PAX EAST 2020: ‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’ is a New Look at Old Friends

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Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake is a third-person JRPG published and developed by Square Enix. The Shinra Corporation is mining the planet for Mako. Utilizing this Mako allows Shinra to provide energy to the citizens of the city of Midgard. But some believe Shinra is killing the planet by taking the Mako away; people like the environmental group Avalanche. Led by a man named Barret, Avalanche looks to stop Shinra by blowing up its Mako reactors. To help them with this goal, they have hired a mercenary named Cloud Strife.

The story beats of Final Fantasy VII are some of the best known in gaming. Not only did it make the Final Fantasy brand the phenomenon it is to this day, its story has been expanded beyond its original game with several spin-off games, and even a movie. The exploits of Cloud and company are etched into the gaming landscape. It is for this reason, like so many others, approaching this remake comes with a mixture of anticipation and dread for me. How many times have we seen some of our favorite media redone just to have the reimagining miss the entire point? I can’t say for sure yet, but what I can say is that this demo has me feeling hopeful.

Picking up midway through Avalanche’s assault on one of Shinra’s Mako reactors, I got to control both Cloud and Barret during my demo. Cutting my way through Shinra goons provided a smooth introduction to combat. By repeatedly pressing the square button my chosen character performs standard attacks, which fill up their action gauge. Once the gauge is filled enough I can go into the specials menu and select particular skills, or magic to use. While in this menu time slows to a crawl, recreating the turn-based feel of the original. The player can swap between characters at this point as well to give commands to their ally.
Final Fantasy VII Remake

Once the soldiers are dispatched, I was faced with a mammoth scorpion looking tank. If you are like me and saw the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo footage from Square Enix’s E3 presentation last year you might have shared my concerns with how long this boss fight appeared to take. Happily, I can report that the boss fight is a reasonable length. With several different attacks being performed by the boss, and a couple of different strategies needing to be employed on my part, the fight flowed along nicely. By the time I delt my enemy the final blow I was thoroughly satisfied with my encounter.

The visuals throughout the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo were top notch. The character models all looked excellent. Energy effects lit up the screen making the attacks land with that extra bit of pow. Between what I got to play and what I’ve seen teased in trailers and I have no doubt this game is going to be visually stunning. I walked away from my hands-on with Final Fantasy VII Remake assured that Square Enix is on the right path where this title is concerned. Whether or not it stays on that path won’t be known however till the game drops.

Final Fantasy VII Remake will be available on PlayStations everywhere April 10th.