I've read about 20ish international reviews of the game ranging from 90 to 60 on Metacritic (I'm ignoring the 100 reviews because they don't have anything bad to say about the game... and it clearly has. Even outside of the story department). As for the topic we are discussing, the feeling is quite diverse. A few recognize the issue, but are curious to see how things play out in the end. Some recognize the issue and don't know how to feel about the changes. Some are directly bothered by the direction the story took in the end. And the vast majority play safe and instead of taking a position for good or bad, warn their readers about how this may like some and absolutely disgust others. As for the players... well, this is a hot topic in lots of sites. Many people are concearned.
In the end, while there are a lot of people that definetely like the changes, there are also a lot of people who don't like the changes or at the very least admit that there is an issue that might bother people. Why? Because as I said, Square Enix tricked people into buying something that wasn't what they promised. People expected to revisit FF VII story. They won't. Some might not be bothered by this. But some obviosuly will. It is what it is, however you might feel personally.
And no. This game does not reimagine the story of FF VII. This game acknowledges said story and literally restarts it at certain point to tell a different one. It's literally restarting (rebooting) the story. There is no way around it.
But as I said, it doesn't matter the word you pick. Reimagine or reboot, either way is not a remake.
I understand that you feel betrayed or feel tricked, but you got to remember back in 2015, when they said the Remake will be a multipart series, and that the first game will be set in Midgar. Everyone was under the false impression that it'll be a 5hr game, but later in that same year SE confirmed that each part will be comparable to a full Final Fantasy game. Midgar alone being the first part of a 30-40hr game is one big confirmation that the story is expanded upon, and in other words, changed. When you put 1 and 1 together you get 2. It shouldn't come as a surprise. What surprised me was how cool the changes are, it's unfortunate some don't feel the same.
I've been generally avoiding spoilers, but I'm personally SUPER excited to see what changes are made and how the story and characters are altered. I still have the original FFVII in all its glory, that continuity is never going away. to me, this is an AU version of the same story but with a different plot (as in, same themes, same characters, same world, different series of events). That's what I expected, that's what I wanted from day one, and it sounds like that's what I'm getting.
Honestly, are there people out there who literally just wanted the same exact plot over again?
I got it all, baby!
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Top 6 this generation:
Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, God of War, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Dark Souls III, Red Dead Redemption II