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I played the OG back in '97 and remember some of the big plot points, but there's a lot that I don't remember, and thankfully so. Heck, it's been almost 30 years.
I knew what to expect with Aerith, and I started to get an intensifying feeling of dread and uneasiness going into chapter 13.
Then, it finally happened. I honestly expected to get teary, but I was more confused than anything.
At first, I felt like they blew it. They botched one of the most iconic scenes in gaming history. Took away the massive feels by just confusing everybody, or at least me.
I started watching Youtube videos to see if it was just me, and how people felt about it. Opinions were varied, but one video resonated with me especially.
It said that it was all intentional. It was about denial. Cloud is in denial about what happened, and so am I, as a player and a fan. The first stage of grief.
Yes, I am in denial and it is a brilliant move from the devs. I'm telling myself that Aerith isn't really dead, she is still alive in some alternate reality that Cloud created by intervening. I get to see and hear her in the last game, just like before. It'll be fine. And maybe it will be, who knows? Some way? Perhaps?
It's more likely that the whole weight and realization of the thing will come crashing down on Cloud and me in an unforgettable way.