“We’ve just released the free #FinalFantasy VII Remake demo on PlayStation Store.”
Somebody must have cast Haste on me last night, as I’ve never moved so fast to open the PlayStation store. With the tweet, Square Enix sent fans into a frenzy, as we all finally had the chance to have a taste of the beloved classic outside of cons or expos. Now I’ll admit, I didn’t truly need Haste. If you don’t know how to queue up Downloads on your PS4 via mobile, then you’re missing out. I simply requested the Demo, queued it to my console, and by the time I got home it was ready to go. And I was ready to go too.
Remaster VS. Remake
Precedent is set, as we see the first kind of BIG remake occur on consoles. Yes, we’ve had the likes of Resident Evil 2, The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy release, but the sheer SIZE of Final Fantasy VII may set it apart from the pack. Hell, the release we’re seeing in a month’s time ISN’T EVEN THE FULL GAME. Apparently it runs up until the party leave Midgar, for their adventure in the overworld of this world’s Final Fantasy.
Which means this is the perfect place to intro the Demo; We join Cloud Strife and his foray into the Mako Reactor which powers Midgar. Hired as a mercenary by the group known as AVALANCHE, he’s joined by Barret, Jessie, Wedge and Biggs as they infiltrate the area, in an attempt to disable the reactor.
The fantasy begins, again.
From the get-go, you kind of understand this is the same game, but different. I’ve no idea if the Demo hit full-4K, but my TV was responding as if it was receiving this signal, and boy; BOY.
It was f*cking beautiful.
I was saving myself up to play the game you see; Not really interacting with any media released for it, due to how much Final Fantasy VII means to me. Therefore, I fully lost my sh*t as the Opening Theme played, re-arranged by Nobuo Uematsu himself, and came to a crescendo on the title. I’d never really understood what it means to relive your childhood, but I felt I experienced this when the intro HIT. I was overridden with joy; Walking teary-eyed into an old home, greeted by old friends.
If you know how the infiltration goes from there, not much has changed; It’s just far more gorgeous and holy sh*t THEY’RE TALKING. Yes, all your favourite polygons are now not only human-looking, but are all voiced! RIGHT DOWN TO THE GRUNTS!
The classic battle system is still in-game, but I was most interested in the NEW battle system (because everything about this game is NEW). You control one player at a time, within a 3D space. Attack is now a function which can have different modes accessed via triangle, and combos applied by hitting square frequently. The ATB system returns as a timed-bar that locks Abilities, Magic and Items behind it. This typically means you have to take action first, then make choices later, and it’s just…fun. Add in this kind of process as you get extra party members, and the old strategy-gameplay from the original comes back in new ways. The 3D space I was talking about? YES. Barret can shoot EVERYWHERE within it. Abilities hide new versions of Limit Breaks, while Magic and Items work the same way, right down to who you apply them to. And those Limit Breaks I mentioned? They’re back and…
CINEMATIC AS F*CK.
“Cinematic as f*ck” is probably an apt way of describing Final Fantasy VII Remake. Even in Demo form, it’s like your imagination come-to-life from when you played the original PlayStation One title. Any reservations I had about the changes in combat or style, quickly went out the door as the title itself resonates as brightly as the Lifestream. Ensuring the small things which made the title great are left in there, while setting up an exciting new direction for a much-loved title is no easy feat, yet I feel this Demo says they’ve done it.
And April 10th can’t come around quick enough; SOMEONE CAST HASTE!
The Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo was played on the PlayStation 4 Pro console, with the above captures taken directly from in-game.