In a game that is powered by nostalgia and the desire to be back in Midgar, Final Fantasy 7 Remake finds a way to over stay its welcome.
FF7 Remake ALMOST gets everything right. From the way Materia looks placed in Cloud’s swords, to the music that starts as a basic homage to the original but slowly builds to a full symphony orchestra. The game does an incredible job of drawing from the original and making it feel relevant in todays world of gaming. Yet for those very same reasons, FF7 remake is similar to trudging through a dark forest at times and I’m not so sure if it’s worth it. Even if there is some light through the trees.
Let’s focus for a minute on what FF7 remake gets right. First, the battle system is nearly perfect. What initially comes off as button mashy hack and slash, seamlessly transforms into an intricate dance of character switching, timing techniques and enemy analyzing.
Switching through the characters of your own party allows you to exploit enemy weaknesses, while taking the enemies attention away from specific members of your party at times. The introduction of the “stagger” gauge turns combat into a somewhat of a timing game, you want to be ready to unload your heaviest attacks when an enemy is staggered, thus saving limit breaks, materia and special abilities for the right moment.
Most impressive about the combat of this game is how it pays tribute to the archaic turn based combat of the original, while completely creating something new. There is still a turn based element to it as you must have your ATB charged to attack, use an item or summon. In this way it feels very much like the original. I almost threw my controller when fighting Sephiroth, we both had next to 0 hp remaining but my ATB meter still had to charge, which only charges through block or attacking, I was too far away to attack and just had to wait until he attacked me and killed me instantly.
Lastly, I love the way the game guides you to using the battle system correctly. It’s easy at the beginning to just use cloud and hack your way through enemies. But eventually you get to a point where that simply will not work. This forces you to start the dance between players and really establishing a strategy for each enemy you face. In a way, I never expected to to play that game with such strategy in mind per opponent, but the complex systems become less complex out of necessity. Which makes for you feeling like quite the bad ass as your progress thorough the, what turned out to be, 52 hour journey for me.
The music is fantastic. That’s all I have to say. I have been listening to the soundtrack. In many ways the music steals the show. I wish the game would have been approached in the same manner that they remade the music.
In a strange turn of events, the things I love most about FF7 Remake are the same exact things that forced me to literally give my tv the middle finger on several occasions. It’s important to note that I claim the original FF7 as my favorite game of all time. So as ridiculous as this sounds, some aspects of playing this game 23 years later were surreal, invigorating and at times even emotional. But in the end, the time commitment, the attempts to feed the “open world” trend and the game constantly jerking itself off really put a damper on what otherwise could have been a great experience.
FF7 Remake seemed to be too in love with itself. First off, and probably all that needs to be said, the game that just took me 52 hours was literally the first 4 hours of the original game. I have no idea how they plan to approach this moving forward, but it’s not going to be pretty. Towards the end of the game they introduced the idea of a parallel universe, my guess is that is how they are going to get away with manipulation of the games original timeline. Yet this remake is at its absolute best when it is a frame for frame remake of the original. So it’s as if they lost sight of what they set out to do, and in the process, they really fucked up the game/series.
When the game opens up to a more open world feeling game and transforms to “kidgar”, that is when the remake is at its absolute worst. Aimlessly running pointless errands. I think if they cut these out, you likely end up with 10 to maybe even 20 less hours…which sounds so much more pleasant than the 52 hour experience with dreadful medicine drop offs and squat competitions in the gym.
Lastly, with the introduction of the parallel universe and the early introduction of characters that didn’t show up until the very end of the original. I feel like it has given the developers the license to take the game wherever they feel like. It’s hard to believe that anything will remain cannon from this point on, as the ending of the first one really went off the rails (I don’t think they are goo to kill off Aerith at all). Not too mention, if they do somehow pull it back to the original, we are in for about 15-20 more games. Which would put you at about 1,000 hours of gameplay…get fucked.
In closing, there were points of this game that felt like maybe it was going to replace my favorite game of all time. But when it was all said and done, the frustration of the time put in and the lack of care for the original story really puts this game in a frustrating category all of its own. I suppose that category would be called, “watch us shit all over your favorite toys for 52 hours…..
that will be $70”