‘Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’ Sets a New High for the Series

The reboot cycle that started with 2020’s Final Fantasy VII Remake was a artistic threat. It remodeled a single PlayStation sport right into a trilogy meant to retell one of the vital celebrated RPGs of all time. Remake was a slower, extra elaborate imaginative and prescient of Square Enix’s beloved 1997 hit; it took the primary few hours of the unique and turned them right into a stand-alone sport. And, it labored. Remake was an exhilarating, easy-to-love sport the place iconic characters like Cloud Strife and Aerith Gainsborough felt like totally realized variations of their earlier polygonal counterparts.

With Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the stakes are larger. Rather than being contained within the metropolis of Midgar, its backdrop is the whole world of Gaia and the impacts Shinra’s political and planetary machinations have had there. Square Enix has already pulled off the unimaginable: Remake took a narrative followers knew by coronary heart and flipped these expectations on their head with just a few main plot deviations and the promise of an “unknown journey” when credit rolled. With Rebirth, the corporate delivers on that promise—and within the course of has set a brand new customary for all of its Final Fantasy video games to come back.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, which drops subsequent week, picks up instantly after Remake’s finish. Cloud and the gang have escaped Midgar as fugitives and at the moment are on the hunt for Sephiroth. Their process will lead them on an analogous path as the unique—parades in Junon, the Vegas-like Gold Saucer, a religious quest in Cosmo Canyon—however Rebirth performs with its freedom by increasing the sport’s lore and including new storylines.

It’s a extra strong telling in each means. The world is break up into completely different areas, large open-world maps with towers to climb, scouting, facet quests, chocobo catching, fiend combating, a brand new card sport, and lots of extra experiences. Rebirth is as huge as gamers need it to be; in case you’re extra all for shotgunning by means of the primary story, there’s no penalty for skipping facet tales that can grant you additional time along with your get together. Rebirth might have simply refined graphics and gameplay and referred to as it a day; as a substitute, it opens up a world that feels alive.

Rebirth performs a lot the identical as Remake—the battle model, talent units, and enemies will really feel acquainted—however iterates on these programs. Skill bushes add a stage of customization to character strikes, and Rebirth’s expanded get together means extra combating kinds and mixtures to check out. Teamwork is the underlying construction of the sport. In battle, characters can workforce as much as ship specialised strikes. Outside of it, Square Enix has added a brand new relationship system that helps decide story outcomes, like which date you’ll take on the Gold Saucer.

While in concept this isn’t a brand new thought—the unique sport additionally had a hidden system to find out how a lot you most popular characters like Tifa or Aeris—Rebirth’s emphasis on it provides a pleasant contact. You can deepen your relationships between Cloud and his companions by taking the time to speak with them individually. These moments are small however heartening. Cloud and his get together truly do appear to love and care about each other fairly than appearing as a bunch of strangers thrown collectively by destiny.

The forged has actual charisma collectively, and Rebirth shines when it offers them the room to work together. While the unique sport was largely from Cloud’s perspective, gamers get management over duos like Barret and Red XIII, or Aerith and Tifa, on their very own, and the sport is best for it. New, fleshed-out character backstories give the sport extra depth than its supply materials. Barret and Red XIII, particularly, are given extra room to shine, whether or not it’s small moments like Barret placing on a pair of sun shades to cover tears or Red proudly telling you about his sense of odor each likelihood he will get (usually by implying that Cloud smells horrible).

Square Enix’s reimagining of Final Fantasy VII additionally takes care to elucidate extra of the sport’s world and the forces inside it. Black Materia, arguably the MacGuffin of the unique sport (why would a world-ending orb exist if to not give heroes a purpose to battle, I assume), truly is smart this time round. The similar goes for ideas just like the Lifestream, which Rebirth provides in far higher element.