Full disclosure up front, the original Final Fantasy VII is probably my favourite game (Last of Us runs it close). The remake is therefore something I was extremely anxious about. I could write an entire essay on this game but will try to be concise.
I was disappointed with this game. Not hugely so as I had already prepared myself for the fact that it was going to be something different. So fundamentally have the dismantled everything that made the original good however, that I am more angry than anything.
What was good about the first game? The story. Exactly as it was, in full. The music. The materia system. The bad guy and his gradual, sinister introduction.
What did they do with this game? They split one game into three. Hence an inevitable need to pad out the perfect story with extra stuff, none of which adds to it and all of which detracts. In addition, the story itself has been altered to the extent that I had really no idea what was going on. So totally has the story been altered that there is a suggestion it is going down the ‘alternate universe’ path. Nonsense.
Sephiroth is immediately introduced in meaningless visions as opposed to the sinister blood trail that we follow in the original. One of the best bits of the game in my opinion and no where to be seen in this one.
The music is also padded out with new songs which sound like a Japanese pre-teen playlist or weirdly out of place dance music/rock fusions.
The combat means the materia system is significantly sidelined. Yes it’s still there but there is so little variability or potential for strategy that the best system for RPG ever devised is hamstrung. The combat is a mess of confusing button mashing action, as if it has been drawn into the prevailing template that countless other games align themselves to these days.
What annoys me as none of these changes seem likely to have made production any easier. They seem to have been conscious decisions. Obviously the cynical decision to split it into three is to make more money. This is at the obvious expense of quality. The add-ons, the in game purchases and all the modern crap further detract from this decimation of a classic.
By no means does it appear high on ranking lists but I suspect it would be even lower if it weren’t for the curious phenomenon that causes humans to will themselves into enjoying something, even if they don’t. Without the original, this game would barely create a stir I suspect. Overall, just a huge shame. Everyone involved in the decisions on the direction and structure should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.