Community Review: Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Community Review: Final Fantasy 7 Remake
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Anyone who pre-ordered digitally, and most of the world, is still waiting to explore Midgar once more. But Australians? Well, most of you played Final Fantasy 7 Remake over the weekend, if not sooner. So, what do you think!

Update 8:00pm Embargo’s up!

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Is Like Stepping Back In Time

There are so many things about Final Fantasy 7 Remake that, in the hands of another developer or another time, would not happen. The corridors. The trope of flipping a switch, only to find a locked door, a key and switches more. Long sequences where your ability to run is removed. Random difficulty spikes out of nowhere. The padding. Final Fantasy 7 Remake features so many of these moments that, genuinely, do not need to exist. And yet none of it matters, because Midgar is alive - not just once more, but perhaps, truly, for the first time.

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A Very Handy Tip That Final Fantasy 7 Remake Doesn’t Tell You

Not even before you get halfway through the game, your stocks of materia will get real high. And while the game has a couple of sorting options to make swapping out the elemental tools and assists you need, they don't fix Final Fantasy 7 Remake's bigger UX problem: it's still one giant list. Fortunately, there's a helpful tip the game doesn't tell you about.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake: The Kotaku Review

A remake is, by nature, an egotistical exercise. Choosing to revise and re-release an old work of art is looking back at it and saying, “You know what? I could do this better.”

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Speedrunners and Final Fantasy stans already spent countless hours pouring over the demo, getting accustomed to the combat and learning what attacks can and can’t be countered, especially in bigger fights like that with the Scorpion Sentinel.

Speedrunners Can't Stop Playing The Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo

The Final Fantasy VII Remake demo has only been out for a week, but already speedrunners have played through it dozens of times trying to master it as if it were a standalone game.

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People Are Already Playing Final Fantasy VII Remake In Australia

When Square Enix announced physical copies of Final Fantasy VII Remake would ship to Europe and Australia earlier than its April 10 release date due to the covid-19 pandemic, we didn’t think they meant this early. The eagerly anticipated game is already in the hands of many Australians, as evidenced by a growing number of Twitch streams and YouTube videos.

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Of course, there’s much more to explore in the full game. I’m under embargo, so I can’t say anything, although there’s nothing stopping me from pointing you towards this page. Needless to say, I’ll be spending the rest of my day working on Final Fantasy content for you all, so that should give you some kind of indication of how much there is to talk about.

But for everyone who picked up the game early, please: what do you think? What do you think of the game after chapter 2, where Square inserted a time jump for their global preview? How have you found Midgar, the characters and all of the world building? Is it everything you expected? Surprising? Disappointing? Give us your thoughts in the comments!


  • As someone with no real emotional attachment to the original, I’m kind of enjoying it. I’m only a few hours in though, but I’m enjoying it.

    The one complaint I do have is that the combat feels super clunky so far. I’m not sure why they decided to make FFXV’s combat system worse, but they did, and it makes every encounter less fun.

    Anyway my big hope is that now they’ve got this out of the way they can go back to making proper Final Fantasy sequels.

    • I never played the original so I’ve got no attachment either and I agree and am also enjoying this. The first FF game I played was 15 and I think the combat is massively improved since that game. Only thing I think is a little weaker than 15 is that it feels a bit more boxed in than the big open world but I guess it makes sense with the setting of Midgar.

  • As someone who was an avid fan of the original “back in the day” this has been a weird mixture of nostalgia, excitement and disappointment.

    The nostalgia factor is obviously self explanatory. The original was the reason I got my PS1 back when I was in year 11 back in 1998. Reliving the story with modern graphics, full voiced dialogue and a WAY more fleshed out Midgar has been insanely enjoyable.

    The excitement has been from the fact that I’m actually enjoying the game. I’m not sure if this enjoyment is from the nostalgia or from it actually being an amazing game but yeah its been a thrill seeing all the new and old things put together.

    The disappointment is from the money grab way Square-Enix has split this title into 3-4 parts and put things like paid DLC Summons into it. I remember feeling deflated hearing that they’d stretched Midgar from 10 hours to 60 hours as this seemed like an OBVIOUS attempt to thieve money from their die hard fans. Also was there really that much extra content to tell in Midgar anyways?

    In the first hour or so there’s the section where you run from the Mako Reactor bombing to the train. In the original game this was like 2-3 screens and was barely a blip on the scheme of things. In the remake, this is now a long drawn out section with about 40 battles with the same enemy units and then a section where Cloud trips out and sees flashbacks to Nibelheim and during this sequence Cloud is moving at about 1/10th his usual speed. This goes on for about 10 minutes… I’ve noticed since then there have been multiple instances where the game disables run and does something similar… This feels like very blatant unnecessary “padding” when it happens.

    I’m in a mixed bag about the combat. When it actually works, it’s kind of cool doing an action / rpg version of the FF7 combat, but when it doesn’t, it feels random and clunky. Am I alone in this, but when I’m controlling Cloud, do your second characters kind of sit around and do nothing unless you switch to them? This would be fine if it was a seemless action. Like if I’m building up ATB with Cloud, shouldn’t my side characters (at the very least) be auto attacking and building up ATB as well? If they were doing this then using the command button or tactical screen to issue out spell / abilities wouldn’t be so bad. In the Sector 5 section, I’ve noticed Aerith constantly sitting there not doing anything and not building up ATB which means I need to switch to her to auto attack to get her ATB up so she can actually be useful (also did anyone notice the spike in difficulty in the slums with the quest mobs / arena boss battle?).

    TLDR: Is an enjoyable experience BUT I’m gonna be sour when I get to the end and have to wait 6 years to see the next 25% of the game.

    Also it feels like the people who made this part 1 of the game haven’t considered the mid/late game. The rate they’re giving us Summons / Weapons / Abilities (when you got barely any in the original midgar, and zero summons) and the fact it looks like I’ll have all maxed out Materia by the end of Midgar, makes me wonder what exactly they have planned for end game now… Feels like they’ve given us all this cool shit early without thinking about the end game -_-

    • You’re definitely not alone in the combat. I hate how dumb the AI is, and having to switch characters just to mash Square is irritating. They need to be more agressive, or the ATB Gauge needs to charge faster for party members. I have video proof of this happening which I’ll be releasing after embargo ends.

    • You don’t get that many summons in this game. It’s basically the same as the original Midgar with one available to each character.

      The end game in this will be super bosses on hard mode. I’m currently doing it. If they didn’t give you a variety of materia in this 40+ hour game it’d be bloody boring. You don’t get gravity or any of those, the most advanced green is time. Plenty left in the tank for part two.

      • Also use the walking bits to admire how handcrafted this game is. The detail and faithfulness to the original is astonishing.

      • In the original game you didn’t receive any summons until after you had left Midgar. Choco/Mog was the first one you could obtain and that wasn’t until you reached the chocobo farm.

        • I don’t want to spoil anything but a lot happens in this game that didn’t happen in the original. The final boss for instance is like a disc 3 mashup.

          • I know, I’m currently playing though it so I know there’s many differences.

            I was just specifically addressing your “You don’t get that many summons in this game. It’s basically the same as the original Midgar” comment. It’s not basically the same. You didn’t get ANY summons in the Midgar portion of the original game.

          • Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in saying basically. It’s forty hours and the point I was making is that it would be boring without a range of materia plus something to use in end game. People love summons and wouldn’t be that happy if the game didn’t have them.
            Maybe I should have said plus you get summons or something.

          • I think you’re missing the point.

            They’ve crammed so much **** from other discs / parts of the game (I have Firaga already and I’m only 15 hours in) that it makes no sense how it will deal with this stuff over (what should be) another 300 hours of game to the stories end.

            They should’ve concentrated on treating this as the first 1/4 of the game, rather then OOOH LETS SHOVE IN THIS… OH YEAH AND THIS… OOOH THAT LIMIT BREAK WAS COOL LETS PUT THAT IN AS WELL.

            Because now they have f all to use in the later games (if they even plan to release them).

            As I said, I’m enjoying playing through it, but anyone who can’t see the blatant unnecessary padding (enjoy the long empty corridors to appreciate the assets they wasted 5 years creating… ok mate, how about you just google – pretty 3D artwork then and save yourself 80 bucks -_- ) is just doing that blind old fan-boyism. Which is irritating.. because I am a fan, but it’s so obvious sometimes that it hurts…..

          • They’re already making part two. There is plenty left and this isn’t the old game. I think the next one will be great and I’m glad this game has the things in it that it does because the hard mode bosses own and it’s fun.

  • As someone with complete nostalgic emotional attachment to the original, they have nailed it, and it just gets better with more pleasant surprises the more you play, this is not a cash-cow and puts every FF before it since X to shame.

    I am 40 hours in and still not done.

    • I both agree and disagree. I think it’s a cash cow in a sense that they’ve deliberately padded it out so much. There are literally parts of the game where there are just empty long corridors with no purpose other than to look good. It’s a bit jarring wandering around searching every nook and cranny only to find so much dead empty (pretty) space.

      I will say I am enjoying the fleshed out parts though.

      Also 40 hours? I miss being unemployed 🙁

      • It’s not padded out. The original skips huge areas between static screens. This lets you explore and has more character interactions. It’s also fully voiced and well realised which means smashing through dialogue boxes isn’t a thing. The new content is great. My only quibble is the full side quests but they’re better than doing random encounters I suppose.

        • It absolutely is padded in areas. For example in Shinra tower there is a whole sequence that is completely pointless towards the story. Legit takes 3-4 hours.

          The side quests are complete garbage and there is no way to actually “grind” which is a huge part of the “RPG” of Final Fantasy games. I can’t grind out AP for materia or SP for weapons without doing bullshit workarounds by loading and reloading areas to try and make the scripted monsters re-appear.

          • You don’t need to grind unless you want to nullify any challenge. Leave it for hard mode where you get triple xp/ap.

            I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about re the tower? The climb?

          • Climbing the tower was unnecessarily long and pointless. Hojo testing his experiments on you wasn’t in the original game and was again – completely pointless. Don’t even get me started on the ending sequence which I won’t mention for spoiler purposes. These things either added nothing to the story and/or were tacked on for no reason. IE – padding.

            I only had materia leveled for 3 party members. Since for most of the game – you were only allowed 2-3 party members. Not so in the Tower hey? Hence my need/want to grind better materia.

          • But you’re complaining about those battles (which were easy compared to earlier stuff) where you could equip materia and plus AP to get them leveled up…

          • Some of the battles with Tifa/Aerith were not “easy”. Especially the one with 15 dogs attacking you. Interupting every single cast. I was level 39 too. There was not enough battles to get nearly enough AP to level any kind of good materia. You can’t grind in this game. The battles are pre-set in pre-set areas.

          • The only things that killed me were hell house twice and abzu because I was being a moron. It’s not a difficult game and you don’t need to grind anything. I’m obliterating everything on hard

          • You’re obliterating everything because you’re already level 40+.

            I too died to Hell House twice. That’s about the only Boss I died to I think – and the Tonberry side quest.

      • The long (slow) walks are pre-loading sequences so I didn’t mind too much.

        I am definitely not unemployed, I am however working from home and getting little to no sleep.

        • Cheers to you lucky bastard. I’m working from home as well and want to buy the game. Only issue is I’ve bought a house before these mad times started and want to keep a decent savings under me. Everyone here is making a compelling argument for me to get it though. I did love FFXV

        • Well kudos for you being able to clock 40 hours in a game while working full time. That is an impressive feat. You must have no slept from release to now.

  • I don’t like JRPGs and I think Square Enix makes terrible games with even worse stories. I was worried about this being their usual output of copy-pasted empty areas and corridos and 8 chapters in that seems to be the case. The forced slow walking sections across narrow planks etc are particularly absurd and painful, especially when Cloud can zip around and almost fly during battle. The side quests so far have also been dull, MMO fetch quest filler.

    That said, I’m really enjoying it, I’m sure nostalgia plays a huge part but it’s a joy to spend time with these characters again and see them so fleshed out. They’ve absolutely nailed Cloud’s personality and most of the VA does a good job. The combat is great and a huge step up from the trash that was FFXV. Wandering into locations like Aerith’s house for the first time with the updated music going almost brings a tear to my eye.

    Looking forward to playing the rest but I am worried about the wait between episodes and how they will do the open world.

  • I’ve put in about 6 or 7 hours so far. At first I was just kind of enjoying it but I felt like it wasn’t going to keep me.
    At about the 4 hour mark something clicked and I just completely fell in love with it and the characters. I really like this new version of Cloud and how he interacts with the other characters.
    I did play the original back in the day and the music was getting me super hyped from the get go.

  • FF7 is my favourite game of all time, and this game was a flurry of emotions. Grand, beautiful and often simply special. They did a stellar job characterising and expanding the character roles and midgar itself.

    I finished the game days ago and now live in a bizzaro world where I want to talk so desperately about what EXACTLY square have done with this game, where the future leads and just…uuuuuuugh.
    I’m so unbelievably terrified and excited at what the discussion is going to look like in a week, when the gaming world realises what this game means to the fandom.

    • Hey, since you’ve finished it, just a quick question for you. I missed a couple of things in earlier chapters and I just wanted to know if there was a point where I’m able to backtrack and grab those things before the end of the game?

  • It’s great so far. As of writing I’m about 13 hours in. I can understand why it took them so long to create this. While it follows the same basic story of the original it’s also completely different and is essentially a brand new game.

    I just hope part 2 doesn’t take them as long as part 1 did. Also not sure how the save files will work across the various parts of the game too considering we’ll likely have the PS5 by the time part 2 is here.

    • I would imagine part 2 wont take as long, they will have made a lot of assets for this game, they would now have most of the development tools in place. I doubt they will replace the engine for the new gen consoles.

      I would imagine the save games will port in from your uploaded save files on PS Plus onto the PS5.

      • It might take a while given how many unique assets they’ve made for this. The level of detail in the environment is staggering. So rewarding just going from shop to shop in wall market having a look around.

        • Models yes, it’s actually not that hard to 3D model with proper team work and plan – in the other hand MANY texture in the game has no quality. So I won’t think it will take much time but due to many other reasons and how terrible SE is at development time, at best i can imagine we get part 2 within next 15 years . Let’s say it be somewhere down between ps5 and ps6 and I’m not even kidding or exaggerating

  • There’s been articles and videos on that whole “player 2 growing up and being player one” thingo.

    Well, when I was a youngun, my “Player 1” introduced me to FF7 (And Akira, and Magic the Gathering…), and it was life changing. My Player 1 has since passed on, and I think the emotional connection I have to this game, and that person, and at that time in my life, is going to make the remake just never sit right for me.

    I don’t think I’ll be able to bring myself to play it.

  • Having just completed it last night, I think my view is that it is good. Were there things that irked me, definitely, did some of the changes fell ‘odd’ and ‘bizarre’, sure!. However, I can’t deny for the most part it was a fun romp through an interesting world. I get the feeling like most modern games it going to have polarising views in either direction. But I enjoyed it which is the main thing. I particularly loved reliving some nostalgic scenes in updated graphics and of course listening to the music. I will be interested to see where it all goes from here, particularly given some refocusing of the overall story narrative and how strong they let you get by end of the game.

    However I do feel the tag ‘remake’ is a little bit misleading, feels more like FF7 ‘remade’.

    • I’m thinking of it like any movie remake. They’re always different and they don’t even bother to change the title 🙂

  • I’m about 20 – 22 hours into the Final Fantasy VII Remake and for the most part, I am enjoying it. It kind of feels like I’m approaching an endgame but I’ve heard that there’s many more hours ahead of me.

    Graphically, it looks beautiful, running at a constant 30 FPS on PS4 Pro. The game also has an excellent soundtrack, nailing the feeling of nostalgia whilst maintaining a modern, updated feel.

    Most of the voice acting and character performances is okay, but in a typical 90’s JRPG fashion, there is a lot of cheesy “anime” style of writing, which may appeal to certain audiences.

    I mostly like the combat, as I’m playing on normal difficulty and the default action, but sometimes the combat can feel quite hard. I find after fights, I have to re-heal all of my characters in terms of HP and MP. Maybe I’m just doing combat wrong? I think I am getting better at it and utilising different skills and materia.

    The camera can be a bit wonky in combat, especially when you’re in a small, indoor environment. In times like this, the camera can be frustrating, especially when locking onto different targets.

    There are some parts of the game that feel like a bit of a repetitive slog to get through and the opening itself feels a bit slow… but like I said before, for the most part, I am enjoying it so far. It probably won’t be my Game of the Year 2020, but it’s good fun so far.

  • I just finished the game at 39 hours. I missed a single side quest apparently and I completed all other optional content like Coliseum and battle scans etc.

    I loved it and hated it at the same time in parts. A lot of the game felt like padding – like why did you add this it doesn’t add anything to the experience. Heaps of the side quests are complete MMO fetch quest garbage. I loved how they fleshed the story out in some parts – hated it in others.

    I won’t spoil anything but there ARE changes and they don’t make a whole lot of sense honestly. The ending especially had me scratching my god damn head.

    • Hmmm the ending is probably one of the most signifigant moments tbh.

      Pretty much explains why there’s no “part one” in the title of this game.

    • Funnily enough I beat the original in 39 hours when it first came out, and missed a few side quests like Vincent and Knights of the Round back in those pre-GameFAQs days. Its a bit silly when part of the first disk seems longer than the length of the original game.

      • There are huge sections that feel like padding. I feel like they had the intention of fleshing out the story but then greed got the better of them and they thought – we can make this 3-4 games.

        It easily could have been a two parter. There are huge portions that add absolutely to the story and just feel completely fucking pointless.

  • Loved it, thought the combat with the way the ATB system is integrated was great and I enjoyed the boss fights in the game. Although, have to agree with others who say that the game suffers from padding issues that extend the game without adding a whole lot to it.

    One thing I absolutely despised though, was, without spoiling anything, that baffling ending. They made some changes that have some big implications for the future of this project and I don’t believe they’re good changes. All I can say about it, is that Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s ending reminds me of a mixture of Kingdom Hearts and Star Wars: The Last Jedi and not in a good way. It was unfortunate that I enjoyed it all the way up until that left a sour taste regarding the game. I also can’t recommend it to anybody who hasn’t played the original or watched the movie Advent Children, as the changes that have been made actually kind of require knowledge of those two parts of Final Fantasy 7, as well as the fact that some characters that get explained in the original (i.e. Sephiroth himself) just appear in the story with no explanation of who they are which left me thinking, if I were someone who had never played the original, I would have no clue who they are or what was going on.

    • Again without spoiling things, the ending definitely explains why they didn’t stick a “Part one” on the title of this game. I’m on the fence about what to feel about it, but I can’t say what they did isn’t damn ballsy.

  • Love it. There is something about the animations that seem so smooth. It’s a weird thing to say, but the polish is there. Dialogue is great. Characters are well thought out. Cloud isn’t terrible, which was a very likely outcome considering how he’s been shown in a lot of the spin-off media.

    Also, I appreciate that this is a remake. This was the right decision. It’s a deeper dive into the story. As a fan, this is what I wanted all along, I just didn’t know it.

    Everyone seems to be ragging on the battle system. Honestly, I love it too. You can probably button mash your whole way through the game … which is unfortunate. But they have been able to capture a certian ‘essence’ of the original FFVII. Materia, parties, ATB. It feels like FFVII. There is room for improvement probably … but I’m having fun now.

    About 20 hours in.

  • Avid fan. Finished game at 46 hours with every side options complete. So happy yet so disappointed, the game is so linear that it felt like an interactive movie (enjoyed every part of it) but for this to have the name of final fantasy (yes remake) and be so linear is making me question if square Enix is going through a meltdown!

  • My overall score for FF7 is 8/10.
    The game gets everything right with all the elements that they kept from the original, but fails with all the extra stuff they added.
    It’s obvious the developers realised the game would probably only be 20 hours if they stuck to the original, so they added a bunch sidequests and filler content to pad up the hours.
    But the problem is, the sidequests are so hollow and also break up the pace so jarringly. This only ends up highlighting the fact that you’re playing an incomplete story.

  • I know it will likely be an unpopular opinion but in the words of the internet: “Thanks, I hate it”
    Jokes aside I don’t really hate it but I am one of those people that was always going to be looking at the game with an overly critical eye because of emotional attachment and a lack of nostalgia from years of regular play.

    I should start on a positive, visually it’s quite impressive, the settings and backgrounds are top notch, I can’t fault how well they’ve managed to flesh out landmarks while keeping true to the original.
    (Sky in the water tower flashback, beautiful)
    The voices and characters are familiar and lean more towards good than bad, the use of established voice actors from other FFVII aligned games/films was definitely the right choice.
    The enemies look great and are recognisable, even the lame ones like the turrets.

    Now on to the negatives…
    The combat and gameplay isn’t awful, it feels like a mix between Crisis Core and FFXV but somehow ends up lesser than the two.
    I constantly get the feeling that there’s something amazing right there but it simply doesn’t manifest and it’s disappointing how quickly I just started going through the motions.
    FFXV wasn’t great but I thought it was the start of better things at least.

    The story, or more specifically the additional new story, rubs me the wrong way more often than drawing me in.
    When it’s good it’s genuinely engaging and nestled quite cleanly within the narrative flow of what we know but when it’s bad it comes off as cheap, empty and focused too much on fan service tropes.
    I’m not against new stuff or tweaks but there seemed to be a lot of missed opportunities to really flesh out the story in favour of new plot that actually has me concerned about where this game is going to go in the future and even if it’s going to get there at all.
    One example is I was excited to spend some time with Biggs, Wedge and Jessie but by the end of the quest line I was glad to be done with them.

    Overall I’m struggling to seperate my love for the original from this new reimagining and that’s completely on me, FFVII has always been the sum of all its parts for me and it’s tough getting bogged down in what’s always been a short hop to the greater game.
    The new stuff is really hit and miss for me and I honestly wonder why they didn’t focus more on building on what we know and exploring a lot of what we don’t see rather than new stuff and shredding the slow burning foreshadowing that Midgar sets up originally.
    I think they missed a chance to explore what some of the other characters were doing during your time in Midgar, we know their coming eventually and it would have been a perfect way to tease and build on the world.

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