Follow TV Tropes
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.
There's a lot that can be said for Square Enix's reimagining of their Magnum Opus, both good and bad. Thankfully, it leans mostly towards the former end of the scale. In fact, I actually found that I prefer this new take on our beloved cast of eco-terrorists.
First and foremost is the vastly improved characterization of Cloud and Co., thanks to outstanding English voice acting and expanded cutscenes that bring them to life in ways that we were left to imagine in the original game. In the original, I barely remembered Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge,despite playing FF VII several times. But now, they've become my favorite characters, next to Cloud and Tifa. They seem like real people now, instead of just being NPCs you forget about later.
I also really like the new combat engine. It's not as deep or intuitive as the Tales Of series, but it's serviceable and I had a blast once I finally got the hang of it. Once I learned how to string their basic and special attacks without constantly opening menus, and how to keep enemies staggered, I was able to mow down enemy mobs in in mere seconds and boss fights became far more enjoyable.
But, as with most things, there were some parts I could've done without. Aerith, in particular, being the primary sore spot. In the original and especially Advent Children, she's an endearing character. The Remake makes her anything but, so I'll stick with the previous version.
My only other gripe is that the enemy AI only tagets whichever character you're controlling. So prepare to be ganged up on a lot, while the AI completely ignores your teammates. Made worse since your AI controlled party members are set to 'brain dead', whereas the enemy AI is set to ruthless and efficient. It made me wish SE had borrowed the Tales series tactics menu option for fine tuning your AI teammates.
Aside from that and a couple of minor nitpicks, I enjoyed my time with the Remake and would definitely recommend it. It has a few blemishes, but nothing so godawful that it ruins the game. It's proof that change (as far as game mechanics and its story) can be good... for the most part.
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?