Taking a staple in the Final Fantasy series that’s largely considered one of the franchise’s best games and remaking it for modern times is a bold move, especially at the scale of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake. By totally reworking the combat from turn-based to real-time and remaking the characters and environments from the ground up, Square Enix had a tall order to fill. Despite that, they managed to create a fun, beautiful, and polished piece of work to show off at PAX West 2019.
The flashiest and most exciting part of what I got a chance to play is the combat. As Cloud and Barret, you find yourself strategically switching characters and slowing down time to pick your next attack, resulting in plenty of different ways to approach enemies with combos. Spells add an extra layer of complexity as certain spells do more or less damage to enemies depending on their elemental characteristics. Between attacks and spells, you have to strategically decide whether to block attacks and take minimal damage or risk rolling out of the way to avoid damage all together while leaving yourself vulnerable. Additionally, with multiple characters, you have both melee and ranged capabilities at your disposal, so you can determine the best ways to fight off the competition.
All of the animations, especially within combat, are extremely polished and impressive. Consequentially, the game meets you with crisp gameplay and cinematics throughout with little left to the imagination. There’s a great sense of immersion with how flawlessly you evade attacks, slash your way through opponents, or simply watch as the protagonists have real character moments.
These moments are extremely well done. The dialogue received a massive overhaul complete with on-point voice acting, even in the English version. Many Japanese games that go through translation and English recordings end up feeling uneven and poorly directed, but even from the small demo we got at PAX, it’s easy to see that Square Enix went above and beyond ensuring the English version portrayed the proper immersion and emotion. Cloud and Barret have great chemistry as well as clear motivations.
As a demo, Final Fantasy VII Remake looks top-notch with a lot of promise. We’d be more than lucky to get a comparable experience once the game releases on March 3, 2020. Fans of the series have more than enough reasons to feel excited about this remake. It will surely be a brand new source of enjoyment for any fan of the series.
Brandon is a young writer who loves going deep into games to explore meaning, purpose, and life. He believes that there’s nothing better than getting lost in a world full of characters to love and lessons to learn. He has a special place in his heart for single player games such as Mass Effect and Life Is Strange, but he also blows off some steam playing some of his favorite multiplayer games, like Paladins.