Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo Impressions

FF7 Remake Demo Feature

Calling it a Game Preview or a Demo Review feels wrong.

So earlier this week, Square Enix quietly dropped the demo for Final Fantasy VII remake on PSN. I had it downloaded within 2 hours, but I couldn’t play it until the next night.

Hey, you know what it’s like. You could start playing for an unknown amount of time now, or save it until tomorrow night and have a reward for getting through another day 😀

I have finished Final Fantasy VII maybe 15-16 time? Just over a dozen. I know this as for 10 years, I played Final Fantasy VII every October as an annual play.

It is the same demo that was available at PAX Aus 2019 and isn’t the ‘new’ preview that reviewers have gotten their hands on. It took me just over an hour to finish the demo, compared to the section of boss fight I got to play last year.

TL;DR: If you are interested in the game, play the demo. It’s just long enough and shows off the new game brilliantly.

Wait, that’s it? Play the Demo?

No, that’s just if you want to experience it for yourself without hearing anything about the game. True, if you are reading this, you want to know about it, but I like to leave the choice 🙂

If you are like me and of that age that you remember the original release, this demo has another facet that might interest you. Remember in the build-up to Final Fantasy VIIs release on PS1? Remember that demo we all played over and over again that came with Official PlayStation Magazine or your local equivalent?

This is the same demo remade. Same mission, same endpoint, same urge to play it over and over again. If you want to know if Square Enix is doing this just for the money, look at this. Are they remaking because of the commercial success anything with Final Fantasy VII on it? Of course, that’s a factor.

Midgar
I was in awe when I first saw this screen. That feeling as not diminished.

But to quietly remake the demo to that level and not blast the PR trumpet? This is a game being built with love, and it shows.

So what did you think?

I don’t think many people haven’t seen the new graphical style of Final Fantasy VII Remake. I have been trying to avoid spoilers, but headlines and opinions in podcasts make it through.

The game is beautiful. One thing that I love is there is virtually no transition between exploring Midgar and combat. Random encounters, at least in this first ‘tutorial’ section of the game, don’t seem to exist. I have mixed feelings about this. It’s harder to over level your characters, which is a tactic I use in any RPG. At least if you want to go explore another corner in a room, you don’t have 10 minutes of extra combat because of surprises.

If it wasn’t already obvious, Square Enix has really earned the Remake moniker. Final Fantasy VII Remake might have the same core story, but it’s an entirely different game. From the start of the game, turning left after the train (veterans know what I am talking about) smoothly transitioned into the station, and the station felt bigger.

Hero Landing
As Deadpool said - murder on the knees :p

I thought it would take a long time for anyone to challenge Capcom in this area. Resident Evil 2 Remake was just so good, and I can’t wait to play Resident Evil 3 soon. My original plan was playing bursts of Final Fantasy VII in between other games.

Nope. All other video games will be put on hold until I finish Final Fantasy VII Remake.

What did you think about the changes? How was the combat?

Remembering I have only played a small slice of the game; overall, I love the changes made so far. You now have smashable crates to explore as well as chests. There are plenty of areas to go and explore in a now-familiar open-world setting. The changes they made you can see are things they couldn’t do on the PlayStation 1.

Sure, some things they could have implemented like smashable crates. But the number of new areas to explore just in the demo would have made Final Fantasy VII 10+ discs!

Level Exploration
It's easier than randomly mashing X to find a secret, and looks cool

I was worried about the length of the game when I heard that the Remake was becoming episodic. After playing the Demo, I’m good 😀
Sure, I will be waiting like everyone else to see what happens outside of Midgar. Waiting bites. But it took me 2-3 times longer to casually investigate my way to the first reactor. I haven’t tried hunting yet – I am leaving that for the full release.

Combat I am still trying to come to grips with. Overall it’s excellent, and I am enjoying it. The tactic of swapping between different characters during combat or issuing commands feels good. Waiting for your ATB gauge to fill to use some of your skills like materia feels like Final Fantasy VII. Still, a lot of fights I just wailed on the enemy with the attack button.

Unlike Final Fantasy XV which felt like ‘Hold Attack To Win’, Final Fantasy VII Remake has a combo system. Nothing crazy, but you can time swings or hold attack for a combo. It’s not dexterity heavy, and it’s not as slow as turn-based. It’s a solid middle ground I think most players will enjoy.

First Control Tutorial
The demo drops you straight into the action. The tutorial is solid, and not overly intrusive

There are a couple of downsides, though. I keep hitting R2 to run during combat, and I don’t know why. I hit the run button, but that opens commands during battle. I don’t seem to be able to run during fights? I can roll away with evade, but running towards an enemy when they leap away appears to be a no-no. This could be user error, not a shortcoming.

And you know something? That’s my biggest complaint!

Spoilers?

Not here. Saying the demo takes you to the end of the first Mako Reactor isn’t really a spoiler. You know the original and have an idea, or you have never played, and the words are meaningless.

When I was playing, I was hoping for a save point so I could call it a night. I was also hoping I could continue my play from the demo in the main game. You can’t. You will have to play the first section again, no matter what.

Generally in a Final Fantasy game, the first 2-5 hours are a lot of story setup and boring to replay over and over. The demo will have you replay the opening again, but you don’t go far enough in that it’s a chore. You also get enough of a tease on story changes without making seeing them again a chore.

Mako Reactor
I always pictured rivers of Mako in the original, but this looks so amazing!

So your verdict?

No rating here, as it’s just thoughts on a demo. But if you are interested or on the fence about Final Fantasy VII Remake, play the demo. You will have enough of a look at the gameplay to let you know if you want to play it or not.

Personally, this is just another reason I can’t wait for April. I will probably be hitting this hard during the Easter long weekend, and I think I will love every second of it 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been delayed! And it’s awesome! Wait, what?

Kingdom Hearts 3 Feature

OK technically it’s a delay, but there is an actual date!

At E3 2013, Kingdom Hearts 3 was officially confirmed to be in production.  It had already been 8 long years since devouring Kingdom Hearts 2, and like much of the community couldn’t wait for the next ‘real’ installment.

For months, we have had the confirmed release window of 2018 from Square Enix.  Selfishly, I was just praying it didn’t come out at the end of October – it’s hard to devote console time to a game while at PAX Aus!

But yesterday, ahead of the official Square Enix presentation (because no one is waiting this year), the official @kingdomhearts twitter page dropped this little gem:

Considering I was already preparing for a late December release with the 2018 timeline, an extra month isn’t too much to ask for, especially as it comes with a solid date!

It’s a shame I won’t be spending my holiday break hip deep in Kingdom Hearts 3, but I am sure there will be plenty of other games fighting for my attention.  Even if somehow I don’t get any new games between now and the end of the year, my backlog is still sitting there silently watching me.

Oh, and if I am being completely fair, there was another important announcement today in regards to Kingdom Hearts 3.  For the first time ever, Kingdom Hearts is coming to XBox.  It will be interesting to see if 1.5 and 2.5 will also be re-released as an XBox master as well 🙂

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

New Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer reveals the most retro mini games ever!

Kingdom Hearts 3 Feature

I have not thought of Tiger games for years!

Well, things I love from my past have really taken front stage lately. Just the other day, I was writing about how Choose Your Own Adventure was coming back in a new form. I have been tinkering with my C64 mini. I have my new HDMI switch to set up the mini NES and SNES next to it. A couple of rumours around the internet had me thinking of my original Game Boy.

On a different note, I have been eagerly awaiting any word on Kingdom Hearts 3, preferably the words ‘Releases next week’. I know this isn’t likely to happen, but hey, a guy can dream 🙂

Well, a new trailer dropped for Kingdom Hearts 3 yesterday, and I was suitably excited. Not only at the visuals, or the new glimpses of the worlds, but the mini-game reveals.

Square Enix has decided that things like Game Boys are far too modern for retro nostalgia. For Kingdom Hearts 3 mini-games, Square Enix has gone back to the Nintendo Game & Watch/Tiger Electronics handheld games! And for some reason, I am smiling about this!

I have fond memories of my Game & Watch games, but Tiger games were a different story. They had the names, but not the gameplay. I smile at Parachute and Octopus but cringe at my first (and last) portable Street Fighter 2 game.

Either way, I am so excited at the thought of playing Kingdom Hearts again. I even recently picked up the PS4 1.5 and 2.5 remasters to get me right back into the story.

Did you play these early LCD games back in the day? Let me know your best and worst!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD