Final Fantasy VII Remake review: the legend returns

Going to touch a sacred monster isn't easy. Let's find out in this review if Square Enix has hit the mark with Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII is undoubtedly one of those titles that have earned their place in the Olympus of video games. After 23 years from the original title, Square Enix proposes the first part of the adventures of Cloud and his companions in this Remake. The developers had the courage to change a lot, starting with a more action combat system. Will the Japanese company have managed to meet the huge expectations of fans? Let's take the Buster Sword and let's find out together in this review of Final Fantasy VII Remake, available now on PS4.

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: the legend returns

A few necessary clarifications

Before getting to the heart of the review we need to make a premise: Final Fantasy VII Remake is a product in its own right. We know that this project will be split into multiple episodes and that this chapter only picks up the first part of the original game set in Midgar. However, it is a complete game in all respects, you will never have the feeling of a truncation of history.

All this is made possible by a series of changes in the plot, which however go to deepen and expand Midgar and its inhabitants. We can only be happy with this operation. The new settings are in fact contextualized to perfection and the secondary characters are all well characterized and enjoy a depth never had before. Despite the changes, however, there is an extreme fidelity to the original spirit, thanks to an obsessive attention to detail that will delight fans.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is a child game of its time. We are faced with a modern title that does not suffer in any way from its origins of over 20 years ago. On the other hand, the plot deals with immortal themes, like the relationship between man and nature that is increasingly on its knees in the face of pollution. There is also an important metanarrative subtext which, for better or for worse, will only make longtime fans argue. 

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: the legend returns

Battle with the Ghosts of the Past - Final Fantasy VII Remake Review

Modernity also achieved thanks to exceptional work on the combat system, now more action than the original ATB. The combat phases are a perfect blend of action and role play. In Final Fantasy VII Remake it is possible to move and attack freely, while the use of spells, abilities and items is delegated to a bar that charges over time. The playable characters are all different from each other, each with its own unique characteristics. Furthermore, the bar of the extreme limit, which once filled makes the enemy extremely vulnerable.

These mechanics enhance the fighting both on the front of dynamism and on that of strategy. The variety of enemies is excellent and each has specific strengths and weaknesses, which force the player to vary the approach continuously. Everything is sublimated with the bossfight to say the least wonderful from all points of view. All the bosses have different phases, interspersed with spectacular cutscenes, and different strategies with which they must be fought. 

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: the legend returns

The scent of a returning flower - Review Final Fantasy VII Remake

The combat phases alternate with those of exploration. The game is rather linear, with some Chapters in particular where to stop to fulfill some assignment. The latter are not many and are rather classic in their structure. On the other hand, the care taken in moments of walking is appreciated, almost to create a more "intimate" atmosphere between the player and the environment, in which an extra dialogue allows us to understand the facets of the characters' personalities or in their relationships.

In addition, there are always small variations on the theme, with environmental puzzles or small mini-games to complete. There is also no shortage of secondary activities, present in a good number and all, however simple, rather funny. We move from the search for discs containing the soundtrack of the game to real minigames, up to the completion of dossiers that will allow us to buy new types of matter for our characters.

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: the legend returns

The legacy that embellishes the present - Final Fantasy VII Remake Review

The material system, borrowed from the original chapter, introduces us to RPG mechanics featured in Final Fantasy VII. The latter may seem too simplistic at first sight, especially in comparison to a pure JRPG, sacrificed in the name of action. Equipment consists of simply choosing a weapon, armor and accessory. With the passing of the hours though we were able to appreciate the rolistic construction around the personalization of the characters. Weapons, for example, all have an exclusive ability, which can be used at any time once it is used often. 

The game forces the player to make a choice, whether it is the number of subjects that can be used to have more skills (or spells) at his disposal or whether it is the desire to increase the pure parameters. So the role components blend perfectly with the action ones, giving maximum freedom to the player. Choices enhanced by just one good basic difficulty, which prevents a head down approach to the enemy.

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: the legend returns

Do I dream or am I awake? - Final Fantasy VII Remake Review

Let's go straight to the point: the technical sector of Final Fantasy VII Remake is simply majestic. We can't believe how a game with such graphics can run smoothly on base PS4. The character models are incredibly beautiful, aided by lighting management that takes visual rendering to the highest levels. It is not just a mere aesthetic tinsel. The quality of the facial animations goes to embellish the acting and expressiveness of the characters.

What in the original game was delegated to the player's imagination, now becomes true and before everyone's eyes. Led by a really good direction, able to give unforgettable shots. It's all so beautiful to look at that we regret not having a photo mode, to capture the most iconic moments. Furthermore the soundtrack is a real additional character, which fits perfectly to what happens on the screen, thanks also to the excellent work of reinterpreting the original songs.

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: the legend returns

It's All So Good, Or Almost - Final Fantasy VII Remake Review

All that glitters is not gold, however, the game is not without its flaws. In fact, precisely because of this exceptional work we are even more sorry for the lack of a real endgame, limited to the ability to select individual chapters to 100% complete secondary activities. It also unlocks a hard mode that will put players to the test, we would have appreciated a few more extras though, despite the good longevity of the game which settles on 30-35 hours by completing a good part of the tasks.

The biggest flaw, however, is that of the Spanish adaptation in the subtitles. Final Fantasy VII Remake features voice acting in several languages, including English and Japanese. The Spanish subtitles appear to be extremely discordant with the English spoken, sometimes going to completely distort the meaning of some sentences. This can create annoyances that partly undermine the enjoyment of the game.

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: the legend returns

Good first!

In short, in no uncertain terms Final Fantasy VII Remake is a masterpiece. The developers have shown a love and care for the original work commendable, without however lacking courage in making changes in both the gameplay and the plot. We have a remake in our hands almost perfect, able to be enjoyed by fans of the saga as well as by new players. Too bad especially for the Spanish localization, which often takes too many liberties in the translation.

We can't wait to be able to play the next chapter and find out what awaits us outside of Midgar. We hope that this Final Fantasy VII Remake review was useful to you, for other reviews and for all the news from the world of video games and more, keep following us on the techigames pages!

9.2 Welcome back Cloud!

Points in favor

  • A rewarding combat system
  • Incredible aesthetic sector
  • Great soundtrack
  • Very engaging story despite some changes
  • Excellent characterization of the characters

Points against

  • Spanish translation not perfect
  • Endgame absent
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