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Final Fantasy VII – Past and Future

There probably isn’t a person who doesn’t know the giant RPG franchise titled Final Fantasy. Spanning decades, the franchise has produced many great games, but the name that tends to stand out the most would probably be Final Fantasy VII. The great adventure of the Soldier 1st Class and the eco-terrorist group might seem like a strange concept, but to the fans of the series, there are very few things more fascinating than the journey of an unlikely group of friends that unwittingly become heroes of the world.

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And it is this fascination and constant demand for more content that spawned several spin-off games and even a movie! Basically, fans love FFVII and this adoration brought forth a remake that will hit the scene in March next year. It will be exclusively for PS4, so you might want to hoard up on those PlayStation cards or other means of funds because you will need it! 2020 will give the world the first part, but the whole game will encompass the yet unknown number of instalments. And now as we wait would be the right time to discuss why and how the seventh iteration to Final Fantasy franchise is such a fan darling.

The Narrative

Game enthusiasts would probably agree that plots in the FF franchise are never very straightforward, having layers and hidden depths to them. FFVII is no exception, involving alien entities, rebirth, dissociation and false memories, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

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The game begins with the protagonist Cloud getting involved with the group called Avalanche, who fights against the evil Shinra corporation that uses the very lifeblood of the planet to produce a kind-of fuel for their nefarious means. It is such a seemingly clear set-up, but this is often typical of FF. As you progress, the story hits the high gear and spirals out of control, taking you along for the ride. You are tasked with helping Cloud gather a group of friends while trying to untangle the mystery behind an approaching calamity.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, you have fairly heart-warming moments such as conversations with Cloud’s childhood friend Tifa, or even funny scenes like the one where the protagonist has to parade around in a dress! It’s all in good fun, we promise! Ultimately, these light scenes are accompanied by heart-breaking instances. Such a complicated mix might appear convoluted to those completely unfamiliar with Final Fantasy, however as you play and absorb the story in real-time, it leaves quite an impact.

The Combat

Final Fantasy VII has completely turn-based combat. This means that characters only act when it’s their turn. Want to use an item to save a dying teammate at the last minute? You can’t! Think it would be a nice chance to sprinkle some magic? Nope, not your turn yet. The player just had to accept this method of combat, no matter how cumbersome it may have been. Another not so user-friendly mechanic is the sudden ambushes from the enemies you could not see. It works like this: you run with your party in a field and all of a sudden battle music starts and you are sucked into the fight. To some, it might be annoying, but truly it just adds excitement and relatively eases the experience acquisition.

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The game has weapons that you can buy for the party members, which are restricted by the region. Meaning, you need to unlock a place in order to shop for gear there, and the only way you can unlock that is by progressing with the story. So in a way, the weapons you can buy or discover or beat out of the enemy still are tied to how far you are in the game, but it also keeps the player from purchasing a powerful weapon at the very start and mowing down the opposition. Instead, the gear is something that will come to you gradually and will feel almost naturally tied to progression.

But the cornerstone of combat is the materia system. In Final Fantasy VII, materia serves to provide skills, allows the summons to grace the battlefield and even increases a character’s stats. The materia is fused to the appropriate slot in character’s gear; naturally, the better the equipment, the more slots are available, the more skills and perks your character has. It’s truly a unique way to look at things because thanks to these materia, the burly warrior of the party may be able to summon gentle healing magic, while a fragile distance fighter can have health points befitting a verified tank. Granted, characters have affinities and you should adhere to them if you want to have an easier time in the game, but technically you can give skills and the like to who you want (just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work as intended).

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The Remake

Keeping all those aspects of the game in mind, we can take a closer look at what we know about the Remake. Naturally, it will have improved graphics and reworked character designs, as well as have the glorious 3D! But with the surface changes, there will also be some deeper redesigns. One of them is the official rumour that the story will receive more rewrites. The creators of Remake stated they do not want to recreate the game word for word, but at this point, we can only speculate what those changes might be. Will someone die or live? Perhaps there are changes in antagonists or even protagonists? Whatever it might be, there’s a good chance both new players and older fans will surely find something to explore in the Remake.

Combat is another major change. The player will have a chance to do some continuous attacking or additional actions while you wait for ATB to fill up. Once the bar is full, you have a chance to use your skills, items and whatever else. This serves as a mix between action combat that is fairly popular nowadays, and the good old traditional FFVII gameplay. Everyone wins! Materia is still a bit of the mystery, but it appears they will also be designed to complement the battle system, but how well they merge remains to be seen. Summons, however, will no longer create an attack animation and deal damage; now they become temporary companions, able to fight alongside you when you summon them. This only serves to create dynamic combat and makes tense situations feel truly threatening since effort comes from the enemy as well. The strategy is meant to play bigger part as well, but this you will need to experience for yourself.

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Ultimately, FFVII Remake is set to be glorious rebirth that the fans have been waiting for so long. The game itself is over 20 years old, and there’s something fantastic in seeing your beloved square blobs turn into lifelike models. Whether the Remake will be a close echo of the original, or if they will take it to the before unseen stories, the game is well worth the hype surrounding it. So, if you want to have something to look forward to in 2020, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a perfect game to buy!
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Alex is the owner and operator of JoyFreak. He's a British gaming geek, football player and fan. You will see him posting the latest gaming news.


I played the original to death seriously... unlocking Vincent, ultima weapons even the golden chocobo not to mention omnislash. It was fun, I was young. But Is it just me that feels we have been talking about this for far too long? Of course I am slightly excited and do like the fact they kept the old fight style but some of the other features make me feel like... why so much? We just wanted the same game but with "sick" graphics ;)
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