Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo First Impressions

Final Fantasy VII Remake is nearly here with the game being released on Apri 10th 2020. This is exclusive to PlayStation 4 and there’s a demo available right now for free in the PlayStation Store, so if you’re interested in the game then you should head on over. The following are my first impressions of Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Final Fantasy VII is an RPG that was originally released in 1997 for the PlayStation. The game focused on Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins forces with eco-terrorist group Avalanche to stop a huge corporation from stealing the lifeblood of the planet to use for energy sources. Cloud and crew are after Sephiroth, a superhuman determined to harness the power for his own means and become a demigod. Initially, on the outskirts, Cloud gets closer to the members of his newfound friends throughout the adventure, in particular Aerith, who holds the secret to saving the world.

The gameplay has been updated from the original version. Originally it was a traditional turn-based RPG. The remake is a combination of classic and modern, with action-adventure style hack-and-slash combat combined with turn-based mechanics. You have a regular attack and heavy attacks and can combine these with spells and items like potions and revive abilities. The combination of both styles felt refreshing, although it did feel a little button mashy at times.

Initially, you start out as Cloud and you’re taken through a series of tutorials to show you the ropes. Cloud has a powerful punisher mode that allows for strong attacks against multiple opponents. Other players join your party with Barret available in the demo. He has some nice range attacks with the gun attachment on his arm. You can press the d-pad to switch between characters throughout the battle and learning your enemy’s attack patterns and switching up between characters is going to be key to taking down some of the bigger enemies.

There’s a variety of enemies from drones, regular security and then bigger mechanized droids looking to take you out. The scorpion battle at the back end of the demo is really good fun and felt challenging. With other players in your party, there’s a range of attacks, spells, and abilities you’ll need to utilize to take down the enemies. Barret has a huge focused attack and thunder, which is useful against the scorpion.

Items are strewn throughout the game in boxes and as drops when you defeat enemies. Keep an eye on your health throughout battles and make sure you’re topping yourself up with potions and heals, otherwise, the bosses are going to make short work of you.

This is one of the best looking PS4 games I’ve seen and ran pretty well on my base PS4. The music is fantastic too, with big orchestral pieces accompanying the action as it raises up and down with the flow of the game. These two elements really elevate the game up. The voice acting, however, is a little cheesy but that’s kind of to-be-expected.

The slightly controversial part of this game is that this is going to be the first part of the game only. We don’t know yet how many more parts there are going to be, when they are coming out and when part one finishes. The game has been fleshed out and we expect a 40+ hour (maybe more) game for the first installment, however, it would be good to know the roadmap and when the next parts are coming.

As first impressions go, I loved the demo. I don’t have the nostalgia for Final Fantasy VII as I was a Nintendo kid and grew up with The Legend of Zelda and didn’t really appreciate turn-based RPGs until later on in life. This game looks and sounds awesome. The controls take a little bit of getting used to, but once you get into the flow it feels very good. The upgrades from the graphics, music, cutscenes, and combat all add up to a fun game so far.

It’ll be interesting to see how the combat plays out in the main game, and how it feels when more get added to the party. As soon as Barret gets added to the party the fights feel much more dynamic and less button mashing, introducing tactics, items, and spells.

On the less positive side, I did find myself pausing throughout battles in the various menu selection screens which interrupted the flow a little, but this wasn’t a huge deal. I’ve played through the demo twice now, and I really enjoyed the second playthrough once I had the controls down. Also, I found that the target was sometimes off, auto-targeting an enemy around a corner who I couldn’t reach and when I tried to manually target it didn’t seem to work.

I’d recommend this to pretty much anyone. I’m going in blind, not knowing the story, however, there’s plenty of spoilers out there on the internet. It has been out for 23 years, so I guess that makes sense! However, if you want to enjoy the story spoiler-free then try and avoid searching for FFVII spoilers as there’s some major story beats in the game that would probably be better unspoiled if you can avoid them.

Final Fantasy VII Remake comes out on PS4 on April 10th, 2020. Check out more first impressions from This Week In Video Games.