The long-awaited Final Fantasy 7 Remake was not only on show at EGX 2019 last week but it was an actual Hands-On demo! Yep, that’s right I have finally played Final Fantasy 7 Remake and OOOOOOOOOO it is bloody good!
I am sure this comes as no surprise but Final Fantasy 7 Remake even had the biggest queues of the entire Expo. Even bigger than the much anticipated Marvel Avengers. Then again we haven’t been waiting more than 25 years for Avengers.
Now, the demo that I got hands-on with was only about 20 mins long and was inside the first mako reactor so don’t be expecting any big breaking news or exciting scoop. What you will get is pure fanboy emotional reaction and honest opinion.
First off has to be just how god damn beautiful Final Fantasy 7 Remake looks. Yeah, I know we have all seen the trailers (there is one at the top of this page of you haven’t) But there is a big difference seeing the gameplay in front of you whilst holding a pad than watching a YouTube trailer.
As soon as the demo begins you get instant goosebumps and shivers down your spine. It is graphically amazing, As are many titles today, but this is different. Seeing Cloud in full detail even down to the freckles and hearing him speak instantly makes the remake amazing. That might sound silly to most reading this but try to imagine for more than two decades we have been playing Final Fantasy 7 with Cloud as a blocky, silent sprite and here he is a fully formed visual and audio character. It instantly transports you back to the wonderful world of Midgard yet instantly it feels real!
That is the magic of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, It has new combat and UI mechanics, that I will get to later, but I cannot stress enough how beautiful it looks but how it is still Final Fantasy 7 just better (did I actually just type those words?)
On to the combat and gone is the turn-based fighting of the original. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure about this and I am still on the fence. I am a bit of an RPG purist and prefer turn-based combat systems over hack and slash fighting.
During my time in the first Mako reactor, there were no random battles. I could see the soldiers well in advance and decide when I was ready to run into them and trigger the battle.
My worst fears were realised instantly in the “smaller” battles as it quickly became apparent that is was, in fact, hack and slash style fighting. The combat is fast-paced, smooth and fun. Been able to switch between characters on the fly and in fact having to do so was a nice touch.
When fighting some robot drones I would hack them down with cloud before they flew out of my range so I quickly switched to Barret in order to shoot them down with his Bad Ass cannon.
This small but interesting mechanic was a nice little set up for what was coming next…The Scorpion Tank! God, I loved this boss in the original Final Fantasy 7. It is the first time you come up against something that you have to fight tactically and sets the tone for the entire game…I was not disappointed.
The Scorpion Tank is so imposing. It is menacing and really delivers the feeling of dread I felt the first time I came up against it all those years ago. The fight itself is different. Having to run around the Scorpion Tank to hit a weak spot, Issuing orders between party members and moving locations make the fight feel incredibly epic!
The only problem I had was using magic. A quick tap brings up the magic menu. You can switch between characters with ease and order them to use their skills and magic. But for some reason, that I never worked out, I couldn’t use magic when I wanted. I was constantly bringing up the UI, seeing spells blacked out, then continuing fighting then checking again.
Limit breaks are of course back and look stunning! They are implemented with ease and add to the combat in a way that doesn’t break up the flow of combat.
The Scorpion Tank fight went on for about 10 mins before I prevailed. An extremley satisfying battle that left me salivating for more.
I was a bit unsure as to whether to play the Final Fantasy 7 Remake as I have never been so excited for a game before I was worried about spoiling the experience. In fact, what happened was the complete opposite.
There was no summons, no look at the world map, or anything other than the basic manu and the inside of a closed reactor. Has a Final Fantasy 7 fan I knew exactly where I was and what was coming and that set up the emotional reaction even more.
Having the demo inside the reaction was a stroke of genius. It allows you to see the changes, experiences the new controls and mechanics but does so in a closed, albeit recognised environment. I was hyped for Final Fantasy 7 Remake already… I didn’t know it was possible to want it even more.