494 - Final Fantasy VII Remake / Intergrade

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JaySevenZero
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494 - Final Fantasy VII Remake / Intergrade

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions for Final Fantasy VII Remake / Intergrade for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder that where the feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but keeping it brief is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mostly reading out essays. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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markfm007
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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by markfm007 »

This was my first Final Fantasy game, after years of being intrigued by the series but unsure where to start. I enjoyed the demo, and picked it up in May of 2020. I enjoyed it immensely, and have a real affection for it now, partly because of how it helped me get through a tough period of isolation and difficulty in the world.

I loved the characters, the combat and the incredible soundtrack. It's not really like anything I've played before, and I think that added to how memorable it was for me. I really enjoyed how it combined character depth and emotional sincerity with a sense of spectacle and bonkers sense of humour. I enjoyed the dynamic between each of the characters, and memorable moments such as reuniting with Tifa at Seventh Heaven, walking along rooftops with Aerith, dancing on stage, and fighting giant houses and fat chocobos, along with many more. There's a lot of heart in its portrayal of Midgar, Avalanche and the fight against Shinra, and it was exactly what I needed at that time. While the game has its flaws, I loved it, and I ended up feeling glad that this was my introduction to the Final Fantasy series.

2SmokingControllers
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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by 2SmokingControllers »

So as a immense fan of the original I was ready to hate this with every part of my being. Every time there was an announcement it seemed like Square was saying all the wrong things. And after the debacle that was FF XV I had lost all faith that Square even knew how to make games anymore.

Regardless I couldn't help myself. It was the fabled Remake that had been teased for as long as I can remember. I pre ordered and popped that bad boy in my console on day one. I can't remember the last time I'd been so happy to be wrong. The game has issues yes, but most games do. What's incredible is all the things the game does right and how it expands the world that I've spend countless hours in in my youth. I even enjoyed the way they handled the OST. I could go on and on but all that needs to be said is that I'll be preordering every single volume of this Remake all the way to the day I die.

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Magical_Isopod
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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by Magical_Isopod »

Simply put, FF7R isn't what I wanted. That's not to say it's a bad game - but it's also not one I get on with. I loved the HD reimagining of key scenes from the original, but I really think the choice to limit the scope of the game to Midgar - a segment that takes me around 4 hours in the original - was a poor one. I'm also greatly disappointed by the switch to action RPG combat - while I do appreciate the quality of the system, and the decision to integrate an ATB into it, I would have much prefered a traditional turn-based system... In the game's promotion, it promised exactly that, but the "Classic Mode" really doesn't function especially well. I also felt that the game was excessively padded with long corridors and menial sidequests to justify the price tag - truth be told, I think I would have preferred a $60CDN, 15 hour game versus the $80CDN, 40 hour game I got.

Most disappointing though is the narrative direction they've chosen to go in here. Meta-narrative has been done to death in games at this point, and knowing that Tetsuya "Kingdom Hearts 365/2 Days" Nomura is behind the helm does not engender any confidence in me. My greatest fear is that the end goal is something of a "Final Fantasy Cinematic Universe," which was also hinted at in Kingdom Hearts 3, another Nomura project. That way, Square-Enix can point at fanservice properties like Dissidia and Brave Exvius and shout, "Look! This was our plan all along! We're so very clever!" For me, the decision to fundamentally alter the story comes off less as artistically creative, and more as cynical corporate brainstorming.

On a more positive note though, I really do want to highlight just how utterly fantastic the cinematics in this game are. They have set a new high-bar for in-game cutscenes, and the work Square's people have done here is outstanding.

Three-Word Review: Prefer The Original

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ThirdDrawing
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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by ThirdDrawing »

I went in hopeful despite the warning signs (such as splitting it up into multiple games) but I gave it a chance. And boy, was I let down.

I also wanted a turn based battle system, and the classic mode defaulting to easy mode implies that turn based is a dumbed down system that takes less skill - and I really resent that, especially from a company whose bread and butter was turned based RPGs for so long.

The voice acting was fine, I have mixed feelings on the music - some of it is unrecognisable.

When I think of a remake, my mind goes to Shadow of the Colossus and the Crash remake on PS4 - Virtually the same with improved graphics and controls. It also goes to the Resident Evil remake on Gamecube - a reimagining with some quality of life improvements, but the core/essence of the original game intact.

FF7 is not a remake. Let's be clear - Square knowingly and willingly deceived people by calling this a remake when it's basically a sequel that no one wanted. This is the worst kind of practice by a company - preying on fans' good will and exploiting it by tricking them into buying you promised, but aren't delivering.

Nomura is the prequel era George Lucas of Square - someone who believes in his own hype and has so much power that no one will restrain or edit his ideas. The game feels like Disney era Star Wars, a weak pastiche with no plan, faffing about to see what works. It's full of minutiae that brings the pacing to a screeching halt (The Sector 4 Plate Interior is one of the worst offenders)

Also, why the hell is there sun in Midgar? It's supposed to be filled with smog and covered by the plate. From a story standpoint, it makes no sense. Neither do the people in the sector dressed as upscale yuppies when Sector 7 is supposed to be a slum. And the long FF13esque corridors in a lot of areas make the level design really boring.

Adding Sephiroth in at the end seemed like a move of desperation. They knew people would be mad if he wasn't in the game, but it makes no sense in the context of the story to have him there. Roche would have been a better final boss. Why introduce him if you're not going to use him?

It just seems like there was no thought put into the design at all.

This is an utter failure from Square and I'm selling my copy to buy the FF7/8 compilation on Switch. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Three word review - Play the original.

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Necromas
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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by Necromas »

One thing that really stood out for me playing this was just how well they managed to bring the characters to life. The animation in particular goes a long way to giving subtle depth to the character interactions through wonderful use of facial expressions and body language. Cloud in particular does a really good job of getting across that he is actually quite awkward and immature behind the badass SOLDIER persona he tries to present.

Even my wife, who famously hates watching other people play video games, was glued to the screen whenever a character moment was happening, yelling at Cloud to just give Aerith a high five, cheering Tifa on when she stands up to a villain, and laughing her ass off at so many great moments like the infamous Honeybee Inn scene.

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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by TheEmailer »

Eight was my final fantasy, so i didn't have the nostalgia for this game, i really enjoyed it.

I have three major issues with the storytelling, even though i like challenging the original story.
1/ Having barratt come back from the dead means jeopardy is gone. Its hard to feel tension if resurrection is possible.
2/ Too much sepiroth. In the original he is fleeting, you mainly follow his wake and see the fallout from his actions. This makes him mysterious, enigmatic and hella scary. But ending part one by defeating him easily, breaks his appearance of imperiousness.
3/ the whispers are silly and annoying

Otherwise the combat is a fun blend of new and old, the art design stellar and the world building makes it feel like a real city. They did a great rewriting the dialogue, which on ps1 was quite bad, but maintaining the feel of characters. Maybe the game has a few too many filler dungeons.

They also handled the cross dressing stuff quite well.

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raisinbman
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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by raisinbman »

Gonna try and play along with this one, it'll be my first. I never played OG FFVII, which is super weird but my game history is spotty as a poor kid.

But this one should land sometime in march right?

I've already listened to spoilercasts and such, and as has already been stated, it seems like it devolves into Nomura being Nomura.

BUT:

They took the battle director from the much praised KHII Final mix off of KHIII and put 'em here. So part of me needs to play this game because the game I actually cared about suffered because of this game, lol.

I also am curious if Shimomura was doing any music for Square at this point, I know Uematsu and Masashi hamauzu(to the point they asked him to come out of retirement for this) are on it, but any game that gives me new Shimomura music is practically worth it at that point by itself, lol.

This all brings up the elephant in the room - can they deliver, after this, with this first entry setting the bar so high?

But I do give them praise for finally getting it right - they seemed to have struggled for so long to bring the magic back to the franchise, even to the point of saying 'lets do FF7 again' in the form of FFXIII. So much of their old staff for the original game was still there for this one, so they were able to make lightning strike twice.

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Marlew
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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by Marlew »

Where the original game was a masterpiece of suggestion, using microcosmic snapshots to evoke a much grander whole, the Remake sometimes falters in its literal presentation, particularly with transitional areas. Structurally, it is uneven, with repetitive corridors, backtracking and formulaic side quest dumps. And mechanically, it struggles to teach you how to make the most of its deep combat system, which eventually became one of the highlights for me. It is certainly not a game without flaws.

And yet, in the many moments where the ambition is realised, when the past and present converge symbiotically, it's a uniquely joyous experience. I must have watched the opening cutscene twenty times with a big grin and a lump in my throat, as that iconic fanfare heralds the famous title logo and we swoop down into the Bombing Mission. While the game offers little more freedom than a train journey, I loved each stop-off at Wall Market, Seventh Heaven, Shinra HQ and everywhere in-between. It wasn't just that these reconstructions were so technically impressive, it was how they realised my teenage dreams and elevated them beyond my imagination. As with the New Donk City finale, it was the weight of a lifelong love for videogames and the years of anticipation which made these moments resonate even more deeply.

I sympathise with those who wanted a more literal upgrade, but I'm happy that it takes a more daring path, even if it is incoherent at times! Evidently, it's a game about the original game, and about the weight of memory and expectation. While the narrative and symbolism lacked focus towards the end, overall the game refreshed my enthusiasm and curiosity for the world and characters. At this point, I really can't predict what the future of Final Fantasy 7 holds and for a lifelong fan, that's incredibly exciting.

Update: It looks even better on the PS5! Gordon Bennett!

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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by Seph »

The original Final Fantasy VII is my favourite game. I replayed it last year during a particular down moment in my life to help bring me back up and for me it still held up as a masterpiece. While Remake doesn't hit those unreachable heights for me, it's still an incredible achievement. These days I barely have the attention span or time to spend hours on new releases, but I was so happy to be in this world again and see familiar faces that I clocked up 60 hours in the first week.

After all these years of trying to move into action RPG territory, Square Enix have finally perfected the form. The battle gameplay is one of the most fun, engrossing and addictive I've ever played. I mean, they turned the Hell House, the most ridiculous of all the fantastically bonkers enemies, into one of the most intense boss fights I've experienced. The music is incredible, I enjoyed the remixes and reinterpretations of the classic themes: especially how each major boss fight has a different take on the original.

The sidequests were a little dull and some of the new characters add very little, but I did enjoy having more backstory to the secondary AVALANCHE members. It was also great to see Midgar as an actual mega-city that felt lived in. I always thought this section of the original was a little short, so it was great to explore some of the other sections.

I'm sure there will be plenty of discussion of the ending and what it means, so I won't add more unnecessary weight to this debate, but while I was disappointed in the Nomura nonsense I'm incredibly curious to see where it goes next. What I will say is what other "remake" of a classic game completely subverted the entire concept to the point that even those with in-depth knowledge of the original have no idea where it'll go next? I still think the inclusion of Sephiroth this early is a misstep, as the original did a fantastic job of building him up before his appearance and the mystique is one of the big reasons for him being my favourite character (hence the username). The escape from captivity in the Shinra building is a good example of his poor usage, as the original had so much mystery and horror in this section, instead of just another pointless confrontation.

One question I want answered by the end of this saga is how Cloud - a humorless, shallow, void of a human being - manages to have the entire cast of smart, strong and independent women desperately thirsting for his attention? I genuinely thought Jessie was going to spontaneously combust during the motorcycle chase. Other than this strangeness, I loved being around the main characters again and I can't wait to join them on the next part of their journey.

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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by Sage + Onion Knight »

For various reasons, I mostly fell off of the Final Fantasy series after FFX (and more recently, didn't really enjoy the remastered version of XII) – so I felt kind of cautious going into this. Being a nerdy child of the '90s, FFVII holds a weirdly high place in my heart and I wasn't confident that today's Square would be able to capture the original's strange character – its charm, its sense of humour, its moments of lovable OTT earnestness.

Having now played it, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much they got right. Midgar is as beautiful to explore as I'd imagined it would be as a child... the beauty of the soundtrack is preserved, even when removed from the lo-fi MIDI sounds that have influenced my own music so much... and there's just so much about this game that is still distinctly funny, touching, and weird (even the existentially pointless side quests felt like a contemporary version of annoying random battles, in a way).

That said, I'm still hot and cold on the additional story elements. Jessie's side story was one of many highlights; but – as much as I like the idea of playing with players' nostalgia in Remake's story – I wasn't entirely confident in how that aspect was presented through the use of stupid whooshy shadow people. Said shadow people also stepped on one of my favourite parts of the game - the slow, atmospheric moment in the Shinra HQ Prison.

It remains to be seen, in future instalments, whether these additions will enrich the whole Remake endeavour or just turn a game that means something into total self-indulgent meta-nonsense. For the most part though, my hopes are high. As flawed as Remake can be, it's one of the most fun and charming games I've played in a while.

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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by Kal_Luke »

I bought this game on release after playing the faithful demo of the first mission.
My first concern was when in a cut scene Cloud jumped up to the falling bridge in a too cool, anime, Advent Children fashion.
The battle system on this game was good and the voice acting is fine. I watch some dubbed anime so I don’t set too high of a standard for that kind of thing. The visuals of the game are stunning
The biggest disappointment of the game for me is the gameplay and pacing. I found doing the odd jobs in the towns very boring, with too many squeezing down narrow passage (load screens) parts that could have been replaced with smaller environments as they are in fact quite vacuous.
I didn’t complete this game, only getting as far as Wall market but might try and finish it before the podcast is aired

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Re: 494 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by raisinbman »

Finally got around to finishing this, my thoughts about the main game:
Spoiler: show
FFVIIR



On first blush, very pretty. I can’t really say anything that hasn’t been said before about the game, but it is interesting to get my hands on it. Some of the mannerisms are a bit overexaggerated, and though it has been said before, it really seems like Squeenix was waiting for the new generations of consoles to put this bad boy on it – lots of slowing the player down for loads and to sit through dialogue. And while the primary character models are pretty, it really seems like they need more expressions(ie; upgrade to new gen), which comes through mainly with Tifa, though her character is a bit of silent suffering so that may be inherent. Really has a ‘making your barbie dolls talk’ quality to a lot of what’s going on. I say this having played FEH where characters’ expressions are there even on the underpowered Switch.



One of the best parts of this game, and people completely new to FF7 wouldn’t know, but Cloud thinks he knows what he’s doing as do others, but he doesn’t. He’s a dropout imposter from SOLDIER.



Also, I take great pleasure in the fact that this character has been copied time and again, and set forth a generation’s interpretation of ‘cool’, yet in this, soooo many characters poke fun at him and catch him off guard.



Bit of a weird thing where a news reporter is looking down instead of at a presumed teleprompter. I imagine in a universe with steampunk stuff and holograms they’d at least have that. But there does seem to be a theme of people looking down while they’re talking, at least ever so slightly.



The music people’ve been pointing out and I’ve been hearing is fine, but I don’t understand what all the hubbub is about with certain tracks lie ‘under the giant pizza’. Though I did just get to chapter 9 that has this more muted music that warps into some sort of semi-hip-hop which I’m digging.



It also is a bit weird how quick cloud is to go from ‘okay, no aerith’ to ‘ye, aerith please’. He seems to be malleable to a fault.



Having a bit of trouble with the camera – this also happened in KHIII. I was fighting Abzu and it does its ‘ultimate attack’ which I had no idea what to do for, only noticing that all my characters died. Previous (two?) bosses would give you debris to hide behind and party characters would let you know to hold your horses – no such luck here. I realized I was doing something wrong, but because the camera focuses on the boss and tells you he’s ‘charging his laser’ I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what was happening. I thought about the assess description in that he was ‘using the environment’, but it wasn’t really clear what that meant – as far as I could tell my party was just getting instagibbed. So I randomly looked around, saw that MAYBE he was pouring sewage, but there was sewage spouts open on the entire stage, and its not like you can jump or anything. I took a gamble and said ‘okay, he’s probably doing something CLOSE to him, so if I run on the opposite side, that MAY help. It worked, but not without what feels like trial and error.



The game doesn’t tell you how to use (linked?) materia, I was using the elemental materia wrong for like, 3 chapters. I didn’t really adjust what I was doing until I encountered enemies that didn’t seem to die UNLESS I elementally attacked them. And this sort of gets into the eternal RPG problem is ‘how was I supposed to know I needed to bring a toothbrush into this battle?’. I suppose I could unequip the materia I want to use and make sure between my party I’ve got elemental weaknesses covered.



Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but there was a cutscene where aerith said ‘please let us through’ in chapter 11, and no one was there THEN the mysterious spectres appeared afterwards. Granted, at this point, she’s known for seeing things and talking to otherworldly beings. Also weird in this chapter the ladies actually listen to Cloud and stay behind, as previously they’ve ignored his requests to be sidelined, to the point a lot of their battle intros are taking the mick out of Cloud’s heroic SOLDIER bravado.



I’m increasingly finding problems with the camera and aerial combat, both separate and apart. They task you to fight air enemies, actually really early on, but unlike Kingdom hearts, there’s no jump button…you sort of just have to nudge your character and hope they attack aerial characters. This is compounded by the fact you don’t get magic until later on, and even then, it’s a premium resource. I think A LOT of my issues with the game would be solved by them moving the camera back ever-so-slightly. The battle director is actually from Kingdom hearts, so the similarities are very very present, to the point it seems like kingdom hearts enemies are final fantasy 7 enemies(actually its vice versa, but yeah)



I also think its weird there’s so many aerial enemies, but really only one character in your party(sometimes) that can tackle air battles(Barret, Aerith is a bit slow).



Overall, maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like you can’t actually lock on to your opponents, as you need to really see the entire battlefield, and that doesn’t happen when you’re locked on. I also think unlike kingdom hearts, everything here is a bit more muted so it can be hard to tell what’s going on. They seem to be veering into MMO territory so perhaps they can pull from that team to make sure UI, enemy selection, etc. are all working for the player instead of against them.





I did like Barret’s speech – this is the part where you go on a “date” with someone you’ve built up points for IIRC.



There’s this tension between them wanting you to explore and NOT wanting you to explore. They put items strewn about(even some which you can see in cutscenes) but penalize you with invisible walls. I really hope the next entry on PS5 doesn’t have this sort of thing.



and some weird stuff like the boss fight against the failed experiment and it has you as tifa go on a platform only for you to(I guess?) supposed to switch to barret since you can’t do anything as Tifa. There’s a bit of a push and pull with freedom and sign posting and just the opposite.



Chapter 15 is really pretty. Gives me KH vibes a la Twilight Town or various dilapidated castles in the series. Makes you wish so much time wasn’t spent(and respent) in the sewers and many cramped environs.



It’s a bit odd in chapter 18, with the shinra HQ under attack from both whispers and Avalanche’s main branch that the president is just found hanging outside his tower with no security to speak of. Not that they stand a chance against Sephiroth…or whatever/whoever that actually was, but I digress.



I pretty much went through the main story as not to miss the podcast. I came to the decision with remake getting a free PS5 upgrade, if I can get a PS5, and if I’m still alive by then(the fun of being an American), I’ll go back with the DLC enticing me, but also to mop things up. Like many, many games, I knew certain stuff would be locked until NG+, so I figure a second playthrough was inevitable. Also, considering the difficulty will be going up(which will probably involve lots of RELOADING), it might be wise to wait for the PS5.



I think nostalgia carries a lot of what this game is, and there’s (almost) nothing wrong with that. People seemed to be so excited to either be back in this world or be in this world period, that things like extended crawling/slow walking seems to have been given a pass even though we know this is hiding loads. The game is extremely linear. Even in FF series, this became a point of derision in 13, but maybe its just we’re in a different time and place where games are asking for as much free time as you’re willing to give nowadays. Part of that is, undoubtedly, trying to get as much mileage out of the old systems as possible. It also should be noted that the scope for this game is down with it being multiple parts, so if this is Square’s way really avoiding bloat and extended development hell cycles, I think this’ll be good for them overall.



In getting to the controversial part of the game(the ending), they really undercut themselves – in chapter 17/18, you learn that all/some of the sephiroths were simply reunioners and people(I guess everyone in Midgar?) was under the influence of a secret Jenova hallucinogen-inducing experiment. Prior to this, you didn’t really know much and questioned much of what happened. So you take care of that, but it turns out that Sephiroth was actually there. But not really. Are you confused yet? Because I am. Then we get to Chapter 18 which I’m sure much more competent influencers can explain, but it turns out Sephiroth actually was behind it all(I guess). The game gives you no info on him when you assess him, but it does tell you the giant Destiny Monster is from the future. Always a good sign when a piece of media just lumps in time travel. Tends to turn out well. And by well, I mean not at all.



While Imran Khan(formerly of Game Informer and formerly of Kinda Funny) put it succinctly – this is Nomura being Nomura and really going crazy with any expectations for the game, it just doesn’t rub me the right way. There’s no way for new players to know the significance of Zack, or even who that is. And there ACTUALLY WAS an opportunity for them to introduce him when Aerith mentions the first man she fell in love with being the conversation is cut off.



Additionally, as a Kingdom Hearts player, there’s a tradition of a super hard boss being after you’ve done most of the content, which gives a vague hint towards the future of the franchise. That’s what Sephiroth should’ve been: siloed off, so those in the know would be able to speculate and get hype, while not confusing new players and putting a burden of knowledge on them.



Austin Wintory brought up an interesting knock against Remake’s music, lamenting that it won (at the game awards IIRC) when it was simply an uprezzing of an old soundtrack, when it was up against actual original scores like Hades. A lot of what he had to say in terms of the music always being at 11 rang true with me, though I did like some of the weirder and calmer tracks.



New consoles are key here, with them only giving you 3 party members among other things, but the thing is they give you a guest party member – but, clearly, Red XIII isn’t going away, so I guess we’ll just have to see.



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Tolkientaters
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Re: 494 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by Tolkientaters »

This is the first Final Fantasy game I finished, I couldn't get into 15, but I am making my way though 6 at the moment. I enjoyed the game, it looks fantastic, has a great combat system, a few interesting characters, and it explores a lot of important and relevant themes.

As for the writing, it was a mixed bag, Tifa and Barret were memorable, well acted and felt like complete characters, the other members of the Avalanche offshoot were uninteresting, Wedge in particular was really annoying (like Bombur from The Hobbit). Cloud was pretty boring, but maybe he gets more interesting as the story progresses. I also got really tired of the team telling Cloud how cool he was or going overboard in their praise of his ability to pull a lever. I did love the exploration of the themes of inequity, exploitation, and the consequences of the team's actions. It wasn't subtle, but it worked for me.

The plot like the game was a bit all over the place, but despite the issues I had with the game, I really enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel.

It made me wanna go back to the original, but I guess I'm picky about a consistent art style, so I'd probably gonna go for Ever Crisis when it comes out.

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raisinbman
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Re: 494 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by raisinbman »

so if you're upgrading ps4 > ps5, you have to specifically search for the upgrade and make sure you have the disc in. Just a PSA

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Re: 494 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by stvnorman »

I only recently finished this after it arrived on PS+. I spent most of the game worrying it was about to go too JRPG on me, and all that stuff in menus I was ignoring was going to bite me on the backside at any time. But it didn’t. That said, if I’d failed that dreadful dancing thing I wouldn’t have tried it again. I hate dancing things! Glad I played it, but also glad I didn’t pay for it because even the lovely Tifa couldn’t stop it dragging by the end. Alright but not more than that.

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raisinbman
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Re: 494 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by raisinbman »

Matt McMuscles just did a 'Wha happun?' on FF7R: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBinT4Y6MdM

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Pixel Hunted
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Re: 494 - Final Fantasy VII Remake / Intergrade

Post by Pixel Hunted »

I was having a great time right up until that awful ending. I think metanarratives in games are very played out these days and, judging by the flashy anime garbage and gobbledegook about fate in the last 20 minutes or so, I have very little confidence that the story is going to go anywhere worthwhile.

The reviews will have to be absolutely stellar for part 2 for me to consider buying it, and I'll purposefully spoil the story just to check it doesn't continue on this trajectory before I commit any time to it.

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Ben77000000
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Re: 463 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Post by Ben77000000 »

The character writing and performances in Final Fantasy VII Remake are solid enough to ensure its returning characters manage the 23 year leap onto modern hardware without losing an ounce of charm along the way. The extra attention given to the supporting roles also lends real weight to the late game drama, and the fierce and involved combat revitalises encounters, while the soundtrack is at once adventurous and true to its source.

All this said, I can't get over Square Enix opting to burden this title with canonicity by dumping it into the quagmire of lore that is the Compilation of FFVII. Remake starts out as an incredible and affectionate recreation of the original before mutating into an awkward sequel.

Allusions to the game being a follow-up to the 1997 one are peppered throughout in the form of the obnoxious Whispers, whose appearances grow in size until they engulf the experience during the bewildering finale.

Perhaps I've fallen into a trap here by criticising the Whispers, which might be the writers' attempts at personifying fans' stringent demands, but in making corporeal their frustrations with fans, the developers have managed to only to justify many of their apprehensions; specifically fears that Remake's writers might fail to recapture the spirit of the original.

The images and events that form the ending seem to exist less to bring this first instalment to a cohesive conclusion and more to shoehorn contrived hype into a climax that didn't need it. The finale also tells us to expect further forays into the unknown; a concerning notion given that Remake is at its most awe-inspiring when exploring a familiar world from fresh angles, finding new depths and details therein. When straying into new territory, it feels much less assured and frequently undermines the gravity of the original.

The last minute timeline tomfoolery both confuses the themes of the remake and lowers the stakes of its narrative. Where the original was a treatise on the cyclical nature of life and the inevitability and acceptance of death, Remake implies that death can be outright cheated if it's not ordained by fate itself, and even if you do die, there's bound to be a timeline somewhere where you're still alive. The most emotional moment of the original is also foreshadowed heavily in the remake, diluting the tragedy of a death that was integral to Final Fantasy VII's message; that we must cherish all life, and accept death, however arbitrary it might seem.

The highest praise I can give Final Fantasy VII Remake is that it's the strongest entry in the Compilation, but that's not saying much. That Remake was not advertised as being a sequel, or at least a retelling, is a crying shame given that some will have played Remake before the original, and had some of its most subversive revelations spoiled by what amounts to a clumsy handling of what was once a wonderful story.

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