Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: Can It Live Up to the Legacy?

edited March 28 in Gaming

Developed and published by Square Enix, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is the second installment in a planned trilogy remaking the iconic 1997 game. All are standalone video games, so you can enjoy each one without having played the previous games.  

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is an action RPG that picks up where Final Fantasy VII Remake left off, venturing beyond the familiar streets of Midgar and into sprawling locations on the Planet which, by and large, stays true to the first game’s world, Gaia. While some may worry about losing the essence of the original, early reviews and gaming news suggest Rebirth successfully captures the spirit of Final Fantasy VII while forging its own narrative path.

 A Story Retold, Not Replicated 

Remaking a classic like Final Fantasy VII is a delicate endeavor. Too faithful, and the project risks feeling redundant. Too divergent, and fans may feel alienated. Rebirth strikes a balance by retaining the core themes of environmentalism, corporate greed, and defying fate, but presenting them through a fresh lens.  

Cloud Strife, a former elite supersoldier, joins the rebel group AVALANCHE to take down the Shinra Electric Power Company, which is draining the world’s lifeblood. However, a new threat emerges in the form of the enigmatic Sephiroth, a legendary warrior with a god complex who once worked as a soldier for Shinra. Cloud and his allies must contend with Sephiroth while navigating the complexities of a world teetering on the brink of environmental collapse.  

Key moments and character interactions are reimagined, creating a sense of both nostalgia and surprise. Familiar characters such as Yuffie Kisaragi, Cait Sith, Cid Highwind, and Vincent Valentine emerge in the game, but most are introduced in a different way than in the original. Additionally, there’s an expanded role for Red XIII, a character with a mysterious past, who is now playable. Meanwhile, fan-favorite chocobos can be used as the main mode of transportation in Rebirth to cross bodies of water, climb mountains, fly over different regions, and of course, to race against other chocobos. 

Another significant change in Rebirth is the sheer scale of the world. Midgar, the sprawling metropolis that dominated Remake, is just the starting point. Rebirth takes players across diverse landscapes, from lush forests to desolate wastelands, offering a true sense of the Planet’s vastness.  

In addition, Square Enix has added a large amount of side content, which you can play no matter how far you progress in the main story.  It’s part of the plan to let gamers choose the order of the content they play, unlike in Remake, where they had to follow developments in the story to unlock new content. These changes add intrigue and keep players guessing about where the story might go next. 

Interesting Developments: Combat and Minigames 

Beyond the changes in scale and narrative, Rebirth introduces intriguing new elements. The combat system, praised in Remake for its blend of action and turn-based RPG elements, has been further refined. Besides being able to customize party members' abilities and equipment to a greater degree, players can now also change the party’s composition in the middle of a fight. The new "Synergy" skill and ability system allows for powerful team attacks, while the Active Battle Time (ATB) system lets you pause the action so you can use items in your inventory, cast magic spells, or decide which special move to employ. The addition of many more types of Materia, or magical orbs, also makes it possible to boost characters’ skills and weapons, develop new fighting combinations, and summon fantastic creatures to help defeat new enemies during battles. 

Side quests abound in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, more than there were in the original. Besides the odd jobs that you can take on to earn money, you can explore the Planet by completing many research tasks. These side quests provide valuable insights into the lives of supporting characters and offer unique rewards that enhance the player's experience. 

Early Reviews: Not Perfect, but a Promising Experience 

Initial critiques of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth are overwhelmingly positive, with the game receiving an impressive score of 92 on Metacritic. However, some concerns have been raised. While the visuals are praised for their beauty, Eurogamer points out occasional inconsistencies in low and high resolutions in textures and in environmental lighting. Additionally, the attempt to forge a new timeline brings the risk of the story becoming too convoluted for its own good, according to an IGN review

The Journey Continues 

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was released on the PS5 on February 29, 2024, and may be available for PCs as early as May 29, 2024. And what a treat it would be to explore this game’s stunning world on large displays, such as the Nitro 17 laptop’s 17.3-inch screen, or the Nitro XV0 monitor, which boasts a screen real estate of 31.5 inches. 

With one more installment still to come, it remains to be seen how Square Enix will ultimately wrap up this expansive remake project. But based on the mostly positive critical reception to Rebirth, it appears they have so far struck a respectful balance in honoring a groundbreaking RPG classic while giving it a beautifully revamped reimagining for the present day. Fans have plenty of reason to be both nostalgic and excited for the trilogy's climactic third entry. 

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About Lalaine Capucion: Lalaine has been working as a freelance writer and editor for more than 12 years, focusing on lifestyle, travel, and wellness. When she isn’t writing, she's most likely curled up with a good book or trying out a new recipe in the kitchen. She lives in Metro Manila, Philippines. 




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