Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Review – Nostalgia Overload With Technical Flaws

Title – Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

Platforms – PS5

Release Date –  February 29th, 2024

Developer – Square Enix

Publisher – Square Enix

MSRP – $69.99

ESRB – T for Teen

Purchase – Amazon

Disclaimer – Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth was reviewed on the PS5. Thanks to Square Enix for providing a digital review code. Gaming Instincts is an Amazon Affiliate and does gain financial benefits if you choose to purchase this product on this page.


The second episode of the ever-much-anticipated Final Fantasy 7 Remake is finally here after almost four years since the release of the first episode back in 2020. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth continues the epic adventure of Cloud, Tifa, Barret, and others on their quest to find Sephiroth. The second installment introduces players to the open-world sections of the remake and gets them acquainted with new characters, gameplay improvements, side quests, and more. So, was the wait and hype worth it? Let’s find out! Welcome to our review of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.

Open-World Gameplay

The biggest addition of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is the open-world regions. Many fans were concerned, nervous, and excited at the same with how Square Enix will be handling the open-world portions of Final Fantasy 7 and how they will translate to the modern era of gaming. I was also very curious and excited and I am going to have to be brutally honest that I was hoping for something a bit more than what Square Enix has decided to do here as far as the open-world design. To put it very bluntly it seems that Square Enix has decided to take a few notes from Ubisoft and add a Final Fantasy twist to it and call it a day.

The first open-world section of the game that you will partake in is in the Grasslands. This region is visually pretty, has a ton of bright and vibrant colors, and is fun to run around in. Just like in most Ubisoft titles, you will be seeking out Remnawave Towers that are guarded by fiends that then can be activated to further survey the open world regions. These towers will help you other useful intel to activate or discover. Towers are not the only thing you will be looking for, but also Fiend Battles which act as combat challenges with specific monsters and defeating them under certain conditions. If you are successful then Chadley (yes, the Chadley from the first part of the Remake) will give you additional challenges in the combat simulator.

Then there are Summon Sanctuaries that you have to look in order to unlock the ability to take on new summons in Chadley’s combat simulator. Defeat them there and then they are unlocked. Finding more sanctuaries of the same summon will make the battle easier. There are also Lifesprings that teach you about the region’s flora and fauna. Then there are Chocobo assignments where you are required to tame a Chocobo so that you may be granted access to ride it and explore the region at a much faster speed. Every region has a unique Chocobo with their own traversal abilities. Some may scale up flat falls, others may jump big distances by hopping on giant mushrooms. Oh and one more thing, Chocobos are not the only way to travel in such big regions, but for now it’s best that you will discover it for yourself during your play session.

In a nutshell, you are not really forced to do any of this stuff and can completely skip out on it and just progress through the main storyline. However, not doing the open-world exploration may make future boss battles much more difficult than they need to be. And your characters may also not be as powerful because when you do not explore the world that also means you are fighting a lot less monsters and losing out on a lot of potential experience. On top of that, exploring the open world is an excellent way to experiment with a variety of different materia and party setups and of course leveling the materia itself and unlocking powerful summons that can be extremely useful later down the line.

Last but not least, there is the phenomenon intel that is probably the most engaging and interesting in the open world sections of the game. This type of intel usually leads to mini-narratives that involve some past characters that you’ve might of met before in the previous entry of the remake. These discovering usually end up being multi-part quests that may involve some sort of a puzzle, stealth or particular combat scenarios. They are also a lot more light-hearted and tend to be goofy. Think of these are fun cool activities to take a break from the main questline with their own rewards.

Some may say that Square Enix took too much out of Ubisoft’s playbook when it comes to activating towers but in all honesty it isn’t that bad. Also, it’s worth noting that the open world map does not get bloated like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or any of the other Assassin’s Creed titles. So if you are worried about an open world clutter, do not fear because here is very little of it here compared to other well known open world titles.

Overall, I wasn’t sure to what really expect out of the open-world areas and honestly if I was in Square’s shoes I’d be pretty terrified in trying to figure out what would be the best way to tackle something like this. Some may find activating towers as a lazy attempt at open-world design while others will simply just go with the flow and enjoy exploring every nook and cranny to their hearts content and then someone else may just skip it all together and just bum rush to the end too see the cliffhanger ending. The reality is, is that no matter what Square Enix would of have done with the open-world regions in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth it would be simply impossible for them to satisfy every single Final Fantasy 7 fan on the planet.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

For me personally though, I believe that it gets the job done for the most part, but in my opinion I think they could of came up with something a bit more spicy or interesting. The exploration can be fun and is engaging at times, but when you get to the next few regions it starts to feel like chore where you run from one intel to the next rather than actual enjoyment. I wish they would have done something different in the place of towers when it came to discovering more of the land or interest points. But perhaps it was just the easiest thing to come up with and made the most sense when it came to getting this product out in time. The good thing is though you are not forced to do it and then open world sections do offer you the freedom of how to pace your entire play through.

Combat, Gameplay Loop and New Additions

If you’ve played the first part of the remake back in 2020 then you will be no stranger to the combat system in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. For the most part its pretty much identical. You still have your regular ATB (active time battle) system and “pressure” and “staggered” stages and you can still block and parry as usual. You are able to switch to different characters on the fly and can only have a total of three party members during a combat scenario. You can only swap out party members when you are out of combat . However, there will be moments where you will be stuck with specific characters due to where you are in the story, but those events are only in very certain sections of the game and do not happen very often.

My favorite part about the combat system is trying to learn the boss fights and what works against them and what does not. Then once you have figured out that your next step is to try to come up with the best materia and party setup for the big battle ahead of you. If you fail the boss fight, you can always retry and go for a completely different strategy with a new set of party members, materia and summons. The combat system is simple at first, but can get more in-depth and quite interesting if you really decide to dig into it.

The game offers “Story” and “Normal” mode. Story mode makes the combat very trivial and just makes it so the player goes through the game and enjoys at their own pace without getting too frustrated when it comes to boss battles and combat difficulty in general. Normal mode is how the developers have intended the game to be experienced from the get go. It’s not too hard, but it’s not too easy either and gives you a good balance of difficulty. I personally played the game through the normal mode and was quite satisfied with how everything felt.

As previously mentioned, the open-world sections of the game do kind of tie in now into the core combat. By doing open-world activities you can discover new materia, level up your current materia, participate in combat challenges under certain conditions, discover and unlock new summons and find new gear as well for your party members. The open world is basically where the new elements come into play if you were to compare and ask what is different in combat between Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Other than that, it felt pretty much identical.

There is also another new system that complements the character progression and that is the Folio system. It kind of reminded me a bit of the sphere grid system from Final Fantasy 10. As you play and level up your characters through combat you unlock SP (skill points) and can pick a choose new abilities or flat stat increases for each of your party members. It’s nothing ground-breaking, but it does add another element of customization. The best part about it is that it allows you to spec into new synergy abilities and those are ton of fun to use.

As far as the core gameplay goes the loop is very simple. You go from area to area, watch a ton of story cut-scenes, proceed to fight something, then maybe finally get to a new open world section with even more cut-scenes and then you are visiting a new town and rinse and repeat and that is the overall pace of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. In the first part, you were mostly going from one linear area to another linear area with cut-scenes and battles in between. Rebirth just simply adds the open world regions where you are free to do what you want at your own pace and completely switch it up if your heart desires to do so.

Now one really cool aspect about Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is the addition of a bunch of new mini-games. There is a lot of cool side stuff now and one of them is a brand new card mini-game called Queen’s Blood. If you’ve ever played The Witcher 3’s Gwent card game then you kind of have an idea of what I am talking about. Except that Queen’s Blood is Square Enix’s version for Final Fantasy. Throughout your journey you will come across NPCs that offer you to challenge them in a game of Queen’s Blood. Queen’s Blood at first was a bit confusing, but after about challenging three to five opponents I got the hang of it and it was a ton of fun.

Basically, the objective of this card game is to earn more points than your opponent and you do that by placing cards on the board and each card may require a certain amount of pins on the player’s side of the board in order to be played. Basically you want to play it in such a way where you can block your opponent from placing anymore cards on any of the three possible rows. As you beat more and more opponents you get more and more cards that you can then later use to build new decks. You can also buy card boosters from certain NPCs as well, so make sure you explore each and every town you end up visiting. I don’t want to spend too much talking about it, but it was worth mentioning because I had a lot of fun with it and I highly suggest you give it a shot.

Then there are other mini-games that also caught me by surprise. I won’t mention what they are and will just let you discover them on your own. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is best experienced when you have as little information about it as possible.

Visuals and Technical Performance

It’s now time that we talk about the visuals and overall performance of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but considering that we are now almost four years onto the PS5 and Xbox Series X console life cycle I was expecting a bit more when it came to technical performance to the latest entry in the remake saga of Final Fantasy 7. For the most part, Rebirth looks pretty much identical to Final Fantasy 7 Remake as far as the art style and that is a good thing because you want to keep everything consistent throughout. However there are going to be quite a lot of times when you just look around the environment and go like “what the hell am I looking at?” and then proceed saying to yourself “Why does this texture looking like hot blurry mess?” Look, I wasn’t expecting some insane crazy next-gen drop dead gorgeous visuals or anything like that, but neither was I expecting ancient looking flat textures.

I believe that Square Enix kind of put themselves into a tight spot with the Final Fantasy 7 Remake saga. Unreal Engine 4 was fantastic during the PS4 era. However, with Rebirth going into the open-world  a more capable machine was needed, which is where the PS5 comes into play. If the open world did not exist, the game would still be easily playable on the PS4. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth simply just looks like a cross-gen title which is very sad to say. A PS5 Pro console and a PC version of the game need to hurry up, because the performance in Rebirth is not a good one and here is why.

There are two graphical modes including “Performance” and “Graphics” as they are called in the game’s menu. The graphics mode goes for 4K resolution but poor FPS that barely seems to sit at 30 and probably drops even lower, especially during open world and big boss battles that have a ton of effects going on the screen all at the same time. Due to the poorer framerate, it’s kind of annoying trying to fight bosses considering there is so much going on screen at the same time, everything starts to kind of blur together and trying to time a perfect parry with such FPS will be no easy task. Yeah, everything will look pretty, but it will put the game into a “not so fun to play” state.

I played and finished the game using performance mode which thankfully was pretty much at locked 60 for majority of the time. However, there was a massive drop in the game’s resolution and the you can very clearly the blurriness in the already bad looking textures and even characters themselves kind of start too look a tad weird. But thankfully, the game’s gripping story, and fun combat system and its open world regions kept me going from start to finish.

With that being said, I am a bit worried and fearful of what will happen to the third part of the Remake if it’s utilizing Unreal Engine 4 again which is supposedly coming sometime in 2028. I am hoping that by then, Square Enix decides to switch to Unreal Engine 5 and puts the previous two entries as well. The one very good thing about Unreal Engine 5 is that its very easy to transfer over your already made game and assets from Unreal Engine 4 to 5.

By 2028, PS6 should be out and I am deeply hoping for a complete edition of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake saga all running on UE5, that will be truly the ultimate way to play the entire remake from start to finish. But perhaps its just wishful thinking. Overall, the game’s art direction and style is good and I am happy with it. But I was hoping that the performance would be a bit better considering that this is PS5 title only. Honestly, not releasing this game simultaneously on the PC is huge mistake in my humble opinion.

It’s also worth noting that Square is indeed releasing a performance patch, but unfortunately due to limited time we had to finish the game before the patch was implemented. I can’t give you an update on how the patch will actually impact the performance once this review is out due to timing of all of this. Technical issues aside, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is still a very enjoyable game, but I have to be as transparent and as fair as possible to both Square and our audience to all the aspects of this much anticipated title. With that out of the way, let’s quickly talk a bit about the story without any spoilers.

The Story So Far

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

picks up right after the end of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake otherwise also known as the first part of the remake. We’re not going to be talking about any story spoilers here, but if you’ve played the demo of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth then you already know exactly how the second part begins. As a fan of the original though I just wanted to say that Square Enix did an amazing job at re-creating the crazy twists that happen throughout. On top of that, they have also managed to tell parts of the story that they have not been able to before with the original game back in 1997.

Some may say that it’s not a true one-to-one remake when it comes to the story aspect but I would respectfully disagree with that opinion and believe that adding additional context and story bits that didn’t exist before is a good thing rather than a bad thing. But just like anything in life, it is not possible to make everyone happy. Regardless though, I sincerely believe that what Square Enix has done here storywise the majority of the old-school fans will be more than pleased.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

I think the biggest strengths that Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth has when it comes to the lore of its universe are the characters and their background stories. Each and every character in Final Fantasy 7 is memorable in their own right for different reasons. For me personally I find Tifa and Barret the most entertaining.  If you loved them in the original game and the first part of the remake, then you will continue to love them even more in this one. The new cut-scenes are also a ton of fun to watch and gives you a whole new perspective that you’ve never been able to experience before due to much weaker technology at the time.

It’s hard to continue to talk about the game’s storyline without spoiling it, so I will just simply say that I believe the fans will be very pleased. Thanks to modern technology Square is now able to tell the story how they originally intended too. Whether you are new to Final Fantasy 7 or a long time fan then you are in for a big treat on experiencing an awesome story.

Final Verdict

I had a ton of fun with Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth as far as the story, characters, cut-scenes and the core combat goes. I think most fans will as well. If you are hoping to relive the awesome moments of the epic storyline once again that utilizes modern technology then your wish has been granted. However, if you are looking for a completely flawless experience with amazing visual fidelity and incredible open world gameplay then Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth won’t fit the bill. The core objective of this remake was too hit hard on the nostalgia and it 100% achieves that.

However, some of the open-world design choices that are a bit similar to Ubisoft and the technical flaws kind of hamper the overall experience. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is a game that is coming out of the last era of gaming and you could just tell its not really utilizing current-gen hardware to its fullest potential and that is very unfortunate. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth could have been a complete masterpiece if it did not have the technical problems that I’ve previously covered.

Despite those complaints though, there is still a great game underneath and I believe that every Final Fantasy 7 fan should still play it and enjoy it. There is a great tale to be experienced here. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth will be receiving a final verdict of 8.5 out of 10.

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There is a lot of fun to be had here when it comes to the core mechanics of the game such as the combat. However, the open world stuff can eventually start feeling like a bit of a chore


Okay visuals but not much better looking than Final Fantasy Remake and has some awful looking textures especially in performance mode and FPS doesn’t even sit at consistent 30FPS on graphics mode


Fantastic memorable soundtrack that everyone knows and loves. Voice acting can be a hit or miss with certain characters


35-45 hours for the main storyline, but probably close to 100 hours for full completion if you are going for all the open world stuff and platinum trophy