playing ff7 remake

ff7 remake spoiler warning

this post is going to talk about my thoughts playing the final fantasy 7 remake as well as my predictions and hopes for the next installments. if you want a spoiler free read this is not the place. i repeat, this will contain spoilers. you have been warned so if you keep reading you either don’t care, have played it, or have no idea what i’m talking about.

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playing final fantasy 7 as a kid and waiting for the remake

ff7 wasn’t the first of the final fantasy games i played. final fantasy 10 was. so that game will always have a soft spot in my heart. in fact it was a fair few years later that i began playing ff7 in my mid teens and i loved it. there’s a lot of charm about the game, a group of eco terrorists wanting to save the planet, the lack of speech and the amazing soundtrack. despite the lack of speech and relying on text bubbles to get the story you still felt character growth and emotion. it was a really well done game. it was lengthy, challenging and emotionally driven. the original game had so much to offer which is why it’s taken such a long time to be re made.

we are living in the time for remakes right now with remasters galore and full on remakes coming out in all sorts of genres. the people seem to like these games being remade with quality 3d graphics. the resident evil 2 was such a remake in 2019. it was amazing seeing resi get a fresh lease of life and yet i patiently sat here waiting for the remake i’d wanted since that ps3 tech demo over ten years ago.

since the seed was planted about a final fantasy 7 remake there’s been the release of 13 and it’s two subsequent games, world of final fantasy, 14 online and final fantasy 15 which i really enjoyed a few years ago. then in 2015 at e3 the announcement came for a remake on the ps4 and i was thrilled although i didn’t quite expect it to take almost five years to get the game. so that’s the back story. i have waited for this game, like so many others for a very long time now and i was pretty apprehensive about how it would turn out.

firstly, i didn’t think much of kingdom hearts three, it disappointed me in quite a few ways and that made me nervous for the remake of ff7. secondly, it was only going to be based in midgar which is the starting city of the game. it was promised to feel like a full game (and it does, in terms of length and challenge) but the first time around you travel the entire world. the starting city is just a few hours in of gameplay. i questioned how this would be stretched out to the 40-50 hours i was expecting for a final fantasy game. the decision to come out in episodic format really annoyed me, i wasn’t sure if it was money making or just because the game is too big to remake all in one go without cutting huge chunks of the story.

first playthrough

i’ve now completed the game in full with all the end credits, restarted because a second play is always fun, and done the majority, if not all the sidequests. i am actually really impressed with the game. the design is beautiful. it’s amazing revisiting a city that you didn’t really see much of in the original and having it so much more to scale. it felt really emersive. sure the rendering of the background details is a little off but not enough to deter from the actual gameplay.

most of the game, like the original, is played through sectors 7, 6 and 5 but you also go top side, underground and the shinra building is so far above my expectations. honestly, i didn’t expect the game to play the way it has at all. and i didn’t expect to love it as much as i do.

there’s plenty of throwbacks to the original and it basically follows the same plot. blow up reactor, help out in the slums, blow up another reactor, meet aerith, deal with don corneo, try to stop the plate falling, deal with shinra. all this and more takes place in 18 chapters with beefed up boss fights, new npc’s and a fair few chances to just stop and take a look around the place.

having dialogue has enhanced the game for me and really helped drive a bit of emotion and empathy for the characters in a way i didn’t expect. there were some beautiful animations and cutscenes throughout the game. there were some wonderfully cheesy one liners in the script which had me laughing out loud. i love aerith so much more now, her kindness for everyone compliments her strength of will to protect that which is vulnerable. aerith’s house is the most picturesque part of the game for me.

ff7 remake downsides?

mostly having to wait for the next installment. as much as i think i can go back over the game and replay a bit for some extra challenges, the game is really linear and you can’t just freely roam all of midgar. not that you ever could of course but it did feel restrictive knowing that when i leave the city the game ends and knowing all that would usually happen after. it’s a little bit buggy but it’s days old and future patches will help fix that. three areas of the game felt a little longer than i would have liked; the sewers, the train grave yard and the drum with hojo which is a completely new area to the game and pretty good but long winded.

the ending of ff7 remake

it confused me a bit. throughout the game you’re chased by what is eventually revealed as whispers who seem to be linked with fate and destiny. an easy escape for the developers to change the play of the game maybe? it was all a bit strange for me and left me with questions. i am guessing the game is still going to be about finding, hunting, stopping and eventually destroying sephiroth because he escaped. is zack alive? that’s probably what is on my mind the most and how will that affect the game later on? will the game still have the same scenes of sadness? what changes do the developers have in store and more importantly what will they be keeping the same?

hopes and personal predictions for the next installment of ff7 remake

from the way this game has played out i think there are a few events that are going to remain in the game

  1. visiting wutai will not be a side quest. wutai were talked about a lot, from the war, and being against shinra. i think it’s already been said that optional characters will become mandatory for the game play, which includes yuffie and i think wutai is going to be a place we visit to learn a bit more on the truth of the war between them and midgar.
  2. the golden saucer is going to be all about the vr. from the game play so far there are the shinra vr domes, a collesium for match fighting, there’s been two motor bike chase type rides so i can see how that would be simulated again too. we’ve also heard that jessie went to perform at the golden saucer. i’m expecting some sort of big vr vegas style place really with shows. chocobo racing i can see being a thing, possibly chocobo breeding, but i don’t think we will be on a quest for a golden chocobo this time. this will include barrets side quest for his backstory.
  3. we will visit cloud’s hometown to get the whole truth of the event that happened with tifa and sephiroth, particularly if cloud is still getting his flash backs and headaches each time an appiration of sephiroth/clone/jenova turns up.
  4. we will hunt for some of the huge materia. in the remake game we saw a cutscene with scarlett and her minions trying to manipulate huge materia so i think this will be explored again in the game at a later stage.

i think the weapons are going to be a part of the game but i’m not sure how. it wouldn’t be a final fantasy game without an obscenly hard boss and/or dungeon.

i’m hoping for knights of the round, but i’m not sure how it’s going to play out. i think it needs to be a decent quest to obtain it considering all the work you had to put into it before. i think we will be battling all summons like in ff7 remake part one but i think in order to unlock knights of the round it will be a fair amount of grinding to meet the battle intel request.

i think we’re going to see a map somewhat similar of ff15 in terms of transporting from place to place by road with towns and stop offs along the way. this would allow for loads of exploration, level grinding and stuff like that. i’d love to see the camp fires with attack and stat boosts come back as a place to refresh in the open world, and vending machines and benches a chance to replenish hp/mp in towns. i really loved the map of ff15, it was huge and has a lot of potential of acting as a world map for the next installment of the remake. this would mean there is probably another few games on the horizon, maybe 4 or five, but that hasn’t been confirmed and is all speculation. this would probably mean the second game could end after juno when the gang set sail for the next continent. perhaps a shorter second installment and then a really gritty, in depth, full of story third installment focusing on the biggest continent.

during the original gameplay of final fantasy seven, disc one was actually pretty massive in terms of story and locations and i just don’t think we are going to reach the end of that part of the story in the next installment. not a lot of the game happens between midgar and the end of juno but if they’ve expanded midgar the way they did, they could very much do this when enterting other towns and villages, not quite as huge perhaps, but absolutely extending this part of the game. or perhaps this part of the game will be pretty linear and short, a quick stop off at the chocobo farm before heading to juno and then the map really opening up after costa del sol? who knows. i’m hoping we will find out more in the summer but it’s likely with covid-19 development is probably a little slower.

i do hope the plot still follows the black materia, summoning of meteor and trying to save the planet and as long as that’s the key theme, the other things i’m happy to experience in a different way. i’m sure it will, developers have said they aren’t hugely changing the original story of the game and they’ll want to delight fans with favourite moments but done in a new way.

ultimately, here’s what we do know. the game is going to differ in some ways from the original, the engine is done, the fighting system is done, the way summons are handled is done and the first part of the game was an excellent introduction into what is to come. i’m excited about what comes next.

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