I’ve played through it twice, once on Normal and once on Classic.
First off, the nostalgia from the music alone is unreal. I love the new version of the opening bombing mission theme, and it really helped drive home that this remake is really happening.
Moving on to more tangible things, Cloud and Barrett’s personalities feel on point so far, and I like what they’ve done with the Avalanche members.
I enjoyed the dialogue during the demo, and I’m looking forward to (presumably) getting to know Jessie, Wedge, and Biggs better across the course of the game. At one point there’s a little bit of background banter between Jessie and Biggs, and I hope there are more conversations like that in the full game.
Anyway, the public demo is missing flashbacks that will be present in this sequence in the final release, so I’m looking forward to that as well.
The gameplay feels pretty good. At first the camera felt odd, but it didn’t bother me much once I got into it. The normal combat system is interesting. It’s certainly action, but pausing to pick special moves and switching between characters made it feel slower and more tactical. I was also bad at it, so I’ll need to pay more attention to dodging and blocking if I go with Normal in the full game.
I tried out Classic mode for my second playthrough. Classic is locked into the Easy difficulty setting, so between that and the AI being much better at dodging/blocking than I was, fights were significantly easier (although I still had to heal myself occasionally).
Classic mode doesn’t feel like a true turn-based RPG, and battles against weaker enemies are a bit odd since sometimes the auto-attacks are enough to defeat them, but I still kinda like it. It’s… relaxing, compared to the regular gameplay mode, and it lets you really focus more on the choices you’re making. I’m interested to see how it feels later in the game when enemies get tougher. (I’d also like the ability to select Normal difficulty with Classic mode, but I don’t think they’ll add that.)
Overall I’m pretty happy with the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo. It doesn’t answer my major questions about how the bulk of the game will play out (how much exploration is there? what are side quests like? will the city actually feel alive?), but the start feels good and I’m looking forward to playing the full thing on April 10!---
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