Final Fantasy VII Remake maintains its main characters, but opens doors to new faces

Even more importantly, the creatives did not want to miss out on expand the narrative experience. This last objective, of course, is an immense challenge. If it is already difficult to create an outstanding story, adding new components without harming it must be a titanic task, but they have done it exceptionally. To avoid major spoilers, I can mention that the title has welcomed new characters. Their inclusion in the plot is one of the ways in which they have resolved the expansion of the story, since each one has its own story arc. In addition, at a certain moment they begin to form relationships between them. This leads to Midgar telling us interesting stories that we did not know before, or at least not in detail.

The Final Fantasy VII Remake story delves deeper into each character’s narrative and their relationships with others. None of the additions feels forced

And what about the legend characters we already knew? Don’t worry, they have also benefited. The iconic Cloud Strife, Barret Wallace, Jessie, Tifa Lockhart, Biggs and Wedge, all members of the eco-terrorist organization Avalanche, are back with the same purpose: to stop the exploitation plans of the mako de Shinra Electric Power Company and of course defeat the wicked Sephiroth, who again occupies the place of main antagonist. Tetsuya Nomura, character designer for the original title and also involved in the remake, has given greater prominence and narrative depth all of them, even the secondary figures.

For example, President Shinra, leader of the aforementioned energy company, now has a deeper story development. This type of detail, obviously, does not go unnoticed, since enrich the overall narrative experience and they explain too many events that in the first title went unnoticed. As I mentioned earlier, the interpersonal relationships that are built between so many characters has allowed us to expand the story without feeling forced; I could even bet that in 1997 they had to discard some ideas that are now coming true. Without going into the technical section yet, the introduction of incredible cinematics is the bridge that connects everything that happens in Midgar.

The time has come to leave the story behind to try another of the main novelties that the remake offers us, its gameplay. In a decision that initially caused controversy, developers have been detached from the Battle in Continuous Time (BTC), the dynamic turn-based combat system that so distinguished the original work. His place has been occupied by a system of attacks, blocks and a movement to dodge that work in real time. This decision, although at first you will feel a bit strange, it does not take long to become your best ally to enjoy Midgar’s obstacles like never before. Prepare to live a hectic pace of action which, however, continues to lead to respites.

We go in parts. As regards the system of conventional attacksAssigned only to the square button, I came across the first disappointment in Final Fantasy VII Remake. The fact that the basic attacks are focused on a single button means that you will rarely be able to appreciate different movements or complex combos. It is noticeable that the creatives have wanted to solve this deficiency by adding a unique ability for each playable character —assigned the triangle button—, without forgetting that later you will be able to improve your main weapon or get new ones.

I don’t want the explanation I offered earlier to be misunderstood. Although Final Fantasy VII Remake bets on action, you haven’t forgotten about the tactical component that proposes you to propose strategies when facing enemies. Its place is still quite important, but its operation is no longer the same. Playable characters now have a BTC bar located at the bottom right. When full, it allows activating the “Tactical Mode”, which is basically a panel that offers you special attacks, abilities and summons that produce a greater impact on the rivals.

“Tactical Mode” provides a strategic component almost as important as action, which is the mainstay of the game

Time slows down almost completely when activating “Tactical Mode” – if you played Final Fantasy XV this feature will surely seem very familiar to you – which gives you an opportunity to think about what attack or magic ability you need depending on the circumstance in front of you. However, the BTV bar is not infinite, it runs out every time you use any of its movements. To fill it you need to constantly attack enemies with any of your movements and abilities, so the mechanics forces you to stay in combat at all times.

Final Fantasy VII has found a almost perfect balance between action and strategy. Perhaps with lower level opponents it does not influence too much, however, with more complicated enemies and final bosses the gameplay is exquisite. In the vast majority of occasions you will need to analyze the behavior of enemies in detail, since each of your attacks and spells has a specific effect. If you don’t make the right choice, you will probably not only have wasted the BTC bar, you will also die.

Additionally, the “Tactical Mode” is responsible for storing some items such as healing potions, which are responsible for regenerating your health or that of your companions. In the same way you can consume Ether in order to restore the MP, which is used to use spells. That is, filling the BTC bar is not enough to take advantage of the range of magic attacks. As you progress you will add new items to your inventory, but I will let you discover them yourself. Almost all of them, in fact, have been rescued from the classic title.

Perhaps in certain situations it is not necessary to have the slowdown of the time of the “Tactical Mode”, and in Square Enix they have been aware of this. To give players faster access to special attacks, abilities and items, you can set custom shortcuts on the remote with the help of the L1 button. For example, I assigned L1 + Triangle to the healing potions, as I am one of those players who are always concerned about the health bar. The feature is open to be freely customized according to your playing style.

Without a doubt, the combat system ends up exploiting its brilliance when you have the possibility to control other characters in the same battle – pressing the buttons on the crosshead. For what reason? Each has their own special abilities and attacks, so it becomes crucial to learn not only how to control their movements, but also how their different powers impact opponents. When this happens, the rest will be controlled by artificial intelligence. Of course, its performance is not remotely close to controlling it on your own. It is your responsibility to take advantage of each other’s capabilities; AI won’t do it for you.

Final bosses are now more complex and difficult to beat. You will have to study their behavior and devise strategies to defeat them

To demonstrate what I just said I will use the first final boss of the adventure as an example. Its dimensions are enormous – although not comparable with what you will see later on -, and in some phases it is able to move away from the battlefield and attack from a distance. Obviously, Cloud’s sword has nothing to do with it, but Barret’s weapons do. Once the time is right, switching to the other character allows you to continue doing damage. Taking into account that throughout the story you will be able to control various characters, the sensations of combat are varied and magnificent. This compensates for the insufficiency of the basic attack system.

And talking about final bosses, they also come with obvious changes in order to turn them into an even more complicated challenge. I am warning you from now on, overcoming them will not be easy, and you will probably have to die several times until you know what their weak points are. Once identified, the next thing is to devise an attack plan including all the characters you have. Everything becomes a strategy game in which you must study the behavior of your rival and, at the same time, determine which character and ability becomes more effective in defeating him.

When Square Enix revealed that their goal was to convey a sense of “magnitude” again, he personally hoped that his promise would not only be reflected in history and in the combat system, but also in Midgar scenarios. Although the expanded dimensions and semi-open, in later chapters take a positive path and the exploration begins to make sense. Beyond finding items and collectibles, walking through the sectors of the city will allow you to interact with characters and access the side missions. I am not going to lie to you, no way to locate a target and eliminate it, or find an object and take it to its owner. Nevertheless, they are fun and they reward you with juicy rewards.

Progressing in Final Fantasy VII Remake is complex, as in any other JRPG today. Weapons, as I mentioned earlier, can increase their performance thanks to Weapon Points, whose obtaining depends on the level rise of the characters themselves. And how do these improvements benefit you? Characters will benefit from their general attributes as long as they equip the upgraded weapon. It is likely, but not sure, that in your adventure you need to level up before facing new challenges in history, especially in the highest difficulties. My recommendation is to take advantage of the secondary missions so as not to leave with disadvantages.

A system that complements the previous one and has been recovered from the original game is that of the subjects. The latter, when used in the grooves of a weapon or armor, increase the attack or elemental defense, respectively. They are available in different variants – some of them are new and others have disappeared – and they can be obtained in many ways, from Midgar exploration until fulfilling the objectives of the secondary and main missions. Each subject has a different benefit, but don’t worry, you will always have full freedom to assign, rearrange and combine them according to your needs. In addition, subjects can increase their level with skill points.

The audiovisual section is the most outstanding of the current generation. Meets all expectations

When we hear the word “remake”, the first thing we think of is a guaranteed graphics improvement. If other sections of the game have taken a giant leap, in the audiovisual section I could not wait less, however, met and even exceeded my expectations. Final Fantasy VII Remake looks spectacular in every corner of Midgar. The lighting and particle effects, as well as the modeling of characters, objects and settings, manage to offer one of the best games of the generation visually.

The musicFor its part, it is not far behind, recovering the original melodies but adapting them to modern times with the help of a orchestra. It is an epic soundtrack that intervenes timely in all moments of history. If the visual spectacle of a final boss battle isn’t enough, the themes played in the background increase your excitement about what’s happening on screen. Nothing to reproach the audiovisual section, is outstanding.

Regarding the duration, a lot will depend on your style of play; with me reached the not inconsiderable 30 hours, approximately. However, that number may increase if you pay attention to all the side missions. At endgameOf course, you can enjoy any of the available chapters again, perform the alternative objectives you forgot, keep looking for collectibles or even enjoy some Minigames. Exploring Midgar again will always be a great experience.