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Change YoY: =   My Rating: 9.3 / 10

Prior to release, my feeling on Final Fantasy VII Remake was that of cautious optimism. It looked like it could be something quite special, but there was also a lot that could go very wrong in a project like this. Remaking one of the most beloved games of its kind is a tall order, and deciding what to change and what to keep true to the original had to have been quite difficult. Fortunately, the game we ultimately got turned out to be great, though it was also quite different from what I expected, though in a good way. One of the cleverest parts of this whole remake project was that it isn't actually a straight remake, but rather more of a deconstruction of the original game and its story (or a part of it so far). I really like this approach, as not only does it make the new game stand out, it leaves the option open for returning players to be surprised by the story. In addition, the original still exists as well, so I can always go back to that when I feel like it. Neither version is obsolete or unnecessary, rather they can coexist side by side.

The game did a great job at expanding the Midgar section of the original, adding a lot of wonderful details to the world and story, including new sidequests not found in the original, and most significantly, giving so much more depth to many of the characters that lacked it in the original. This was also the game where Square Enix finally managed to properly combine the classic ATB battle system with a real-time one, succeeding in what quite a few past releases have struggled to do. Adding to that is an exceptional soundtrack, with wonderful rearrangements of the original game's music mixed in with all new pieces.


The only true negative I thought the game had was the decision to make Sephiroth the final boss. Obviously it was just the first encounter, but I thought it should have been saved for a later point in the story. That was the only point that felt too "fanservicy" to me, and kind of unnecessary as well. That one blemish aside, this is a near-perfect remake (or a third of one I suppose) and I can't wait to get to experience the rest of it in the future.