix…your guys didnt give us even a break of thinking. The remake just a whole bunch to be taken upper the expectation. Worth the price and the time to grinding and leveling the character. You guys excellent! Putting hard work and focus on the game series.

    May not be fan of Final Fantasy Series but FFVII is my childhood best buddies. Watching the Advent Children was one. Other franschise of your was including the FFXII and more.

    Thanks to playstation. I get to know you since my childhood😂. You did the best for us all here.

  • I’m impressed that FFVII Remake so far has NO patches. On launch day I was expecting my physical copy to need a huge day one patch. Nope. The only thing missing is a photo mode. This title begs for a photo mode to appreciate the richness of detail. It really pops in HDR. Yet as I play FFVII Remake, I’ve been playing sessions of Persona 5 Royal and another playthrough of Tales of Xillia 2 on PS3. Both of these JRPGs beat FFVII hands-down. It’s not that FFVII Remake is bad but it’s a FF game. Combat is as boring as ever. Every map is essentially a series of corridors with a relatively small room even for the big boss battles. FF is to JRPGS what Michael Bay is to action films. That said, FFVII might not be much of a meal, but it’s as appetizing as any decadent dessert.

    • No offence but did you ever play the original?
      Did you understand the original story line at all and who Cloud really is vs who he claims to be throughout the game?
      I guess no matter how much better of a remake we get some of you will just never be happy.
      The definition of a remake isn’t that it’ll be a complete copy of the original with better graphics. The combat system isn’t boring if you know what you’re doing, but that’s just the opinion of someone who has played the original more than once.

      In case you don’t want to look up what the definition of a remake is – “to make (something) again or differently.”

    • Not enough cutesy shonen characters for them probably. I’d say they should also probably stop playing on easy mode, but they’ve clearly already made up their mind about it before they even have really played the thing.

    • Persona 5 has a processed combat as well, and you can easily cheese certain mechanics to make the game even more “boring”. The only other title you listed that has a dynamic combat is ToX 2, but that’s what an ARPG is about, but it still becomes formulaic once you’ve gotten certain team dynamics and skills set in place, and again, you can cheese mechanics to make it more “boring”.

      And I agree with the other poster, your bias is slanted towards, “lol because anime”.

    • FF isn’t know for adrenaline pumping combat systems; it is known for its story and how deeply they build their characters. I have played a bunch of JRPGs but none even come close to FF.

      IMO the combat for ff7r was flawed but far from boring.

    • You want JRPG God status? Chrono Trigger then FF7. The combat in the reboot was made hack and slash which is just a huge slap in the face to the real fans who waited 20 years. They then use filler and movie plots also. Does that mean it’s not shiny, or handle well. No. It’s just not FF7.

  • Im surprised noone is talking about the low res textures in the background, and how or if Square will address this.

  • “Magnificent” is the word that comes to my mind. Remake definitely means something that is remade and rewritten. I would be disappointed if this game followed the original to the letter. I believe the new appearance of these fate/destiny aberrations, as well as the very last scene with [REDACTED] is a sign that the Creators (the geniuses making this game happen) are showing there could be some alternative story lines in future games, parallel to the original. Maybe that could give us side story with an alternative fate for Aerith. Even though it’s her original fate that got my heartstrings as a teenager.

    Also, as a side note, chapter 9 was my favorite (Hell House did suck though). I’m very happy with what they did with Cloud’s dress scene. I was worried they were going to cut it out completely. Society and social norms were different 20 yrs ago.

    • Justin Massongill
      Justin Massongill

      Heads up that I made a small edit to your comment to remove a spoiler about the ending of the game. The rest of your comment is mostly speculative so no worries, but don’t want to ruin the ending for anyone who hasn’t played the game yet!

  • Wait, what 7-disk soundtrack?… /me goes to scour the internet.

  • It’s right up there with Final Fantasy XIII in terms of greatness.

    What a fun ride. A lot of the sections had me reeling from nostalgia for example when Cloud visits Aerith’s house. Felt like it was 2001 again for me.

  • It’s been quite some time since I sold my PS4 because of money issues, and now I’m planning on buying a new one, this is probably one of the games I will be getting along with it.

  • There are many things to like about this Remake, I will not deny it that. I loved how beautiful the game, how real the world felt. I loved that they put in those little details from the original game for us who grew up with it, like those two Shinra troops guarding the inaccessible pathway in Sector 7. The nice one and the tough one. I loved the hell out of seeing them again. Wall Market was an absolute blast, I loved every single second of it. Aerith is both hilarious and adorable. The banter between the characters was charming and helped to make them more real.

    All that being said… If I wanted to play Kingdom Hearts… I would just play Kingdom Hearts. -_-

    And it’s not just chapter 18 that really bothers me. The English voices really…REALLY bother me. I despise the voices of Sephiroth and Zack. And I mean despise them with an all consuming burning passion to the point where I will not play the game fully through a second time because I HATE THE GODDAMN VOICES SO MUCH! Sephiroth now has the voice of a soulless, generic pretty boy. Zack sounds like a nasally challenged teenager. And it hurts to say that, since those are my two favorite characters. It truly hurts. You took characters I loved and made me dread seeing in the game because I could not tolerate the voices. The guy trying to play Sephiroth is very clearly trying to imitate George Newbern and he fails completely. His voice doesn’t have the depth. When he tries to raise whatever modicum of depth he only passingly achieves falls apart completely.

    I know why you did it. Why you replaced the voice actors. And it won’t work. If anything my antipathy for the CW has only grown to the point where I promise you, I will never watch any of their shows. And if you continue to contaminate our games with this pandering, I will never guy another of your products, either. To anyone who doesn’t believe this is why they replaced the former cast, just research. Every single one of the actors in the new cast is in a show owned by the CW. If you think that’s a coincidence, you’re fooling yourself. Especially when the original actors are still being used for ALL THE OTHER SPIN-OFF titles like Dissidia. Support the voice actors these people screwed over. Even if the DLC being asked for is never given, maybe we can get them back for the future games. {link removed}

  • 2 trophies away from the plat. Dang, what a ride. Absolutely amazing game.

  • *Reboot

  • The Nostalgia was oh so sweet. As it were, Spectacular might be the only english word that carries enough descriptive prowess to describe the experience and feelings that FF7R induces for us 90s era JRPG oldtimers. Well said sir.

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