Final Fantasy 7 will be a good remake

  • Hi all,

    I just finished my first playthrough of FF7 and I have some thoughts that I want to bounce off you all. I... kind of didn't like it. I wanted to love it, but I couldn't. Part of that is for unfair reasons. I'm not used to pre-rendered backgrounds, so even when I put the cursors on I had trouble figuring out which parts of the environment I could interact with and which parts were just there for set-dressing. This was compounded by somewhat loose controls; there were several moments throughout the game when all the sudden gaps or ladders had to be interacted with at a super precise spot, or character movements became randomly inverted or counterintuitive. The translation is also very clearly a product of its time. Clunky exposition, some bad grammar, and, my biggest pet peeve as a former ESL teacher, switching between calling Shinra Corps "Shinra" and "the Shinra." Those are all things that irked me more than they should have, so I don't hold it against the game too much.

    The main issue I had with the game - aside from the needlessly obtuse story, which has been lampooned enough in pop culture for me to get over - is that I just didn't care about any of the characters. This was a problem from literally the first mission; the relationships between the key players are very loosely defined (Barret calls Cloud newbie, but then apparently they have some kind of history together?), Cloud himself is aloof to a fault (why should I care about what's happening if my avatar doesn't), and Tifa's just kind of there for exposition. Unfair? Maybe, but look at how efficiently FF6 sets up Locke's character, or how FF5 sets up Bartz. Both are just much more efficient in endearing you to these characters you're about to spend 35ish hours with. The only characters I thought FF7 did a good job of servicing were Aeris and Cid, and I think Uematsu had the same opinion; their themes are freaking gorgeous. I'll talk more about the music later, but it certainly helps that both Aeris and Cid immediately bring specific tunes to mind that fit their characters. Aeris is tragic and optimistic. Cid is harsh on the outside (read: abusive), but really has a heart of gold. They're simple but effective in ways that the other characters aren't.

    The characters could've been salvaged if they were developed more, but I think the game failed in this regard, too. Barret's motivations/backstory are introduced and resolved consecutively. Yuffie, after having a very charming introduction, kind of just disappears. Even her side quest did little to endear me to her character. Just in general, there's so little interaction between the party that I never felt any reason for them to stay together. Characters get, at most, two lines of dialogue per story event. The only characters that spend a significant time conversing with each other are Cloud, Tifa, and Aeris. I've already mentioned how Aeris gets a bit of a pass for me. Tifa, on the other hand, is tied pretty much directly to Cloud. I guess she's kind of spunky? Everything else is too nebulous for me to care.

    There were other nitpicks too: why does Sephiroth just throw materia at you before/after each encounter? Why does Cait Sith betray the party for all of one dungeon if he was just going to come back to their side in a noble sacrifice (that ends with a punchline)? How is Elena a Turk?

    But here's where I come to my point: all of these flaws can be fixed. Modernization has ironed out pretty much all of these flaws. Aside from the standard issues that come from a game becoming dated, an improved script could fix all of the characterization issues I have, and recent trends in gaming place an increased focus on party interaction. The remake of this game could be legendary, since there is some really good stuff in the game. The music, as I mentioned, is pretty stellar. It's not my favorite Uematsu soundtrack (FF6 takes the cake for me still), but it's pretty damn good. The jump in sound quality as the chorus kicks in during One Winged Angel really makes you realize how crazy that battle is. There are several refrains in which character themes change from major to minor, and it worked on me every time. I also thought the battle system was pretty fun and flexible, and I liked the way limit breaks worked. The way the game brought back the major locations from the first disc for the climax was also really cool, in my opinion. Finally, Supernova. I don't know how I'd never seen that before, but good god did that have me grinning hard. I hope they don't get rid of that in the remake.

    TL;DR - I didn't love FF7, but I have a ton of faith that its remake will be a great game.

    Thoughts? Can you help bring me around to some things? Help me love this game!

  • Before I get into it I'd ask, have you done all the extra stuff? There's a lot of extra story in side events that explain a lot of things in FF7. Lucretia's cave and going back to the shinra mansion in disc 3 are pretty essential

  • @Sieghardt Did the Shinra mansion (Zack is actually a great example of how effectively character development CAN be done), but I missed Lucretia's cave unfortunately. Heard about it after the fact. I guess I missed a hint from an NPC to tell me where to go? I was bummed since Vincent was one of my main party members.
    In general, though, my main issues aren't with how much things are explained, but rather than manner and the pace in which characters are devloped.

  • I don't know how long this will be, but hopefully I won't take up too much of your time:

    As FF7 is my favorite game of all time, I find your critiques to be excellent and well reasoned. When I see/hear people say they try the game out, my hope is they get out of Midgar. That is MORE than enough time to formulate a, "This game SUCKS!" "This is alright," or "I LOVE THIS!" Not only have you done that, but you FINISHED!

    Allow me to respond in the order of your critiques (And I want to preface that IN NO WAY am I seeking to change your mind. I find your issues valid and am ONLY leaving my thoughts as to why I like or do not find issue with your points).

    Pre-rendered backgrounds: As art, I have no issue, and many, for me, are wonderful to look at. I agree with not really knowing what to interact with is a bit of a headache, but in my experience having the arrows toggled on helped significantly.

    Precise location of interaction: This I'm in COMPLETE agreement on. It is a little frustrating when you have to move an inch or two, back and forth, to find that sweet spot. I forgive it just a tiny bit more than what I'm reading from you because I understand the time the game was made. In today's age, we have become accustomed to tight controls and smooth design, so when we encounter counter-intuitive examples, it may skew our view.

    Exposition: I don't feel this way at all, but I understand where you're coming from. I'll touch on this a little later, but just wanted to go ahead and say: Disagree

    Bad Grammar: Yes, the localization on this one wasn't the absolute best. Another aspect that was a product of its time, this is one area where, courtesy of VO and not straight text, will be, I'm sure, a massive improvement.

    Between "Shinra" and "the Shinra": While this is a personal pet peeve of yours, I understand how it may irk you more than most, so I feel you have eloquently stated as such. Personally: Not an issue.

    Obtuse story: If you could provide only one example, so I do NOT misconstrue your view, I would greatly appreciate understanding where you're coming from. I found the story, with the exception of a few spots, to be on the whole fantastic, but like the rest of gaming and in other mediums, story is subjective, so I won't bother to go further here.

    Caring about characters: I won't touch on side characters but in terms of main characters, I'll do my best to explain either why I find them compelling, or agree with points on them:

    Cloud - Disagree: Cloud cares, and that caring is developed over the course of the adventure, but he's an archetype (or stereotype?....) of the guy who doesn't want to show his emotions because he (initially at least) can't handle them, especially when he wants to become just as famous as his hero: Sephiroth. Also, I'm not sure if you found the scene or are aware of his backstory with Zack, but that provides motivation for him (on a surface level at least) to keep people at arm's length, so he doesn't re-experience the pain he feels.

    Barrett - By today's standards, there probably wouldn't be another Barrett in any game with some of the dialogue and other.... hmmm.... let's say not-so-socially-acceptable things about his character. His background does feel a little rushed, but his one redeeming quality is his adopted daughter. Not quite enough to make him completely endearing, but for me, at least understandable.

    Tifa - I believe you may be the first person who I've read says she is nothing more than exposition. I've never really seen it from that view before, so thank you! For my view, I feel she is there to provide a link to others: A link to Barrett, a link to Cloud, and eventually a link to Aeirth (On whose name I'll get to in a moment). Granted, as a party member in battle, herself and Barrett are the one's I don't like to use because I feel other characters have more interesting attacks, weapons, designs, etc.

    Aerith - Just to get this tiny difference out of the way, this was the way it's supposed to be spelled, but a translation error caused it to be Aeris instead of Aerith. I actually discovered Kingdom Hearts before Final Fantasy VII, so this is how I was introduced to her. First impressions and all that. Anyway, as a character, I agree with you how she is one of the better ones, but the way I feel I have to manage her in game is a little obtuse. I have NO issue with her being... you know... (Slides finger across throat), but I DO have some quirks: Why I feel I have to over rely on her to unlock her final limit break before ANY ONE else. Also, the reasoning behind when and how she leaves the party is a bother, but that's a minor issue. And I agree: Her theme is one of the best (I have it as my PS4 theme)

    Red XIII - Initially Red (As a drop the XIII. I find it kind of pointless) is pretty cool: Intelligent, fierce, and he's a talking animal! But as you go through the story, he shows off more his kid side, and while I enjoy him as a character overall, I could've done without that. However, for me, it doesn't take away from him being a unique denizen of the world and Cosmo Canyon, and more specifically its theme (and remix) is my favorite piece of music from the game.

    Yuffie - Irritating to the nth degree, I understand the ire many give her. If it wasn't for in battle prowess and attacks, I would barely use her. Granted, I like her design, but as a character, I find her to be a bother. I like how you have to recruit her, but I agree: She shows up, then disappears, and Wutai is just a slight let-down where her story arc is concerned. GRANTED: She IS a secret character, so I understand why that may be the case. But I wish there was more, and I wish she was better developed.

    Cait Sith - (Or as I call him Cat Sith) If you remember, he's a robot being controlled by Reeve Tuesti, a high-ranking Shinra employee. Reeve has a change of heart, so that's why his betrayal is really short. I like being able to use him to soak up damage and his Dice limit break is probably the most powerful attack at that point in the game (if you haven't focused too heavily on grinding prior to that point). As a character, much like Yuffie, I'm more irked by him than not, HOWEVER, I believe there is good there, and I hope there is better development for him in the remake.

    Vincent - I love Vincent for various reasons none the least of which having, in my opinion, the best/most tragic of backstories. Granted, handling him in battle is a bit of a chore, but everything else (Design, interaction, weaponry, etc.) make him my favorite character in the game.

    Cid - At first I couldn't stand him with how he treats Shera, but over time, he shows his a good guy. Can't overlook that, but he does have redeeming qualities. Another issue I have with Cid is timing. At that point, if you have collected both Yuffie and Vincent, balancing party members starts to become a hassle (again, for me), and I see him in battle one of two ways: He either is great, with a powerful weapon and neat limit breaks, or OP that I won't use because I have to shore up other members (See Tifa and Barrett). He and Vincent are my primary go to party members, but that's just me. And again, I agree: I LOVE his theme.

    Whew! Sorry about this! That was just characters! Back to your points:

    FFVI's character developments - I disagree, and I find it personally ironic how we share the exact same feeling about our favorites: I too wanted to love VI after hearing SO MANY praise it, and, like you for VII, I just couldn't. To give you context, while I wasn't thinking, "This is awesome!" I did have a sense of "This is ok." The moment when the world became the World of Ruin, something happened. I can't exactly put my finger on where, but I just wasn't having fun. Finding all of the characters just took me out of it (OH! Very important thing about my tastes: I can't STAND having so many characters to choose from in a game. Bothers me to no end) and I gave up getting all of them. Tried to assault Kefka's tower and that didn't go well. I appreciate the Opera Scene now, but that was the ONLY moment I liked from the game story wise (I do like Terra's theme). Everything else, again, for me and me ALONE, is... well forgettable. Outside of Narshe, the Opera, and HATING Zozo (That's the town's name right?) I can't for the life of me recall many story points. And for me, THAT SUCKS, because as you touched on with VII, I wanted DESPARATELY to agree with people. I just can't. Now about X and XII, that's an entirely separate discussion altogether...

    On Sephiroth throwing materia: He's doing that to control Cloud. It's all about mind games with Cloud as far as ol' Sephy is concerned, so by manipulating him with Materia, it serves his end purpose.

    On Elena being a Turk: Because she is ancillary compared to pretty much everyone else, this doesn't bother me. She's a side character to side characters, so her involvement only serves one purpose: To be a voice of reason/comic relief to her fellow Turks. Granted, I could go into a whole diatribe about Cissnei from Crisis Core, but I'm not going to subject you to that (If you've read this far, I think you're suffering enough ;-) )

    On flaws being fixed: I agree strongly here as well. A LOT could be shored up and there is potential for the Remake to be even better. But I still have my concerns. Until the game comes out, I don't want to think about what changes are being made, what's being cut, what's being added, etc. There are things that I'm fascinated to know how they'll handle: The Honey Bee Inn, Barrett and Cid's colorful language, Aeirth's death just to name a few. I'm curious if they are willing to plunge into the M rating to do it justice, but I HIGHLY doubt that. I agree about music and again I disagree about VI, but to your base point, I'm curious to see if they remix, remaster, or port over the tracks (I'm feeling the middle option)

    Battle system: For OG VII, it's alright. I like how you can customize everyone with a myriad amount of Materia combinations, but with the Remake going full on action, I'm morbidly curious how it plays. Limit breaks are awesome (well, most of them anyway), but unlocking them is a pain (It can be cheesed, but it takes FOREVER). I like X's the best, but that's just me.

    Supernova: Oh I can only IMAGINE what it will look like in today's CGI

    Final thoughts: A question: Which version did you play? If on PS4, did you utilize some of the cheats to help expedite the experience? Anyway, I just want to say thanks, both for reading this waaaaaayyyyy too long response and for giving the game a chance. Bums me out you didn't like it as much as I hope people do when they try it, but all the props in the world to you for sticking it out.

    Again, this was in NO WAY an attempt to dissuade you in your stances. I appreciate your time. Thanks again and have a good one.

    Love & Respect!

  • I completely disagree, imo the remake should be a remaster that mostly changes on the graphical side, adds voice acting and some gameplay tweaks, it should be this imo:
    Youtube Video

  • @Musou-Tensei

    Youtube Video

  • @naltmank I get where your coming from because I believe a lot of games are harder to play now after so many years. I think the remake will fix that problem for a new generation of ppl wanting to get into it but just can't get passed some of the games features or mechanics that may be not what their use to in today's games.

    Not that I disagree with ppl being critical of some stuff, I'm more forgiving with games so things don't bother me as much.

    Also I'm not sure Cloud and Barret had a history before then. I could be wrong though. Maybe @Brannox can answer that.

    As for myself, FF7 is one of my favourite games but I played it back when I was 12 and first got a PlayStation. I'm actually worried the Remake won't recapture the best parts of the original.

  • Banned

    @CGamor7 it shouldn't try to recapture the best parts of the original. It should try to have new memorable moments of its own.

  • @Art I don't disagree with you with new moments. But it still needs to recapture some of its best moments while doing new things. Or there would be no need to remake it. That's what has essentially fueld the creation of this project. It needs to do both.

    I worry about enjoying it as much as I enjoyed the original. They have big shoes to fill and I also welcome changed and new stuff. If it's like FFXV I'll probably lose interest in it quickly.

  • @CGamor7 No, Barrett hired him for the bombing mission.

  • @Brannox that's what I thought. Thanks :)

  • @naltmank I think @Brannox pretty much summed up my response in a much more eloquent manner than I could have. One other thing I wanted to touch on though is expectation. There's going to be a fair amount of assuming in these next few sentences, so I may be off the mark but it feels as though you went into this game expecting every single part of it to blow you away because of the hype it has received over the years. That level of expectation tends to make us more critical and especially in my case, start getting overly nitpicky with certain aspects of a game. For instance, your entire first paragraph is filled with things I never even noticed when I originally played it a decade ago and upon replaying it two years ago (and actually falling in love with it that time), I still found no issue. Nothing created will ever be perfect but the things that resonate with us are the ones where we can either accept or ignore their flaws.

    I like the mention of Bartz from FF5 because that game is tragically underrated but in terms of character development? I would probably put it at the bottom of the series, as there's not too much behind most of the characters there. Every character in FF7 is damaged and has to come to terms with the fact that life didn't turn out the way they imagined. It's a story of acceptance. Cloud doesn't care in the beginning because he's not supposed to - he doesn't know his true self and he's just a sellsword. Does he care at the end of the game? Yep, just like the rest of the cast, he experiences significant change. It's refreshing having a protagonist where the game doesn't keep reminding you how awesome and great they are at the beginning. Like Cloud himself, you grow and begin to like the fella. I'd still say he's the best protagonist in the entire series. Replaying through it, I still feel like FF7 tells one of the most mature stories for games out there.

    If you've got time, I'd recommend going through these sets of videos by The Completionist for "Final Fantasy month". Not only is there a treasure trove of information there about all the games also set in the same universe, I believe one of the episodes has all sorts of varying opinions about its impact. Worth a watch if you're interested.

    Youtube Video

    Whether or not the remake succeeds (let's hope it does), I know I'll always hold the original close to my heart.

  • @CGamor7 Anytime.

    @SabotageTheTruth Excellent post.

  • Thanks for the responses! I was playing on vita, since I don't have a television at the moment. I actually kind of prefer playing RPGs on the go, though, so it worked out. The only major downside was that any time I needed to hit R2/L2 it was a pain, but that's not any fault of the game. That's on me.
    @Brannox I can definitely dig a lot of what you're saying, end I especially like the Sephiroth materia explanation. I guess it's kind of just a "maybe it's not for me" game, which sucks, but oh well. I can appreciate that it's a good game overall, just didn't love it like I wanted to.
    Also @SabotageTheTruth, regarding FF5 - and this could be nostalgia talking - but I love how Bartz is introduced as a lone adventurer whose best friend is a Chocobo. To me that just says so much about him. Then he rides towards the danger of the meteorite landing and acts as a good samaritan. Simple but effective. I'll admit that both FF4 and FF6 probably have better characters overall, though. I just like giving FF5 credit whenever I can.

  • @naltmank Boco is the best chocobo, I'll say that much.

  • Everybody values different things but I really just like being along for the ride in FF7. I never got too connected to the characters, especially since I named them weird names, but I loved the journey. Gameplay was great to me and much like how I'm enjoying Nier Automata, I love how FF7 changes up the levels, gameplay style, and environments every few hours.

    I'm worried that the remake will take away that charm. I especially miss reading text and that has been a make or break for me since FFX which I cannot stand.

  • @GoTaco yeah I miss reading the text too. I actually really miss that style of RPG. Would love to see a big team spend AAA amounts of time making a polished classic style RPG.

  • @CGamor7 Me too. There is some sort of inexplicable charm in games that require reading text. I think it may draw you in more because you are participating more than watching. Persona 4 is a game I've recently played that tastefully mixes both VO and text but as per Final Fantasy, I just haven't enjoyed any of them since FFIX.

    The VO and large scale characters kinda give me bad vibes. Super inexplicable but I can't help it.

  • Banned

    @CGamor7 Focus testing shows that people don't like to read.

    Please select your response from the four vague dialog options below.

    • I'll be honest with you
    • Let's cut to the chase
    • I'll come back later
    • You're intense. I like it.

  • Yeaaaaah, no. Zelda and Persona 5 have both been worse this year for having spotty voice acting. Spotty as in the quality is fine — in Zelda's case the term I would use is 'whatever' — but the coverage is "spotty." You should also understand that if those Zelda voice actors had more than five minutes of screentime apiece, they would have a chance to fall into and become comfortable with their characters like... any other acted medium.

    Paper Mario would even be a better series if Nintendo could ever settle on a personality and full-sentence-ready voice for Mario.

    There's something to be said for the expediency of just reading minor NPC dialogue, but many Japanese series are spotty even during the critical path, which is simply poor.