Even if you have to wait until the release of Final Fantasy 7: Remake until mid April 2020, our editor Laura has already had a qualified look at the work of Square Enix. Reason enough to tell you whether the long waiting time has paid off.
Released in 1997, Final Fantasy 7 wasn't just a milestone in game development. No, it was the first part of the series that you could experience in 3D – a powerful epic that touched you, captivated you and took you into a world as it was then "A final fantasy" could. When the remake was announced at E3 in 2015, I couldn't believe my eyes and the audience present was also amazed. Thunderous applause.
As a fan of the first hour, I couldn't wait. My fingers itched. Because even if a demo was already playable at gamescom 2019, I've been able to keep my hands away from the remake so far. The reason? My justified fear of the new combat system.
I have to confess that I didn't play Final Fantasy 15, so I can't make comparisons. Perhaps a bit biased, I found the demo released with Final Fantasy TYPE-0 HD on PlayStation 4 extremely exhausting. Sadly, I'm not a good player and it takes me a long time to get used to something. Even in the demo, I completely failed to block and evade. Even though I heard that the combat system had been adjusted in the final version, I was like a Chocobo that hadn't hit the track again.
Swinging nervously back and forth, I put on my headphones and off we went.
Now butter with the chocobos
At the start of the game you can choose between three different difficulty modes. In both simple and normal levels of difficulty, you can defeat your opponents with attack combinations, techniques and spells. You keep the upper hand. You switch seamlessly between the characters in order to fully exploit their potential.
Furthermore, each character has certain special abilities: Barret, for example, fires several strong volleys at the opponent, while Cloud, on the other hand, can be fought in different positions. While the All-round entertainment a high degree of mobility ensures that offensive attitude stronger attacks at the expense of the defensive. However, if you block, Cloud counters automatically. Practical for me, because even if I sometimes acted stupidly, the simple mode was really easy. I also tried normal. Demanding, but doable.
The camera work is a point that I have to get used to. With numerous settings, however, it can at least be slightly adjusted. The camera did not only cause problems for me in combat, but also the player guidance is a point that should have been considered more in the development. Because even though I played this classic a few times, I often got lost, even if the path is sometimes indicated by small arrows on the floor.
And the third mode?
Those of you who want to enjoy the story without failing in the battles have the choice to stand up for the "Classic mode" to decide. Contrary to expectations, the classic mode not the turn-based experience from old days that hard-nosed fans want, but rather a new system that allows you to concentrate only on the commands.
In this mode, the characters attack automatically, so that you can focus on the game around. As with the simple and normal variant, the attack fills the ATB bar of the respective character. You can use this to perform spells, use items and skills – if you want to use these skills, you switch to tactical mode, which puts your gameplay in an impressive slow motion. Held in black and white, I was able to exhale and choose skills, even though this playing moment often left me breathless due to the background music and the impressive particle effects.
One thing is certain: the new combat system takes some getting used to compared to the round fight, but even I managed not to fail completely in a very short time.
Do we have to talk about the graphics and music of the remake?
I don't think so, because both simply knock my socks off. Based on the Unreal Engine, the remake of Final Fantasy 7 runs flawlessly.
Midgar is cold, even more crushing than ever. Where in the original the imagination went through with you, now incredibly beautiful graphics fill the gaps. A dystopia. Clean and yet so dirty.
The characters also know how to convince: Barret is cool af (sorry for this expression, but I can't find any other words to describe this character) and the arrogant cloud is more indifferent than ever.
And the music? Out of the creative spirit of Nobuo Uematsu, the background music in the remake forms a remixed immersive experience and even the German dubbing convinces. While Barret's English synchro scratches a little bit of ashamed, he is a lot more convincing in German. Even I wouldn't have expected that.
Final Fantasy 7: Remake is graphically and cinematically a masterpiece that leaves me speechless. It perfectly pushes the performance limits of the PlayStation 4. By making numerous adjustments to the engine, Square Enix creates an individual structure of immersive sound, beautiful particles and scenic lighting that is washed with all waters.
The remake is not only a remaster in a new guise, it offers a completely revised combat system, new possibilities to upgrade weapons, a pimped materia system and much more to look forward to. We certainly don't have to talk about the crazy story, because it's more current than ever. Let's just save the planet together. Best yesterday in 1997 when the game first appeared.
It's best to get an idea for yourself, because probably on April 10, 2020 Final Fantasy 7 remake will be available. The game is worthwhile, both for long-established fans, as well as for those who were previously put off by the badly aged graphics and the round-fight system. Saddle your chocobos: ready, ready, käräh!
How well do you know Final Fantasy? (Quiz)
The Final Fantasy series has existed for many years and can still inspire gamers – soon with the next part called Final Fantasy XV. To prove by then that you are the ultimate Final Fantasy connoisseur, you can now take this quiz!