Then, the 2 diverge. That is the place Final Fantasy VII Remake slows down significantly, instantly hyper-focusing on particulars. Each second in Remake feels devoted to displaying course of—how the heroes get in, how they escape, what the flight from the Shinra authorities appears to be like like. Each second is expanded to point out in probably the most literal element the way it occurred. Whereas a whole lot of video games, particularly games from the unique PlayStation period, accepted breaks from actuality—cities logically a lot smaller than they actually can be, conflicts which are implied as a lot as they’re proven—Remake resists that for a extra literalist strategy to its storytelling. As such, a recreation that might play like a cyberpunk thriller typically seems like a slice-of-life story, a visit via probably the most complicated and detailed world Sq. Enix may muster.
It is tempting to assume this detail-oriented storytelling—which provides new settings, new aspect quests, and expanded backstories for a lot of characters—is an try at padding, filler. Final Fantasy VII Remake is not the whole thing of the unique FFVII; it covers solely the early hours of the unique recreation, the half spent totally in Midgar. But the brand new additions lengthen a decent 15-hour recreation right into a 30-hour one, and evidently was the purpose—to sluggish the participant‘s progress sufficient that they really feel they acquired their cash‘s price, whereas additionally giving Sq. Enix time to work on the subsequent installments.
However there’s extra to it than that. This strategy evinces a considerate, humanistic strategy to conveying this world’s story, one in all stratification—lower-class residents actually stay within the shadow of Midgar’s floating steel metropolis—and the prices and deserves of violent direct motion in a world starting to teeter getting ready to ecological collapse. Final Fantasy VII is so beloved, so well-known, it could‘ve been simple for Remake‘s builders to simply coast on the fumes of the sport‘s already-established mythology. To make everybody a bit bigger, a bit cooler, each second a bit extra thrilling. To inform the motion film model of the story, with ambiguity and humanity stripped away. However the methodical strategy right here ensures that this recreation does the other. As you wander its dauntingly massive cityscape, interactions with regular individuals make the characters really feel human, fallible, and small in a manner that Final Fantasy VII‘s weird sequels, and Sq. Enix’s crossovers, by no means actually did. Cloud is sort of childlike, a boy playacting at being a warrior and never at all times nailing the half. And Aerith, one of the crucial beloved tragic heroines in video games, is greater than a love curiosity right here—she’s an ethereal presence, a peaceful and cheery one who appears to exist half on this world and half in one other, extra religious, one. These are fallible, coherent characters, making errors and stumbling via a messed-up world. The sport‘s political questions hit extra successfully on this manner, too; as soon as you understand the individuals and settings of Midgar in additional intimate element, the violent actions you’re taking because the heroes, bombing town to save lots of the world, really feel considerably extra fraught. The sport is clearly on the aspect of our beloved ecoterrorists, but it surely‘s not afraid of the ethical ambiguity of that perspective.
This consideration to intimate element additionally extends to its new fight system, which pushes fights out of the turn-based mode of outdated and into frantic real-time motion. It is a system modeled after the unique, with meters that replenish as you assault and transfer that can be utilized on strategic particular talents. However the transfer to actual time lets the sport deal with the physicality of those characters, with lushly detailed animations for each swing of Cloud’s big sword, each punch Tifa throws, and each spell Aerith casts. One of the crucial vital realities of this fight system is the best way it communicates presence and weight, the way it additional serves to develop the primary forged. You get a way of them, not simply from how they work together however in how they combat, from Cloud’s preternatural soldier’s grace to Barrett’s wild machine-gun hearth.