Final Fantasy VII Remake Preview

We’ve been waiting for the FF7 Remake for what feels like forever. Now there’s finally a release date on the horizon. Better still, people (like me!) have actually gotten their hands on a tiny slice of the bloody thing. While we’re way too early in the race to make any serious judgment calls, the question remains: Is this going to be any good, or what?

Let’s get it out of the way: playing this tiny slice of Final Fantasy VII Remake feels really good. Damn good even, albeit a little familiar. Like, this is the battle system, the one Square Enix has been iterating steadily since the beginning. You can trace its genetic roots back through every previous game. All RPGs come with certain caveats of sameness, but this feels more like a straight and clear through line. Perhaps it makes sense that were not seeing anything crazy new, as this is a new version of a fan favorite. To that end, the fights feel true to the Final Fantasy VII ideal, if such a thing exists.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

You start with regular attacks as fast as you can make them. Once your gauges build up, then it’s time for some commands. If you’re focused, you can get a lot of special moves happening right quick. Limit Breaks are still a rare and momentous occasion, albeit one brought on by pain and suffering. All of this happens in a span of heartbreaks. Fights are proper fast, but they’re still subject to precise control on your part.

Cue The Victory Music

While the combat was the main focus of the demo, it was hard to ignore how incredible the rest of the game looked. The trailers just can’t capture how lovely it felt to clamber around in an actual, honest-to-god Mako reactor with Cloud and Barrett. I can’t say how much of my childish glee was just rose-tinted glasses at work. Maybe someone who didn’t grow up with FF7 will feel differently. But there’s no denying how delightful it feels to be back.

If anything gives me pause, it’s the length of the boss fight itself. There are a lot of cut-scene pauses at work here. Assuming this battle is a blueprint for the pace of the game, it’s no wonder we’ve got no idea when we’re getting to the end. For now though, I’m perfectly content moseying along once March arrives at last.