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02/14/2021 12:18:03 •••

Two steps forward, one step back

Final Fantasy VII was always one of the more popular installments in the series, so remaking it always seemed like a given, but it's a bit more surprising that the remake only focuses on the Midgar part of the game. The end result is a very good game in its own right, but one that doesn't always improve on the original.

The graphics are amazing, especially in comparison to how the original hasn't aged well, and the OST is excellent.

The remake is an action-RPG, in which you charge the ATB Gauge through attacking and/or waiting, and spend ATB charges to use spells, abilities or items. Rather than simply hacking away at your enemies, you're best off exploiting their weaknesses to fill the Stagger gauge, to knock them down and make them vulnerable. It's a fun mechanic, but I often found that bosses transitioned to their next phase before I could fill the Stagger gauge. The bosses are generally rather fun, but some can be a bit too long. It can also be rather difficult to recover if one or more party members are KOed and the remaining ones are at low health.

The Adaptation Expansion has its pros and cons, which I will discuss below.

On the plus side, it allows time for more Character Development for the cast and screentime for otherwise minor characters(see the characters paragraph). It also provides room for more worldbuilding, especially since Midgar is one of the more fascinating settings in an FF game.

The characters are generally quite well-done. Biggs, Wedge and Jessie are no longer Red Shirts, but have enough personality to be memorable supporting characters. Shinra is just as evil as ever, but it's also significantly more intelligent, and its acts of cruelty generally serve a greater plan. Sephiroth is an enigmatic villain, but his introduction in the remake lacks the impact he had in the original, where after being built up for some time, he debuts by killing President Shinra to establish himself as the Big Bad.

On the minus side, it ends up being detrimental to the pacing. Entire areas seem to be added to pad out the game, particularly both trips to the sewers (which had only a single boss fight in the original) and much of Hojo's lab in the penultimate chapter. By comparison, the original was faster-paced and more engaging, especially since it only took place over the course of a few days. The sidequests can also be somewhat tedious, especially those that involve hunting down monsters. Since you can't go back and do them once you progress the story, I felt pressured to do as many as possible, but ultimately decided to skip most of the last batch of sidequests.

Without spoiling too much, the game had an appropriately climactic final battle, but it's clear that this is only the beginning, and subsequent installments will likely be more different from the original than this one was.

All in all, the Final Fantasy VII remake improves upon the original in many ways, even if the pacing leaves much to be desired.

02/14/2021 00:00:00

...Got you doing it, huh?

I liked the demo I played, but I never did get to try out the full package. May change soon. My living situation\'s in a state of ultra-flux at the moment.

One thing I was iffy on was the way in which so many things besides basic attacks were gated behind the turn-equivalent, meaning the unstable equilibrium factor is fairly high and swings against the player, and that it\'s pretty hard to deal with flying enemies sometimes. Then again, I\'d just played a loooot of Dark Souls, and the controls were giving me a bad case of Damn You, Muscle Memory!.

02/14/2021 00:00:00

Got me doing what, exactly?

I agree that flying enemies can be difficult to deal with, especially when you don\'t have Barret with you. Aerial combos worked somewhat better in Kingdom Hearts.

02/14/2021 00:00:00

Sorry. Guess I flattered myself. I have a lot of reviews here titled X Step(s) Forward, X Step(s) Back.

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