In 1997, Final Fantasy VII brought the role-playing game series into 3D on Sony’s Playstation console. It was groundbreaking, but its early 3D graphics and poor language translation haven’t aged very well. Five years ago, they announced a remake of the game for the PlayStation 4. It’s out now, and it. Is. Wonderful.
Final Fantasy VII Remake covers the first portion of the original game. This segment took about 6 hours in the original, but here it’s been expanded to 40 hours. Many parts are new or expanded, but although the story is far more faithful to the original than I anticipated, a few of the new segments overstay their welcome. That’s a small complaint, though, and most of the new content is integrated magnificently, and really makes the world in the game feel lived-in and real.
Instead of the menu-based combat of classic Final Fantasy games, the combat here is generally more action-oriented. In some ways, the gameplay is more a refined version of Final Fantasy XIII’s system.
The soundtrack is fantastic and huge, with arrangements of music from the original, and some new stuff. The original’s tracks were a masterwork, but were somewhat let down by the PlayStation’s sound capabilities. Now, instead of MIDI instruments, the score is performed by full orchestras, or rock bands, or whatever other ensemble is appropriate.
It’s hard for me to even begin to talk here about what this game means to me. It had such huge shoes to fill, and in almost every way, it exceeded my high expectations. I could talk for hours about it, but I’m out of time, so I’ll finish by saying this has really raised the bar for what I expect out of the second part of this remake, which is due out...some time.