A remake or a soft reboot? An episode or a full game? A turn-based game or an action game? In what language to play it? Can I start with this?
These days one of the most anticipated titles of recent years has been released, if not the entire history of the video game. Vociferated first for a long time, as far back as 2007 for the release of Crisis Core, for the official announcement in 2015 it provoked reactions never seen before. Almost five years have passed since that E3 and a lot has happened in communication related to Final Fantasy VII Remake. Finally the game has arrived, but even now there is still discussion about what exactly it is. Let's be clear then.
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Yes, it's a remake. But…
The first question can be answered immediately, eliminating any doubt: in name and in fact is a remake. Sure, it's a particular makeover far from being 1: 1 scale, but still a remake. The original game, after all, was colossal and boasted dozens and dozens of more or less large settings and dungeons, nestled in one huge open world game map.
Thinking of packing the entire Final Fantasy VII experience into a current product was actually beyond all logic. For this reason, Square Enix has decided to subdivide the work in an unknown number of parts for now.
In short, Final Fantasy VII Remake is yes a makeover, but it takes enormous creative freedom with respect to the reference title. So the exploration linked to the city of Midgar, home of the Shinra, which in the original it occupied less than 10 hours, here comes to quietly fill the 40 hours of play.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is undiluted
Let it be clear that this is not a diluted product, in which the new activities are exclusively fillers, to justify the sale at full price. Far from it: the original game script has been revised and expanded, with the inclusion of new characters and greater importance for already known supporting actors; in addition, the wonderful setting has been deepened, revealing many background and background stories, barely hinted at in the original or in its spin-offs.
Because it must also be emphasized that Final Fantasy VII has become, over the years, a real saga within the famous Square series. To the history of the 1997 game have been added two prequel games - Before Crisis and Crisis Core -, a sequel - Dirge of Cerberus - and other spin-offs on different mediums, As the CGI sequel feature Advent Children. Some of these products have also achieved some success, with Crisis Core which stands out above all, the beautiful prequel released on PlayStation Portable in 2007 starring Zack Fair, which tells key events for what will happen in the main story.
Episode? Self-contained chapter? Full game?
So we answered the first question: Final Fantasy VII Remake it is, in fact, a remake, albeit reworking and expanding many of the main and secondary elements of the plot. From here we come to the second group of questions. On this point, it must be said, Square Enix hasn't been clear at all. Although the division of the title was practically necessary, the public is notoriously very sensitive to this type of operation and the company has not been able to explain well how it set up the work.
The title released these days is actually a first part of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Not a first episode, beware. The ending of the game will give you a worthy conclusion, however open to the continuation. Furthermore there is no mention of a product lasting a few hours, which will see follow-up in the short term, so it is worth waiting for a complete edition. This remake divided into chapters consists of parts lasting a rather long complete game, in fact around 40 hours as already mentioned. In this sense, what we will have once all the chapters are out will be more like a trilogy of gamesi, each in its own way of identity, but also clearly connected to the others.
Some clear answers, but also some doubts
So don't be fooled by the idea that this is just a first episode, because in fact it isn't. Rather it is Final Fantasy VII Remake part one, without this leading to an open ending or reduced longevity.
However, what unfortunately still remains to be clarified is how many chapters will be that will make up this remake. Similarly, it will be necessary to understand how Square Enix will manage the passage from the first part to the second and then to the following ones. Will he look for a way to reset our characters and make each chapter playable on its own? Or will it use our save from the previous chapters, thus requesting to have played them?
We do not have certain answers on this, but in all probability we will try to render it each chapter playable even without the previous ones, perhaps with summaries and some narrative expedient to force us to restart the growth of our characters.
Turn-based combat or action?
In this case the answer is halfway. In Final Fantasy VII Remake we have opted for a middle between classic turn-based combat and pure action, taking the best aspects of the latest titles in the series - XII, XIII and XV - and condensing them to a truly satisfying result.
In the new Square Enix game you can attack, dodge and parry in real time controlling one character at a time and being able to switch between those in the group instantly. All this, of course, without waiting or loading. These actions, however, will fill the Active Time Battle (ATB) bars, expendable for special attacks, spells, actions or use of items. While you control one character, the others come managed by AI, doing their job but filling the ATB bar much slower.
In this way, Final Fantasy VII Remake pushes us to change the controlled character often to maximize ATB fill and change target of enemy attacks. So we will find ourselves jumping from one member of the group to another in real time, filling the bar and then stopping the time to carry out special attacks, before moving on to the next member. On this front we must absolutely recognize the merits of Square Enix. The company has been able to package an effective, deep and fun combat system, capable of laying the foundations for future evolutions of the series.
Which language to choose?
Another of the points that has caused the most discussion around Final Fantasy VII Remake is his Spanish adaptation. Already in early March, with the release of the demo, the differences between the English dubbing and the Spanish subtitles had generated many complaints. The widespread opinion initially was that the Spanish text was, oddly enough, adapted from Japanese rather than English. For this reason the subtitles seemed to emphasize the classics stereotyped characters of Japanese culture, while the dubbing gave itself a more mature tone.
In reality, in conjunction with the release of the game from several sources, a denial of this loyalty to the Japanese arrived and the situation remains unclear at the moment.
Surely the game presents a certain annoyance for those who chew a little English, if played with that dubbing and the subtitles in spagonolo. The differences are sometimes really accentuated. For this reason the advice we want to give you is play in englishif you have a good knowledge of the language. Set up your PlayStation 4 in English and enjoy one perfect correspondence between audio and text.
If, on the other hand, you don't feel English-speaking enough or just want to enjoy the game in a more relaxed way, we recommend you play with Japanese dubbing and Spanish subtitles.
Can you start with Final Fantasy VII Remake?
Absolutely yes. While the game offers a special experience for all veterans of the original, it is certainly a great product to approach the Final Fantasy series for the first time.
Of course, you will not be able to grasp the references to the game of '97 and enjoy thatnostalgia effect in retracing places already known. Without a doubt, though, this new Final Fantasy VII Remake saga is a perfect entry point for novices. Also because, remember, the Final Fantasy series is made up of titles disconnected from each other, which in fact share only elements of gameplay and a deep breath of the story. It is not absolutely necessary to have played the other chapters, there are no references to the VI or previous ones.
After all, the imagery painted in the seventh chapter of the series is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, original and profound ever, with a marked maturity. In this remake all these elements are amplified and improved, returning in a new guise what is certainly one of the peaks of the Square Enix series.
Finally, the new combat system designed by the developers represents the right compromise between the classic shifts, typical of Final Fantasy, and a more modern and current action. A perfect hybrid between brutality and tactics, as deep as it is needed, satisfying at the right point.
Final Fantasy VII Remake in short, it is a game really suitable for everyone and finally seems to be that breath of fresh air the series needed for more than a decade.