3 Reasons to Worry About "Final Fantasy VII Remake"
This isn't your grandad's Final Fantasy VII - and it might not be yours either.
The playable demo for Final Fantasy VII Remake that leaked in January is finally available on PlayStation Network. After years of absorbing every detail in trailers and carefully curated gameplay footage, PlayStation 4 owners now have the chance to play the opening mission of the game themselves.
The original 1997 release of Final Fantasy VII is widely considered a timeless classic and among the greatest Japanese role-playing games ever made. Fans have been clamouring for a remake for decades, but Square Enix looks to be delivering a complete reimagining of the game from the ground up.
The remake seems to be a perfect update to a gaming masterpiece, but there is a slight chance it will release as a bloated and unfinished mess. Here are three reasons to worry about the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Players who fail to keep watch of this system's many conflicting moving parts are sure to suffer several frustrating failures.
1. A Whole New Battle System
The original game's Active Time Battle system was a clever compromise in 1997, but 2020's remake attempts to marry turn-based combat and action role-playing in an entirely different and potentially disastrous way.
Players can maneuver the field of battle and attack to fill their ATB gauge, which can be spent to commit powerful abilities, magical spells, or use items. Having the gauge fill in this way creates a balancing act for the player — to frequently switch between characters and button-mash basic attacks to fill the gauge, then pause the action to spend points on special moves.
Item usage being tied to the ATB gauge can lead to frustrating dilemmas in the heat of battle. Inevitably, there are situations where players may need to throw an injured party member into harm's way before being able to use a healing potion or revive a fallen ally. Players who fail to keep watch of this system's many conflicting moving parts are sure to suffer several frustrating failures.
The camera and character movement during battle often push against each other, obfuscating the spacial relationship between the player character, the environment, and his enemy. The menu offers a veritable puzzle-cube of camera options that seem to promise a perfect setting for everyone, but making a single misguided adjustment can morph the simplest battles into confusing and overlong slugfests.
2. Plot, Pacing, and Padding
Apart from a beautiful graphical update that seamlessly transitions between cutscenes and gameplay, Final Fantasy VII Remake alleges to add hours of content on top of the classic story. The game's April 10 release presents itself as the beginning of a multi-part series and only follows the adventure through to the heroes' escape from the city of Midgar — merely ten percent of the original game's plot.
Since its release in 1997, the narrative universe of Final Fantasy VII has grown substantially through multiple spin-off games and a feature film. Elements from this expanded universe will certainly be included in the remake, but the playable demo and recent trailers show new and unexpected plot threads.
According to various reports, players can expect to spend over 30 hours in Midgar, compared to five hours in the original game. Without a compelling subplot to keep players interested in the claustrophobic cityscape, Midgar's drab setting threatens to overstay its welcome with returning fans.
3. What Comes Next?
This first part of Final Fantasy VII Remake was in development for several years and suffered disappointing delays. The release date for part two has not been announced, and Square Enix has not revealed how many more sequels are planned. Considering that many of the character assets were already completed during the first part's development, the most optimistic outlook has the next installment releasing sometime in 2022.
The original plot of Final Fantasy VII promises a massive overworld beyond the city of Midgar, with several villages and cities to visit. The new setting stands in stark contrast to the linear and contained nature of part one's Midgar. This dramatic difference in scale could cause the continuation of Final Fantasy VII Remake to suffer yet more delays and setbacks.
This series of games is beginning with the launch of a new console generation, and Square Enix has confirmed that at least the first two parts of Final Fantasy VII Remake will release on PlayStation 4. However, PlayStation 4 will be defunct technology after the release of PlayStation 5 at the end of 2020. Without a real release schedule or an understandable plan, one cannot help but wonder how, when, or if the remake will ever be released in a finished state.
Final Fantasy VII Remake releases on April 10, 2020 for PlayStation 4. Drop a comment below if you're feeling cautiously optimistic or downright anxious about the future of this long awaited game.