Easily one of the most hyped and anticipated video games over the last five years, Final Fantasy VII Remake has arrived and it is everything I hoped it would be.
It manages to preserve the spirit of the original game while modernizing it in every way imaginable. It feels so close to the Final Fantasy games I grew up playing — those being VII, VIII, IX, and X — while also definitely being a game for 2020. Nostalgic and new at the same time.
Before we proceed, some important declarations: GadgetMatch received an official copy of the game specifically for the purpose of this review. This article will have no spoilers — just a general overview and assessment of the Final Fantasy VII Remake experience.
The devil is in the details
One of the more obvious differences is how the game looks. In 1997, Final Fantasy VII, was a visual breakthrough. It was the first time for a Final Fantasy game of this scale to switch from 2D to 3D.
Being preceded by games like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End just to name a few, the Remake won’t have the same kind of video game graphics impact. But make no mistake, it serves up a visual experience that is utterly breathtaking.
It starts with the little things. The way the game treats light when you go indoors or outdoors is reminiscent of how your eyes would behave when doing the same. It takes a second before your eyes fully adjust to your surroundings. And this treatment of light is consistent throughout the game.
The cinematography is also a masterclass in visual storytelling. There’s a sequence during the beginning of the game where Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart (two of the main characters) were interacting and the way they were positioned in relation to each other and to the environment tells you a lot about the current standing of their relationship.
It’s a classic show-don’t-tell technique and it works wonders. It’s also pretty consistent throughout the game. The shots used for each scene were carefully and meticulously thought out. It adds not only to the cinematic flair, but also to the emotion of the game.
Midgar feels alive
This level of attention to detail is present all over Midgar — the place where most of the game will take place. The way the camera zooms in and out of the city during certain scenes gives you a good grasp of the life and status of Midgar and its people.
The class divide between those living in the upper levels versus those relegated to the slums is very evident in one of the earlier missions. Not just with how the levels are designed, but also with the dialogue of the NPCs (non-playable characters).
There’s a stark contrast between how people from the upper level reacted to the bombing of the first Mako reactor to how the people in the slums reacted. People in the upper levels mostly support the authoritarian Shinra — the city’s ruling organization. They also happen to be direct benefactors of Shinra’s exploits.
Meanwhile, the people in the slums are a mixed bag — some are indifferent, only caring about how they will get through the next day. Some are rightfully afraid of how they will be affected by the ensuing conflict.
By the way, for the uninitiated, the story basically kicks-off with a radical group called Avalanche carrying out the first of a series of bombing missions. The group believes Shinra is syphonying off the planet’s life through the Mako reactors. Mako is the planet’s lifestream. If it runs out, the planet will most likely wither away.
Action-RPG combat with turn-based feel is extremely satisfying
One of the biggest points of discussion is how the Remake will handle combat. The original game — in true JRPG fashion — was turn-based. That was 23 years ago, and outside of Persona 5, the turn-based style hasn’t really attracted plenty of gamers.
What Final Fantasy VII Remake did is fuse that turn-base feel to the more popular Action-RPG type. Something that a lot of gamers today prefer. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but it’s pretty darn close.
Here’s how it works: When you go into battle, you have direct control over moving around as well as the character’s physical attacks. Dealing physical damage raises your ATB meter. Your ATB meter then gives you access to using Abilities, Spells, Items, and whenever they become available — Summons and Limit Breaks.
When you trigger the use of your ATB meter the game goes into this slo-mo mode. It sort of reminds me of “bullet time” from Max Payne or that brief slo-mo in Marvel’s Spider-Man that gives you enough time to plan your next move. Except in Final Fantasy VII Remake, that slo-mo is longer, giving you ample time to issue commands for every character in your party.
The whole combat system might also remind you of Kingdom Hearts III, but unlike that game, there’s no way you can just charge in and button mash to win fights. Each enemy has to be dealt with differently and you’ll have to be very careful and tactical in your approach to win battles.
A great way to jump into Final Fantasy
Another thing that Final Fantasy VII Remake masterfully does is not overwhelm you with all the Final Fantasy things you need to know. It slowly introduces you to the story and the franchise’s concepts throughout the game.
The Final Fantasy franchise is full of lore. While each game is a stand alone story, some items, summons, skills, and magic are consistent across all the games.
If you have zero knowledge going in, you’ll feel right at home. The franchise’s lore is carefully integrated into the main story. If you’re a Final Fantasy veteran, the introduction of these concepts flow well enough that they’re not at all boring.
It perfectly walks the tightrope of keeping franchise fans happy without alienating any potential newcomers.
A fantastic remake
It was the Final Fantasy franchise that first had me dreaming what it would be like when in-game graphics would finally match cutscenes. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children — the computer-animated film that served as the follow-up to FF7’s story — sparked that dream further.
Final Fantasy VII Remake made that dream come true. The way it transitions from free-roaming to battle to cutscene is seamless. It literally feels like you’re playing a computer-animated film.
While we’ve seen this play out in other games, just the fact that it’s an iconic game with iconic characters given new life by modern technology makes it extra special. Playing it made me feel like a kid again. It’s exactly the jolt that my jaded adult version needed more than anything.
There’s a lot more to this game that can be discussed. So much more can be dissected. Everything from how each character is treated, how the story almost feels like a reflection of society today, the intricacies of its battle system, and many more. I’m excited to have these conversations with fellow gamers.
If you came here looking to find out if you should pick this game up, the answer is a resounding YES. If you pre-ordered (and have already preloaded) the game, let this be a primer for what you’re about to step into — a game that’s carefully crafted to give you a fresh experience of a timeless tale.
Netflix’s Blood of Zeus now in the game Immortal Fenyx Rising
In a themed quest called “A tribute to family”
This crossover just makes so much sense. Netflix’s animated series Blood of Zeus is in Ubisoft’s Immortal Fenyx Rising. Players will be able to dive into a Blood of Zeus–themed quest and purchase an all-new character pack and weapon pack.
From January 21 to January 28, in a Blood of Zeus–themed quest called “A tribute to family”, players will take on two evil creatures of another world: Chimera and Cerberus. Upon completion of the quest, players will earn the Eagle pendant and all-new character customization options tied to “Blood of Zeus.”
The weapon pack contains Blood of Zeus–themed skins for your Sword, Axe and Bow. Meanwhile, the Blood of Zeus character pack lets you walk in the footsteps of the Amazonian warrior Alexia.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a fresh game with an action and puzzle filled open world that has humor and Greek mythology enclosed into it. You might say it can be a mix of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of wild.
PlayStation 5 pre-order second batch in PH happening Jan 22
Another 5-minute window
You’ve been waiting for this, haven’t you? The second batch of pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 in the Philippines is officially happening on January 22, 2021.
Just like the first batch, the pre-order period will happen for only five minutes from 2PM to 2:05PM. Participating retailers should still be the same. They are as follows:
- Metro Plaza
- Game One
There were some pre-order blunders the first go round but here’s to hoping there won’t be a repeat of that.
Animal Crossing is launching a ColourPop makeup collection
Featuring your favorite characters
Despite a full slate of exciting games last year, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was one of the most influential games of 2020. The island life simulator allowed everyone stuck at home to connect with another despite the pandemic. However, even with the gameplay, the game is just so darn cute. If you wholeheartedly agree (and why wouldn’t you?), Nintendo is collaborating with ColourPop for an Animal Crossing-themed makeup collection.
Featuring fun shades inspired by the island paradise life, the @ColourPopCo x Animal Crossing: New Horizons makeup collection adds some new hues to your look on 1/28! #ColourPopxAnimalCrossing
🏝️: https://t.co/KT70wQfwLu pic.twitter.com/JvKvDAidkK
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 15, 2021
In its announcement post on Twitter, Nintendo unveiled four color palettes in the collection. The forefront of the collection features Isabelle’s yellow complexion and her cute-as-a-button pink top. If you’re looking for something more inspired, Blathers and Celeste have their own color palette featuring combination of their colors. For the stylish, the Able Sisters shine in purple and lilac. If, however, you’re looking for capitalist chic, Tom Nook has his own palette featuring his cash-money green.
The Animal Crossing x ColourPop collection will launch on January 28. Though only four palettes were showcased, the collection might include further characters. Besides the main characters around your island, the game also has a wide variety of cute potential villagers.
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