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.

Deals

Lenovo Legion: The Empire Christmas Sale

Lotsa gaming treats

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Have you always wanted to be part of the Legion? Now’s your chance with The Empire Christmas Sale.

The massive promo is open to customers who will purchase qualifying products from October 31 to December 31, 2020.

To enter, gamers must sign up and upgrade their account in Legion’s The Empire websiteLenovo’s exclusive gaming community and rewards program. Members are granted special perks including access to Legion merchandise, VIP entry to Legion gaming events, and more.

Members earn corresponding Empire Points for every product purchase which they can use to redeem exclusive Legion merchandise or products. Points may also be obtained by joining weekly missions posted at The Empire website.

Participating models for The Empire Christmas Sale include:

For the full mechanics, ‘like’ the Legion official Facebook page.

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Gaming

Lenovo Legion Slim 7i price and availability in the Philippines

Thin and light but powerful

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Lenovo’s latest and lightest gaming machine — the Legion Slim 7i — has now been priced in the Philippines as part of its massive holiday lineup.

It sports up to a 10th generation Intel Core i9 processor and an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q inside. These two alone can already give you great performance for work and play. Also, it comes with up to 2TB of NVMe SSD storage and 32GB of RAM for all your games.

As for the display, you have two options to choose from. If you’re on the more creative side, you can get the 4K resolution display with 100% Adobe RGB. If you’re more of a competitive gamer, there is a 15.6-inch FHD display with a 144Hz refresh rate.

 

Price and availability

The Lenovo Legion Slim 7i is priced at PhP 99,995 and comes with a Legion Recon Gaming Backpack. It will be available at Lenovo authorized retailers nationwide soon.

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Gaming

ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 Creator’s Edition arrives in the Philippines

Only 10 units nationwide

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Talk about limited edition. The ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 Creator’s Edition has officially landed in the Philippines but only 10 units are available in the country.

It’s essentially the same ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 that you’ve seen before but this one has a 4K UHD Display that’s factory calibrated for accuracy across 100% of the Adobe RGB color space. That’s a key feature for any creator that deals heavily with multimedia content.

Elsewhere on this beastly machine is a Intel Core 19-10980HK processor with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics card. It also has 32GB of RAM and M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 1TB + 1TB SSD with RAID 0 support. Only the absolute best for creators that will handle a lot of editing and rendering.

Naturally, you can game on this thing as it has all the gaming goodness you can expect from an ROG laptop.

Pricing and availability

We’ll say it again; only 10 of these are up for grabs. The ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 Creator’s Edition (GX550LXS-HC021TS) retails for PhP 254,995. It will come with over PhP 29,000 worth of bundled items:

  • ROG Delta Headset
  • ROG Eye External Web Camera
  • ROG Gladius II Gaming Mouse
  • ASUS 60W PD Adaptor
  • ROG Ranger Backpack

Successful pre-orders from October 25 to November 13 will be given bonus freebies of an ROG Warranty Extension Program and a rare collector’s item — the ROG Building Block. That puts the freebies to a total of PhP 31,000+ worth of bundles for the 10 lucky future owners.

To sign up for pre-order follow this link: Pre-Order_ZephyrusDuo15CE.

Claiming of the product may start on November 16, depending on the arrival of units per store location.

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