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Opinion: Episodes are the right choice for Final Fantasy 7 Remake

By reviews / 10. April 2020
FF7 Remake

Theres been just as much discussion about the delivery of Final Fantasy 7 Remake as the game itself, with Square Enix deciding to split the 1997 original into multiple episodes instead of delivering a single cohesive package.

Its been a subject of controversy for years now, with many questioning why the creators werent capable of delivering the entire narrative in one take

Its a valid perspective, but one I feel discounts the ambition of whats been achieved with the remake itself. Square Enix has used this episodic approach as a way to expand upon the original, creating something that stands out as its own interpretation. Despite its flaws, its something really special (as you can read in my review) and spells an exciting future for not only Final Fantasy 7 Remake but the franchise as a whole

Final Fantasy 7 Remakes first episode takes place entirely in Midgar, a small yet narrative-heavy section of the 1997 classic. Its a city in which we learn about all the heroes, villains and motivations they carry right up until the credits roll. In the grand scheme of things, its very similar to its predecessor but expands upon it in ways that wouldnt be possible without an episode format

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Knowing that the entire 30+ hour experience is set within the confines of Midgar, Square has used these self-imposed restrictions to analyse existing events and decide on where and when it can expand upon them. Side characters such as Wedge, Biggs and Jessie are given particular attention with their own stories that werent even in the original

These are some of my favourite sequences in the entire game. One has you follow Cloud and the aforementioned trio as they journey to the Shinra Upper Estates, making an ill-fated visit to Jessies parents in search of a warehouse keycard. Its an emotionally bittersweet moment, filled with genuine feelings clouded by our characters true intentions. Its sold with such conviction because its given time to breathe, as the player is left to ponder the moral quandaries on display

We also learn more about the world itself, and the impact its dystopian themes have had on its inhabitants. Jessies father is crippled by Mako Poisoning, his life ruined by the very energy he dedicated his entire being to extracting. Knowing this, Jessie still chooses to take advantage of him for the greater good. The political landscape of Final Fantasy 7 is no longer black and white, with murky motivations existing on both sides

Shinra and Sephiroth are still the undeniable big bads, but theres minute components to the people around them that make you think, even if its still coated in a healthy dose of anime melodrama. Compared to the original, which honestly featured a messy translation and underdeveloped characters at points, the remake recognised those flaws and addressed them when such an opportunity arose

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Theres countless examples of this throughout Final Fantasy 7 Remake, many of which are massive spoilers I wont mention here. It retains the themes and characters of the original while expanding on them with greater detail, or even going in vastly different directions at times. It will undoubtedly be polarising to many, but I feel its far more compelling than a 100% accurate reconstruction

I cant imagine how rushed or overlong a single game chronicling the entire story would have been, let alone the toll it wouldve taken on the development team creating it to the obscene bar of quality seen in this first episode. From a graphical and mechanical standpoint, Final Fantasy 7 Remake sets a new benchmark for the franchise, and now Square Enix has foundations to build upon and create something even better

Dont get me wrong. I do have my concerns. Theres a big chance that future episodes will feel disjointed in both narrative and mechanics. After spending dozens of hours levelling up my party and outfitting them with rare gear, its likely all of this will be reset in the second entry. This is for the best as new characters are introduced alongside enhanced systems, but having that reset button pushed will certainly be disheartening

Splitting up the narrative could serve similar problems if its not continued seamlessly, or if changes are made to designs and writing structure of characters. Once againIve spent so much time with them that Ive started to recognise their distinct idiosyncrasies and how they respond to all manner of situations. Change that, or diverge too far away from what were expecting, and you risk alienating a lot of people

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Even with these risks floating around in my head, I still firmly believe the episodic approach works best for Final Fantasy 7 Remake. A single game simply doesnt fit the 1997 classics blueprint (which itself launched across three discs at the time). Perhaps well see the remake culminate its story with a total of two or three entries in a few years

Either way, Im willing to wait, and enough changes and expansions are being made that Im still bound to be surprised

The post Opinion: Episodes are the right choice for Final Fantasy 7 Remake appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

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