When I picked up Final Fantasy 7 for the primary time, I didn’t know its largest spoiler.
Sure, it’s regular for followers to keep away from spoilers earlier than beginning a brand new sport or piece of media. But Final Fantasy 7 is something however new. It got here out in 1997. The “spoiler” in query has spawned memes and parody cosplays at cons. It’s unbelievable that I averted all information about [redacted] all these years, and but, I did.
I knew who Cloud was, and I used to be acquainted along with his huge sword, however I didn’t know a lot about him or his world. I encountered him for the primary time in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and whereas I recognize his and Sephiroth’s look within the sequence to this present day, their Smash appearances are devoid of plenty of lore.
[Ed. Note: This article contains spoilers for both Final Fantasy 7 (1997) and Final Fantasy 7 Remake.]
I bought dunked proper into that lore once I picked up Final Fantasy 7 Remake on a whim. I didn’t know all that a lot about it, apart from lots of people appreciated it. The sport grabbed me from the beginning; I wished to see Cloud and Barrett and their associates see their visions by way of and save their world from the looming local weather disaster. If they upended the inflexible class construction in Midgar alongside the best way, all the higher. Also, I wished to know who the heck that cat-looking creature was on the finish, and why Red may discuss. I used to be fully enthralled, and I wished to be taught extra. So, not even every week handed earlier than I picked up the original Final Fantasy 7 to play on my Nintendo Switch.
For these unfamiliar, Remake introduced extra than simply up to date graphics or efficiency. It solely reimagined the original FF7, taking the primary couple hours of the sport and stretching them throughout a roughly 33-hour AAA expertise. What we get is a zoomed-in view of the world of Midgar, each figuratively and actually — we get to see the expressions on everybody’s faces in a approach that the low-poly model of the PlayStation couldn’t seize.
So you might think about my pleasure: I might have the option to see the complete story and get all of the references in Remake, by enjoying the original. But enjoying the original as a fan of Remake was like loving a sport that wouldn’t love you again.
Sure, there was nonetheless loads to recognize. To this present day, the sport feels like this particular relic of the PlayStation period, markedly extra playful and experimental than its friends. FF7 defies the traditional, triple-A sport logic that Remake follows. At one level, we make a journey into Cloud’s thoughts, and the cutscenes really feel extra like a surrealist portray than an uber-popular title from an enormous sport studio. It’s genuinely refreshing to see one thing that adjustments up the components.
But in 2021, the original Final Fantasy 7 bristles again.
As with any older turn-based RPG, there may be plenty of grind within the sport. I began out wanting to play with out utilizing the speed-up possibility and the invincible mode on the Switch model, however I caved after dying to one of many many bosses. Some factors — like taming a Chocobo — are also fairly tough to work out with no information. On prime of all of this, there aren’t any save states within the Switch model, so you’re caught utilizing the previous save factors.
These are all fairly commonplace experiences of revisiting an previous sport, particularly a turn-based RPG. But even when I grant that, and I acknowledge that these drawbacks are lessened by the invincible mode and utilizing a information, FF7 and I by no means bought right into a groove.
There’s only a lot that doesn’t age effectively. For instance, Aerith and Tifa compete over Cloud’s affections — it’s a irritating dynamic to observe after having fun with the best way they cherish and maintain one another in Remake. Cloud as a personality is much less of a tragic boy and only a plain previous punk within the original. He makes use of a slur and feels extra a lot like a center schooler than he does a younger grownup navigating the extreme trauma of his upbringing. And then there’s the scene the place Cloud places on a gown that was so infamously mishandled that the builders made it some extent to replace it in a considerate approach.
Then there’s the massive twist and spoiler within the sequence — the truth that Aerith dies. It got here all too all of the sudden. You’re simply watching a cutscene when, seemingly out of nowhere, Sephiroth spears her within the again. Her precise dying lacked an emotional punch, to the purpose the place I questioned what had even occurred, moderately than feeling a way of loss. And whereas I perceive why her dying was essential for the story, it felt anticlimactic. Hell, I cried extra after seeing Aerith’s ghost in Advent Children than I did whereas enjoying the original.
So, take the struggles with enjoying an previous sport, and mix it with these drawbacks, and I simply discovered myself lacking Remake. I missed Cloud’s huge, blue, unhappy eyes, and I needed I may hear the characters’ voices once more. At the top of the day, I’m glad I performed the original, however I’ll simply return and replay sections of Remake if I discover myself lacking the world.