Gaming

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: A fresh experience of a timeless tale

Nostalgic and new at the same time

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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.

LADIES’ MAN. Cloud is pretty popular with the ladies. A true visual 😉

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.

SOCIAL DISTANCING? Cloud and Tifa meet again after 5 years

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.

VR MISSIONS. New summon materia can be acquired through this method

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.

Gaming

Razer is reviving its left-handed gaming mouse

Boasting 20,000dpi

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For such a thriving industry, the gaming peripherals industry still has no easily manufacturable solution for left-handed gaming. Years ago, Razer spent resources to develop an ergonomic solution for the problem. However, because of a lack in demand, the company pulled the product out. Now, Razer is reviving its left-handed gaming mouse.

Initially launched in 2014, the Razer Naga Left-handed Edition combines a thumb-optimized 12-button gaming grid with left-handed ergonomics. All in all, the mouse has 19+1 programmable buttons. Inside, the mouse’s new sensor sports 20,000dpi with 99.6 percent resolution accuracy. As a result, the Left-handed Edition is optimized for MMO gaming.

Further, the mouse boasts a durability of up to 50,000 clicks. It boasts slick movement across any surface with PTFE coating. It also a super flexible cable for minimal drag. The mouse’s memory can also store up to five profiles.

Razer now claims that it is the only company that sells true left-handed gaming mice. True enough, most left-handed gaming mice today are just symmetrically designed. Basically, the mice’s developers did not design ergonomically for another market. Instead, they made a mouse applicable for both markets. Razer says that it expended a lot of resources by developing a truly left-handed mouse, often causing a loss more than a profit.

According to Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, the newly designed mouse will likely still cause a loss. However, “the more [they] sell, the less of a loss [they] will take on it and the more likely [Razer] can continue to produce it,” he said.

Besides the new Naga, Razer also sells the DeathAdder Left-handed Edition, a more minimal gaming mouse for any use. The Naga Left-handed Edition is still an upgrade over the DeathAdder. The new mouse is now available for US$ 99.99.

SEE ALSO: Razer launched a heat-resistant, antibacterial Note 20 case

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Gaming

Hyper Scape is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

Another exciting and unique battle royale game in the market

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Ubisoft wants to join in the fray with their own battle royale game. Much like already successful titles, this new battle royale is free-to-play and available across multiple devices. The combat formula is roughly the same, but this time anarchy is the name of the game. Time to enter the world of Hyper Scape!

Hyper Scape is a 100-person battle royale that adds a more modern twist. Instead of mountains, hills, small towns, and battered scenery, you will compete inside a technologically-advanced setting. With a vareity of weapons, Hacks, and Fusion techniques, you will outlast everyone in Neo Arcadia. The entire game will also feature innovate gameplay mechanics that will surely spice up all the fights.

Along with the new game, Ubisoft also announced its first Battle Pass with a ton of rewards to offer. It includes an unlockable new weapon in the Dragonfly, and a new Hack called Magnet. Apart from these, there will also be limited time modes for players to grind out the Battle Pass along with standard modes.

What the team is truly proud of is its integration to the streaming platform, Twitch. This is possible through the game’s Twitch extension called Kudos — an extension purchased through Twitch bits. Essentially, Kudos will allow players to support their favorite streamers and react to exciting gameplay. Furthermore, this feature even contributes to Battle Pass progression by watching Twitch streams.

Hyper Scape is available for the PC through UPlay, the PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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Gaming

Xbox Series X confirms a November launch date

Halo Infinite delayed to 2021

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Without a doubt, Microsoft and Sony are stuck in a game of chicken. Both companies are waiting for the other to reveal their upcoming console’s launch date and price. Once one reveals their cards, the other can change strategies and adapt for the coming console wars. Today, the Xbox Series X confirms a November launch date.

On the official Xbox Wire blog, Microsoft announced a delay for the upcoming Halo Infinite, the franchise’s entry for the next-generation console now coming out in 2021. In doing so, the blog also reveals that the console will launch this November right before the holiday season.

Microsoft has also listed down several games coming out for the console (and also past generations) including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Gears Tactics, and Watch Dogs: Legion. Since the console is backwards compatible, popular video games from the current generation will also come out for the new console.

Of course, both companies have already hinted at a release date near this year’s holiday season. A previous leak has revealed the PlayStation 5’s launch date set for November 20. However, Microsoft’s latest blog post is the first confirmation from official sources. At least, Microsoft is still holding out on the exact date.

Now, the ball is in Sony’s court. Will they launch the PlayStation 5 around the same time? Additionally, how much will both consoles sell for? With the holiday season just around the corner, hype for both consoles are truly ramping up.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra may support Xbox games

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