Square Enix has released the first video showing gameplay from the hotly anticipated remake of Final Fantasy VII.
Compared to the original, some things have changed. The fighting system is more action oriented than menu-focused, and the fixed viewpoints of old are replaced by a more flexible, modern camera system. However, the story and the incredible music seem intact – at least in this look at the opening scenes of the game.
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I’m old enough to remember rushing to the games store to buy Final Fantasy VII on its day of release. It was the first Final Fantasy game to get an official UK release, but I’d bought import copies of the previous two Amercian SNES entries in the series.
What has stuck with me, and many other players, in the years since is the game’s soul, its spirit, the way it found a place in your heart and wouldn’t let go, even if playing the original again years later was a clunky, slow and dated experience.
Part of what made the game so special was Nobuo Uematu’s brilliant soundtrack, and the text-based dialog.
Reading a book feels like a more ‘personal’ experience than watching a movie, and similarly, reading Final Fantasy VII’s engaging story unfold felt more impactful than any FMV-laden plot I’ve experienced in more recent games. The new game takes the modern approach of having voice actors read the lines, as you’d expect.
So, Square Enix is right to modernize things like the graphics and the battle system, but I do fear that what made the game so special to its legions of fans 18 years ago will be a little lost in translation.
There’s no official release date for the remake (initially a PlayStation 4 exclusive) yet, but a 20th anniversary release in 2017 would make a lot of sense.