Operation Backlog Completion 2024
May 082020

The Final Fantasy VII Remake was my most-anticipated game of 2020, and now I’ve finished my playthrough.

While it’s been pretty divisive among fans, I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the game. It’s not perfect, but it has a lot of good things, and the good ultimately outweighs the bad.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is a remake of the opening hours of the original Final Fantasy VII – the Midgar section. I did not enjoy Midgar in the original, so I was a little wary when the remake’s scope was first revealed. Here, Midgar has been expanded into a full-length game, with everything redone in more detail.

And… it works. Mostly.

There are sections of this game that are absolutely fantastic. I grew to care about Jessie, Wedge, and Biggs much more than I ever did in the original, and I loved spending time in the Midgar sectors. While the city isn’t open, you have several small hub areas that function like typical JRPG towns, even though they’re sections of a larger city here.

A handful of side quests are available at certain parts of the game, and while they aren’t great (and I wasn’t crazy about it having set points where the story encouraged you to go do side quests), I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in Midgar itself.

The NPC dialogue is fantastic. While each area has only a handful of NPCs you can specifically talk to, you hear dialogue and conversations as you walk around. This dialogue changes as you progress through the game, and it was great to hear NPCs react differently to me due to Cloud helping out as a mercenary. Beyond that, there are a lot of fun conversations you can overhear as well as foreshadowing for events later in the game.

It also helps contextualize Avalanche’s actions more than ever before, as you hear people react to the aftermath of the reactor bombing. Midgar citizens are suffering because of it, and the game doesn’t shy away from that.

Click for early Final Fantasy VII Remake spoilers
Even though Shinra caused the explosion to be much greater than it should have been, that doesn’t take away from the emotional impact. Barret and the others all believe their bomb caused the destruction, and they still make the decision to go ahead with the next one.

I mentioned the Avalanche trio in particular as characters I grew attached to, but it really did a great job with all of the characters. I was worried about Barret and Aerith in particular, but the remake kept true to their personalities and brought them to life. I was also pleased with how well they handled the Shinra characters.

Now, expanding a short section like Midgar into a full-length game requires you to add a lot of content… and yes, there is some padding.

It’s unfortunate, because some new sections left me thrilled with what the remake was doing, while others felt like they only existed to make the game longer. Parts like the trip with Jessie are great, but then there are times when you make an unnecessarily long detour – sometimes to the detriment of the game’s story pacing, too.

We’re in the middle of an urgent story beat; can’t this side story about ghost children wait?!

I think the Final Fantasy VII Remake would have been ideal if it cut out of those parts and stretched further into the main game’s story instead, but that might have been more difficult. Leaving Midgar is a good stopping point for a self-contained game.

Gameplay-wise, I felt it had a good progression and I enjoyed the combat once I got used to it. There are a little secrets to find, occasional mini-games, and a lot of goofy moments that delighted me.

Click for Final Fantasy VII Remake gameplay section spoilers
Yes, you can choose to walk up all the flights of stairs in the Shinra building.

You have no idea how happy this made me.

Nearly everything I wanted to see was there, with only one part from the original altered dramatically enough to disappoint me.

And then there’s the ending, easily the most controversial part of the remake. I am still conflicted about that. I have some thoughts and theories, but for now I’m still trying to gather my thoughts. I don’t mind what the ending did in concept, but its implementation doesn’t feel quite right to me. Still, I suppose it’s a credit to Square Enix that they managed to remake the start of Final Fantasy VII in such a way to get people speculating and theorizing about the next part.

The Final Fantasy VII Remake took 5-7 hours I felt were a slog in the original and transformed them into 50 hours of great character moments, epic scenes, and fun gameplay despite some pacing issues and confusion. I don’t know where we’re going from here, but I can’t wait to find out.

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  2 Responses to “Final Fantasy VII Remake is Epic (But Not Perfect)”

  1. ” I have some thoughts and theories, but for now I’m still trying to gather my thoughts. ”

    Are you gonna expand on your thoughts once they’re gathered at a later time?

    • Yes, in one or two blog posts that will be full of spoilers. Right now I’m thinking of writing one blog post about the ending itself, and then another about one of my theories.

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