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After experiencing the demo for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and bringing you my thoughts, we can now play the full game. This is the second installment to the fully reimagined remake of the iconic 1997 release. It follows on from the events we saw in the 2020 release Final Fantasy 7 Remake. This was later upgraded for the Intergrade edition. However, this recent release is also the middle part of a trilogy. So naturally the game will have more to tell. As we know the story focuses on the story of Cloud Strife. The official description is that “Cloud and his comrades escape the city of Midgar in pursuit of the fallen hero, Sephiroth. As they travel across the world, they find themselves on a journey that will decide the fate of the planet”.

The game takes place from the events after leaving Midgar to reaching the Forgotten Capital. Though it is slightly different from the original story with Wutai said to be in the final installment. If you saw the thoughts on the demo and have played the Remake release you are going to be familiar with what this game is about. I went into Remake as someone slowly coming back to RPGs and more specifically action RPGs. Also admittedly I am not the largest Final Fantasy fan around. So with that in mind, how did I find Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth? Bear in mind I enjoyed Remake.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth – My Thoughts

As I stated I enjoyed Remake but for 2020 I didn’t put it in my top 2 games of the year. Meaning I went into the second chapter feeling excited to continue a story I was enjoying but felt I wanted more. I also was worried the game would not take off and be as awesome as the previews looked. Though hindsight tells me now I didn’t need to worry and let’s look at why.

Gameplay

We can play this as a less action-based title again and this is more suited to the fans of the original. Final Fantasy 15 was more action RPG focused as was last year’s Final Fantasy 16. So adding this option as a gameplay mechanic made the remake trilogy more appealing. It’s how I played both games and it is really easy to use. We can not only switch between our party characters at ease but we can also use their spells and abilities. For example, we can control Cloud and using the commands menu switch to Barret’s spell set and then choose Tifa’s or Aerith’s spells. After which we can instantly switch back to controlling Cloud. Using the d-pad we can choose to switch from Cloud to another character. You can also choose easily your main combat trio as well.

Another thing is when you experience combat for a different character for the first time a little tutorial screen appears to explain some basics. Though it’s suggested to read, the game was really easy to pick up, especially when playing the previous entry in the trilogy. Overall the game is very suitable to play if the only game in the series played is the Remake and feels so smooth to play. The crafting section can done pretty much at any time. Upgrades to character can easily be done in select locations throughout. However don’t worry, you will find plenty of chances to do this. The mini-games such as Queen’s Blood grew on me as well. Though my only niggle on these is a mini game should always be optional. Another minor niggle is the map can not always be the best to navigate. Though here nearly all the time it’s fantastic.

Graphics

The first game in the series looked really good, though in some areas it could look a little better. However, it was a PlayStation 4 title and pushed the hardware hard. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth however is built for the PlayStation 5 and we see the advantage of that extra power in the hardware. So we have better character models, and they looked crisp on Remake. We also have a larger world with more to explore and in the process some stunning-looking world design. The game boasts some stunning lighting and particle effects and at times at a glance offers a photo-real look at the world of Cloud and his friends. The visuals aided the atmosphere and things got better still. All footage in this review was taken in the game’s Quality mode. Rarely did I see textures that could look better but it did happen, if it did it was mostly in larger open areas.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

Audio

Like the remake we have some incredible voice acting. The cast bringing the roles of Cloud and his friends to life has delivered an amazing performance. You can feel the emotion of each of the characters and they spring to life due to the performances of the cast. You will pick up every sense of joy, and feel the melancholy when it hits. Add to the visuals you can sense the game is going every step in the right direction.

We also have fantastic sound effects from the sound of a Chocobo to walking through hallways. The biggest asset the audio has however is the amazing orchestral score. It compliments every scene or mood and can be as tranquil as it can be dramatic. So with this, the atmosphere in the game is something to be experienced, God of War Ragnarok is another game where the musical arrangement was key. For me this possibly surpassed that effort and that’s some achievement.

Story

If you played the original then you will have a grasp of the skeleton of the story. I say that as this game is reimaging and events are really fleshed out with huge detail. So for example a section of the original game you could be told an event, here in Rebirth you get to play and experience said event. The story in remake was for me one of the highlights. Where I felt that needed more but naturally down to the road map for the full remake was not possible, Rebirth addressed this.

The story in this game goes deeper than the adventures of Cloud and friends hunting Sephiroth. I won’t go into details but it’s a story you need to experience. So sometimes a big open-world epic adventure can have me hooked but a small percentage of the game I felt could have hurried up. This game I never felt like that at all. I was enjoying every chapter and every part of the journey. For a game of this size, it’s probably the strongest narrative experience

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

To Conclude

If you remember I said I was worried the game would not match the previews. Well, it not only met expectations, it easily surpassed them. The team at Square Enix Creative Business Unit I have delivered one of the best game experiences you can meet. If you love the RPG genre this game means this and Remake are not just a must-play but must own. This at the time of writing is only March. However, I look at the rest of the 2024 releases I can’t see many challenges for Game of the Year. The game’s biggest fault is also a positive, the journey (for now at least) has ended.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

From $69.99/£69.99
9.8

Gameplay

9.5/10

Graphics

9.5/10

Audio

10.0/10

Story

10.0/10

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