Published on February 8th, 2016 | by Brando Quiring0
The Final Fantasy VII Remake
Brando looks ahead to the remake of Final Fantasy 7. But are they ruining what could be a gamer’s dream with their money grabbing schtick?
In the Fall of 2015, the fondest wish of gamers all over the world was finally granted as the console RPG giant called Square-Enix announced the remake of one of the most successful and beloved video games ever: Final Fantasy 7.
Putting to the side the fact that the re-release has already been split up across multiple releases to maximize profits, this is a really cool development for anyone who is a fan of the original or any of the spin-off games or movies that have been spawned by the game’s worldwide success.
But as beautiful mock up footage of the redone combat system or the (now standard) beautiful graphics begin to find its way onto the internet and the hype begins to build I find myself asking: “was Final Fantasy 7 really that great?” The answer I have come to is…
“Is it the greatest video game of all time?”
“Is it the greatest console RPG of all time?”
No. (There were better before and have been better since.)
“Is it the greatest entry in the series?”
No. (Number 6 is at the top of most critics lists, including mine.)
“Well, is it the best RPG released that year?”
No. (Tales of Destiny was more imaginative, had better characters and a more engaging story, just not the same sort of name recognition).
In fact, I have come to the conclusion that the original game, while lots of fun, is remembered as being much better than it actually is. All the additions to the mythos that are meant to expand the story have actually turned it into a convoluted mess and it is very likely that this reimagining could turn out to be a real stinker. A piece of platinum plated crap that will be held up as a masterpiece by fans who are blinded by the no longer impressive graphics and the fact that they are playing this legendary game again with a new look.
This isn’t to say that this remake will be awful, but with all the bloat and hype and the fact that Square-Enix are already crapping on their fanbase by releasing the game in multiple sections is a bad sign. A new game is now eighty dollars (in Canada). To have to pay that price twice or even three times is an inconceivable affront to the gaming community and an unforgivable first bit of news following such a monumental announcement. Using other games that are released now as examples it is even conceivable that there could be additional downloadable content. Yuffie or Vincent could cost extra, perhaps we might have to invest real money in order to race chocobos or play games in the Gold Saucer and lord help us if they decide to add in a version where you can save the life of Aerith, the murdered heroine of the game who has inspired internet rumours for almost two decades as gamers claim to have revived her. It would not surprise me to drop upwards of 200 dollars on this game just to get the same experience that we had back in 1997 and that is not something that should ever be allowed to happen.
Corporate money grubbing aside, Final Fantasy 7, was a beautiful looking game for its time, with an excellent soundtrack (that I have in my music library). But it never was as good as it is given credit for. The story falls apart under close scrutiny, leaving it a tale of a guy who got bonked on the head trying to get revenge on a guy who his mad at his dad and has supernatural powers for no reason. It has many unanswered questions, a love story that doesn’t make sense unless you select the correct party members and a giant talking dog that no one seems to find at all odd. Even the gameplay isn’t all that great; in combat the characters are fully interchangeable and there is no reason to choose one over the other except that some look cooler then others. Do you want the dude with a machine gun for a hand, or the giant stuffed toy? The little ninja chick, or the bar waitress in the mini skirt? Those being the main traits of the cast aren’t what make for great story telling or super engaging gameplay.
Moving on to the cash in, or “remake,” as they are calling it, they plan to change up several of the issues I have addressed. They are reworking the story so that all the supplementary material fits in, which means we can look forward to side quests involving a magical radiation sickness, a super spy who they turn into a vampire, and a clone of the main character with whom you really wonder why he isn’t the main character to begin with. The redone battle system looks to be a departure from tried and true turn based system used in the first ten (read: good) instalments in the series and aims to make the game feel more action packed by replacing a system that aims to make the player plan each move carefully with one that has the player mash the attack button until it is time to press the dodge button.
I think what gamers really wanted was a graphical upgrade to the game that they remember, and in that sense, we are getting what we asked for — the game looks as good as every other A-level release these days. It will look just as good as every other game that is released. As good as the much maligned Final Fantasy 13, which is a study in the school of all sizzle and no steak.
In truth, the more I learn about this game the less excited I get, not because they a ruining a classic game (which they might be doing, but it could be great) but because they are doing it in a way that is very disingenuous and greedy. It is shameful and should result in boycotts of Square-Enix until they smarten up and respect their audience enough to release a game that has three discs in one case like back in the old days where you had to finish a game before you released it and couldn’t make your hapless customers pay to fix your laziness. I have been really hoping for a remake of Final Fantasy 6 and Xenogears (my two favourite games of all time) since gaming started taking the big graphical leaps, but seeing how this game is being handled I am no longer interested in such things.
It is a bad start when giving people what they asked for also makes them dislike things that they used to love.