I think Final Fantasy 7's battle system is rather alright, and much better than the battle systems of any RPG ever made in the west. It is not without its issues: notably, the load times are a bitch. But in terms of the number of random encounters, it's far from overwhelming: it probably had fewer encounters in the whole game than 3-hours of the Octopath Traveler demo.
Although, I am all for having a more Chrono Trigger style encounter system - that would be a big improvement and bring something new and special to the game. But keep the battle system relatively as is. One brilliant thing added to deal with random battles came in FF8 with the ability to simply turn off all random encounters, that would be a nice addition for FF7; FF8 was more opened up than FF7, and it's not always fun wandering through areas with weak enemies, having the ability to turn off those battles when I wasn't moving forward in the story or collecting crafting material is part of what makes FF8 my favourite of the franchise.
Last edited by Jumpin - on 19 November 2018
I also don't think it comes anywhere near too much reading, I haven't come across any Final Fantasy game that has. The only game I think I ever came across where I felt "too much reading" was a complaint is in Breath of Fire 3, just before the final boss, where there's this huge expository text dump that might have been as long as a chapter from Lord of the Rings right before the final battle =D
I also didn't think FF7 was too linear, like most RPGs of its era it was a fairly balanced game with a linear story, but tons of freedom to go around and do other things along the way. The more strictly linear RPGs came about on PS2 and PS3 (FFX, Xenosaga, and FF13 all felt kind of on-the-rails). Skies of Arcadia, glad you mentioned it, it's a balanced-style RPG that I really enjoyed... and perhaps the first fully 3D RPG that did that formula correctly. It's one of the reasons why Dreamcast was my most played home console of its generation. Xenoblade Chronicles was the first game to really take that balanced-style 3D RPG to the next level - FF12 had the right idea, but half-baked implementation: it's almost like you had a brilliant designer who had a genius vision, halfway implemented it, before Square kicked him off the project and have some unimaginative bum come in to wrap up the project without fully realizing its potential... Luckily we have Tetsuya Takahashi to come along and successfully put the whole thing together.
Anyway, I'm rambling (as I tend to do)
For Final Fantasy 7, I want tweaks and additions to the existing game. Not fundamentally changing the whole f***ing genre of the game! I think making it an action game will make it into a much more shallow experience than the original game and I, as a fan, don't appreciate such nonsense.