Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is the second game in Square Enix’s planned trilogy. This title is one of the big highlights of this year, with huge expectations behind its release on February 29, 2024.
Returning to the Classic JRPG FFVII
Final Fantasy VII came out on the original PlayStation in 1997 and brought a significant shift for the franchise. In the transition to 3D, the traditional JRPG franchise became even more ambitious in its cinematic approach.
The game became one of the most revered of its genre. In fact, it’s widely recognized as one of the best games of all time. With that huge legacy as a standard, Square Enix would have trouble for many years in remaking it.
Back in 2020, when 23 years had passed since the original, the company would finally release Final Fantasy VII Remake. However, instead of completing the whole thing in a single release, they had already decided for years that it would be an episodic release with three parts.
FFVII Remake would only be Part 1 of the story, covering the events in the big metropolis of Midgar. Now, we can see beyond those limits as Cloud and his party go outside in search of Sephiroth.
An Expansive World with a Big Scope
The first part had already felt like a big game, expanding on what the original had to offer in more ways than just a pretty coat of paint. Even so, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth should expand its scope considerably.
Freed from the shackles of Midgar’s frontiers, we’ll now be able to explore various locations, from the Grasslands east of Midgar to the Cosmo Canyon region. Nibel, Gongaga, Corel, and even the Meridian Ocean will also be part of the experience.
According to the latest reveals from the game’s dedicated State of Play, we can expect many sidequests, minigames, and other things to find as we explore. Some of it will naturally expand beyond what the original JRPG conceived, adding new life to familiar areas and faces.
Seeing the nostalgic world of Final Fantasy VII through a new perspective is a pillar of the remake trilogy. It isn’t an exact copy of the same thing as presentation, the action gameplay, and even story details diverge from the original. But at the same time, it plans to build upon our old memories to create this new experience.
An Artistic Reimagination
One aspect that has improved significantly over the decades since the original’s launch is the cinematography. More than just the more realistic models due to tech advancement, what really impacts the graphical quality of a remake often derives from artistic improvement. Less than “how many more polygons it has now,” it’s a question of “how it can present things better than before.”
Back then, Final Fantasy VII had some bold camera choices and a good sense of how to use 3D in powerful cutscenes. However, Square Enix has built a ton of know-how on cinematic elements over the years and made it to a different level than then-Squaresoft had.
Combining high-quality assets with clear vision and good artistic expertise, the company has shown a lot of care for the project. On the visual and sound aspects of the production, we can expect one of the best games the PS5 has to offer. The new demo provides a good look at this element.
For Rebirth, Square Enix has shared a new demo so we can get an early taste of what the game has to offer. It’s available now on the PlayStation Store and will be updated to feature a condensed version of Junon to show the exploration in-depth.
Currently, what we get to see is a reminder of what makes this game an unforgotten gem in PlayStation history. It’s time to go back to Cloud’s memories of Nibelheim.
Nibelheim: Return to Old Memories of FFVII
The demonstration version of the upcoming game gives us a look at one of the early scenes of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. After coming out of Midgar, Cloud and his teammates must look for clues about Sephiroth.
The starting point for that is Cloud’s memories of this nemesis whose actions may bring so much destruction to the world. He decides to tell the group about their time in Nibelheim.
Nibelheim is the small town where Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart lived as kids. Close to it is one of the oldest mako reactors Shinra developed and an old mansion full of documents.
Shinra sent SOLDIER hero Sephiroth and a few others on an expedition there to look for the issues in the reactor. This seemingly small mission is a turning point for the character to become the villain we know.
Without spoiling too much, this is a fantastic reminder of the main events that have to happen in this portion of the story. Rebirth covers events that impacted fans the most in the original game, and seeing them again promises to pack an extra punch.
The Turn to Action
With all that said, what can we expect from the game beyond the story advancement and the vast world exploration? Let’s recap what the Final Fantasy VII remakes are like.
The original game was a turn-based RPG with active-time battle, which meant players had to be fast on their feet to make the most out of combat. The remake is instead an “action RPG.”
By attacking enemies, you can fill your ATB bar, unlocking the use of abilities, magic, and items in battle. Dodging and defending help avoid damage, making them necessary tools, especially for long fights.
When you want to use some technique besides basic attacks, open the Tactical Mode menu. It slows down time, making those moments reminiscent of the original’s turn-based system.
Each character has unique individual skills. Meanwhile, magic depends on the equipped Materia. These pieces of crystalized mako add a significant element of customization to the party. In fact, they allow every character to use powers like Thunder, Fire, Blizzard, and Cure.
Upgrading the Battle System
One of the novelties of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is the addition of synergy abilities. Two allies can use these powerful attacks to overcome the odds.
Players will have the chance to unlock even more of those when characters must bond with each other. A Party Level number measures the team’s closeness and will likely become essential to the journey.
The demo portion shows us one of those powers with the Cloud and Sephiroth combination. The duo can use Double Helix to pulverize foes with their humongous swords.
Rebirth will likely bring more skills, new Materia that wasn’t available on Remake, and a general progression for the team’s abilities.
Rebirth of a Classic
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a big highlight we should expect in 2024. The game promises to give us the opportunity to dive deeper into its impressive world of fantasy and science.
The Nibelheim demo just further proves the amount of care and polish we can expect from the game. Square Enix is going all out with it, and we just can’t wait to see the final product come to fruition.