We're in an age of remakes and remasters unlike no other. For the first time in the history of this industry, there is a wide enough financial and communal berth that supports the remaking or remastering of a huge number of titles. Some are less exciting than others and quite often they underwhelm as nostalgia cannot always be the primary driving force for these releases. However, some are outright incredible, as they look to go above and beyond our expectations, reimagining the iconic tales we had grown up playing. That is precisely the case with Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII: Remake.
You see the FFVII: Remake isn't just a remake. It doesn't just take the original game and rebuild it to suit the technology of the modern day as plenty of other remakes out there do. Instead, it looks to the original game and asks, how do we make this better? How do we take what is often regarded as an all-time great game, beloved by audiences both old and new, and shatter their expectations of what it could be? Needless to say it accomplishes pretty much all of that.
Whether you focus primarily on the visuals of which take a pixelated title over twenty years in age and transition it into a third-person game with a realistic and gorgeous art style, or instead look at its rebuilt combat system that is much faster in pace and blends action and turn-based combat, there's always something new to talk about.
That even extends to the narrative seeing Cloud return as the protagonist, in a storyline similar but not exactly a reflection of what was delivered in 1997. There are parts that would make any Final Fantasy fan wriggle in excitement, as they get to relieve a nostalgic experience in a new stunning visual display, but then at the same time, there are completely unique parts that depending on your opinion would take away or elevate the original timeless tale.
The point is, Square Enix never set out to remake Final Fantasy VII in the same way other remakes are conducted. They intended to create a new version of the title, one that was similar but separate to its original PlayStation counterpart. Fans could rest easy knowing that there is a fantastic new Final Fantasy VII experience out there, but at the same time, know that the nostalgic version, which has largely bested the test of time through its sheer quality, remains as a unique product, offering a slightly differing tale to what the 2020 version brings to the table.
When we reviewed this game back in April, we said "the manner in which Square Enix brings everything to life is astonishing," and even today, after the launch of new-gen as well as plenty of outstanding games, this holds up, which details the insurmountable heights this game achieved as a remake. From the excellent particle effects to the realistic facial animations, the reimagining of Midgar and the modernised style of combat, we wonder how this game managed to be delivered in such a high quality with little to know bugs, glitching or frame rate issues. Especially since this is absolutely a last-gen title, even though we know it really doesn't look like it.
Square Enix achieved the impossible with the Final Fantasy VII: Remake, as they genuinely remade Final Fantasy VII. No doubt there are some people out there with disgruntled opinions, but for the most part, this game took an excellent title and brought it to the modern day as an equally excellent experience, and it seems as though the majority of players out there agree. But, above all else, the most exciting aspect we can all look forward to thanks to the remake is the consolidating feeling of knowing that we still have Part Two and maybe more still to come down the line.