I know! I've been awfully silent about this game and April 10, 2020 came and went! So what do I have to say about the long-awaited #FFVIIR? Well, truth to be told, I ain't even done with it but I did spend a lot of time in Midgar the last few days and raked in some serious hours of gameplay shenanigans. So what do I think about it? Well, let me just talk about it--do keep in mind that I am not done with the game but there are some small spoiler in this mini-review.
Clearly, this is probably one of the biggest changes from the original FFVII. As Square made it known for a long time now, this is not classic turn-based RPG. One they have turned this game into is definitely one of the most engaging and addicting battle mode I have seen in an RPG for a long time. They literally took the best aspects of two very divisive Final Fantasies (I speak of XIII and FFXV, of course), sprinkled in some classic turn-based strategy, and then smacked it all in one beautiful package.
Using the characters in battle feels really smooth and responsive. Going from hacking enemies to gain ATB and then turn around and use what I earned to pick form the usual JRPG stuff depending on the situation... it's great. It's not new, but it feels new. I remember this feeling of picking each turn with a great amount of care, planning things out for the moment and the next turn, anticipating what the enemies' next move is going to be.
Now I'm going to echo what a lot of people have said about this game: this is not a hack and slash. Treat it like one and there's going to be that high chance that you are going to get demolished. Hacking away is a means to gain an ATB but it isn't THE way to beat the enemies. One has to really know the enemies, the characters, the characters' position in regards to the enemy, and knowing what is going to come next to make the ATB bar worth it. I can't say that I know and understand everything but I can confidently say that it's not about mashing on the button. I know full well that pulling up that menu bar and knowing where my characters' are in relation to how the enemies are doing is vital.
Speaking of characters, the party members are all so different from each other. One has to get reacquainted with the familiar old faces and how they play within their remake mold. I truly appreciate how each one has strengths and weaknesses--I terribly enjoy the fact that they're not just copy and paste from each other. One really has to make use of the fact that the likes of Cloud and Tifa are strong up close and personal, while Barret and Aerith play strongly beingn from far back.
Limit Breaks also make are return and they are better than ever! As one would expect from renewed graphics, they just ooze with flare and fantastic cinematography! Though they're not your 100% hit like they were before. If one does not properly place yourself, like any other command (whether it be abilities or magic), you can miss with Limit Breaks or it can get canceled by the enemy. But if one connects with these bad boys, it can both stagger and hit HARD.
This game is gorgeous. There's no getting around that. The characters look amazing both in-game and within cut scenes. When they're walking around the map, there's little to be desired. Everyone is redone in an amazing and breathtaking way. There is plenty of love and care placed in this and for that, I am absolutely impressed. There are some minor issues with some textures not loading fast enough but it's hardly anything I see frequently enough to complain. It was only truly jarring ONE TIME and again, not a big deal.
I mean, look at the environment. This is sector 5--something I would never have dreamed that we were going to get in this way. Just full of life and looking so good.
Can we just gawk at how beautifully rendered Tifa looks? I mean, seriously! If this isn't graphically gorgeous I don't know what is!
It's not just Tifa that is breathtaking, but the rest of the cast. Aerith, Jessie... the FFVII R crew really put some time in with each character and that is something I will always adore and cherish!
The music is one of the reasons why FFVII is so iconic and the remake does not fail. In fact, I think it enhances the use of music in ways that the old one didn't. Seriously, just listen to Aerith's music! Also, bombing music? The battle music playing throughout a dungeon in a clever and very organic way? I love the way music is handled. The nice thing too is that there are remixes of old theme songs through 'jukebox' and it's fantastic. "Descendant of a Shinobi" is just a great way to clue us in on Yuffie!
This is definitely Cloud Strife's story. The Ex-SOLDIER turned merc who is doing what he can to make a living and also getting caught up in an ecoterrorism fiasco against a corrupted corporation. Of course, true to its Final Fantasy roots, this will play in to the bigger world and how that will be the main thread of the plot.
But what is a grand story without the characters--what is Cloud without his relationship with Tifa and Aerith? What will this game be without the bantering of Cloud and Barret? And what remake would this be if it doesn't expand on the characters that didn't get all that love before? Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge definitely got an overhaul and that's just lining on the cake! The fact that they really fleshed out the story and the interaction between all the characters is a feat all on its own. I find myself rekindling some of the old feelings I had for the moments that are heavily detailed in this game!
There's plenty of surprises and there's plenty of familiar interactions. And for a game that isn't going to have 'everyone' that I know from the original game, this is something that really keeps the momentum going! This truly is a brand new take of a 23 year old game and I'm soaking in every moment of it!
On a Closing Note...
The (in)famous chair scene has more hope, eh?
At any rate, it's pretty obvious that I am having a fun time inside Midgar. It has been a long time since I have been this excited about a game and I really can't put the controller down! While my doubts about the game was always there, they were never really that high since I had this nagging feeling that Square was going to treat this property right and they absolutely have--so far. I'm pretty sure I am going to be a full review when the time comes but for now, these are my first impressions from having played it for the past three days. Now, I just want to go back and play!
Until Next Time!