Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-On Impressions (VIDEO)

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The Final Fantasy VII remake is the next launch by Square Enix that franchise fans are sitting on the edge of their seats for. Originally launched in 1997 in all its retro, three-dimensional polygon glory. Twenty-three years later, the Square Enix team is ready to re-release the beautiful and harrowing adventure of Final Fantasy VII with modern technology. At PAX West 2019, we got hands-on gameplay experience with the remake and here’s our take on the remake.

Utilizing the Unreal Engine 4, Final Fantasy VII makes a modern comeback next year, bringing back the original storyline and characters everyone knows and loves. Unfortunately, I never played the original, knowing how iconic these characters were it was exciting to see them in Unreal 4.

In terms of combat and overall gameplay experience, the remake took a step away from the original, turn-based mechanics and opted for real-time action that’s balanced with their “Tactical Mode.” Tactical Mode allows players to execute abilities, items, and limit breaks in slow-motion without breaking the flow of all the action; a feature I thought maintains the flow of action without breaking the immersive and fast-paced combat.

One part I felt took away from the action-packed combat is the wonky camera angles. In and out of combat, the camera controls are entirely manual so it doesn’t follow the focus of character interaction. I found myself distracted having to constantly shift the camera to see where I’m attacking. Overall, it kept me immersed in the storyline and each hostile interaction felt fresh and impactful.

While the narrative focuses on Cloud’s story as a mercenary for-hire alongside his trusty Buster sword, players can switch between different characters during combat as well. So, once I got bored of hacking, slashing, dodging, and blocking, I opted for Barret’s gun arm to shoot up the enemies instead. There are some abilities that are more response to certain enemies and bosses if controlled correctly and allowed me to turn the tide of battles and gain the upper-hand.

Despite the switch from turn-based combat to real-time, Final Fantasy VII does a phenomenal job at capturing the nitty-gritty start of Cloud Strife’s adventure. The visual enhancements of modern day video game technology highlighted the grungy, industrial setting of Midgar. Tied together with a hair-raising soundtrack by the famed composer Nobuo Uematsu, this game takes the recognizable story and characters for a next-level experience.

Developers from the original 1997 release returned for the remake such as designer Tetsuya Nomura, producer Yoshinori Kitase, and Kazushige Nojima as lead writer. Not only does the original team’s return mean good things for nostalgia-seekers, it also means many won’t be disappointed by the remake when it hits shelves in March.

At the end of the day, the Final Fantasy VII remake is the perfect blend of a familiar narrative paired with a brand new experience. Square’s latest endeavor has something to offer both newcomers and veterans alike, something that I myself couldn’t wait to play more of and would absolutely recommend as a day one buy.

What nods and scenes do you hope to see in Final Fantasy VII? Based on your impressions so far, does it live up to your expectations or does it ruin the nostalgia of the original? Let us know what you think in the comments section below or start a conversation on Don’t Feed the Gamers Facebook page. To stay up to date on gaming and entertainment news as it happens, follow us on Twitter! Here are some of our latest:

The first part of Final Fantasy VII arrives March 3, 2020 for PlayStation 4.

Hoi Duong1729 Posts

Hoi is an elusive figure at DFTG, whose favorite past-times include chillin' in the Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.

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