Final Fantasy 7 is, inarguably, one of the most important video games ever made. It helped to propel the nascent Sony PlayStation into the wild success that it was, and helped bring the Final Fantasy name to millions of people. Fans have been clamoring for a remake ever since Sony showed an HD reimagining of the opening sequence during the lead up to the launch of the PS3. The excitement level stayed at such a high level for so long that I never thought that a game could live up to those wild expectations. I was convinced that people would be very disappointed. I can’t speak for everyone of course, but I came away more than just satisfied with Final Fantasy 7 Remake – I came away astonished. The experience wasn’t perfect, but I came away very impressed and hungry for more.
The original Final Fantasy 7 (boy does it feel weird to type it that way) was a turn based RPG. The heroes lined up on one side of the screen and the enemies line up on the other. That style of game still exists (Dragon Quest XI is a great example), but Square Enix doesn’t think that is the direction for Final Fantasy anymore.
As a result they gave FF7 Remake a much more active combat system. Players move characters around the battlefield and use basic attacks while building a meter. You then use the completed bars to activate spells, special moves, and use items. It took a moment for me to get used to it (and I would assume that just about everyone would have a similar experience). But, once I was able to get a handle on it I felt like I was playing a fighting game.
It’s not all about combat though. One of the reasons people wanted to see this game remade was to see the world as fleshed out and rendered as beautifully as modern hardware allows. Final Fantasy 7 Remake both lives up to those expectations and fails miserably at the same time. It was almost funny in a few scenes where I was watching two of the most gorgeously rendered characters I have ever seen stand in front of a door with textures that would have looked bad on the PlayStation 3.
I was never lacking for something beautiful to look at though. It’s easy to forgive a weird texture on a door when the character models were among the most detailed I had ever seen. Some fo the backdrops (especially when you are at high elevations looking below).
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is not a simple remaster. It is an expansion and reimagining of the first major segment of the original. I spent nearly 50 hours playing as I prepared for this review and all of it was spent in the massive Diesel-punk city of Midgar. This would have made up 3 or 4 hours of play in the original game.
I met fully realized characters that were previously just a few lines of throwaway dialogue. I spent hours completing side quests in locations that had previously only been a single screen (or didn’t exist at all).
I experienced a story that dissected the original in interesting ways. I never had much of an attachment to the original (in fact, I’ve gone on record as saying that I didn’t like it at all), but playing the remake actually gave me a strong drive to play it again.
The “ending” felt very weirds to me because I knew as I was playing it that this wasn’t the end. I knew that their adventure was going to continue. As a result, the ending was robbed of its weight. It felt like just any other bombastic boss fight with a cutscene afterwards. t
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is an action RPG that is very systems heavy. This means that in order to really appreciate the game you will need to spend a lot of time in menus tweaking your equipment, skill point expenditures, and strategies. FF7R is also fairly challenging on all but the easiest difficulty setting. Players who are easily frustrated should tread carefully if they don’t have a lot of experience with RPGs.
Should a kid play this game?
The ESRB has rated Final Fantasy VII Remake T for Teen with the rating descriptors Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, and Violence.
The ESRB rating summary is listed below:
This is an action role-playing game in which players follow the story of a mercenary (Cloud Strife) on a quest to save the planet from evil. Players explore the city of Midgar, perform various quests, and battle monsters and soldiers in frenetic melee combat. Characters use swords, staffs, guns, and magic spells to battle fantastical monsters and human soldiers; combat is highlighted by cries of pain, impact sounds, and explosions. Cutscenes also depict instances of violence: characters impaled by swords (off-camera); a man shot repeatedly while on a stairwell. Some female characters wear revealing outfits (e.g., deep cleavage); one scene depicts a man ogling women’s bodies while making suggestive hand gestures and hip movements. The game contains some alcohol content: ordering “something hard and bitter” and watching a character drink; searching for a person at the “Drunkards’ Den”; watching characters drunk and slurring their speech. One cutscene depicts a character smoking a cigar. The words “sh*t,” “a*shole,” and “pr*ck” appear in the dialogue.ESRB
In my opinion, I don’t think the ESRB got it right. The T rating doesn’t accurately represent what is going in this game from a content perspective. For one, the curse words don’t just “appear in the dialogue.” They are constant, distracting and unnecessary. I’m not being puritanical about this either. I have been known to use foul language at times, but the language in this game made me question how I talk.
Further, there is a major plot point in the game built around sexual violence. This is problematic for a lot of people and would likely be included in a trigger warning in some contexts. Again, I understand why it happened and where its place was in the story. But, these scenes were uncomfortable for me and I’m a grown man.
We discussed this on the Engaged Family Gaming podcast and we mutually agreed that the PEGI rating system more accurately conveys the content in FFVII Remake with a PEGI 16 rating (meaning that they don’t recommend it for anyone below the age of 16).
Final Fantasy VII Remake is a wonderful game. I enjoyed the combat. I (mostly) enjoyed the story. I didn’t want it to end when it did. I think this is a must play for Final Fantasy fans, especially if you enjoyed the original.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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