Final Fantasy VII Remake Review


It’s time to take a look at 2020’s Game of the Year title. I’ve been waiting many years for Final Fantasy VII Remake to come out and it was all worth it. You can feel the polish and development time that went into this title. It’s easily the most theatrical game I’ve played since FF XIII-2 and it is fair to say that this one is even higher budget. You could make a case for this being the best Square game yet. I would have to ultimately have it top FF XIII-2 and Kingdom Hearts 2 as the best RPG. It’s really just a definitive title and one that has a ton of content. After beating the game which took around 24 hours, that’s just the tip of the content here.

So the story starts by introducing us to Avalanche. They are a group of terrorists who are trying to blow up various Mako reactors across the planet. The reactors are controlled by a company known as Shinra which basically owns the planet. While this does make life a lot better for many, Shinra excludes the poor who have to live under a dome. Avalanche intends to bring the world back to how it used to be by blowing everything up. There will be a lot of casualties but the idea is that it will ultimately make the planet a better place. To this end, the group has hired a mercenary named Cloud. The guy’s an Ex-SOLDIER which means that he is pretty tough. SOLDIERS in this universe are people who were bathed in Mako and trained by Shinra to be ultimate fighting warriors. Cloud’s just in it for the money but sooner or later he’s going to have to make a decision. Keep on helping Avalanche and fighting Shinra or going his own way.

The plot is ever changing in just about every RPG but especially in something like Final Fantasy. That plot really describes the first few hours and then things change quite a lot. Part of the fun is seeing all of those story details so I won’t go much farther than that. As it adapts the content you’re used to, you will notice one new subplot involving some ghosts that keep flying around and messing with people. It’s a pretty interesting plot and the game gives you a lot of foreshadowing that this will be important. The game goes in some pretty interesting directions by the end. I can’t say much more than that, but what I will say is that I’m not even more hyped for the sequel. It’s really a superb ending in every way.

The climax is pretty great. You certainly have a lot of boss fights to sift through and great visuals. It’s also pretty challenging so make sure you’re ready. I lost the fight the first time so I had to regroup and barely clutched it out the second time. That’s one of the fun parts about the game. There are a lot of times where you will be at the edge of your seat throughout a boss because you’re so low on health and it feels good to get the win. A lot of the battles came down to a last hit situation. It’s a tough game that doesn’t feel unfair. You can always polish up your fundamentals in order to have an easier fight. I didn’t notice many locations for grinding EXP but you could also do that if needed. This is probably the first RPG in a while where I didn’t do any grinding this time. There just wasn’t a need to do so for me.

Some bosses did take around 30-40 minutes as a result though. It’s the price of being low level but it was worth it. I admit that if I had lost any of those fights that would have been unfortunate though. I came really close so many times. My advice is to always make sure you have a bunch of Phoenix Downs and potions. Keep in mind that you can’t use any items unless you have an ATB gauge loaded up so you may also want to equip Revival earrings as well just in case. Those activate automatically so you don’t need to worry about not using the item in time by mistake.

As expected the graphics here are absolutely top tier and same for the audio. It feels like a full movie experience and this game could easily pass itself off as a movie if needed. You could stitch these cutscenes together and just add a few new ones for fights and it could be ready for theaters right away. In particular a game like this always needs a great opening and FF VII delivers absolutely. Then we’ve got the soundtrack which is over 6 hours long according to Youtube’s playlist. That’s pretty crazy. I love to see all the variety here and the various remixes of the classic themes are intense. One of them even seemed to borrow from Advent Children which was a really nice touch.

I haven’t really talked about the gameplay but it is naturally pretty great. It’s a real time 3D hack and slash as you try to destroy the opponents in front of you. One change here that makes it a bit more like an RPG is that you can’t use any items unless you have enough meter which effectively makes it “your turn” to do an action. It makes the battles more intense because you can always choose to use a super attack, use a summon, use an item, or use a spell. Each one costs a spell bar and the only way to build it back up is to attack an enemy with normal attacks. What this means is that if you’re on low health and you just used a bar on an attack, it’ll be a little bit before you can use a potion. Keep this in mind when planning what you will do.

In most battles there will be 3 of you in the party so you can switch to them at any point. You can also just give them orders like which attack to use. For the most part they will never use any super attacks or spells unless you tell them to so when you switch over to them they will probably have a full bar. I recommend telling them to do something whenever they charge up. Also if you have it, give one of them the auto cure spell as soon as possible because that’s a spell they can use on their own whenever you’re low on health. The parry technique is also very handy here. Try to block and counter as often as possible because it builds up the opponent’s stagger meter pretty quickly and can put them in a pressured state. There are a lot of nuances to the gameplay but you’ll pick it up pretty quickly.

There is also the occasional level that uses different gameplay. I always think it’s pretty impressive when a game adds a new gameplay style even if it will only be used for a level or two. A good example of this is the motorcycle levels. There are only two of them in the game but they’re both a ton of fun. It’s a nice change of pace and as I also love racing games what beats mixing the two up like this right? In Advent Children Cloud was definitely a really good expert on a bike so it’s good to see him get to use those skills again here.

As mentioned, the length here is pretty good. It took me around 24 hours to beat the main campaign and that’s considering that I didn’t really do any side quests. The closest to that was when I decided to quickly take a ride on the slide at the park. Beyond that I just played the game straight through and never looked back. I can also see the Platinum Trophy for this game being pretty difficult so that’ll take time too. Even without a post game this would be worth the 60 bucks and with all of the extra content it goes without saying. It’ll be very difficult for any game to take this one down even in the next few years unless they suddenly announce the next Super Smash. Final Fantasy VII Remake did what all Final Fantasy games tend to achieve, it has once again set the bar higher for all AAA titles.

The game has a ton of highs and no real lows so what was the best part? Well, the best part of the game to me would actually be the opening act. Everything up til they destroyed the first Mako Reactor was my absolute favorite part of the game. In part I think it’s because it was the intro so I was still absorbing everything as this really fun movie. It’s all incredibly impressive and while the game never lets up, it’s hard to forget such a beginning. I also liked Cloud’s personality quite a lot in the intro with how direct he can be. The guy was pretty fed up with everything at that point so it made for a lot of great banter between him and Barret. Of course, they had a lot of great scenes after that as well like running up the stairs to the top floor. That segment is great so I hope you don’t choose the elevator there. In general the first act just feels like a really solid mystery thriller. I also liked Cloud’s first confrontation with Reno and Rude. Considering how terrible they looked in Advent Children it’s nice to see how they used to be fairly powerful.

There aren’t a lot of boss fights against human type opponents so enjoy them when they show up. From fighting another SOLDIER to taking on a Shinra boss, it’s always hype fighting another human. These battles really test your knowledge of the parry system as well as your pure fundamentals. You’ll need them if you’re going to take them out. In particular the fight on the roof against the gun wielder was a lot of fun. The fight against Rude was also a lot of fun with the various hand to hand techniques he would use against you.

The cast is also pretty great as expected. Cloud’s basically a perfect lead who does whatever he can to help his friends out. It’s also pretty nice to see his character arc here now that you know the events of Crisis Core and Advent Children so you’ve already got a pretty broad scope of what he’s been through/will go through. Tifa is also a lot of fun as always and tries to be a moral compass for the group. Barret’s probably been helped the most by this remake as I didn’t really notice the guy so much in the original but here he is one of the starring characters. He gets a lot of great moments throughout the game and I really like all of his enthusiasm for the cause. This guy definitely believes in saving the planet whole heartedly even if Cloud thinks he is crazy.

Aerith is more of a mixed bag for me though. She keeps a lot of secrets throughout the game and is intentionally not helpful. Talking a little more early on would have helped out quite a bit. I’m sure she has her own reasons for doing all of this of course, but until we see what those are she can be more annoying than helpful. It doesn’t help that in a fight she’s my least favorite ally to have. She’s good for aerial enemies but beyond that give me Tifa and Barret any day.

The other fighters from Avalanche are cool as well. I’m not a fan of Wedge and he’s mostly there just to give the group more of an unguarded fellow. Biggs is a solid member who seems like your average soldier. He’s got a sense of humor and is a nice guy. I liked having him around. Then you have Jesse who gets a big role here. She’s fun and charismatic although based on some dialogue from the other members she does like stringing people along. Cloud doesn’t fall for it, but this is a bit dubious so it’ll keep her from passing Biggs here. There are a bunch of other supporting characters of course but those are the main ones.

For the villains, well Sephiroth is awesome as always whenever he shows up to mess with Cloud. A lot of the time you have to decide if he is really there or if it’s just Cloud’s head messing with him. Get ready for a lot of seizures. Cloud had a lot of those in Advent Children but he usually didn’t get them quite so much in the OG timeline so you have to wonder what’s affecting him so much. The SHINRA vice president Rufus is a lot of fun here. I didn’t care for him much in AC, but here he seems like a pretty tough boss and in general just a guy that you don’t want to mess with. The other SHINRA leads are less memroable but serve their purpose as good villains. The mad scientist is more on the iffy side. He’d be my least favorite villain if not for the Don also being around. That guy was definitely the weakest one.

Reno and Rude are solid villains as well. Despite all their tough talk and how they act like they have morals they still do everything their boss tells them to do so I still see them as villains. There’s also another SOLDIER who shows up at one point which was interesting. I thought all of the SOLDIERS were already dead by this point outside of Cloud so I wonder how he will play into the sequels or if other SOLDIERS will show up. I guess it makes sense there would be more, we just usually don’t show them. Assuming they are all First Class level that will make for some pretty fun boss fights soon. Somehow I doubt any of them would be quite as strong as Sephiroth, Genesis, or Zack so Cloud should be okay though.

Overall, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a superb game. It is excellent in all aspects and there is not a single weak point to be found in the game. The gameplay is stellar, the cutscenes are out of this world, and the soundtrack is quite dynamic. When you mix all of this together then what you have is an amazing package that ism’t likely going to be defeated anytime soon. I’m hoping the wait for the next installment isn’t too long though. Now that we have all of the character models and assets (Aside from new characters who need to show up) I like to think that we could have part 2 by late 2021 but most likely I guess it would be late 2022. That sounds like ages away though. Ah well, in the meantime it’ll let us discuss the ending a lot more. I’m looking forward to reading the Reddit theories and watching the Youtube ones.

Overall 9/10

Sephiroth vs Redips




Suggested by Anonymous Redips is an incredibly powerful Maverick. He was the final boss of Command Mission which speaks a great deal to his power in itself. His speed may not be great but his durability is out of this world. Meanwhile Sephiroth excels in all stats, but his speed is his greatest strength. It all comes down to whether or not you think his slashes would be able to pierce through Redip’s armor. I believe it would be able to and as a result there is no way Sephiroth doesn’t win this match. He is positioned perfectly to do so. Sephiroth wins.

Noivern vs Sephiroth




Suggested by Anonymous Sephiroth is a powerful swordsman and one of the strongest fighters in all of Final Fantasy. Noivern is a skilled flyer and has a lot of projectiles of his own, but I don’t believe that they will be able to deter such a powerful figure. Sephiroth is fast enough to dodge all of Noivern’s moves and also has enough durability to repel them as well. The fact of the matter is that these two are in different leagues. Sephiroth wins.

Rudy (Ice Age) vs Sephiroth




Suggested by Anonymous Sephiroth is a very powerful enemy in Final Fantasy VII. He would be able to defeat Rudy in an instant. You can’t even begin to compare these two when it comes to fighting ability. Rudy is at the end of the day, just a dinosaur. Usually you wouldn’t use the word “just” in that context, but when compared to someone like Sephiroth there is no animal that can really compete. Sephiroth wins.

Accelerator vs Sephiroth




Suggested by Sonic Sephiroth is incredibly fast and may surpass Accelerator in that area. You can barely even react to Sephiroth swinging his sword, but beyond that Sephiroth’s ranged attacks will be less useful here since Accelerator can reflect them all. Accelerator was pretty limited for a time when he needed the network to connect, but on his own he can use his abilities without worry and for a long time. I don’t believe Sephiroth will be able to keep up and since one touch from Accelerator can mean death Sephiroth can’t afford even the slightest mistake. Accelerator wins.

Sephiroth vs Aizen




Suggested by Destroyer Sephiroth is one of the most iconic villains of all time. His skills with a blade are nearly unmatched and it’s hard to keep him down. In a straight fight there are few who can challenge him, but Aizen has no need to engage him like that. He can use his illusions to make the match more difficult and in his final Xenomorph-esque form he has more speed and power than Sephiroth. When you put all of those factors together then it really is the end for the one winged angel. Aizen wins.

Sephiroth vs Jin




Suggested by Destroyer Jin is pretty strong and that’s without his demon mode. He can punch through just about everything and his hand to hand skills are on a level of their own as well. That being said, Sephiroth can still outrange him with his sword and he has enough projectiles to block the lasers. Sephiroth is faster than Jin and he has more durability. That’s enough for him to take the win here. Sephiroth wins.

Megaman SF vs Sephiroth




Suggested by Destroyer Sephiroth still has the most iconic boss theme in video game history. It’s just awesome and Advent Children showed off what he can do in a real fight. He is incredibly fast and his sword gives him a long reach. That being said, Megaman SF is extremely powerful as well. I dare say that he may be faster than Sephiroth and he has a large array of attacks at his disposal. Megaman should have enough tools at his disposal to win this fight. He’ll simply win the match up close and he would also have the edge from afar. Megaman SF wins.

Final Fantasy VII Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 38h 26m
Gil 101166
Cloud Level 63
Terry Level 62
The Sith Level 63

Summon Levels
Ramuh Level 1
Neo Bahamut Level 2
Ifrit Level 4
Hades Level 1
Bahamut Level 2
Phoenix Level 2
Shiva Level 3
Bahamut ZERO Level 1

Final Fantasy VII Review


Well, it’s time for the big one. I started this game ages ago and have finally completed it. Final Fantasy VII is a legendary game that just about everyone has heard of. I became a big fan of this timeline thanks to the Advent Children film which was a complete and utter success. Unfortunately, the game was unable to live up to this level of hype. I was prepared for an amazing game, but ended up with a rather disappointing game. In many ways, FF VII was ahead of its time and was certainly high budget. In other ways, it was simply not up to snuff and really held itself back from a better score.

The plot involves a soldier named Cloud. He doesn’t really remember his past and the villain likes to mess with him quite a lot. He meets up with some resistance members and they decide to take down the corrupt government and save the day. This gets a little complicated when Sephiroth shows himself. He is a being of near limitless power who wants to end the planet. Cloud and his friends are just normal joes, how can they deal with this? They’ll need a lot of Materia (Summoning/Magic crystals) and allies if they want to overcome him. It’s a race against time now.

That’s probably not the best plot summary, but the game is very long with a plot that is constantly adapting as new stories come into play. There are also a lot of side quests and bonus content t hat flesh out the story even more. It’s a legendary game for its plot and this holds up very well. I actually didn’t know much at all about the game despite being a rather big fan of the series in general. A lot of it was all new to me, which was certainly a blast. Cloud’s origin was definitely nice and convoluted and there were so many twists that even I was a little confused by the end. It was in a good way though as it was well thought out and you can understand it as long as you give it enough thought.

The game was also a little more intense than I had been expecting. To be honest, I didn’t notice that the game had blood in it until I stumbled into the lab level where the staff had been viciously attacked. It really came out of nowhere. I will admit that this level was extremely atmospheric and if anything this element made it all the scarier. This was also when the game’s plot started to pick up and get a little more exciting. The beginning of the game is fairly laid back and FF VII likes to slowly build towards the plot. That’s an element that all Final Fantasy games go for as it lets then plot develop the characters and get you to sympathize with them. It’s a good tactic so long as the payoff is really good.

The payoff was worth the wait. Sephiroth is still the best Final Fantasy villain and both of his themes are incredible. The One Winged Angel theme is extremely iconic and it’s certainly great to see the original version of the song. It has all of the memorable beats and is not something that you’d expect from such an old game. Rock/Opera themes like this didn’t really seem to get mainstream until a lot later. Sephiroth also had another theme, which was the surprise hit of the game. It’s a horror theme through and through and with Sephiroth fading in and out like a ghost the whole time, it was really fitting for him.

Final Fantasy is easily the most tense game that I’ve played. It’s the closest to a horror game at these points and as I’ve never played a full horror game before (Or if I have then I can’t recall at the moment) Final Fantasy VII was a nice glimpse of what that would be like. A horror game done well can certainly be good if handled right as this game showed. Even the final bosses had very intense designs as I don’t think you’ll be forgetting Jenova anytime soon.

The graphics are exceptional. In gameplay the character models all hold up well. They are kinda pixely and you can really see that when you play the mods of them in Super Smash Bros, but they are really good for this day and age. Even more impressive is the fact that it had fully animated cutscenes. They weren’t short either as some were quite long. Even the super attacks had them although that’s an iffy point. It goes without saying that the soundtrack is absolutely top notch. You’re not going to find any game that can completely destroy this one in that area as it’s just very solid.

I haven’t touched on the gameplay yet. It’s classic turn based style and that has always aged well. I do miss it to an extent in modern gaming, but if the alternative is that all future Final Fantasy games will go with Kingdom Hearts gameplay….then I have to say that Square Enix made the right call. Real time gameplay is absolutely better although I really love them both. There is a lot of depth to the gameplay as your level isn’t the only thing to think about. Your Limit Level, Equipment, and Summons are all absolutely crucial. A pro tip for any gamers who haven’t played this yet is to make sure that you switch Limit Levels when you unlock a new one. Having a strong Limit Level 3 or even a Level 2 will make a big difference when compared to level 1. I apparently unlocked Level 3 a while back, but I never realized it so I played the whole game on level 1 until the very end. It was a sad moment.

There is a lot of replay value to be found here. You can easily spend over 100 hours on this game and maybe even more. There are numerous pieces of equipment to find and leveling everyone up to the max will take a very long time. There’s a lot of exploring to be done and side quests to complete. Some aren’t even accessible if you wait too long so then you’ll need to start over again. This is the kind of game that never really ends for you unless you put in a crazy amount of time. Even if you just want to play the main story, that’ll last you a while as well.

So…this sounds like a really positive review at the moment right? Well, lets get into the negatives now. One problem with the game is that it got a little too focused on showing off its graphics. Every time you summon a monster, you have to watch a very long and unskippable cutscene. As you’ll be going for many summons, this really ends up dragging out the fight. You’re gonna get sick of watching these cutscenes and there is seriously enough time to go to the kitchen and grab a snack since you can have all 3 of your characters prepare a summon. This means that you have to watch all 3 back to back to back which can take almost 5 minutes. Lets not forget that Sephiroth has his infamous solar system attack which is the longest one in the game.

The first negative was just a mild inconvenience next to this one. This negative is the fact that the map is very bad. Nothing is labelled so you’ll want to have a note pad on hand to write down what all of the islands stand for. Otherwise, you end up being lost for a while as you try to find the location. Wait, it gets worse. There are times in the game where you are given nothing to go on. I got stuck 3 different times in the game and I spent around 10 hours working to get unstuck. I was victorious the first two times, but in the end I finally cracked and ran to Gamefaqs to see what they had to say. I never would have guessed that I had to go into the ocean and find a secret cave towards the top where there were some designs for a cool mech that would lead me to the robot that would break into Sephiroth’s lair. There was absolutely nothing to even suggest this and this felt like a very unfair puzzle. The game had quite a few moments like this and it made the whole experience lose a lot of its enjoyment.

It’s also not very fun to be attacked by minions constantly for taking even a single step. The minions are everywhere and they just keep on coming over and over again. If you made a wrong turn, too bad. You’re gonna have to fight yet another monster. You can run, but then you will still be taking some damage in the mean time. Did I mention that leveling up in this game takes forever? Seriously, don’t expect to get to level 100 anytime soon. The minions are pretty durable and don’t give all that much EXP anyway. That’s why your top priority is developing your limit and finding cool weapons. Those will ultimately make the difference along with some ribbons to protect you from status attacks.

This game can also be a little mean spirited. If you made the mistake of saving once you were in the area of the final bosses and didn’t make another file…then you’re stuck. If you’re at too low a level to defeat Sephiroth, there is now nowhere to safely train and gather your health back. Luckily, I made around 5 files to be on the safe side and gathered a lot of supplies before attempting the boss again. It took me 2 tries, but I managed to secure the hard fought win. I was pretty proud of myself to be honest even if the area before the final boss gauntlet was way too long.

In the end, my main problem with the game is parts of its design. It was just lacking in some basic areas like the map and quality of life concerns. I shouldn’t have to wait through really long battles thanks to the cutscenes and getting lost for hours because the game sent me on a random goose chase is no fun. It’s a shame because the game is a technical masterpiece and the plot is solid. It’s like an AAA game that just didn’t get a great deal of quality control to back it up. I need my quality control which is why I can safely say that Deca Sports was the more enjoyable game. “But that’s crazy!” I’m not saying that Final Fantasy VII is a bad game, but it just wasn’t a fun game most of the time. I was expecting to have a lot more fun with it.

Overall, Final Fantasy VII was a little disappointing. It’s probably my fault for skipping ahead and playing the glorious FF XIII games though. The tough question here is whether to give the game a 5 or a 6. On one hand, my main negative is alleviated if you just buy a guide book or use online resources to get through the puzzles. On the other hand, that’s kind of a cop out. On the other hand, how can you give a game with 5 star graphics/soundtrack/plot and good gameplay a measly out of 10? It’s definitely one of the tougher decisions that I’ve had to make. It also brings Majora’s Mask into the picture as it’s in a very similar situation to FF VII. It has many of the same negatives with regards to the unfair puzzles, but its strengths are a bit weaker. That game I had been leaning towards a 5 on as well, but that puzzle wasn’t even as unfair as FF VII’s. The 3 day system is madness, but at least you can still make it if you keep on practicing long enough and looking for clues. It’s still a poorly conceived puzzle to be clear, but it’s not as drastic since you at least know where to look. Why can’t more games be like Layton? I was stuck there for around the same time as this game, but it never got upsetting as the puzzle was just very fair. Well, I gotta go with my gut here. Being enjoyable is still a game’s top priority. FF VII messed that up and so I can’t really cut it any slack. It will join other legendary titles like Star Fox Zero, Mario Party 10, Sword Art Online Lost Song, Frogger, and Nintendogs in the 5 star ranks. Hey, it’s still not a bad game and if you don’t mind wandering around for a while and being constantly attacked by enemies, then this is right up your alley. In the mean time, I’ll be looking forward to the remake as the gameplay shift should end up helping out a lot.

Overall 5/10