Final Fantasy 7 Remake (PS4) Demo Impressions – Still Ahead of Its Time?

Final Fantasy 7 is one of the world’s greatest videogames to have ever graced the living room (or basement) of gamers around the world. The original came out in 1997 on the original PlayStation and was regarded as a staple of the JRPG genre. Yesterday, Square Enix released the free demo of the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 Remake, offering up the opening 1 hour of the game. Having never played the original game (yeah I’m young), I think the remake is positioned interestingly well. I don’t have any nostalgia for the original game, so I can keep my rose-tinted glasses aside for the moment.

Starting up the demo, I was greeted to a theme familiar to most gamers out there, even if they haven’t played the game. Yeah, I’m talking about the prelude, which has now been updated to fit a modern aesthetic. From there, you only get a few options before starting the game, and then boom! – you’re in.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake - Cloud
Final Fantasy 7 Remake – Cloud

When compared to the original Final Fantasy 7, the remake is leaps and bounds above where visuals are concerned. From characters looking like square blocks to packing more polygons than you can count, we’ve sure come a long way. The remake doesn’t just look great because of the new assets, but it’s the art direction that needs to be praised. The overall aesthetic from the previous version has been maintained well.

Of course, Final Fantasy 7 is above all a JRPG in the truest sense. While the original game featured turn-based combat, the remake uses a hybrid system including both turn-based attacks and real-time hack-n-slash. It feels more like the Devil May Cry games than a slower-paced RPG. And I like that. I’ve never been a fan of turn-based games (bite me), so this adds a welcome change of pace. Switching between both the realtime and turn-based takes some time to get used to, and it certainly has that old-school feeling to it. But once you’ve jumped through the hoops of learning, it gets more rewarding.

Performance on PS4 Console

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  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake miyaburu
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake Assets motorbike

It’s quite interesting to see the new game besides the old one. The remake was developed on Unreal Engine 4, the same engine employed by dozens of other games in recent years. Aside from Square Enix, CyberConnect2 (Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot) also had limited involvement in the game’s development. The game’s ambitious art aesthetics joins the ranks of other great games developed on the engine, like Borderlands 3, Kingdom Hearts 3 and Gears 5.

Running at a native 1920 x 1080p resolution, the game is fixed at 30fps with even frame pacing. The same has been confirmed by Digital Foundry, one of the industry leaders in analyzing the technical aspects of videogames. This level of optimization makes the game feels smooth, with the controller lag also masking out some of the deficiencies during heavy combat/destruction scenarios.

[Note: The game IS NOT a PlayStation 4 exclusive. It has been confirmed that Final Fantasy 7 Remake will come to other platforms on or after April 10, 2021.]

Verdict

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  • FF7 remake Cloud

Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a legendary JRPG whose resurgence on the current-gen consoles is well appreciated. You can check out my video review here. While we still have to see how the final game turns out, if the demo is any indication, then Square Enix has done a fantastic job in updating the game.

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