HomePreviews/ReviewsFinal Fantasy VII Rebirth Review – Masterclass in Game Design

    Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review – Masterclass in Game Design

    Developed By: Square Enix

    Published By: Bandai Namco Entertainment

    Platforms: PlayStation 5

    Reviewed On: PlayStation 5

    Review Code Provided By: Bandai Namco Entertainment

    Final Fantasy VII has always been one of the most iconic games in gaming history. Crafting a remake that met the lofty expectations was already a daunting task. But considering a sequel posed an even greater challenge. Not only were fans familiar with the story but there were also concerns about how the game would feel to play, especially after experiencing Final Fantasy VII Remake. Let me tell you one thing: you are not prepared for what is yet to come.

    A Tale As Old as Time

    The Aftermath
    Final Fantasy VII Rebirth picks up right where Remake left off. It cleverly uses Cloud’s recollections as a tutorial for the game, though it may feel a bit slow-paced initially. However, rest assured, the pace quickly accelerates after that opening chapter. For those familiar with Final Fantasy VII, certain elements of the game will feel predictable. I’ll do my best to keep this discussion spoiler-free. The story of Rebirth pays homage to the original game by recreating some of its most iconic scenes with modern visuals. Witnessing these scenes stirred a nostalgic feeling in my heart, reminiscent of the original game with its blocky characters. It truly felt like a journey down memory lane.
    The Dynamic Duo
    While some parts of the story may be a bit fuzzy in my memory, I noticed there were changes made, particularly in how Yuffie was introduced into the team. Additionally, other side characters introduced in Remake make a return in Rebirth, adding a touch of comedic relief to the game. Rebirth introduces several new storylines, including one involving the card game Queen’s Blood, but I won’t spoil any further. Just be prepared for a few unexpected twists and a refreshing take on familiar elements from the original game. Personally, I found these new story arcs to be intriguing, adding depth to the gameplay experience by offering a fresh interpretation of the familiar storyline.

    Better Looking Than Before

    Bow to the King
    Final Fantasy VII Rebirth utilizes the same engine as Remake, but it appears to have undergone slight optimization improvements. This is likely due to Rebirth being exclusively designed for current-gen consoles, resulting in better overall game performance. The game truly shines in its open-world environments, boasting impressive draw distances that allow players to spot distant items with ease. However, one minor issue I encountered was the occasional pop-in of flowers and pick up items when traversing the map on a chocobo at high speeds. Despite this, the game remains visually stunning in both Quality and Performance modes, with minimal differences between the two options, except for slight variations in pixel quality and frame rate. Ultimately, the choice between modes comes down to personal preference.

    Music to the Note

    Audio and Visual Pleasure
    Final Fantasy games are renowned for their exceptional soundtracks, and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is no exception. Each region boasts its own theme song and even smaller areas have their own unique soundtracks upon entering. The music not only enhances the atmosphere of each location but also adds depth to the overall immersion of the game. Voice acting in Rebirth is top-notch, with all voice actors delivering their lines with emotion, regardless of any potentially cringe-worthy dialogue. One standout feature is the ambient conversations of townsfolk as you pass by, gossiping about the events unfolding around you. This attention to detail is a pleasant surprise and adds a layer of vitality to the game world that is often lacking in modern games.
    Am I interrupting something?
    The combat sounds are excellent at providing audio cues, signalling when enemies are staggered or preparing to attack. However, there are moments when the sound effects can become overwhelming, particularly during combat sequences where multiple audio elements, such as character grunts, weapon sounds, and dialogue, converge. Despite this minor drawback, the game boasts one of the best audio experiences I’ve encountered in recent memory.

    A Whole New World

    The light of a new world
    While Final Fantasy VII Remake was set primarily in Midgar, Rebirth expands the game world to include various other locations ripe for exploration. This change not only alters the overall feel of the game but also introduces several new gameplay mechanics.
    One notable addition in Rebirth is the introduction of Synergy Abilities, which enable party members to execute combined attacks with significant effects in combat. These abilities can range from reducing spell costs to increasing the ATB bar size, among others. Pulling off a Synergy attack requires coordination, as it necessitates both characters to use their ATB abilities multiple times before accessing the Synergy Abilities.
    Crafting as easy as A, B, C
    In terms of itemization, players can now craft potions and equipment directly from the menu using materials discovered in the open world. Additionally, weapons are now upgradable, granting points to fill up Folios—a system resembling a skill tree. The crafting system feels reasonable, considering the abundance of materials found in the open world. Players may find themselves accumulating items to the maximum stack of 99, which can be used in crafting or sold in shops for additional gil.
    Spider-Chocobo, Spider-Chocobo…..
    Despite the option to reuse mechanics from Remake, the development team opted to enhance the game system for Rebirth—an unexpected but welcome surprise. Coupled with the expansive open-world map featuring side quests and activities, Rebirth offers a fresh and revitalized gaming experience compared to Remake, even though the core combat mechanics remain largely unchanged.

    Progression at its Fineness

    Queen’s Blood
    What I adore most about Final Fantasy Rebirth is its approach to progression. With numerous elements to level up, such as character favorability, party level, and Queen’s Blood Rank, it becomes incredibly enticing to complete all activities before advancing to the next chapter.
    Finding these cutesy are always welcome
    Rebirth seamlessly integrates each activity into the game’s progression, ensuring that every endeavour contributes to strengthening your party. Whether it’s levelling up your party to unlock new skills or acquiring valuable materia and summons, no task feels like a waste of time. Even engaging in the card game Queen’s Blood holds significance, as it unravels a captivating backstory that drives you to challenge more players in pursuit of the truth.
    This looks familiar
    Adjusting the game’s difficulty is an option, but for those who haven’t completed most activities before advancing, certain bosses may prove more challenging. Fortunately, the game allows players to revisit areas to complete activities once they reach specific points in the story. I strongly recommend completing side quests, as they often feature compelling storylines that deepen your connection with the game’s characters.

    Almost Perfection

    Luffy?? Is that you???
    The game does have its flaws. One notable issue is the AI control of other characters during combat, which feels like a regression from the experience in Remake. This may partly be due to the slower filling of the ATB bar compared to Remake, making each action feel more valuable. In many battles, it’s common to find that your AI-controlled characters rarely have a full ATB bar before the combat ends.

    What I Loved

    • Excellent soundtrack and audio – This made me immersed in the game’s world and environment
    • Story changes feel fresh – You will enjoy the story even if you know what will happen next thanks to new characters or side stories.
    • Always Progressing – The progression system rewards you for any activity you do. No activity felt too repetitive or redundant.
    • Variety of Minigames – There are a lot of things to do in the game which you can partake in if you need a break from all the combat.

    What I Wished Could Be Better

    • Audio Balancing – Especially during combat where dialogue is happening, it is hard to hear people talking over the combat noises
    • AI – Your other AI control characters are not that helpful. Add on the slow ATB bar charge, you might need to micro-manage them.

    The Journey Goes On

    Final Fantasy VII Rebirth embodies what I believe an RPG should be in the modern era. It’s a game that respects your time, avoiding frivolous quests and lengthy travel distances. Instead of artificially inflating playtime, I found myself willingly investing more time in completing mini-games and side missions simply because they were enjoyable. Whether or not you played the original game, Rebirth’s story remains captivating, thanks to its stunning visuals, engaging dialogue, and introduction of new characters. Just as the original Final Fantasy VII left an indelible mark on gaming history, I do not doubt that Rebirth will make its own lasting impression, possibly even as part of a trilogy once it’s completed.

    Final Score – 9.5/10

    An old school gamer who plays every genre of games. Prefers games which are unique and innovative instead of just pretty looking. All he wants is content, content, content..... The more the better.

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