The gameplay is fine, it's the classic FF gameplay after all. Materia and stuff is fun. I just couldn't get over the lame story and unlikable characters throughout. But of course everyone loves it because boring MCs and emo antagonists are totally lit!
In terms of Europeans, it was the first FF game released here so it holds a place in many people's minds. I think it's general sales and popularity have scewed SquEnix thoughts about how popular it really is though as I'm sure, like me, you'd prefer a new FF over a remake of an older one, no? Imagine all this information we are getting for FF7R in a brand new FF game. Instead of people saying '"Oh, the gameplay sounds okay but it's not like the original. Why is it in 3 parts, the original was one game." People might be saying "Sounds great, I'll definitely buy it."