Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is Remake supercharged

One of my favorite issues to do in Final Fantasy 7 Remake was to easily search for. Finally you would see the plates of Midgar hanging threateningly over the slums – and in daylight too. This was one thing solely hinted at within the authentic, with its pre-rendered backgrounds in (seemingly) perpetual evening. Seeing the enhancements a remake may carry was awe-inspiring.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the observe as much as Remake, garners an identical response, however this time with its open world. Now the imprecise blues and greens of the overworld that gave a mere suggestion of place are gone; as a substitute there’s an explorable open world, an industrial wasteland smothered in rubbish and seemingly poisonous waste. The planet – as was solely beforehand recommended – has been abused. Some wildlife does stay although: I noticed a pack of cute bunnies bouncing by way of the metallic undergrowth.

Above this wasteland is the imposing army metropolis of Junon, casting a shadow over the inhabitants dwelling in squalor beneath. Though not fairly as iconic as Midgar, it nonetheless offers a way of how huge and expansive Rebirth is set to be.

Eurogamer goes hands-on with Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.Watch on YouTube

It’s extra of the identical, but it surely’s been supercharged. It’s sooner. It’s flashier. It’s extra thrilling. It affords greatest in school visuals, sound and cinematography. At its height, it seems like enjoying by way of a film – Advent Children, however you are (principally) in management.

Much of this is to be anticipated after the success of Remake. After all, it already pushed the boundaries of what the unique recreation – and the notion of a remake – might be. More of the identical is actually not a nasty factor, to not point out a handful of enhancements to lift the bar as soon as once more. Yet what actually pursuits me probably the most about Rebirth are the story modifications and penalties of Remake, one thing we’ll have to attend till the complete launch to totally perceive.

A latest hands-on with Rebirth offered two missions to play by way of: The Fated Mt Nibel Mission and The Open Wilds of Junon.

The first was a simple linear quest typical of Remake. It’s primarily based on a flashback from the unique recreation that happens at an identical level within the story shortly after the celebration leaves Midgar. A younger Tifa, full with cowboy hat, leads new SOLDIER recruit Cloud and his hero Sephiroth to a close-by Mako Reactor. Here, although, the Mako Spring seems to be way more spectacular because it fizzes with turquoise vitality.

Traversal to the Reactor is extra elaborate than the unique, with climbing sections by way of jagged rocks underneath a gray sky – a foil to the vivid rainbows of Materia and magic results in battle. It additionally builds in the direction of a boss combat in opposition to a Materia Guardian, a kind of bat-like demon that flies over the celebration.

Sephiroth is totally playable – and really highly effective. | Image credit score: Square Enix

What really made this part particular, although, is that – for the primary time – Sephiroth is playable (whereas he joins the celebration within the authentic, right here he is totally controllable). He’s decked out with a full suite of Materia plus his iconic Masamune sword and is a great ten ranges increased than Cloud. His assaults alternate between a strong pierce and a sword dance combo, along with his Hell’s Gate capability performing like a dragoon’s leaping, downward thrust. Plus he is bought his Octoslash restrict break. At this level, Sephiroth is Cloud’s hero so it is sensible he’d be so robust. And after a niche since enjoying Remake, this provided an opportunity to reacquaint myself with the battle system. Yet Sephiroth is so overpowered, it trivialised the entire mission – rightfully so.

This mission did spotlight a few new Materia, suggesting the system can be extra expansive in contrast with Remake. I picked up an Autocast Materia that robotically casts spells for you, and a Magnify Materia that expands the vary of a spell. As with the unique recreation, these might be paired with spell Materia for brand new results. I additionally grabbed a two-in-one lighting and wind materia, streamlining my assortment.

Otherwise, this was principally the identical outdated Remake. You nonetheless sit on benches to relaxation and recuperate HP and MP. Outside of battle, Cloud’s sword swipes to destroy bins are nonetheless oddly static. And he is nonetheless sometimes compelled to stroll by way of sure areas, story relying. At one level, Sephiroth scoffs at Cloud: “Such a puppy”. It’s the kind of description I’d count on geared toward Zack relatively than the stoic Cloud, maybe hinting this flashback is not all it appears.

This mission additionally gave a style of a significant new addition to fight: synergy. Battles work in the identical means as earlier than: common assaults construct up your ATB gauge, which is spent on skills and spells, whereas taking injury builds the restrict break gauge. Synergy assaults sit someplace between skills and restrict breaks. Each capability use provides one synergy level to a personality; as soon as two characters have constructed sufficient factors (sometimes two every), they’ll unleash a synergy assault: a flashy pairing that does first rate injury. It encourages gamers to commonly alternate between characters, synergy assaults performing like a mini reward. There are extra synergy abilities accessed by guarding that once more pair up characters, however are much less efficient.

Aerith casting a huge spell in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
Magic results are really spectacular. | Image credit score: Square Enix

While these assaults do add one other layer to fight, they do not add an enormous quantity of technique. It virtually feels just like the builders added them in simply so as to add one thing recent. I truly discovered it a bit overwhelming having an entire load of latest skills to think about and much more flashy results popping off, however this is probably the character of a preview dropping me partially means. I simply wanted a little bit extra time to know every mixture – and that is not me being grasping desirous to play extra, I promise!

The synergy assaults on this mission had been between Cloud and Sephiroth, however the subsequent mission set outdoors Junon confirmed off extra. Here, the celebration was Cloud, Aerith, Tifa, Barrett and Red XIII, with hanging and indulgent synergy assaults between all combos. Firework Blade, for example, was between Aerith and Cloud: a shimmering barrage of magical sword swipes. Planetary Roar was between Aerith and Red XIII, the place she tickles his chin earlier than they unleash magical explosions. Divine Punishment is the assault between Aerith and Tifa you should have seen in a earlier trailer. For probably the most half, common enemies are dispatched too rapidly to construct up the required synergy factors, so these strikes can be most helpful throughout longer encounters and boss battles.

The Junon mission was predominantly geared toward displaying off the sport’s open world, albeit a small part of it. And there are a number of additions to flesh it out, together with a brand new crafting system typical of open world video games. Players can gather uncooked supplies to craft new objects, armours and equipment; these are principally metallic ores and herbs, however one materials was known as “manifestation of the planet’s favour”. Make of that what you’ll.

Chocobo are additionally necessary for traversal and include a brand new reorchestrated theme – using them is a lot sooner than working on foot, plus they’re in a position to sniff out hidden treasure. That stated, these specific chocobo seemingly cannot bounce, which means they frustratingly out of the blue halt earlier than the jagged setting (the latest PlayStation State of Play trailer confirmed chocobo of different colors with flight and climbing skills). Visit a Chocoboutique and you’ll package them out in numerous armours. Adorably, you too can observe chocobo chicks to chocobo bus stops (and pet them!) – unlocking quick journey choices.

The party flies over a desert on chocobo in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
Look at Red XIII on a flying chocobo! | Image credit score: Square Enix

Some enemy encounters have further goals, too, like a time restrict or needing to stress or stagger enemies in a particular means, and might be repeatedly replayed. Completing these goals will present extra rewards not proven on this demo. Square Enix has additionally promised dozens of facet quests and minigames, so collectively this open world will present loads of causes to discover and seems far much less linear than Remake.

After becoming a member of the celebration on the finish of Remake, everybody’s favorite speaking beast Red XIII is lastly playable in Rebirth. Swiping with claws, his moveset feels extra scrappy, frantic and animalistic in contrast with different characters. His distinctive capability is the Vengeance gauge, which builds by guarding assaults; activating Vengeance Mode then heightens assaults and dodge velocity. His iconic Siphon Fang spinning assault additionally proves highly effective. He is, in the end, an up shut and defensive fighter however with out the highly effective class of Tifa, and slots neatly into the celebration. Incidentally, now that we’ve extra celebration members, these circuitously managed in battle will dangle again and are seen skirting the battlefield with out collaborating.

After exploring the Junon fields, I headed to the slums beneath the town the place I encountered faces acquainted to gamers of the unique: the younger Priscilla, her pet dolphin, and a boss battle in opposition to sea creature Terror of the Deep. This acted as a end result of battle abilities up up to now: switching characters to construct up synergy factors, unleashing combo assaults and revelling within the distinctive animations. It feels as satisfying as Remake ever did, with synergy assaults simply one other instance of the seamless shift from cinematic to motion.

Close up of Cait Sith in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

Vincent towers over the party in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

Some outdated favourites will return this time round. | Image credit score: Square Enix

There was one main distinction nonetheless: it was Yuffie stranded within the water who the celebration wanted to save lots of. Is this the primary time the celebration encounters Yuffie? This wasn’t clear. Yet it does recommend their assembly can be a part of the principle story and her addition to the celebration will not be non-obligatory, as within the authentic.

Rebirth has some modifications, then, each in comparison with the unique and Remake. There are tweaks to the story, new wrinkles in fight, and an open world brimming with potential. Visually it is vastly spectacular too, a step up from Final Fantasy 16. It’s acquainted but recent, the kind of magical spectacle followers will relish.

And with the newest trailer from the latest PlayStation State of Play, there’s an exuberant show of fan service: the Gold Saucer returns with up to date minigames, acquainted characters can be playable, and a few really spectacular trying summons can be included. Sadly, none of this was within the preview construct I performed.

Yet will there be extra basic plot modifications? How will this second half finish? And what’s up with Zack? I’m itching to search out out.

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