Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review – Expansive Greatness

After waiting for a long time, we have finally seen the release of the second game in the ambitious project to remake the original Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation 1. Ever since the first appearance on E3, we have seen a lot of developments, both old and new, in this project, some of which may be more favorable than others, depending on who you ask. And now, we are here with the second game out of the three that are planned: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

※ Small warning that this review contains spoilers from Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s not possible to explain some of the details of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s story without leaning a bit into Remake, so the reader’s discretion is advised! (Trust me, I tried.)

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It goes without saying that the story of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth starts soon after the ending of Final Fantasy VII Remake, which makes sense, seeing as this is a sequel. And despite what the marketing may tell you, I strongly recommend that you do not play Rebirth unless you’ve played through Remake. It’s honestly really shocking just how close the initial cutscene of Rebirth starts from Remake’s ending, almost as if I just finished disc 1, and this is “disc 2”, so to speak.

For those that need a recap, Rebirth offers an option in the Main Menu called “The Story so Far”, which contains a very brief cutscene telling of what happened in the previous game. Still, it doesn’t do a fantastic job at explaining everything. I have to give credit where credit’s due, however, because it does its best. It’s simply nigh impossible for the entirety of that game to be resumed in just a few minutes.

And it’s clear that Square Enix is aware of this, which is why they came with the idea of the Twin Package, which comes with both Final Fantasy VII Remake, the INTERmission DLC, and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth all packed together into one neat bundle. If you never played Remake, this bundle offers the best value for you to experience all of these games without breaking the bank in my opinion, unless you manage to snag a physical copy for both games for cheap.

Goodbye, Midgar! Hello, World!

With that out of the way, the story of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth starts with Cloud, Barret, Tifa, Aerith, and Red XIII escape from Midgar, with Shinra trailing them for exploding the Mako Reactors. Shinra is also especially begging for Aerith to be captured alive, being a Cetra. Their objective is to find Sephiroth, who was thought to be long dead after a mission.

After hitching a ride, the group arrives at Kalm, where they find an inn run by Broden. Thinking they can get a moment’s respite, it doesn’t take much longer until Shinra bangs on their door, and I mean this both literally and figuratively. They manage to get away, thankfully, but their journey will take them to several new locations such as the Junon Region, the beaches of Costa del Sol, and even the dazzling halls of the Gold Saucer.

The story’s pacing in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth does feel a bit odd at times. Specifically, there is a small inbalance in between the scenes where it tries to be serious, and ones where it seems the characters just want to wind off for that chapter, as things happen in the background. Still, it does a great job at just making you beg for more, with unexpected twists that just made me go “Come on, you can’t leave me hanging like that”.

A Dynamic Gameplay Difficulty

Like its predecessor, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth uses a mixture of an action-based RPG mechanics, but with the classic Ability gauge you might be familiar with from previous Final Fantasy titles. The more you hit an enemy, you can then hit L2 or R2 to briefly slow down time and then execute either a special ability or a spell, with each character having their own unique skill set.

Furthermore, the game has a new difficulty called Dynamic. Now, what it does is quite clever. Enemies have a base level at which you can encounter them at. On Easy and Normal, you can surprass that for an easier time fighting them (a process known as overleveling), but not on Dynamic! It cleverly matches the enemies’ strength with your own level, making overleveling practically impossible, unless you manage to really, and I mean really grind away, assuming there’s even a roof that enemies can meet.

Not Everything is Roses and Butterflies

OK, despite all of the praises I can sing about Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s systems, there are a couple annoyances that are evident. The first is how characters interact with the overworld. The collision in some locations can be awfully inconsistent to downright confusing, leading to some situations where while it may seem you are able to just jump and get to where you want, the game rudely stops you from doing so.

Furthermore, the developers have reworked the Weapon Upgrade system in favor of a new one called Folios, where you spend SP in order to unlock several nodes that will increase your attack power, or add in new skills. However, the way this system is tied to weapons makes it downright confusing at a first glance, especially in the early game. The game’s built-in tutorials also don’t do a terrific job at explaining it either.

The developers have mentioned that they are closely listening to feedback, and that a patch to fix certain things are on the way, though what exactly they’ll fix hasn’t been specified. I certainly hope that they’ll address at least some issues. Luckily, none of these issues have lead to the game forcefully closing, corrupting saves, or anything extreme, though it should be stated.

Full Utilization of the PS5’s Horsepower

It’s no understatement that Square Enix made full use of the power of the PS5 when crafting the experience on Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. From the beautiful landscapes to the dazzling ray-traced lighting, it’s amazing just what was done to the game’s graphics. There are two options to choose from: Graphics and Performance. The former keeps the game at 4K, but locks the framerate to 30, and the latter will reduce the resolution as much as possible to maintain a consistent 60 FPS rate.

You can feel the motors of the DualSense fire up as you spin this. It never gets old for me.

Furthermore, the PS5’s controller haptics are also present here in full form. Whether you’re pushing heavy machinery to interactions within cutscenes, you can feel the motors of the triggers just resisting against you, which contributes to an even more immersive experience. The controller speaker is also used, where characters may sometimes have their voices come out of it, and some minigames even use the motion sensor for aiming and turning.

A Big and Wide World To Explore

Final Fantasy VII Remake focused entirely on the City of Mako, Midgar, but now that Cloud and his party have left the city on a journey, Rebirth decides to greatly expand on this. The overworld is absolutely MASSIVE, and simple words and pictures certainly do not do it justice. Even when I thought I was about to complete the second chapter of the game, I was suddenly opened up to a brand-new set of quests to explore and do.

Furthermore, this is by far the Final Fantasy with the most amount of minigames I’ve ever seen in my life. There’s a whopping eighteen unique minigames, each with their own rules and rewards to earn. Seriously, it can be easy to just lose yourself in minigames alone, especially when some objectives tied to a specific trophy. And I definitely had to reset the minigames a couple times until I finally managed it.

And let’s not forget the soundtrack and sound effects. They’re absolutely amazing, though honestly, there’s not a whole lot of memorable tracks, save for a select few, which you only hear during the later portions of the game. The sound effects have largely been unchanged from Remake, but that’s not a bad thing, as it helps keep consistency.

Several New Gameplay Elements

When compared to the systems on its predecessor, Rebirth introduces tons of new features and quirks. The first thing is Chocobo Riding, where after unlocking your feathery friend, a quick toot with the R1 button will call him to you, allowing for quicker travel by dashing with the L3 button.

Scattered across the overworld are also materials, which you can use the item transmutator to craft potions and armor on the go. And we can’t forget our good ol’ buddy Chadley, who continues to do his research as an indepedent scientist outside of Shinra, and trust me when I say this, you’re going to be spending a lot of time.

Playing for over five hours straight, I couldn’t even manage to get half of his missions finished in one sitting, because the more intel you collect, the more Chadley will figure out new details about the geography and geology of the area you’re in…which does mean he’ll mark your map with even MORE stuff by the time you even think you’re done. …I guess I can see why the game was packed in two discs, and requires a gargantuan size of storage space.

Seriously, it took me 10 hours to clear all of this, and that’s just the first area!

A Satisfying Sequel That Opens Up Many Possibilities

If Final Fantasy VII Remake was already ambitious with how it presented both the story and the Final Fantasy VII universe, then Final Fantasy VII Rebirth does that and even more. As it greatly expands on the idea of the previous title, it adds many locations and things that players can just sink their teeth into.

While the overworld exploration collision may be a bit wonky at times and the changed systems may be confusing at first, those were but minor things that didn’t affect the experience. Now, the question that Rebirth leaves open is…just what will Square Enix bring us on the third iteration of the Remake project? I know I’ll be looking forward to that.


  • An expansive overworld with a lot of minigames and quests to do
  • Opens up many new possibilities with its story
  • Immersive gameplay thanks to the PS5’s haptics and power


  • Wonky colission in some areas may lead to a bumpy exploration experience
  • Some changed systems are slightly worse to handle than they were on Remake

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth


A game that expands greatly from Final Fantasy VII Remake, and sets the stakes high on what could we expect next in the final iteration.

Angelus Victor
PS5 version reviewed.