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11 Things We Learned About Final Fantasy VII Remake at Gamescom

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11 Things We Learned About Final Fantasy VII Remake at Gamescom

From fleshed-out character beats, to little details that make Midgar feel like a living, breathing city.

While we took a recent look at Final Fantasy VII Remake , we couldn’t turn down another chance to return to Midgar as the studio brought the game to Gamescom this week

And we’re glad we did: a replay of the game demo solidified how thrilling the reimagined combat is (you can read more about that right here). Add in an overview of the game by producer Yoshinori Kitase and we have a stack of new observations to share.

So if you’re anticipating the return of Cloud Strife and co. as much as we are, read on.

1. The interplay between Cloud and Barrett is glorious

The original’s opening mission established the fractious relationship between Barret, leader of the Avalanche resistance group and Cloud, a former SOLDIER and now Avalanche’s merc-for-hire via a few lines of dialogue.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Remake expands on that friction, making for numerous compelling cutscenes which emphasize Barret’s distrust in this former Shinra employee.

The exchanges are also surprisingly funny, with Cloud’s cold disinterest playing off Barrett’s bristling anger perfectly. It’s a double-act we’re eager to see more of.

2. Avalanche is getting an overhaul as well

Jessie, Biggs and Wedge round out Avalanche’s troops during the bombing mission. They also get more dialogue and exchanges during the infiltration, helping flesh-out their personalities. (Side-note: Incidental, dialogue pops up on the left of the screen if you happen to be out of earshot at the time). Even when chatter was at a minimum, facial expression and body language on the new realistic character models spoke volumes.

3. You’ll experience unseen moments in the mission for the first time

Remake’s embellishment of the original take isn’t restricted to story. During his presentation, Kitase-san explained how certain sequences of Avalanche’s mission were implied rather than shown in the original. Those moments – such as the group cutting through a fenced-off area during their infiltration – are now included. It gives more substance to both the mission and adds detail to the city’s layout.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

4. Midgar looks and feels like a living, breathing city

Midgar’s PS4 makeover is something to behold. Be it jaw-dropping vistas like the sprawling, towering cityscape reflected in a train platform window, or the small stuff, such as the bright yellow hazard tape marking out floored cabling in construction sites: the level of detail is stunning. Every exposed brick and piece of scaffolding tells of the city’s history.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

5. This is how you PR in Midgar

Prior to our hands-on we sit through a video primer, built specifically to familiarize us with the new combat mechanics. The decision to make this play out in-world is cute, especially as it allows us a glimpse at Shinra’s marketing, with the company’s video promo showcasing a Midgar with clean streets and blue skies – before it’s taken over by Avalanche’s hacker Jessie,who feeds you the tutorial while Shinra tries to shut down her hijack of their feed.

Final Fantasy VII RemakeFinal Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII RemakeFinal Fantasy VII Remake

6. Not all Mako Reactors are built the same

One would assume uniformity in Shinra Reactor interior design, given Midgar powered by the eight stations of equal size and shape which ring the city. Not so, as one new nugget of world-building is introduced in Remake. Responding to Barret’s exasperation at not knowing his way around – given it was one reason why he was hired by Avalanche – Cloud comments that every reactor has a different build. At least he’s earning his pay with a strong sword arm.

7. Cloud’s got two versions of his standard slash…

Attacking enemies with the Square button speeds up your ATB charge meter. It’s a race to fill the bar quickly to get access to your special abilities. But there’s also a more powerful version of the standard sword attack, which grants a bigger boost to your ATB if it lands, by holding the Square button for a few seconds.

8. …and a unique Ability that deals out more damage

On top of normal abilities and magic, every character has a unique ability, selectable with Triangle. With Cloud for example, it switches him from Operator to Punisher mode, a more aggressive, more powerful attack style with a longer reach. The trade-off? You’re much slower.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

9. Cloud smash, Cloud get reward

Yes, treasure chests remain, though they’ve been redesigned to keep more in line with Midgar’s unique aesthetic. But there are also Shinra crates and barrels dotted around most areas. Reap a reward for such carelessness by smashing them with your Buster Sword. Most contain items.

10. Your Materia, so shiny

In Final Fantasy VII, holes in clothing and weapons are a design decision, not a sign of poor craftmanship. These slots allow you to equip Materia, mystic stones that grant you magical abilities. Every type has a different color, and these are no longer relegated to a menu: you’ll notice a prick of color on your character where the Materia is placed. Look close enough and you’ll see them glow with an inner light.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

11. The glow of battle

As we said, it’s the small touches that really hammer home the level of polish Square Enix is putting into Remake. Barret’s attacks are all long-ranged and built around his gun-arm. Hold Square for a continuous unloading of ordnance at whatever enemy he’s targeting. If you look closely at the tip of his gun barrel when you cease, you’ll note an orange glow that’ll diminish as his gun cools down.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII RemakeFinal Fantasy VII RemakeFinal Fantasy VII Remake

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14 Comments

  • sounds fantastic

  • FF7 Remake’s Midgar looks a lot like San Fransokyo from Kingdom Hearts III, which comes as no surprise as the games are made by the same teams and uses the same engine.

    But, San Fransokyo, though large, was but a small part of KH3. Every piece of media seems to indicate that FF7 Remake is releasing as just a “Part 1” of a large, episodic game and this piece takes place entirely in Midgar.

    I hope I’m wrong. Midgar is big, but like San Fransokyo, it can fit into a game that is much larger.

    • andrewsqual

      “Every piece of media”?

      They said it on the stage at E3 that it was. But yeah “every piece of media” out there have most certainly called it “episodic” when it was never once called that officially.

      You have to remember that San Fransokyo, like in most KH3 maps, was just a fairly low detailed map you run around in for a bit. There was no real detail down in the streets and in subways and that.

      They also said during the presentation at E3 that the game will be on 2 bluray discs, so no, there probably is no way this could fit into a game much larger unless the “much larger” game is a total of 10 bluray discs.

      Maybe throughout all the parts of this new multi part series, they are going to expand on every location, so Kalm for example will even be a bigger town then it was.

  • AriesWarlock

    That all sounds good. Now if only Square would remake the Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver games! Give Tomb Raider a break!

    • andrewsqual

      And get Amy Henning back on board too since it doesn’t sound like she is doing much at the moment after EA wasted her life for over 2 years.

    • I agree! To this day, Legacy of Kain (especially the Soul Reaver games) is still my all-time favorite franchise. Please make a sequel or reboot the series. The popularity of games like Darksiders and God of War show that there is clearly a market for games like this. Make it happen!

  • Jisatsu_Kiddo

    ….sigh

  • CAAAAAANNNNNN’TTT WAAAAIIITTT!!!!

  • andrewsqual

    So, this is just a recap of the demo from E3 then, you learned nothing new from this you couldn’t have talked about already at E3 2019. We need more info on how the game is going to play. Is there going to be parts where the game opens up and you can go anywhere in the entire of Midgar? If not, then it doesn’t really justify the 100gb size of the first part of the series.

  • Overlord_644

    Gotta keep my expectations low for this:

    “Remake’s embellishment of the original take isn’t restricted to story. During his presentation, Kitase-san explained how certain sequences of Avalanche’s mission were implied rather than shown in the original. Those moments – such as the group cutting through a fenced-off area during their infiltration – are now included. It gives more substance to both the mission and adds detail to the city’s layout. ”

    Showing them cutting a fence adds depth? Oh boy.

    Also worried when I hear talk of “jaw-dropping vistas.” Yes, the last few games have been very pretty, but gameplay pretty mediocre. I’m sort of a function and story over fashion guy myself, it seems for the last 15 years Square has been more concerned how a game looks more than the way it plays or the story it tells. But I guess I shouldn’t judge this based on it’s namesake and I’ll have to keep that in mind when playing.

    • By definition, it adds depth. Fans of the franchise will appreciate the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in classic environments. Nice attempt at not-picking, though.

    • Jisatsu_Kiddo

      mash ff15 to win, i mean square.

  • DemetrioTerlecki

    Dear Sony! Please add in September PS Now or maybe in the close future – Condemned 2, Silent Hill Downpour, Midnight Club Los Angeles, Demon’s Souls, Army of Two, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, Saw 2, NFS Payback, Resistance 1 and 2, Wolfenstein 2 New Colossus, Spider Man Edge of Time, Lolipop Chainsaw, Order 1866, Middle-Earth : Shadow of War, Bloodborne DLC, in the far future new God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn

  • Looks awesome, can’t wait! When I played the original the first time, I changed Barret’s name to Mr. T. That led to a funny moment in the dialog when he said “Who you callin’ Mister Mr. T? That just don’t sound right.”

    PS. Hey Sony, why aren’t you releasing any more PS2 emulations? It’s been over a year since the last one. We still need Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Legendia. Get with it!

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