And like the aforementioned two, Final Fantasy VII Remake isn’t shy about its linearity. Midgar is filled with hallways to run through and spaces to be explicitly pushed away from. And yet, it doesn’t feel any less realized or look any less stunning for it. An open world and deep sidequest system aren’t responsible for the newfound depth in characters like Jessie, Biggs, Wedge, and even Cloud himself. They’re not responsible for how I think about Midgar’s people, who are sometimes congregated and at other times stumbling alone on the streets, living their difficult lives and existing without Cloud. That’s all due to the much more nuanced writing and characterization. Side quests are present but there aren’t many, nor is there much of an attempt to make them compelling. Most of the resources have gone into presenting and improving upon an already successful main story, with everything that truly matters existing within it. I’ve honestly missed that focus from a role-playing game with a budget this large.
While the series as a whole is known for its masterful soundtracks, Final Fantasy XIII still has my favorite of the bunch despite standouts like those of Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy XIV. Not only is every track in it beautiful, but it is also comprised of arguably the most diverse selection of themes and styles in any singular entry’s soundtrack. Some pieces are evocative and ethereal; a few are lighthearted and catchy; others are bombastic and incredibly effective at heightening your adrenaline. While this applies to every Final Fantasy soundtrack, Final Fantasy XIII was the first in the franchise to be entirely composed by Masashi Hamauzu, who is also one of the primary composers for Final Fantasy VII Remake.
The last aspect of the remake that reminds me of Final Fantasy XIII is more felt rather than seen or heard. Final Fantasy XIII sits alongside Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy XII as the most experimental entries in the series, breaking away from many of its conventions in the name of diversifying the palette.
I’m almost done with Final Fantasy VII Remake, but from when I first started it on Thursday night, it’s deeply reminded me of one of my favorite entries in the series, Final Fantasy XIII. Despite its commercial success, the latter is not one of the Final Fantasy games that are remembered most...