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Review of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth - a glorious tribute to fans.
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Review of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth – a glorious tribute to fans.

I

In every excellent RPG, there comes a moment when the main character must depart from their hometown’s protection. Once they realize the seriousness of the danger ahead, they assemble their team and gather necessary supplies to begin an unforgettable journey.

In an ironic turn of events, Square Enix, the beloved creator of RPGs, is now faced with the same situation. The second installment of a grand trilogy that started with Remake in 2020, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth departs from Midgar’s dystopian cityscape and presents a new and complete adventure based on the second disc of the 1997 PlayStation classic. Following the conflict between eco-terrorist group Avalanche and the shady megacorporation Shinra, Rebirth follows protagonist Cloud (known for his oversized sword) and his companions as they pursue the maniacal villain Sephiroth on a world-spanning quest.

Square Enix wastes no time in showcasing its impressive cinematic skills, immediately immersing players into a flashback sequence that delves into Cloud’s military past and the transformation of Sephiroth into a villain. This section serves as a prime example of interactive storytelling, effectively emphasizing the stakes before the game truly begins. Cloud Strife is a highly revered protagonist, and it’s clear why the creators chose to closely follow the original game’s story. However, while Remake had players solely controlling Cloud and completing mundane tasks, Rebirth allows them to occasionally take on the role of director.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.View image in fullscreen

You maneuver through grand narratively-driven scenes, maze-like hideouts, and luxurious, entertaining surroundings: the expansive grasslands of Junon, a lush paradise, shimmering deserts where you can drive a buggy. Each time you emerge from intense battles into a new location to discover, it’s like taking in a breath of fresh air. Traveling is truly thrilling, providing a refreshing change in scenery during this journey across the map. Rebirth’s more open-minded style offers a pleasant contrast to Remake’s confined corridors, allowing players to roam freely.

The central gameplay of Remake remains the same, but now incorporates elements from last year’s FFXVI to add a cinematic touch. This also brings a more team-focused approach to battles, as opposed to just controlling one character. In previous battles, I only controlled Cloud and used the same attacks repeatedly. However, in this version, utilizing the strengths of each member of your party is crucial, with impressive cinematic combinations and different “materia” spells that can be combined. Mastering the unique abilities of each party member is essential in defeating bosses. Square has impressively managed to create a new combat system that satisfies all players, blending the depth of turn-based RPGs with a modern action feel. Swapping between party members during battles is seamlessly executed and adds to the overall experience.

Reworded: Rebirth’s interpretation of the well-known world includes dialogue options that strengthen relationships with party members, side quests that affect romantic possibilities, and a variety of odd jobs to choose from. The game truly brings this mythologized world to life, with bustling townsfolk in Kalm going about their daily routines, suspicious fishermen making sly remarks about the player character, and deer frolicking in the open fields of Junon. This sequel takes the “bigger and better” approach, with activities such as dancing in parades, racing chocobos, and photographing scenic views. There are endless opportunities for players to take a break from the main storyline and indulge in these fun diversions. One especially addicting diversion is the new card game called King’s Blood, which can easily become a player’s main focus.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

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As your journey progresses, the activities that were once considered unimportant now become essential. Side games and additional tasks start to hinder your progress in the main storyline, causing the main plot of Cloud versus Sephiroth to get lost in the expansive world. This turns what was meant to be a thrilling adventure into a disjointed and wandering experience. The second disc of FF7 was originally only 10 hours long, but Rebirth has extended it into a daunting 50-hour epic – and it is evident.

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Reworded: Rebirth excels in its numerous side missions, engaging battles, and impressive cinematic features, making it a delightful tribute to the concept of “more is better” in video games. However, this abundance comes at the expense of a cohesive storyline, as well as frequent interruptions of well-crafted cinematic scenes with time-consuming mini-games, puzzles, and references aimed at pleasing fans.

Dedicated followers will eagerly consume all the sweet fan-related content here, relishing every additional moment spent with the beloved cast. For diehard fans of Avalanche, this is a nostalgic dream come true. However, newcomers looking to experience one of the most beloved stories in modern form should be prepared for some boring moments alongside exhilarating battles with the Buster sword.

Source: theguardian.com