Final Fantasy VII Remake is the exact reason why I have been doing the Backlog Break. It’s a game that I got halfway through, immensely enjoyed it even back then, but for whatever reason, got distracted and went on to play other stuff instead. Now that I’ve completed it, it has to be in my top 25 games of all-time for sure.
What Remake does astonishingly well is character development. They have more time to flesh out these protagonists at the start of the game, to give them actual character. Cloud is no longer some angsty emo tool – he’s still a bit rough around the edges, but in a way that helps with storytelling. Hell, Biggs, Wedge and Jessie have fleshed out personalities, to the point where Jessie is one of the most charismatic characters in the entire game. The storyline develops a lot better as well, though it does go bonkers at the final act, but at least you could follow it without needing a flow chart of some sort.
That final act also, is one of the greatest I have experienced. Those boss battles and the music with them….total chaos, completely frantic, but oh my God was it fun as all hell. The gameplay, although the OG gameplay was excellent in its own right, felt like the proper evolution to this remake. The soundtrack is filled with some amazing renditions of the classic VII songs, with one of the best tracks during the final fight.
My only two complaints have to do with the amount of padding, as well as Red XIII. For the former, the sidequests are mostly pointless time fillers to help round out the completion time. I did one and that was it. There’s also a gross amount of padding with traversal throughout a large portion of the game. Fast travel isn’t even a thing until the final act. Then there’s Red XIII – I was thrilled to have him in the game, but it was a massive downer that he was not playable. His voice though, so perfectly done. If anything, maybe a little coarse and it would have been even better.
The journey from start to finish was one of the most memorable I’ve experienced in a game. The insane final act completely negates the shortcomings to me. If you were someone that disliked the OG Final Fantasy VII for whatever reason, I implore you to give Remake a chance. It rights the wrongs of so many aspects for me, to such a degree that I consider this one of my favorite Final Fantasy games ever. It’s action packed, story focused and a thrill ride you won’t ever forget.