It’s been almost 20 years since the first whisperings of a remake of beloved RPG landmark Final Fantasy 7 began floating around convention floors, gaming magazines, and internet forums. Well everybody, it’s almost time. As of the time of writing we are just over two weeks away from the world release of the remake of Square Enix’s legendary 1997 magnum opus, and I can assure you the anticipation is absolutely torturous for fans, old and new.
The demo has been available on the PlayStation Store since March 2nd and, as you can imagine, thousands of gamers, myself included, have replayed it again and again, combing over every beautifully rendered detail, immersing ourselves in the fantastic combat, and above all else, just being completely blown away by how absolutely amazing everything is. It’s better than we could’ve ever hoped, and that’s saying an awful lot, as expectations were incredibly high for this. I’ll attempt to restrain my basic instinct to continue fawning unendingly over this game for just a few moments, while we take a quick look at some of the features of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
One of the biggest changes from the original, other than of course the huge graphical upgrade, is how combat works in the game. Gone is the turn-based combat of old, now replaced by a new, alternate form of the ATB System (Active Time Battle). This system works to combine the real-time exploration and combat, seen primarily in Final Fantasy XV, with a very smooth method of stopping combat to coordinate special attacks, magic usage, or to consume items. Your ATB gauge fills during combat, enabling you to perform these actions once you get it filled up. There are also shortcuts you can assign for certain abilities, so you can keep the combat rolling without needing to stop at all. It’s also worth noting that with this system, you can change between party members immediately, an incredibly helpful tool that makes combat very fun. Additional real-time elements, as well as several more strategic ones, have been hinted to be in the final version of the game, so we’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for us, and how the combat evolves over the course of what is sure to be a huge, hour-devouring adventure. Of course summons and limit-breaks are back as well, so no need to worry about not having those.
As I mentioned earlier, another huge change is how the game looks. How it looks, for anyone wondering, is absolutely phenomenal. While we loved the prerendered backgrounds of the original, we can’t help but fall head over heels for just how unendingly gorgeous this game is. The demo encompasses the opening reactor mission, and it’s a breathtaking ride from beginning to end. The characters, the environments, everything is just perfect.
Another thing to consider is that this is a remake, not simply a remaster. That means that this is going to be a completely fresh and unique experience, with new story beats, cutscenes, not to mention the addition of voice acting, which is shaping up to be great as well, if the demo is any indication. One can also assume that there will be new minigames and other activities as well. It’s shaping up to be the best of both worlds, with the nostalgia of returning home to Midgard and reconnecting with the characters, bosses, and locations that meant so much to us, combined with a bevy of truly wonderful new experiences, in this world that we love so dearly.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake releases on the 10th of April, 2020, exclusively on PlayStation 4, and will be the first in a series of episodic releases. If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, do it now, because you’re not going to want to miss this. Whether you’re a longtime fan, someone just catching up on the games, or someone completely uninitiated to the series, this game will have something to pull you in, I’m sure of it.