Final Fantasy VII Remake is a New Experience in a Familiar Land

Playing the Final Fantasy VII Remake let me revisit my childhood while also sending me on an adventure full of mystery and new experiences.

Final Fantasy VII holds a special place in many RPG fans’ hearts, myself included, many of which were first introduced to the genre by the original when it first released back in 1997. Having played through the original title numerous times, I went into Final Fantasy VII Remake with a firm grasp of what the big events were going to be, when the emotional moments would strike, and when my pulse would be pounding. What I wasn’t expecting was the route that this new game would take to get me to all those moments.

So many moments, from the dialogue and locations to camera shots and encounters, are refined and recreated from the original. These moments are our imaginations manifested and projected onto our screens. It was magic, it was comfortable, and it was what we were hoping and expecting.

On the flip side though, so many moments were brand new. Locations foreign and mysterious greet you throughout your quest. New characters, many of whom I very much like, are now permanent fixtures in Midgar’s mythos.

I like so much of what was added in FFVII Remake and how it was done. But at the same time, having so much unknown and new mixed in with things that I’ve known so well for so long left me feeling slightly uneasy. I knew that I would have to bomb the No. 5 Mako Reactor; I didn’t know that I had to go on a secret mission with Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie now to facilitate that.

“Having so much unknown and new mixed in with things that I’ve known so well for so long left me feeling slightly uneasy.”

These added moments made the game less of an “I wonder what will happen next!” and more of a “How will we get to point B now?” Both can result in excitement, and Final Fantasy VII Remake has plenty of exciting new moments, but it can also introduce random tangents. There were a few times that I felt that things were going a bit off the rails and was more curious about how they were going to wrap around back into the story than what I was playing.

The best way that I can describe the feeling is to imagine for a moment that you are revisiting the house you grew up in or your old school. You step back into a place you remember vividly; the architecture is all just how you remember it. The bathrooms haven’t moved, the stairs to go up to the second floor are still right around the corner from the front door; the memories all come rushing back. But, it’s been so long and new people live there now, so the old carpet in the living room has been replaced, the wallpaper is new, and they have even added an extension to the old deck, making it bigger and nicer. You can still recognize the house you knew; it is still the same structure you knew and grew up with. But as it is, this is a brand new place all at the same time. That is the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Old, but new again.

“That is the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Old, but new again.”

I loved my time playing through and exploring this new reimagining of Midgar. Exploring the expanded Wall Market, spending more time with the other members of Avalanche, and meeting new faces are all highlights of my experience, and new memories I’ll take with me. I anxiously await the next episode of this Remake series, with all of those other favorite places from my past, and the brand new adventures that will connect them together.

To get yourself ready for Final Fantasy VII Remake today, check out Kris’ written review, or Tetsuya Nomura’s new drawing of Cloud in honor of the release. And if you ever wondered who Cloud’s Japanese voice actor prefers among the ladies of Final Fantasy VII, you can find that out too!

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