Guys, guys, guys, guys, guuuyyyssss! I don’t even know how to describe this feeling right now. Ecstatic is what I want to say but it’s so much more. Happy, relieved, excited, amazed, and the list goes on and on. Arguably the best game of the entire series, created way back in 1997, Final Fantasy VII was the first 3D addition to the family as it was the first one created on the PlayStation system. There is HISTORY here, people. Other games in the series (and some partially in the series *coughkingdomheartscough*) have easter eggs relating to this bad boy. Also, in case you didn’t already know, this was the very first game I ever bought for my very first system. Thus my endless love for Sony and the PlayStation began and never ended (a can be poetic when I want to).
Even though I was too young to understand it then, I got it after a year or two and beat it. I had no idea games could be on par with, or better than in this case, any movie I had ever seen. I always saw gaming as live action book reading and to live out those kinds of stories really shaped me, I think. I still didn’t fully understand what I was doing until I got a little older and beat it again (this is a game I can pick up at any time, even now, and replay). By then, I had beaten the next game in the series and got so emotional, I had to go back and see what I missed (FFVIII WILL MAKE YOU CRY, I don’t care who you are). Now look at me, a tear in my eye from the beauty of the remake that is soon to grace my life. I’m so happy!!! I’m going to go over the original game and review that in combination with the new look and sound. Then, I’m going to go cry in a corner from the sheer joy of it all.
To start, you play as Cloud Strife, an Ex-Soldier (a super creative name for a specialized military branch of the Shinra Co.) who has left his duty to become a mercenary. He is hired by a group called AVALANCHE, the overly aggressive version of Greenpeace. They hate Shinra because they generate power from sucking it directly from the planet, which is slowly killing it. The world you explore in the city is full of slums (ghettos, barrios, same difference), and riddled with criminal activity. The city has been made into two level and the upper simply covers the lower so nothing can grow or thrive. Everyone up top thinks everyone on the bottom is a part of the “terrorist group AVALANCHE” because Shinra rules all and that’s what Shinra says. The group takes us on a mission to destroy a reactor and explains this whole story to an utterly apathetic Cloud.
As the story progresses, we come into contact with characters from his past and enemies that aren’t really enemies but want to take action in a different way (there are a ton of plot twists in this story and they’ll catch you completely off guard every time). I’m going to try not to spoil the story entirely for those of you who have never played it. Just know that the enemy they start you off with is not the enemy you fight in the final battle. Also, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
The fighting style is originally turn-based, meaning you wait for your time bar to fill up before your character actually takes action. According to the trailer for the remake, this is still true but in a “moveable” way. FFXII allowed us to walk around as we made our decisions and sometimes “dodge” attacks, that’s what it seems like here. Even the special moves can be given direction to face a specific group of enemies so you can get a hit off of more than one at a time. It also looks as though we have more obstacles to face. On the PS1 you had to hit the Select button and look for the icons on screen to tell you where to go when you got lost, but now it looks like Cloud can figure it out on his own due to the background not being static as before.
Speaking of static, let me explain: comparing next gen graphics to the PS1 may seem unfair but playing a 3D game over a painted 2D background was probably the nicest thing to ever grace my eyes. It was unique but unchanging, so the upgrade definitely is welcome. New graphics based solely on the video seem to be PS3 worthy, so maybe it will be cross buy? Also, the trailer is a work in progress so maybe they just rendered it at low quality to show it off for now. I have nothing but high expectations for the PS4’s Jaguar CPU.
We already know that the music in the trailer is from the soundtrack to “Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy”, a live concert of the orchestrated music that Nobuo Uematsu has composed for Final Fantasy from the beginning. I have explained before that he simply has the pure experience needed to make the most confident music in battle down to the greatest tearjerker you ever heard in a cinematic. There is no question that the remake will have a revamped soundtrack to fit.
If you have been around for a while, you know this game is pure gold even at its lowest points. This has a lot of fans stuck in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” stage. I believe as a true fan, you should play first, judge later. By judge I mean acutely critique the pros and cons and still be absolutely satisfied that you played it anyway. Being able to grow and come full circle for something no one thought was ever going to happen, I have come to identify as a true fan of the series and absolutely of this specific sequel. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do, because the original is available on the PlayStation Store right now so you can unlock all the trophies and get a cool custom theme as well. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to find my wallet and a good, comfy corner.