One of the most anticipated games of Tokyo Game Show 2019 has finally dropped a new trailer. Final Fantasy VII Remake is the reimagining of the beloved PS One classic that grew into a multi-million mini-franchise of its own, with spin-off games, a sequel film, and a host of other related content. Set to release on March 3, 2020, it is arguably one of the last big games of this console generation, set to release in a month along with other highly anticipated games in CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 and Ubisoft’s Watchdogs Legion.
Before we start, let’s enjoy the Japanese-language trailer first.
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Perfection. I have been playing and following Square Enix games since before the merger of Square and Eidos, and I must say that this game looks like it is its most beautiful, most polished, most refined, and most detailed game I have ever seen from the company. I’m not saying that the game won’t have any flaws, just that the game seems to be made with both love and care.
To start with our analysis, let’s settle in with a few facts that most fans already know. The game is the first of many installments, and is set entirely in Midgar which was like a quarter (or less) of the first game. However, this part was greatly expanded, with access to potentially the entire metropolis as opposed to just a few areas in the original. Square Enix is promising the fans that the game will be as long as any Final Fantasy game (which means more than 50 hours if you are a completionist), that is why certain story elements are either expanded or added.
The game is an action-RPG, but its battle system is a perfect blend of both action and turn-based combat. While attacks can be made in real-time, there is still an ATB and Limit Break meters to add some strategy in the combat. After filling the ATB meter, you can enter “Tactical Mode” where time slows down, allowing you to select your next move from a menu. Things like special abilities like the Braver (which was a Limit Break in the original), Triple Slash, and others like Item use consumes an ATB bar. Magic also consumes both an ATB bar and Magic Points, while the Limit Break has its own bar that fills alongside the ATB.
That said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the trailer. Take note that Square Enix still has a proper presentation where there could possibly more details and an extended trailer just like in E3. Needless to say, we are excited for that as well.
First, we’ll talk about the new story cut-scenes. The new Guardians of Fate (Destiny) is shown attacking AVALANCHE near the Seventh Heaven bar. Barret and Jesse are trying to shoot the ghostly beings, and when Tifa and Cloud tries to help, they are almost separated. The Guardians here look to have more form than we previously saw them in. In the E3 trailer, they looked a lot like the tainted lifestream from Advent Children. Here, they still look a bit like that, but they now have forms. I’m starting to feel that these Guardians were human once, possibly those with Jenova cells?
The AVALANCHE team also has a scene where they parachute into Midgar. This calls to mind the parachute scene later in the original game while Weapon was slowly bearing into the city. While I can’t assume the two scenes are directly corellated, it does set up the Midgar return into a much more emotional one, especially since Jesse and Wedge were talking about Cloud and calling him a “keeper”.
The new motorcycle chase scene that was shown in E3 now has a bit of a cut-scene revealed to us. That part in the trailer also directly leads to a new character reveal: a member of SOLDIER, possibly tasked by Shinra to apprehend the AVALANCHE crew. Important note: while the status of the Compilation is still up in the air, this bit does show more than a few “nods” to Crisis Core. The SOLDIER’s weapon looks almost the same as the one in Crisis Core. The SOLDIER also has non-standard attire which points to him being First Class according to Crisis Core.
Speaking of SOLDIER members, another Sephiroth flash-back scene is shown, and the bad guy really looks good in this game. But it is also worth noting the expression in Cloud’s face as he sees the man who destroyed his village and killed everyone he knew. This game really is using as much of today’s technology as possible.
The Turks are finally featured in their Remake incarnation. Reno and Rude wore updated suits, but besides looking a bit thin, they’re not much different from their Advent Children models. Tseng looks a but younger than I would have liked (he’s supposed to be the most senior Turk), but that’s just me nit-picking. I really dig Rude’s suit in this version. It looks very tactical, but still sharp and stylish.
We are also finally treated to our first glimpses of the infamous Honey Bee Inn segment in the game, including the man himself, Don Corneo. He looked every bit as pervy as I had hoped. But we are also blessed with an appearance of Aerith in a dress. WOW! A shame we didn’t see Tifa’s dress….or Cloud’s. I doubt we’re actually going to see footage of a cross-dressing Cloud in the trailers, but at least we know that part of the original game won’t be removed.
We are finally treated to a full portrait of President Shinra but in hologram mode in keeping with the game’s “modern” approach. And Heidegger actually has his trademark laugh, how about that.
There is also extended footage of the battle for Sector 7, with AVALANCHE fighting Shinra desperately at the pillar. We also see tiny glimpses of other characters fighting alongside the group. A sign that AVALANCHE isn’t just Barret, Tifa, Biggs, Wedge, and Jess? I sure hope so. That scene is really a dire and emotional one, as the final scene in the trailer shows.
Now, onto the gameplay mechanics. It seems that status ailments are back, with matching sound-effects too. In this trailer, we saw Cloud turned into a little frog with a little Buster Sword on his back. It is really great to know that Square Enix isn’t removing the zany and goofy parts of the original game. Those are a huge reason why the original was as beloved as it is.
There was one ability that we saw in the cut-scenes, but which I am betting is actually a materia-enhanced ability. During the part where Reno is introduced, he suddenly warped to the back of Cloud in order to start the fight. Granted, Reno is supposed to be the fastest Turk according to the lore, but that’s almost like a Final Fantasy XV warp. The actual fight shows Reno having signature moves and that he can actually hold his own against Cloud, and that eventual one-on-one showdown at the top of the pillar seems to be a perfect climax for that arc.
A battle against Rude was also shown, and it shows how powerful he is. He is shown lifting Cloud, spinning him around, and then throwing him at Aerith (the monster!) which causes damage to both. You do battle the Turks every one in a while in the original game, and I’m hoping they have evolved into becoming major antagonists of the Midgar portion. There is certainly a lot of potential there.
Good news! The mini-games are in! The original had several mini-games scattered all over the place. The trailer showed the gym mini-games which also showed that you can play these games as Tifa or possibly other members of your party. Just seeing Cloud do the squats in full Remake glory made me feel very nostalgic indeed.
It also seems like there will be other mini-games available that were not on the original. I’m not sure if it’s a cut-scene or a transition, but it seems we can play darts. Hopefully there are others that can enrich the experience and bring to life the setting.
And of course, the summons. For the first time (this trailer has a lot of “firsts” in it), we saw summons in action. It’s not yet clear how they will function, some say they will fight alongside you and then disappear after a final “trademark” blast. Others say that it will be entirely cut-scenes. Whatever it is, Ifrit and Shiva are looking really cool. Personally, I kind of liked Shiva’s FFXV design (okay, fine. I liked Gentiana), but this one seems to be based primarily from the original. Very neat.
This game is really shaping up to become one of the greatest games of this generation, potentially reaching Witcher 3, God of War, and Marvel’s Spiderman levels. I surmise that a huge reason for that is because this game is being made with actual care and love. The people working on it were either part of the original team, or grew up playing and loving it. Each aspect, each element present seems to have been carefully considered.
And that is great news, because Final Fantasy VII has elements that would have been hard to adapt into modern styles or appeal to modern sentiments. That they were adapted in the first place is good news in itself. It remains to be seen if segments like Cloud’s cross-dressing will actually be as funny as the original, but things are looking good.
As I said earlier, this game looks really great, looks very refined, and has an insane amount of detail. With the story seemingly well-fleshed out, the gameplay looking really stellar, and the promise of much, much more. I am seriously hyped.