Final Fantasy VII Remake Looks to Be The Biggest Achievement for JRPGs in Over a Decade
There is no way Final Fantasy VII Remake can be as good as it looks, but I continue to believe it will be a landmark JRPG for years to come.
Depending on who you ask, Square Enix has been relatively inconsistent with the development of their titles arguably since Final Fantasy XIII in 2009. Although one of the more divisive titles in its genre, it is the last to make me think “this is what a JRPG can be,” in the sense of visuals, scope, and ambition. Final Fantasy XV could have been that, but with the hellish development cycle it went through, whether you like the game (like me) or not, it had its obvious problems. Thankfully in 2017, we were blessed with the stylish and charismatic Persona 5 and while it is one of the best JRPGs in recent memory, I don’t think that it really raised the bar in any sense. Final Fantasy VII Remake is the first game since XIII to make me feel that way.
Simply put, Final Fantasy VII is one of my favorite games of all-time. At the time of its release, it became an instant classic that changed games forever. It was a cinematic spectacle that was never seen before filled with characters, environments, and stories that we still remember to this day. For years leading up to the announcement for FFVII Remake, fans already wanted a remake and that was before the PS3 tech demo, all but confirming that it was something that Square Enix was working on.
Since its official announcement back in 2015, there have been fans and industry folk alike who have been hesitant on FFVII Remake for numerous reasons, one just being the fact that it is a remake of one of the most important games in history. Other reasons are more specific like the project being split into parts; even up to now, we don’t know how many parts the game will be, and that is perfectly valid. However, Square has been plenty transparent with us during the development of the game. Final Fantasy VII Remake will focus on the Midgar portion of the game–which was only the first few hours of the original–but will be fleshed out this time around because it is such an iconic setting and will include new story elements, characters, and of course, exploration.
Even early on, I was worried about the outcome of FFVII Remake due to Square’s recent history with their games, including my somewhat disappointment of Kingdom Hearts III. With Tetsuya Nomura also taking the reigns for FFVII Remake, my feelings behind KHIII were conflicted with him working on another AAA title at the same time. Nomura was already put in this position in the past with Final Fantasy Versus XIII (which later turned into Final Fantasy XV, and look how that turned out) where he had to leave the project to start focusing entirely on Kingdom Hearts III. Thankfully, this time around Nomura has the help of original Final Fantasy VII director Yoshinori Kitase as well as co-director Naoki Hamaguchi. As time went on and we saw more of the game, I became confident that all the right pieces were being put into place.
Even when removing the “nostalgia goggles,” everything that we have seen regarding VII Remake is nothing short of radiant. The gameplay, presentation, and attention to detail continues to blow me away and has gotten better with every new trailer. I luckily have been able to play a small portion of the game twice since E3 2018, and both times I was in partial denial that a JRPG with this level of production value and execution could exist. It honestly felt like something I could possibly expect from a next-generation title.
Combining the best parts of gameplay from Final Fantasy XIII and the Kingdom Hearts series into tactical real-time action is a simplistic stroke of genius, along with adding a new combat mode for those wishing for a more turn-based experience similar to the original. It is smooth, fresh, and satisfying along with beautifully crafted cutscenes and performances for each character. Being a remake, there are so many possibilities that could lead to a complete screw-up and with being two months away from launch, I feel like some fans still think it’s too good to be true. But it has gotten to the point now that as a Final Fantasy VII veteran, I’m not worried about a thing.
Yes, there will obviously be alterations and additions when it comes to the story, but everything that we’ve seen so far looks to be more of an expansion to the original than making major changes. I am confident that Square has covered all their bases to make FFVII Remake a truly special game and experience to the point that it will be a landmark for the JRPG genre, just like the original was for all of gaming back in 1997. In general, I’m a pretty optimistic person because I like to believe and trust the good in things when the proof is there, and everything that we have seen of Final Fantasy VII Remake so far has been nothing short of prosperous.
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