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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review – Modern Rebirth of a Classic

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is the second part of the revered Final Fantasy VII Remake project. While the first game set up the characters, world, and gameplay, the sequel takes it a few steps further, cementing its place as one of the best Final Fantasy games released recently and a worthy step towards the final part.

The plot of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth continues right after the events of Final Fantasy VII Remake. While the first game takes place entirely in Midgar, Rebirth takes the main characters to explore the world outside. It’s not a fully open-world game from the beginning, but there are several vast maps to explore, such as Junon and Grasslands, with numerous side quests and activities to perform. Initially, the areas will be gradually unlocked, but as you progress towards the end, it starts to feel like a true open-world game. It seems like the developers have taken the semi-open world approach of Final Fantasy XV and refined it, which is a significant improvement from the condensed linear design featured in Final Fantasy XVI.

The beginning of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth shows us the direction that the developers have taken with this remake. It is not a simple 1:1 reimagining of the original game, but rather a story where the original developers gathered together to create their ideal version of Final Fantasy VII. The game features the same beloved characters and story beats, while also including as much of the content that they had originally envisioned. Unlike Final Fantasy VII Remake, Rebirth does not feel padded to extend the game’s length. Instead, the story justifies every part of its narrative, leading up to a surprising twist ending that will delight fans of the original game.

The prologue of the game takes place in the Nibelheim area and deals with a young Cloud and Sephiroth. Fans who have played the demo will find this area familiar. The prologue explores the backstory of how Sephiroth lost his sanity when he discovered his history, and it is executed really well. The cutscene direction in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is impressive, and the game is filled with stunning cutscenes that are both pre-rendered and real-time.

The gameplay in the new game has been refined compared to its predecessor. One of the examples of this is Cloud. In the previous game, he was incapable of attacking aerial enemies. However, in the latest game, his abilities have been improved, and he can now hit enemies who are airborne. The combat system has also been tweaked to make it possible to use combos effectively. Previously, players had to switch to a ranged character to defeat enemies at a distance. But now, any character can be chosen, and defeating enemies is much easier.

The most refreshing aspect of the game is how the combat system has been improved. It feels a lot better now than in the previous version. Though the game is not a full-on action game, it plays like one. Players can juggle enemies into the air and unleash combos with ease. The combat moves require players to react strategically to enemy moves rather than just button-mash. Victory in the game is not only achieved by attacking enemies but also by dodging or parrying their attacks and exploiting their weaknesses. From personal experience, this is the best combat system in the series so far.

Some of the new changes in the combat system include the ability to unleash synergy attacks. These are attacks where two or more party members team up to perform a high-damage strike on the enemy. Although these attacks play out like a cutscene and are non-interactive, they still feel satisfying to hit in the game. Fans of the first game will remember that they were first introduced in the Intergrade expansion, but in this version, they are more fleshed out. Each character in the game has synergy skills that can be assigned to a shortcut key on the command menu. These skills can be easily executed with the press of a button. Synergy skills usually take advantage of specific abilities of a character. For example, Aerith can summon others to protect her while she casts a spell.

I really enjoy how the game gives each party member their own unique abilities. For example, Barret is handy at being a ranged character while Tifa is good at launching enemies into the air. The ability to quickly switch between party members works out really well in combos. The diversity in the cast is also handled well enough, and I would say that this game is essentially the Advent Children movie in video game form because of how epic it looks in action.

I would like to express my admiration for the soundtrack of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. It is absolutely beautiful, filled with unforgettable melodies and exceptional sound design. Square Enix has always delivered amazing soundtracks for their Final Fantasy games, but with Rebirth, they have raised the bar. The combat music, cutscene voice direction, and voice acting are all outstanding. The music takes inspiration from the original Final Fantasy VII but has its own superb tracks. There is also a good battle remix of every track that we come across that seemingly blends in and out during battles.

The game contains various open area maps, but they would be pointless without any activities to do in them. Fortunately, the development team has done an excellent job in providing a lot of side content and many mini-games. Chocobos are a common form of travel on the world map, but as you progress, you can unlock more things to use around the world. Fast travel is also available, but it requires you to perform some specific tasks.

It is impossible to list all the mini-games in a review, but there are so many that players will never run out of things to do. Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth is an excellent example of where the developers have taken Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Gold Saucer makes a return here, and there are just so many mini-games and side activities that they could have released it as a separate game on its own.

Although the mini-games and side activities are fun, the controls feel lacking in their implementation. The DualSense is used extensively in the game with its adaptive triggers, which is enjoyable in theory, but it can become tiresome after playing through the first dozen mini-games.

One of the drawbacks of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is its technical performance. The game offers two graphics modes at launch: a visual-focused mode at 30 FPS and a performance-focused mode at 60 FPS. However, the visual-focused mode suffers from stutters and lag, which can be frustrating for a game that heavily relies on action. On the other hand, the performance-focused mode plays well, but the visuals take a noticeable hit. I played the entire game in performance mode, but it required me to make a trade-off between visual fidelity and smooth gameplay.

Moreover, there are inconsistencies in the game’s visual quality, where some textures are high-quality while others are low-quality, particularly in important locations. The game also has a mixed lighting solution, which makes some places and characters appear flat, while other times, the visuals are stunning.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Game Information

  • Price: $69.99
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
  • Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher
Score
9

Summary

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth serves as a worthy continuation to the Final Fantasy VII Remake project, building upon its predecessor's foundation with vast maps, refined combat, and a compelling narrative. However, the game is not without its faults, as it suffers from technical performance issues in its visual-focused mode. Despite this, the game innovates with semi-open world exploration, improved gameplay mechanics, and an engaging story, setting a high standard for the series.

Total Rating

9.0
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Salal Awan

Salal's main hobby is photography but he is also interested in learning the latest about Technology including Smartphones and PC Hardware. He is the co-founder of Twisted Voxel and always on the lookout for the news.

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