Updated: Apr 15
I am always aeons behind the times when it comes to current games. I am far too easily distracted by the plethora of un-played games I own. I have a problem where I can't just pick a game and stick to it until completion. I pick up a game, enjoy for maybe 10 hours, get bored and move on to another, I then return to the aforementioned game months later, only to discover that I have forgotten most of the controls and what on earth is going on in the plot. This results in me starting the whole process again. It's a vicious cycle.
I have decided to commence a regular challenge of completing at least one game a month, which for me would be a great achievement. But when I say completing, I mean getting to the end of the campaign. I don't have the patience to be a trophy hunter. I enjoy acquiring them but do not enjoy the many hours of painstakingly stopping and starting youtube videos to discover hidden collectibles. It's a tedious affair and, for me, results in hating games I would otherwise love.
So each month I will attempt to complete 1 game and write an extensive review for your perusal. Wish me luck.
This month I will be attempting to complete Final Fantasy 7 Remake. The original is one of my favourite games of all time so I will give this the time and attention it deserves.
Review to follow come the end of the month....hopefully.
So....Final Fantasy 7 Remake. I have waited aeons, like many others, for this to arrive. It was one of my favourite games as a youngster and I could not wait to see it in all its PlayStation 4 glory.
If you are someone that has played the original and are looking forward to re-playing it with the overhauled graphics, think again. This is not just an upgrade. It’s like a completely new game.
That’s not to say it isn’t triumphant in its efforts though.
This game is basically the first few hours of the original, but expanded to involve more character development, plot broadening (with changes), and perhaps a bit of unnecessary (in my opinion)filler.
For those of you that are new to the game, you are in for a treat.
You begin in the same place as the original with Cloud, Barrett and co. heading out to stop the evil corporation, Shinra, from sucking all of the lifeblood from the planet with their reactors. You are, for all intents and purposes, part of a terrorist group whose aim is to rid the world of the corporation that is destroying the planet. You are Cloud Strife, a mercenary hired by Avalanche (the terrorist group) to make life a little easier for them when they encounter enemy soldiers etc.
If you are not instantly blown away with the exceptional and exquisite presentation of this game, I would be amazed. This is a game that has had artists and programmers pouring their heart and soul into.
It feels so slick between animation and control that you feel like you’re part of the action from the get-go.
Straight away, you are thrown into the battle system, with extensive hints and tips, but it all flows well and looks absolutely astounding. It looks like you are playing a movie but feels like you are in total control.
It has had a complete overhaul/ modernisation from the older one, while keeping the turn-based element alive for the hardcore fans of the original. It is a blend between free-flowing real time combat of the current era, and the age old turn based system of many a Final Fantasy/ JRPG games. It is very apparent that a lot of care and consideration has been put into this blend, and it works. You feel so much more involved than games of the past and still get to take some time to make necessary strategic battle decisions. It flows so seamlessly it is a joy to behold. My only gripe, as a massive fanboy of the original, is that I didn’t get to see as much of the action/ powers/ summons as I would like. Because you are up close and personal in this style, you can’t always take in the astounding action in all its glory. I always loved to watch the summoners because I had ‘worked hard’ to earn them. This is a small gripe mind.
The story is obviously great (and they have been brave enough to try a few different things with the plot, which is quite refreshing) and character portrayal is acceptable. Many fans will have enjoyed the over-the-top anime style characters, but I would have preferred it toned down a little. It is somewhat irritating how the lions share of female character gush over Cloud at every possible opportunity. The abundance of swooning is a bit excessive for my liking. Many characters are slightly too cheesy, but this is the JRPG way, and will probably be to the taste of most. Clouds voice actor is spot on and reflects his character perfectly. He is moody, cold and cutting, as I would have imagined him to be in the original and has an extremely satisfying character ark.
The campaign is gripping and allows for some amazing set pieces. It was a joy to relive the experience, albeit comprising of changes I was not prepared for. Along the way, you may come across many a mundane side quest (which you will need to do if you do not want to miss out on some good loot) and I honestly despised some of them. There were quite a few that removed any immersion that I had accrued. It was frustrating and took a lot of sheen from the game for me. A lot of the chore fodder could have been removed and the game would have still been plenty long enough and well worth its price tag. I would have preferred more of the mini games like the darts game (which was an uber enjoyable and gratifying experience) or the squats challenge. They were appreciable bits of fun which were a welcome break from the intense story or the monotonous (not all of them) side quests.
Let’s get on to the graphics and sound. I am sure you already know that this is one of the best looking games that has ever graced the ps4 and I cannot wait to see it in all its ps5 glory. The care and attentiveness in every pixel are clear for all to see and all staff involved should be patting themselves on the back for many years to come. It is a delight to see and is testament to how far console gaming has come. The musical scores are astounding at times and will have the hairs standing on the back of your arms. But much like most Final Fantasy games, there also some terribly cheesy loops that may grate on some of you out there as they did for me. But they can not take away from the masterpieces that they precede.
Overall, the game is a fulfilling spectacle that will be amazing for any new players to experience and satisfying for any long-time fans. If you can look past the little niggles (which were also existent a plenty in the original) you may find a rewarding and fulfilling game and story that everyone should experience at least once.
It may not have totally been my cup of tea, but I did enjoy a large percentage of it I would recommend it to not be missed.
I wholeheartedly give it a score of 8 out of 10. A flawed masterpiece.