Hi hi, back to gaming. It’s been awhile since I wrote about gaming.
If you are living under a rock, Final Fantasy 7 Remake finally came, after 5 years since that E3 announcement. This game is the reason why I even got a PS4.
I managed to finish the game in 22hours, with minimal side quests completion. I usually play the main story during my first playthrough then expand into side quests and mini games in future playthroughs.
I played on the PS4 Pro and I got the deluxe edition.
The cover is a little deceiving. It’s actually a soft paper cover with a bit of things inside. I wish they could have gotten a thicker paper cover (something like Death Stranding’s Deluxe) or just use a hard cover instead. It gets damaged easily. FFXV’s deluxe edition wins in terms of the packaging quality.
But I guess this part saved the overall impression. They gave the game in both standard and the steelbook. The game discs are inside the standard cover, but I transferred them to the steelbook because obviously.
They also gave a mini soundtrack CD with 13 tracks inside.
I have preordered the actual OST which 7 CDs. Yes 7 CDs! That will be out by May 27th, hopefully.
But my favourite thing in the whole package is the artbook itself.
The artbook consists of concept art of most of the characters. I like this book and constantly finding myself randomly picking up the book.
Overall, a little disappointed with the soft cover, but the things inside did turn the tide with the goodies inside.
As the game has 2 BDs, installation took about 30mins and a little over 20mins “background” install. I let the game install fully, including the 2nd disc as I fear the game might stutter while I am installing and play at the same time.
So now we talk about the gameplay itself. I will try and keep it spoiler free.
I did play the OG FF7, but I forgot how that game’s story went, but one thing for sure, it was a lengthy game due to the turn-based combat and rather slow but constantly building story.
Nomura Tetsuya, the original artist for the OG game, is directing the game. He was juggling Kingdom Hearts and FF7R which is one of the reason why FF7R took quite a bit of time to make. The original director, Kitase Yoshinori is now the producer.
Do remember this game is just the first part of the multi part series, focusing on Midgar, similar in format to FFXIII. We have no idea how many parts we are going to get, but I really can’t wait for more. The creators wanted to expand Midgar as it was hard to do so in the past. Multiple CDs in a game back in the day was rare, and it has 4CDs for the PS1.
The story is a constant buildup towards something epic. The pacing isn’t exactly slow, but its at a pace where you don’t have to put yourself in 100% focus just so you can enjoy the game.
The plot twists were great, but the death of certain characters just made me feel kind of disappointed. It felt like the writers found a dead end to how to write off the character so they “conveniently” just remove them. I guess that is one of the small loopholes this story have. They probably have the worst death in any story. Not gonna say who, but when you play it, you will know who I mean.
The climax was pretty weird and awkwardly slow, which made the final battle extremely lengthy. Not that I am complaining, but I wish they could segment the final battle as the whole battle took me about 45mins to clear.
The open ending is nothing weird since it’s a “To Be Continued” anyway. Hopefully the next game would be soon. They did mention before that future games won’t need 5 years to develop as they have made the assets beforehand and will use them to speed up development. But I doubt the game would still be on the PS4, so I guess I need to get my wallet ready for the PS5.
5 years of waiting was definitely worth it.
Gameplay and Mechanics
I used to love turn-based combat, but I slowly grew out of it and I’m glad that this game went for a totally different approach.
The ATB combat system is pretty sleek. It has that blend of FFXIII and FFXV. I am not particularly a massive fan of FFXV’s combat system, but the addition of a gauge like FFXIII is a good one.
The camera angles sometimes does feel kind of weird as many angles being blocked due to lack of space or wall or low ceiling, making it hard to lock on to enemies.
This game makes me want to go and pick fights instead of avoiding them. The summoning system is also pretty smooth, the final blows from the summons were also pretty darn epic.
You have to tactically execute moves and spells, instead of spamming buttons and hopefully finishing the enemies that way. The materia system is pretty refined as well, making battles easier if you know what are the weaknesses are for the enemies.
Graphics and Performance
I think the amount of trailers that have been shown can give you an idea how beautiful this game is.
Utilizing Unreal Engine 4 instead of their in-house Luminous Studio, I would say its a pretty great choice, choosing a mature game engine than their own. FFXV may be beautiful, but the console versions of the games looked pretty bad and PC is the only way to play the game in its full glory.
The difference of the PS4 and the Pro is pretty much the resolution, with 1080p on the PS4 and 1620p on the Pro. Supersampling the game on the Pro to 1080p makes the whole game looked less jagged and more smooth. But with that, Pro users get ready to hear some fan noise. I usually play it under the AC so fan noise are relatively low, but the heat coming out of the console is plenty hot.
The lighting for the game was pretty nice, scenery looks pretty amazing, especially Aerith’s house. The artists really did a great job. This is probably the most refined and beautiful FF game to date, dethroning FFXV.
The character designs are solid, after looking at the designs, Advent Children probably don’t even look as great as it was anymore. I would say Aerith really captured my attention a lot, compared to Cloud or Tifa. Most of the cutscenes are in-game engine so the transition from cutscene to character control is just seamless. There are only like 4 video cutscenes, those are scenes that are probably way too intense for the PS4 hardware to handle. The video cutscenes looks clear, sharp and not obvious unless you can spot the difference, like say, the hair physics and equipment equipped.
The combat looks smooth, performance is rock solid, with a few frame drops during very intensive explosive scenes. Frame rate is capped at 30 fps but the motion blur does make my eyes feel more comfortable. Despite all of those wonderful and glorious graphics, there are still some glaring bugs.
Mainly the texture bug where certain textures take a while to load or won’t even load at all, making most of the game’s background looked like a fuzzy mess. SSD doesn’t seem to fix the issue. As of this writing, its already more than a week into the game’s launch and there are no patches as of yet. I would usually brush these off but it gets more and more distracting as the game progresses. But the good thing is that characters are not affected by the bug.
Overall, despite that bug, most of the game runs solid with minimal problems. Controller latency is very minimal, so the game felt pretty responsive.
Uematsu Nobuo stuck to the original soundtrack but with a massive revision.
Tifa’s theme felt a lot more soothing, Aerith’s theme is more dignified. The background music for certain locations are also pretty nice, like the underground expressway one. The transition from normal BGM to battle BGM is so smooth that it’s not abrupt at all, its blended in nicely.
Sephiroth’s theme from Advent Children is left untouched, not sure if it’s only for now, or permanent, but either way, I still love his theme.
I think they will stick to this OST in future games and I am happy with the changes he made to the music.
I played the game in Japanese voice audio.
Most of the voice cast from Advent Children are retained. The only change was Marlene, with Umezaki Otoha replacing Koorogi Satomi. Sometimes I find Satomi’s voice is overwhelmingly kid-ish, Otoha brings a good balance to that. I liked her voice.
The rest of the cast list consists of Sakurai Takahiro, Ito Ayumi, Sakamoto Maaya, Suzumura Kenichi, Kobayashi Masahiro, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Yamaguchi Kappei, Moriya Satomi, Sakaguchi Shuhei, Asai Takayuki, Wakayama Genzo, Ginga Banzo, Katsuki Masako, Tatsuta Naoki, Cho Katsumi, Chiba Shigeru, Fujiwara Keiji, Kusunoki Taiten, Suwabe Junichi, Okawa Toru, Miyake Kenta, Tadano Yohei, Umeda Shuichiro, Sugita Tomokazu, Hatanaka Tasuku, Komatsu Yuka, Sugawara Masashi, Uesaka Sumire, Aizawa Yukihiro, Mitsumoto Ayaka, Tanaka Chihiro, Hidaka Noriko, Takashima Gara, Sato Ai, Kase Yasuyuki, Miyadera Tomoko, Tanabe Rui… the list never ends as the amount of characters in this game is a HUGE portfolio, even including the NPCs.
One voice I will miss is Fujiwara Keiji, his voice for Reno is probably irreplaceable.
The rest of the cast are great. Listening to Sakamoto Maaya voicing such a nonchalant character like Aerith is a breath of fresh air, as her roles are slowly transitioning to more mature voices. Ito Ayumi still hasn’t lost her touch and I like it.
This game is for everyone, both old and new fans alike, so you don’t really need to play the OG game to play this. In fact playing the OG game will most probably spoil this game’s story, despite the fact that the creators said they are going to expand on the story a lot more than the OG.
As a JRPG fan, I cannot recommend this game enough. The amount of love and dedication they put in really changed my image of Square Enix a little bit. This game has been constantly requested for a remaster but the fact that they decided to do a whole game remake really shows their love for FF.
Now I wish FFVIII gets a remake as well. The cast list for FFVIII is a great looking cast, and its a waste that the game has zero voice acting, and a lot of things that needed expansion. The remaster wasn’t exactly a great job to be honest. The low frame rate and weird controls does hamper the experience.
This game is probably one of the most beautiful games I have played on the PS4. When the PC version comes out next year, I will 100% play that with max settings to see how much further the beauty can go.
I guess that is all for me. I am intending to replay this game, hopefully after the texture bug fixed. Seasonal post will come soon in a few days.
I will see you guys then!