Final Fantasy VII Remake:
From now on this game should not be referred to as Remake but instead obnoxiously stylized as Re:Make since I think that Tetsuya Nomura probably intended for us to get something like that out of the game in the first place. Probably would have been kinder if he named the game Final (Fan)tasy 49/7: re:Make in line with Kingdom Hearts naming conventions.
So, I did play this game. I did mostly as a way of playing a game I would not care too much if I quit it part way through. I hurt myself and the way I have my PS4 set up it was easier to play this while lying down than my Xbox where I have been on and offing Diofield Chronicles. Anyway, I do not need to make excuses for playing games but this is more or less book keeping for myself later when I ask myself why I beat this game.
Anyway, onto my thoughts:
This game, even just the basic PS4 2020 release, sometimes is a good looking game. The particle effects, the character models (how Square can manage to make realistic looking people who look good with an ounce of flare whereas Crapcom in every RE game since VII feels like they add a superfluous layer of skin to the mocap actor/actress's face) look very good and are nearly perfect reflections of how the characters should look, and pretty good performance. However, this is Unreal Engine 4 and how anyone without a truly top of the line GPU can ever believe this engine looks "great" is beyond me. My go to example will be the completely stupid looking mirrors in the bathroom. I mean, even Duke Nukem had a convincing enough mirror for goodness sakes but this... it looks pretty terrible. The meshes show all the time, there are constant little dots leading up to the meshes all the time, sometimes all the stuff going on in battles is less spectacle and more digital diarrhea. I should clarify, the characters that look good are the ones that have obvious attention to detail due to importance: Cloud, Tifa, Aerith/Aeris, Barret, Jessie, Kyrie, the Shinras, etc. The others look very generic and meh from a technical point of view, clearly you can see where the visual budget went. Some of the new characters also look silly (Johnny, Marle, that woman in the slums who steals stuff).
Gameplay... If this battle system returns I will not play that game. In all likelihood. I hate this battle system. If you try and play it like a normal action oriented role playing game by primarily playing as Cloud then some people will tell you you are playing the game wrong. I am not sure how that makes the game not poorly thought out then as then you are constantly switching between your often two characters building action points. So you end up playing characters for like ten or thirty seconds at a time. When you play mostly through the one character (often times bosses were easier if I just played Barret throughout the fight since his triangle attack was actually useful - Cloud's is not) then the other characters are too conservative and you have to baby sit them through the command screen (not a big deal but not terribly fun). I have little issue with items being given a cool down and I am cool with skills and stuff having action points but having the action points and the items share the same point system was just annoying and occasionally aggravating. The main attacks are also only kind of enjoyable to perform, nowhere near as satisfying as KoA Reckoning or Dragon's Dogma or... (flips RPG rolodex) Dragon Quest Builders. This is also the meat and potatoes of the game, nearly as bad as a random encounter game.
I have no problem with a role playing game utilizing an actions battle system (Witcher 2 has a somewhat weak one but that's another great game) but this game just feels like it is never going to end, like how some people describe Michael Bay movies. You think you get a break because there was one in FFVII? TS, here's another Spectacle (TM) for you to play through. Thought that was fun, good, because here is another one right after that. The final three or five hours are just constant pile-ons of stuff on stuff on stuff, it is laborious and has no respect for the player's time.
The side quests all pretty much are universally dull. I did probably between 80 and 90 percent or so of the side quests and did not really get much out of any of them. They were okay, few of them were painful or baffling but they often times were longer than I would have preferred. I should say, a couple weeks ago I beat FFXV and complained about the side quests and how they should have telegraphed better to do them now wink wink but this game has no subtlety at all on that. It's fine but feels a little stupid in the story for there to be such demarcated breaks for side quest time. Sure, Tifa as far as you know thinks you are dead or sure Aerith/Aeris is held by the evil overlords and who knows what is happening but those stupid kids need you to gather their snotty noses and send them back to class. It threw the pacing especially the third time.
One little thing: the gameplay pacing is odd at times. Like, Wall Market felt to me like Final Fantasy x Yakuza (or Ryu ga Gotoku depending) and anything to do with the basement at Shinra felt like Final Fantasy x Resident Evil (or Biohazard).
I guess I will talk about the story a little. It was... okay. My brother was playing the actual FFVII and I watched it. That game is far from perfect, I will just say. Cloud is more like Wayout MacCool Dude in the original whereas here he is more of an emotionally constipated teenager. I exaggerate a little but not too much I'd say. His characterization was better from the perspective that he is suffering some kind of brainwashing or trauma and he comes off more as emotionally distant than just trying to be a little edgy. I liked Tifa, Aerith/Aeris, Barret (even if he makes too many genuinely bad decisions), and Rufus pretty well. One note on Tifa and Aerith/Aeris: this game feels like a waifu game on more than a handful of occasions (best example when you are recovering consciousness in the sewer). It does not bother me but it was not great either.
The main issue with the story is that not only was it a little weak in the original game but the changes they made here (which are extensive and easily findable) do not always make things better. In fact, aside from getting to know Avalanche a little better it was almost always detrimental. Not so much to make the game bad, I kind of liked the colosseum (except for the stupid joke boss) but things like the stupid "whispers" just start to ruin the game and brings with it a lot of contrivance.
I suppose I shall wrap up as I doubt this is very well put together but in the end the game is not bad but neither would I really call it good.
Edit: Forgot to mention a couple things.
Asset streaming was kind of atrocious some moments and lots of areas in this game have pretty rudimentary geometries considering how new the game is (the junk yard had some really oddly flat and triangular junk piles).
The vocal track I used the entire game long was the French option because it was there. It was really fun to see the little differences in what little French I can understand and the English subtitles. The cast was actually very good and the acting was excellent, maybe I am saying that simply because I do not speak French but I was pretty impressed by the performances. I really wish more games gave more vocal track options like that (I like playing Metro in Russian and would like to play Greedfall in French).
Another edit: Looks like Johnny is actually an original character repurposed. Oh well.
Post edited March 07, 2023 by AnimalMother117