This week we were granted a real treat with more game play of the new Final Fantasy VII: Remake. Square Enix was at Tokyo Game Show and showed off a nice bit of the game. Between this new game play and the bits released over the past week or so, we are really starting to get a good understanding of what this remake will be. After reviewing whats out there, we decided to compile a list some of the most important details we have learned.
It has been four years since the announcement of the Final Fantasy VII remake. For a long time, we did not get anything in terms of a sneak peak at what this would look like. That changed more recently with the reveal of multiple trailers and gameplay demos, and I have to say that it has been well worth the wait.
Gone are the days of the blocky character models and pre rendered backgrounds. Now we have these beautiful graphics courtesy of Unreal Engine 4. Character models have been rebuilt from the ground up and have never looked better. If you are a fan of Advent Children, you can definitely see that maybe some inspiration has been taken from it.
Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and Aerith have all been shown so far. The attention to detail is fantastic. The updated costume designs, from Cloud’s modernized Soldier garb to Tifa’s slightly more combat appropriate outfit, help to give even more personality to the already beloved characters.
These new environments also have a new sense of personality. In the most recent demo, we got to see even more of the Mako Factory. The updates to these previously pre rendered environments look beautiful. The urban industrial feel of the factory do well to emphasize the over industrialization of this world. This would be already apparent to anyone who played the original, but even still it does well to breath even more life into the environment.
Any fan of the original can opine to the beauty of the score. From the opening notes to the intense boss fights, for the time it was breathtaking. The original soundtrack was a true labor of love that still holds up to this day. This time around it appears that it is still a massive labor of love. The bits of the soundtrack available in the recent demo is mesmerizing. It takes the sounds and melodies that we know and love, and re-imagines them.
Everything is remixed. Notably, the Mako Factory’s entire sound is different. A full orchestra slowly and softly begin to play but as soon as you encounter combat, the music effortlessly transforms in to a heightened and faster paced version. This all continues all the way into the Scorpion boss fight. It was at that point that this entire soundtrack changed from a lovely homage to something new.
The entire boss fight track takes multiple tracks from the original and blends them into an intense pulsing of familiarity. As the fight continues, the beat speeds up and soon the entire fight seems like it is being orchestrated itself by the music. It is all a dance of beauty and something I can not wait to see more of.
Real Time Combat
Continuing in the vein of the other changes, combat has been completely revamped. It is now completely real time with a quick menu system, more in line with the recently released Kingdom Hearts III. In fact, much of this new gameplay seems to pull a bit from Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy XV, and fused it with the abilities of the original release.
It plays out quick and stylishly, with sparks flying off of every strike Cloud lands with his massive buster sword. Pressing square allows Cloud to perform a basic slash with other buttons mapped to a guard ability and a dodge ability. The quick menu system is used to cast spells, ablities, and use items.
These changes are massive and really change everything you think you know about Final Fantasy VII, but it looks so smooth and clean in its execution, I can not wait to try it.
Just announced, at Tokyo Game Show 2019, was Classic Mode. Not a ton is known about this new reveal but what is known seems like it could be great for fans of the original. Instead of relying completely on the real time combat to get through encounters, the game will pause when the players ATB bar fills. This will allow the player time to strategize and take a breath, instead of slicing and dodging around to fill the ATB. This is a great homage and hopefully will scratch the itch for old timers needing the gameplay to slow down just a bit.
One of my favorite things that I noticed in the recent gameplay is how this remake is handling character interactions with each other. In particular, we got to see Cloud and Barret spending some quality time together in the Mako Factory. This entire sequence is filled with fun dialogue between the two. Barret is barking out over the top one liners, while Cloud is firing back with his stoic snarky retorts.
This is all new and seems to just fill in the time between encounters. That is not an issue though, as I see it as an opportunity to see new sides of all the characters. This could create whole new fan favorite moments, that both old fans and new can learn to love together.
Another small but intriguing detail is the fact that equipment seems to change depending on whats attached to it. In the original game, you could attach items call Materia to equipment to gain new abilities and attributes. During this new gameplay, you can notice the iconic two empty materia slots on Cloud’s Buster. In different demos, you can notice the slots being filled by different colored gems. This is awesome as being able to see even this basic change can really give the player an accomplished feeling. I am hoping that they also carry this detail to the other characters as well.
Mini Games Return
Through out the original release, players encountered many memorable mini games like chocobo racing and doing squats. In a recent trailer, mini games were confirmed to be returning. Showcased specifically was the iconic squatting mini game and darts. Many fans have fond memories of spending time on these little distractions that really did help making the world feel more lived in and unique. I am confident that these updates to the old mini games will not disappoint.
Possible Guest Voice Actors
If you have had a chance to listen to any of the voice acting in the trailers or demos, you already know the voice acting sounds solid. Looking at the voice cast for the game will reveal a cast filled with industry veterans. For many, these new voice actors will be their first experience with any of these characters, so I am sure Square Enix will ensure the performances will be top notch. Given that this is The Final Fantasy VII that gave us one of the most memorable moments in gaming history, emotion is essential.
One way Square Enix could be rounding off the cast by bringing in A list talent. We know this because at Tokyo Game Show, in a new trailer showing off some more plot points, Don Corneo was revealed. Now I won’t even go into why that character was fun to see returning, but I need to point out the voice.
The big rumor right now is that the voice featured is that of Mark Hamill. It wouldn’t be far fetched either, as Hamill is a prolific voice actor, most well known for portraying the Joker. I could also point out that he has worked with Square Enix before, on Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as Master Eraqus.
Mark Hamill by himself would be a true delight, and having even more talent of his caliber will make certain of a more memorable experience.
A huge detail in footage from Tokyo Game Show, was the return of Ifrit. Ifrit is one of the iconic summons of the Final Fantasy series, and up to this point had not been confirmed. This was an amazing development, as summons in Final Fantasy VII are not just powerful attacks, but truly powerful moments. They potentially signal the turning of the tide in combat, with their massive damage that can crush most enemies. We are still waiting on more information but just the fact that we know they exist now is an exciting development by itself.
Multiple Editions on Release
Following recent trends, Final Fantasy VII will be releasing with multiple editions. There will be a standard edition, a deluxe edition, and a First Class Edition. Each edition comes with its own list of goodies and preorder bonuses. Notably, the First Class Edition is a Square Enix store exclusive and will feature an incredible looking Cloud statue.
With plenty of time til release, we will have to wait to see what all of the final products will look like. I am confident however, that this package will be a quality one. All of the details we have learned over just the past couple weeks, show a true labor of love.
Final Fantasy VII: Remake will be releasing on March 3, 2020 on Playstation 4.