It’s safe to say Final Fantasy VII is one of the most important role-playing games ever made. While RPGs were moderately popular in the U.S. before it came out, many average gamers didn’t pay much attention to them. But when the build-up to Final Fantasy VII began, you couldn’t ignore it. This game, with its cutting edge graphics and epic story line, made RPGs matter to just about everyone who played video games in 1997.
When Square Enix announced earlier this year it would remake the game from the ground up, people went nuts. That said, when you go about making changes to something fans hold dear, you’re stepping into dangerous territory. Make the wrong move, and fans will bite off your head. So far, I think the changes Square Enix have announced sound promising. Here’s why.
1. Real-time combat
Like most RPGs of the time, the original Final Fantasy VII had menu-based combat. You’d go into a battle screen, wait your turn, select your move, and watch it play out. Then you had to wait until your cool-down period ended before you could select another move.
Based on the trailer, the combat in the remake looks much more action-oriented. You still have a list of moves in the bottom corner of the screen, but it appears that you’ll also have direct control over the characters, similar to how fighting works in Kingdom Hearts. That would give the game a more hands-on feeling than the original had, which will probably sit better with modern audiences.
2. The episodic structure means it will come out sooner
As for how the remake will be presented, here’s the exact wording from Square Enix’s press release: “FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE will be told across a multi-part series, with each entry providing its own unique experience.”
It’s unclear what that means exactly. It could mean new episodes will be released every week or every few months. It could also mean they’ll pull a Hobbit and release it as a trilogy over several years.
Regardless, releasing the game episodically means we’ll get to play it sooner than we would otherwise. Square Enix only has to complete the first section before letting us play it, rather than waiting until the whole game is ready to release. That’s good news for fans who want it now.
3. Voice acting
Like all AAA games nowadays, the remake will feature full voice acting. The original game contained a script the size of War and Peace, presented in onscreen text you had to read as you played.
That was all well and good for the time, but it wouldn’t work now. This time around we’ll get to hear the characters speak for the first time. Thankfully, the acting in the trailer sounds good.
4. It can be experimental
If you want to play the original Final Fantasy VII, there’s nothing stopping you. It’s available on all current Sony systems, plus PC and mobile.
The real beauty of this remake is that it can approach the same material from a different direction. We already know they’re changing how the combat works, how the dialog is presented, and how the game is distributed. What else will be revamped, we’ll have to wait and see.
This game is practically guaranteed to sell tons of copies, regardless of how good the finished product is. I think what we’ve seen looks promising so far, but it will be interesting to see what else we can learn about the game before it comes out. The only thing to do is stay tuned.
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