FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Game review: Final Fantasy VII Remake

By Darren Price
Tue 21 Apr 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

1997’s Final Fantasy VII was a series high-point for Square’s very Japanese role-playing game series. It was also the first in the series to make the jump from 2D sprites to 3D graphics, albeit with pre-rendered backgrounds.

The story follows ex-SOLDIER, and now cocky mercenary, Cloud Strife. With eco-freedom-fighters, Avalanche, they set out to take on the Shinra Electric Power Company. Shinra uses the power of the planet, Mako, to generate electricity for the city of Midgar, a disk-like metropolis suspended over the slums on the surface.

The game starts as Cloud teams up with the grumpy Barret, the infatuated Jessie, action-man Biggs and comic foil Wedge on a mission to sabotage one of Shinra’s reactors. From here we learn that Cloud has been enlisted by his childhood friend, Tifa, to provide his mercenary skills and help her Avalanche teammates.

The Final Fantasy role-playing game series is renowned for its quirky stories and unique characters. Final Fantasy VII really pulls out the stops to give players an eclectic mix of endearing characters and charming, if odd, storytelling.  

Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake successfully takes the essence of the original game and modernises it for a new audience. Fans of the original will recognise the story, if not the actual narrative, which has been expanded in this new version.

There are whole new sequences and side quests not in the original. The FFVII Remake is only the first part of what is intended to be an episodic game release. As such, the game does not extend beyond the City of Midgar. Whilst I’ve no problem with this and the expanded story works well, as a player very familiar with the original game, some sections did feel a bit unnecessarily padded out.

Combat plays a large part in JRPGs. The combat system for the remake has been completely revised, however, there is the option to use the old combat system if you must. Instead of the turn-based attacks of the original, the combat is in real time, with a pause for selecting items and special abilities. 

This revised combat system is very similar to that of Final Fantasy XV and includes the stagger mechanic introduced in Final Fantasy XIII. Unlike more recent Final Fantasy games, I found FFVII’s combat very easy to pick up.

In a similar way to the original game, Materia crystals can be inserted into weapons and equipment to provide extra abilities. Material is found lying about the game levels and is worth going out of your way to find. While some is very common, like “lightning” and “cure”, there are rare Materia that allows the player to summon creatures to fight alongside the party. Having a party fully equipped with Materia increases the odds, especially against powerful enemies.

Being a JRPG at heart, the Final Fantasy VII Remake features a large variety of enemies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Early on players are given “access” Materia that can be used to find out opponents’ vulnerabilities. 

Whilst Cloud is the main character, for most battles, the player can switch between the teammates in the party. Whilst they will continue to fight on their own, players may need to manually utilise other characters’ special abilities. 

Unlike Final Fantasy XV, the Final Fantasy VII Remake isn’t what I’d call open world. Whilst players are allowed to wander about, for the most part, the game guides players along a semi-linear path, similar to the first 20-odd hours of Final Fantasy XIII. Not that I have a problem with this, but it may be a surprise to players just off Final Fantasy XV.

Whilst the original game was criticised for having too many random encounters just popping up, you can usually see your would-be opponents as you approach them. The new combat is fast and frantic, but with a strategic element in the selection of abilities and summons that stops in from becoming a button-mashing exercise.

The game’s graphics are, simply put, breathtaking. The in-engine visuals are not that dissimilar to those in the 2006 CGI-rendered sequel movie, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. It’s a far cry from the original game’s mix of rudimentary 3D characters and static backdrops. This time we have fully realised characters in full 3D environments. Another change is the addition of a full voice cast rather than dialogue balloons. There’s still the odd dialogue choice, but for the most part, you can just sit back and listen.

Fans of the original will likely not only be moved by the epic recreation of the original opening sequence, but also the re-orchestrated version of the game’s soundtrack. The cues are all there and, whilst the classic end-of-battle tune is omitted, it is still in the game and should bring a smile to your face. 

Purists looking for an identical experience to the original, just with updated visuals, may well be disappointed. But they really shouldn’t be. The game has been recreated with the expectations of a modern audience, more familiar with the slick style of FFXV, in mind. For veterans of the original, this means a new, more polished, Final Fantasy VII experience.

The episodic nature of this retelling has meant changes to the way characters are introduced to players in order to set up the story for later. The chronological changes are, however, minor.

The Final Fantasy VII Remake is both a homage to the original and an opportunity to revitalise the greatest entry in the Final Fantasy series. The characters, story, game mechanics and general charm of the remake perfectly captures the feel of the original game. This new version of the game proves that Final Fantasy VII is one of the greatest games ever made, and I can’t wait for the next part of the remake. 

Verdict: 9.5/10

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
WolfVision
WolfVision announces new range of visualisers
WolfVision has announced a new range of visualisers to help meet multiple industry demands for remote learning and educational solutions.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
Jabra
Hands-on review: Jabra GN PanaCast 20 webcam
We get our hands on a Danish-designed high end webcam that has some rather unique artificial intelligence (AI) features.
Story image
Logitech
Logitech releases new mouse with ergonomic and sustainable focus
Logitech has announced the Logitech Signature M650 Mouse and the Signature M650 for Business Wireless Mouse, both with new ergonomic features and capabilities.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: Ghostwire Tokyo (PS5)
Although a bit of a tonal departure for Bethesda, Ghostwire Toyko is a good-looking and eerie action game that is aimed at a very select audience.
Story image
Sustainability
The AI Forum helps NZ pave the way with AI sustainability practices
Non-profit organisation The AI Forum is helping Kiwis learn about addressing climate change issues through the use of AI technology.
Story image
Dynabook
Dynabook A/NZ announces new Portégé X40L-K hyperlight laptop
Dynabook A/NZ has unveiled the all-new Portégé X40L-K, a hyperlight 14.0" modern laptop utilising cutting-edge, high-performance computing power.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: Intel Core i7-12700 CPU
Intel’s middle-of-the-road 12th generation Core i7-12700 offers performance at a lower price than the pricey Core i9 for users that are not fussed by overclocking.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Xbox Series X)
The Lego Star Wars games have always been popular with both kids and adults as they are a cute way to relive the famous movies.
Story image
NFT
Emirates to launch NFTs and experiences in the metaverse
"Emirates has embraced advanced technologies to improve business processes, enhance our customer offering, and enrich our employees' skills and experiences."
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Weird West (PlayStation 4)
There have been many games released over the years based on the wild west era, but Weird West is one of the most unique.
Story image
Poly
Poly introduces new smart devices and announces Amazon e-store in Australia
Poly is introducing two new pro-grade devices to the market and announcing its first official Australian e-store on Amazon.
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Online shopping
A/NZ shoppers plan to spend less, be more selective
For retailers, 2022 is set to be a year of introspection as shoppers across Australia and New Zealand indicate they plan to spend less.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
In almost every respect it works like a book, apart from the fact that it weighs next to nothing, fits in my hand perfectly, and is soothing on my eyes.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant spike in consumer fraud, new report finds
Reported cases of consumer fraud more than tripled in the years 2020-2021 from prior years, according to a new report by Accenture.
Story image
Corsair
Hands-on review: Corsair 32GB Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM kit
Corsair’s Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM offers PC users an entry-level upgrade to the new memory standard allowing them to get a little bit more out of their new Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: Creative Outlier Air V3
Creative is back with the third version of its affordable Outlier Air wireless earbuds range - aptly named the ‘V3’. And this time, they come boasting ambient mode and active noise reduction.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands (PC)
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a spin-off that joins Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Borderlands 3, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Google to enter the smartwatch market with the Google Pixel Watch
Google has provided a first look at its new Google Pixel Watch, which is set to make an entry into the competitive smartwatch market.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless and Aerox 5 gaming mice
Steelseries offered two interesting mice for review, the Aerox 9 Wireless, aimed at MMO/MOBA players, and the Aerox 5, a wired mouse for multi-genre use.
Story image
Collaboration
TikTok launches community-inspired effect capability
TikTok has announced the launch of its Effect House feature to allow its users to create and share Community Effects.
Story image
Norton
Hands-on review: Norton Anti Track 19 software
We get hands on with Norton's new privacy tool that was introduced in March 2022.
Story image
Malware
Vulnerabilities in Lenovo laptops expose users to UEFI malware
Researchers at ESET have discovered three vulnerabilities affecting various Lenovo consumer laptop models.
Story image
Design
Dynabook launches new Tecra A40-K and A50-K models
Dynabook has announced two new additions to its Tecra range, with both said to help promote flexible working solutions while also reducing the strain on IT managers.
Story image
IDC
IDC finds 3.9% decline in worldwide tablet shipments
Preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker has found tablet shipments reached 38.4 million units during Q1 2022, a year-over-year decline of 3.9%.
Story image
HCL
HCL brings TechBee IT education programme to New Zealand
HCL is bringing its TechBee early career programme to NZ in an effort to help close the country's IT skill gap.
Story image
E-waste
NZ’s first and only e-waste sorting machine launched
Computer Recycling launches e-waste shredder and MSS optical sorting machine BLUBOX, which is able to sort out a tonne of e-waste per hour
Story image
Music
Hands-on review: JBL Partybox 110 Bluetooth speaker
My first review in a long time is sure to create a lot of noise, if the experience in my household has been anything to go by.
Story image
Gaming
Study reveals Minecraft the hardest mobile game ever
According to a study by Mozillion, Minecraft: Pocket Edition tops the list as both the most searched for game and the one players need help with and try to cheat the most.
Story image
Sustainability
Can bots succeed where humans have failed in sustainability?
People want businesses to turn talk into action, and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed.  
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: The A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console
Retro Games, the UK outfit responsible for a range of retro gaming devices from joystick to full-sized Vic-20s and C64 emulators, have launched their A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Tell-tale hints before volcanic eruptions found using AI
Researchers have pinpointed precursors to volcanic eruptions, in data collected before explosions including the deadly 2019 Whakaari surge that killed 22 people.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 32GB PNY XLR8 Gaming MAKO 6000MHz DDR5 memory kit
PNY’s XLR8 Gaming MAKO DDR5 memory modules are designed to get the most out of systems based on Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: GoPro Hero 10
I have a long history with GoPro; I still remember getting my first camera when I was 16, using it to film Parkour and the day I lost it down a dingey crag. 
Story image
i-PRO
i-Pro announces newest solutions as rebranded enterprise
i-PRO APAC Oceania has introduced its newest high-resolution mid-range cameras, with combined edge AI analytics and resolutions of up to 4K.