It feels crazy to say that I played Final Fantasy VII Remake, but I’m proud to say that it’s the truth. Announced in 2015 and with very few updates over the years, fans were skeptical of the release of this game. It seems that wait is finally paying off, as Final Fantasy VII Remake is releasing next March. To prove it to the fans, Square Enix allowed fans and industry alike to play the game at E3 2019. GotGame was invited to play the demo and we gladly accepted.
To make it clear, the demo for Final Fantasy VII Remake is pretty short. It’s understandable given how many fans wanted to play it, being easily one of the most popular games of the show. That being said, players are thrown right into a mission, as Jessie, a member of AVALANCHE, points out your mission objective. As Cloud, players work with Barret to try to plant a bomb on the reactor core. Sounds easy enough, right? It’s also worth noting that every bit of dialogue is fully voiced, so even minor characters have more time to shine.
Climbing down a ladder, the mission officially begins. Making my way over to a chest behind some boxes, I grab a phoenix down, something that might be handy if I was in over my head. It’s worth taking a moment to take in the surroundings. The Mako reactor is lit with a green glow, and the main character models look reminiscent of the ones in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Moving on, there’s a group of security officers ahead, and little do they know, they’re incredibly outmatched.
Cloud’s combat abilities are have a surprising amount of variety. Pressing square will deliver light attacks with Cloud’s buster sword, and continuing to attack will build up the ATB gauge. The Active Time Battle gauge fills up on it’s own, but performing normal attacks builds it faster. Once a bar is full, players will be able to press X to enter tactical mode. This is when time transitions to a crawl, and players can be more strategic with their attacks. This can be using skills, magic, or even items, utilizing energy from the ATB gauge. As Cloud takes damage, his limit bar will fill up, though it takes quite a long time to fill. Using circle will allow players to do a dodge roll, and holding R1 will allow for blocking damage.
Pressing up or down on the D-pad allows players to switch to other characters in the party. In this case, we were able to switch to Barret, allowing the use of his arsenal of ranged attacks. Holding down the square button will also have him automatically shoot at enemies. Having the extra range, this also makes Barret ideal for flying enemies or ones out of Cloud’s reach. Interestingly enough, many of those enemies were still within Cloud’s reach, as he would jump in the air to attack enemies too. Where Barret really comes in handy is his magic options.
Magic in Final Fantasy VII Remake seems to be more vital than ever before. As mentioned earlier, it will take up some ATB charges, but it will also use MP. Cloud came equipped with Fire, Blizzard, and Cure, while Barret also had Cure, but also included Thunder. Thunder is a very useful skill in this mission, as it deals extra damage to mechanical enemies. As for skills, Barret has a couple offensive abilities, a focused shot as well as a stream of constant bullets. He also has a more defensive skill, Steelskin, making him more resistant to damage.
Cloud’s skills are a bit different than Barret’s. All three skills were focused on offense, one being a three slash combo while another closes some distance for a powerful slash attack. Braver is more of a close ranged attack that deals a significant amount of damage as well. Working through several security guards and drones, Cloud and Barret finally reach their destination. It’s clear at this point that the two don’t quite see eye to eye, as Barret gives Cloud the chance to plant the bomb. As Cloud hesitates, Barret questions his loyalty, mentioning high praise from Tifa (sadly, not in the demo). Cloud responds by saying it’s all just a paycheck to him, much to the chagrin of Barret.
Accepting the job to plant the bomb, Cloud is suddenly hit by a violent flash in his head. Things get more intense as suddenly, a Scorpion Sentinel appears, initiating a boss battle. This battle took a lot more effort and strategy than all the previous enemies. Set up in various phases, the key was to switch between characters and utilize their ATB charges for skills. Barret’s Thunder came in handy here, as it would fill up a focus gauge on the enemy. Once full, the enemy would stagger, similar to Final Fantasy XIII, allowing for more devastating damage to be dealt.
The Scorpion Sentinel would target players and launch homing missiles. Not too bad if they’re guarded against, but if players don’t have their guard up, they’ll take quite a bit of damage. Eventually, the Sentinel will put a barrier around itself and start shooting lasers from its tail. The barrier basically prevents normal attacks, so that means magic and skills. If the player gets grabbed, they’ll have to switch to another character to attack and free their partner. It’s a nice mechanic that further encourages changing up your characters once in a while. Finally, there’s cover based situations where hiding behind debris will protect from certain attacks. In this case, it was the tail laser.
After dealing a lot of damage, the Scorpion Sentinel will often jump onto the wall, making it so only Barret could attack him. Once he’s back on the platform, players can use Cloud again. Eventually, the boss will activate a recovery mode, usually when it gets low on health. That’s your cue to give it everything you’ve got. After a few attacks and combos, players should have their limit gauge filled for Cloud. Performing a Cross-Slash on the boss should finish it, thus ending the demo.
Overall, Final Fantasy VII Remake left us thoroughly impressed. It’s one thing to be impressive with a trailer or hands-off gameplay, but it’s another to actually play the game. It really gives players a better feel for the combat and allows them to try things themselves. While the game is still going to be released in segments, the game seems to be in good hands. If the first part is more of this content, but with more characters and extra details in the campaign, sign me up. Final Fantasy VII Remake is currently scheduled to release on March 3rd, 2020, releasing exclusively on PlayStation 4. Are you looking forward to the game? Let us know in the comments below!