Updated: Jul 2, 2020
Greetings Squad, Frosty Phenix here! So...after finally finishing Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s first standard playthrough for myself, I have to say I am in shock and awe of the work Square Enix has done with the Reimagining of this 90’s Video Game Culture Classic. It’s one thing to polish a classic and restore it with new parts, it’s another to build an entirely new thing from the spine of another and then have CLEAR and DEFINED mementos of the original and yet still define itself as its own being. When they held off release of this game for various reasons (any minor corrections that needed to be made, other product launches, the pandemic that was/is COVID 19 Coronavirus), it was worth the wait. Right now I will be going through my experience playing the game, the differences between the original 1997 Final Fantasy 7 and its Remake AND what we can predict the future has in store for us based on what was presented. Let’s GET STARTED!
In very typical fanboy fashion, I was very hype when I began this new journey and fighting playstyle when engaged in enemy battles. Of Course my first mistake was thinking I could just run in swinging my buster sword and wiping the floor with Shinra Grunts (Slow Growth is REAL Y’ALL). From defeating the Scorpion Tank to infiltrating the Sector 5 Reactor to defending the Sector 7 Plate drop, reliving the reimagining of old adventures with new, shiny twists was a breath of fresh air to me. When moving in between stages, it definitely felt tedious, it allowed you to walk past the residents of the Midgar Slums and hear their everyday banter. When I spoke to Sector Specific Characters (Marle, the older woman that owned the inn in sector 7, Ms Folia, the teacher of the orphan children in sector 5 and others), that section of the game felt more interactive and task driven so that the game didn’t feel so focused on the main storyline itself. I will admit though, depending on where I was in the story, that the walking and interacting with NPCs not relevant to the story did get a tad annoying...and YOU ARE ALLOWED to feel that way by the way. The character Chadley, who provides you with some of the game’s most strategic materia, is quite an interesting edition to the materia leveling and collection. Every boss battle was engaging and thought provoking for how to adjust a proper strategy for victory. 10 out of 10 in my book, for sure.
Remake Vs Original
I will start with this…FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE IS A REIMAGINING OF THE FINAL FANTASY 7 ORIGINAL STORY! IT IS DIFFERENT AND YET PARALLEL! PHEW! OK! I’ll point out a few differences between the games (I won’t ruin/dive into the heavy nuances of each difference in DEPTH...experience it yourself)
Aerith opening is slightly different - In the very opening of the original Final Fantasy 7, Aerith (Aeris), who then was just a flower girl in the town, stands up from looking at green sparks coming from one of the buildings in the slums and leaves to alley to continue probably selling her flowers. This then zooms out to a bird’s eye view of Midgar and then the Final Fantasy 7 Logo appears (you know the rest after this). In the Remake, Aerith is seen in the opening kneeling and looking at sparks (which looks like and is probably the essence of the lifestream) but...she then stands and seems to be spooked by something from further down in the alley...which she then proceeds to leave the alley as she did in the original. What does that represent? More on this later…
Sephiroth appears a lot more...LIKE A LOT MORE - In the original you didn’t even know his NAME until you got well into the Shinra Headquarters. I feel bad for the new players to this storyline not knowing who Sephiroth is when you first see him (and I don’t just mean his name...I mean EVERYTHING about him). His influence on Cloud is far more apparent in this game from the start...more on this later.
Avalanche’s Team Members... have a lot more involvement and interaction in opening the cold hearted Cloud up to them. Biggs, Wedge and Jessie were just npcs who were a part of Avalanche’s core resistance group (Barret and Tifa are main characters and are playable from near the beginning onward). In the remake, you see more of their personalities...even Jessie taking hard and more apparent shots at flirting with Cloud (nothing crazy but...you’d have to be pretty oblivious to miss it).
Whispers of Fate - The strange ghosts figures who appear to be floating hoods that interfered not with the team directly but...with events that the story characters try to prevent or could have prevented (even kept me from a Materia that I had to go and grab later that would have been help at that point in the game).
Don Corneo’s “Trusted” - When you finally get to the Wall Market portion of the game, it’s not just doing a few squats and dressing Cloud up like a girl as best as you can. You come to interact with individuals who are Corneo’s business “associates” at best. They are Sam (runs a chocobo travel service), Madam M (runs a massage parlor) and Andrea (runs the Honeybee Inn...which is different in this go around as well). You have to get approval from one or all of these 3 to get a meeting with Corneo (yes, still as a girl. Pssh! You crazy? You still have to definitely dress “TO THE NINES” to meet Corneo).
Squatting Mini Game - In the original game you had to participate in a squatting game to get a good/premium Wig option for Cloud’s cross dressing attire (why a wig was at a gym is anyone’s business). In this game, the squat game was VERY optional and more for the achievement. This game and the pull up game later on in the game are fairly complex and nothing to sneeze at. Again, they are NOT required but if you really like a challenge harder than this game’s final boss…these mini games are for YOU!
Honeybee Inn is an entertainment showroom - In the original game, the honeybee inn can be understood to be an “inn” for sexual desires and favors...whatever your “kink”. In the remake however it has become more a showroom and show stage where people dance on stage for dine in guests (not sure if the previous version is still a part of it or maybe it is just a hotel with a showroom in the bottom area). Get your boogie (button timing) on for Andrea’s best Cloud Makeover and his stamp of approval to see the Don.
The Trainyard has a boss battle! - As Cloud, Tifa and Aerith survive Don Corneo’s trap (in both games it ends the same), they race to Sector 7 to stop Shinra’s plan to drop the above plate on the slums to end terrorist group Avalanche. As you go through it, you see messages from ghosts of lost children of the trainyard that Aerith interacts with. Unfortunately these playful ghosts play to win...and kill. They merge together for TWO fairly creative and challenging boss fights if you are not prepared. One is a giant ghost that appears in the train control room that has two different damage types. The next boss, as you are about to exit the yard, a Spectre Horseman who also requires strategy to defeat. Defeat the ghouls, giving them a good time, and escape the trainyard.
The climb to Shinra Headquarters is MORE THAN JUST A CLIMB! - In the original game, the final climb to the Shinra Headquarters is a simple shimmy up a long pipe with a couple items along the way. In the remake, it is an engaging battle with Shinra Grunts, introduction of the SOLDIER C Class (3rd class) enemies and another Boss Battle that was not in the original (a flying enemy….BUFF BARRET UP!)
Ths Shinra Headquarters Raid is far more complex - From breaking in through the garage to the famous “taking the stairs” option (which ACTUALLY AFFECTS YOUR CHARACTER’S STAMINA AS YOU GO UP...you aren’t just running straight to the top...Cloud becomes clearly fatigued) or the straight elevator approach to interacting with the Mayor (who is an AVID supporter of Avalanche) to Cloud seeing old Shinra grunt colleagues that recognize him (WAAAAAAHH?!?), big UPS to you Square-Enix. There is even a museum to President Shinra you walk through (talk about “humble”...wonder if there was a museum in the original game dedicated to him). There are quite a few steps that have different components but I’ll let you experience those (ESCALATORS Y’ALL!)
Keys to the Future…(Spoilers of the Finale)
Looking back in my memory of scenes after finishing my play through of the game...SOOOO many things allude to the game’s OPEN FUTURE. It’s no longer the journey we knew before and we have to accept that. Here are the top takeaways of the END of Remake
Final Boss Sephiroth and Aerith are not of this world? - There is a lot of speculation from in game dialogue and game lore master translations that the Aerith on your team is the Aerith that passed away on the original game and that Sephiroth is the final Sephiroth from the original game and conclusion of the Advent Children Movie Continuity. The fact that the series is now going “multi-universal” can lead to so many possibilities for future Final Fantasy Titles. We have already crossed this bridge with the Dissidia Titles and other games have dabbled with time skips and time travel.
Retold Fate of Other Characters! - In the original, Avalanche members Biggs, Wedge and Jessie died when the Sector 7 Plate fell on the slums and killed EVERYONE under it. In this game, the plate falling did not kill as many people as the original did. If you ask me, it seemed like the MAJORITY of people LIVED through that incident. In the end scene of the game, we see Biggs resting at the orphanage in Sector 5 and we assume Wedge survives and escapes the Shinra Headquarters in the aftermath of the main party escaping and the building towards the end. It is not confirmed if Jessie survived the plate fall, however we saw whispers surrounding her body while Cloud and Tifa moved to keep the Sector 7 Plate from falling so her chances look promising. Another change, which is where the multiverse theory adds a layer, is we see Cloud’s friend and Aerith’s First Love interest Zack Fair survive his final encounter with Shinra soldier as opposed to the original, where he did not. As the party is walking away from Midgar, we see Zack carrying an unconscious version of Cloud towards Midgar...but on another “plane of existence”. It seems that the current continuity Cloud did not see them walk past the group whereas current continuity Aerith seemed to not SEE them but SENSE them and smile...interesting.
These are the only unanswered questions I noticed that differ from the original game AND need to be (and hopefully will be) answered in future expansions of the game. This is quite difficult to navigate since this is not an original story but a modification/retelling of an established story, so I don’t think they can stray far off the path that the original took in order to keep the story consistent (and the veteran fans happy).
I personally give this game a 10 out of 10 for storytelling, gameplay difficulty and graphics. What were your thoughts on the game? Will you pay for the next chapter? Do you think the next chapter will be an expansion or a full game? Add your comments below and let's carry this discussion. I WILL be going back into the game’s chapter features to replay battles and chase achievement because I liked this game THAT MUCH. This has been FrostyPhenix, follow me across social media @frostyphenix for my personal adventures and follow my personal twitch @frostyphenix89 for my live gaming clips and adventures. Until next time y’all, peace!