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Splitting up Final Fantasy 7 Remake into multiple games is a good idea

Final Fantasy 7 Remake – not a complete story (pic: Square Enix)

A reader gives his review of Final Fantasy 7 Remake and discusses the pros and cons of splitting the original story into different games.

Last generation I would’ve bet good money that there would never be a Final Fantasy 7 remake. The further we got away from the original release the less people would remember it or, more importantly, the more people would grow up never having known it. It would become more and more expensive to make the longer Square Enix waited, until it became completely economically impossible.

I’m pretty sure we’re right around that mark now, but thankfully the remake was announced several years ago now and the first chapter is finally out this month. And, from what I’ve played so far… I like it.

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining it takes too many liberties with the original and that the combat is somehow dumbed down just because it’s not turn-based, but I don’t agree with that. The game adds a lot of new elements and characters but the majority is taken straight from the original, including bits that could’ve easily been removed.

Being turn-based does not automatically make a game tactical or high-brow and Final Fantasy 7’s battles were always very simplistic, with little real thought needed to beat them beyond a basic understanding of the rules. Level grinding was always more important that strategy in those old games and Final Fantasy 7 was no different.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake comes across as a sort of simplified version of something like Devil May Cry, for people that aren’t necessarily any good at action games, and I think that’s completely appropriate. There’s almost no need for level-grinding and I’ve only had to redo a few battles, while at the same time never feeling I breezed through any important ones.

As GC has said, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is what the game would be today if it was made new, rather than just a recreation of the original game using modern technology, and I think that was absolutely the best way to go about it. There’s more than enough to keep original fans interested and yet nothing, in terms of either presentation or gameplay, to put off people who have never even heard of the game before.

Importantly for me, the characterisation of everyone is leagues better than the original, with all the characters being very sympathetic and, most impressively, having actual arcs where they grow and change based on their experiences. You could argue maybe Aerith doesn’t change that much and Wedge is clearly a dangerous liability who I low-key hate, but everyone else has a real journey for their characters.

Previously minor characters like Jessie feel like real people all of a sudden and that makes the game’s story much more interesting, especially given how little of the full story it covers. But then that is the most controversial part of the whole remake: was it really a good idea to split it up into so many games?

I’ve got a feeling that when the story starts to get really whacky later on it is going to lose a lot of people. And I’m not sure that the combat is going to stretch to four or five games without major change before the end. It feels good now but everything has it limits and I really don’t see how it can remain the same for so many games. Or if it doesn’t, how they could switch it up all that much.

In that sense it feels like a mistake but without knowing how they’re going to handle it it’s impossible to say any more. There’s also the problem that while the characterisation is impressive now, Cloud has already gone from surly outsider to likeable hero so what’s really left for him? Those that played the original will know there are a lot of important plot revelations to come, but does his character really change that much after Midgar? I’m not so sure.

The whole enterprise is a big risk for Square Enix and commits them for years to come. Which may be more of a problem than they realise if the coronavirus interferes with the hype for this first entry (it’s certainly been a more low-key launch than I was expecting). At the moment though everything seems to have worked out and for now at least splitting the story up seems to have been a good idea.

But at the end of the day the most important thing is that the game’s good and I for one am glad of that… and slightly surprised.

By reader Bennett

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

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