I couldn't get very far with this game before getting absolutely fatigued with it but I think it utterly fails at capturing the aspect of ff7 I really like the most.

Other than the fact that the original is one of the most earnestly introspective games, had commentaries on nearly every archetype presented in the game, is chock full of content and plot with perfect pace, and manages to utterly demasculate and break down the shounen jrpg hero figure, the original final fantasy VII bucked the tone of the action hero fantasy by both playing up the heroism and swashbuckling with a thick, palpable layer of melancholic and innocent irony.

Irony is often something cynical, something too adult or hardened. A way of coping with the world. But the irony in ff7 was pure, a kind of return to the true nature of what people are. It's not judgmental, it doesn't have expectations, and it's not cynical or bitter. It's simply a sense of peace, with life, oneself, loss, defeat, heroics, struggle, hardship, passion, all the products of friction between a human being and the world around them.

The remake simply lacks that tonally. For the best possible example I can think, watch the moment in the original game near the beginning after the first bombing mission, where every exit of the screen Cloud tries to exit through, he gets cut off by troops and the player is presented with the choice of running or fighting at each turn. It's a straight swashbuckling scene, the hero is cornered at every turn and the choices are weighed against him over and over, and like some of those great heroic stories and films, the hero's not really in any danger; we've seen cloud oneshot those goons earlier with ease, it's purely an aesthetic situation. Yet, the music is utterly at conflict with the scene. It's somber, it's innocent, it's complicated, and very, very subtle. There's something amiss. The scene begs the player to expect a deconstruction, a demasculation, and the undoing of what people know and expect from the game without overtly stating it. It acts as the prelude for the game later changing its own writing and having the player reevaluate what it stands for.

I don't care about nomura ghosts, action combat, new scenes, or any other changes as long as the game gets that one aspect right. That one tone that only the original ever had. I couldn't detect it, so I gave up. I could be wrong, and maybe find that core spirit somewhere else in the game if I come back to it. Or maybe the remake just plain goes for something else, and maybe that's worth it in the end. Still, I feel something's missing.

Also a few other notes, the sidequests Suck ass. Going from ff14 ARR to 7r felt like I was moonlighting one job for an even shittier one. Not recommended!

All else said, that combat system is like the complete evolution of what kingdom hearts started on the ps2. I'm happy it's gotten this far. Mechanically this game plays like everything I wanted when I was 12.

Final fantasy has always been a game about putting all your ideas and the sum total of everything you have to say about a theme and design into one game. Every game in the series is both the first and final game in its own franchise. Those designs and ideas could have anything, any kinds of gameplay systems or plot ideas as long as it grandly tells a story with roleplaying and mechanics. I welcome the real time combat, as it's the series trying to understand and remix what else is out there and put its own spin on things by creating a newly aestheticized experience of combat. Final fantasy 20 might have no combat it in at all. Be ready for it!

Reviewed on Apr 10, 2021