Reader Review: Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)

Hey folks, Cary here.  Before I start with this review that one of my brothers wrote, I thought I’d give a bit of an intro.  It may be hard to believe now, but back when I was a teen in the 16-bit days, I was super big into RPGs, especially the Final Fantasy games.  So when I was in college and got the PlayStation, I was super excited for FF7.  But after I played it, I appreciated its differences, but I didn’t have a desire to play it again.  And it was a turning point in the series for me because from then on, aside from some spinoffs and such, I had no interest in Final Fantasy after that.  Well, except for Final Fantasy 9.  That was what 7 and 8 should’ve been.  So yeah, I didn’t have any interest in the Final Fantasy VII Remake.  Luckily one of my brothers, Nathan, volunteered to review it.  Now keep in mind that Nathan had never played the original FF7.  In fact I think he was just a toddler when the original came out!  But that’s exactly why you should read this review because it’s written by someone who never played the original and I’m sure it’ll offer a unique take on the game.  So here is Nathan Woodham’s review of the Final Fantasy VII Remake!

As someone who had not played any game in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy VII Remake felt entirely unique, despite telling only a small portion of a several-decade-old story that has almost as many spin-offs and cameos as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While some of that “uniqueness” may just be a product of my utter confusion at the vague references to the Final Fantasy VII universe lore that the game expects me to understand (seriously, what the heck was that weird cat with the crown?), the game truly is a memorable experience. A fantastical story, beautiful environments, surprisingly lovable characters, and a nearly perfect voice cast all come together to make a well-crafted and enjoyable JRPG.


Final Fantasy VII Remake feels like a natural progression of the JRPG genre in many ways, most of which are good. The battle system takes the complexity and strategy of turn-based combat and presents it in an action-oriented beat-em-up format. It sounds like a mess, but it works. Basically, there is one button to attack, one button to dodge-roll, one button to block and a few quick menus to get to the magic and special abilities. Any extra skills are integrated with the weapons and materia available to the player, with new skills becoming available based on how often each weapon is used. Several gauges, notably the ATB, Limit and summon gauges, fill up throughout each battle, giving enough variety to keep the constant fighting from feeling monotonous. Throughout my 40-hour playthrough, I felt almost no battle fatigue, usually excited to get back to the action after one of the games many plot-heavy cutscenes.


Those cutscenes were tiresome at first, but as I kept playing, I began to be more and more invested in the story, and the cutscenes became much more tolerable. There were, of course, moments that felt like not-so-subtle references to Final Fantasy VII lore that were obviously intended for players who are already familiar with it. However, even as a Final Fantasy noob, I still found myself invested in the well-being of every character, keeping my fingers crossed that I will not have to see any of them die. I remained invested until the very end of the game, when it went from a logical, coherent story to something more like the plot of Kingdom Hearts, and I lost track of what was going on.

Characters and voice acting

Despite having a genuine, passionate disinterest in the game’s characters (Cloud always seemed like an annoying “sad boi” type of character to me), they too won me over after only a few hours of gameplay. I want to know more about them and the world they inhabit so much that I am frustrated that the game only includes a portion of the story. I will likely go back and play the original game soon, but I wish I didn’t have to do that to feel like I got a complete story.

However, there were moments between the characters in the game, such as the infamous stair/elevator scene, that made me laugh heartily, and that is more than I can say for most JRPG humor. Most of the credit for that goes to the translation and English voice cast, which were so phenomenally done, it felt like a revelation for JPRGs in general.


For the most part, the graphics in Final Fantasy VII Remake are phenomenal, as expected of a modern Square Enix game. Some of the levels and cutscenes past the midway point are truly breathtaking. There are small moments, however, where a texture will look like it was pulled straight from the original Final Fantasy VII on the PS1. They are rare moments, granted, but they are still noticeable.

Replay value

Despite having multiple alternate scenes based on player choice and a chapter select option in New Game Plus, there is less replay value than I initially expected. The reason for this is, there is a lot of dialog and several cutscenes in most of the chapters, making the post-game a bit of a slog to get through. While it is worth playing the first time around, it is a bit harder to keep the momentum after seeing the story once already.

The sequel problem

There are so many good things about Final Fantasy VII remake, I am having trouble finding anything negative to say. But there is one big one. I hate the fact that they split up this story into parts. Being used to games like Persona 5 and Dragon Quest XI which are dedicated to giving you a full and complete story, even when that story brings the game’s runtime to an absurd length, it feels a bit disappointing to know that there is a full story but it is purposely not being told in the hopes that fans will purchase the sequels.

Final verdict

However, even taking that into consideration, it would be dishonest of me to claim that the game isn’t worth playing. Final Fantasy VII Remake was so good, it changed the way I see action JRPGs going forward and got me invested in a series I previously had no interest in. Despite my objections, I will be picking up the sequel. They won me over. I give Final Fantasy VII Remake 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Kid Factor

Final Fantasy VII Remake is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, and Violence.  Final Fantasy VII Remake has all the violence, tragedy, alcohol and drug references and sexual content that was in the original Final Fantasy VII, but now in HD! To keep it brief, wait until your little ones are in their teens for this one. I didn’t see any blood and none of the sexual content was too overt for a teen, but I still wouldn’t recommend it for your ten-year-old.  –Nathan Woodham

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