FINAL FANTASY VII was a phenomenal game, and almighty technical achievement and is still held up there with the best game ever made.
It was the very first 3D game in the series when it came out on PS1, and fans have been clamouring for a modern remake since the advent of gaming in HD to get a glimpse of what the stylish and stylised world might look like with today’s technology.
It’s been four years since this remake was officially confirmed, and a release date is nearing – but there is still a lot of waiting to be done.
Square Enix revealed that the game that’s coming out next March only covers the first part of FFVII’s story, and the rest will come in future games.
The game coming out in March is of equivalent size to the recent full Final Fantasy games despite only covering at most 10 per cent of the original’s content, Square say, and they have no idea how many more will be needed to finish the job.
At this rate, ten seems optimistic — but we’re sure that once the expanded scene-setting is done, they will feel more able to stick to the original with less embellishment.
For now, though we can enjoy the start of Cloud’s journey, as the spiky-haired sword-wielding mercenary joins up with a band of eco-terrorists trying to save the world from an evil corporation.
While the story in the section we saw, and the section we got to play, is very familiar, it’s also all very new.
The combat system is entirely new for a start.
Traditional turn-based combat is gone, replaced with a faster-paced hybrid system.
You control your heroes directly, moving around levels, dodging enemies and delivering basic attacks with button presses.
But as you do this you gain action points, which let you use the same skills and cast the same spells you previously used in turn-based battles.
It sounds a little unwieldy, but actually works well in practice, and gives you a much greater feeling of control and speed than you’ve ever had before.
The segment we played was from the very start of the game, up to the first significant mini-boss, a scorpion tank set in the heart of a power plant’s reactor.
The story plays out in the same way as the original, but with much more dialogue, and with much more personality.
The fight at the end takes much longer too – the multi-phase fight is no longer 30 seconds that consist of picking the right skills in sequence and waiting for your turn to come round ago, but several hectic minutes of taking cover, finding weak spots – and picking the right skills in sequence to take the tank down before you end up crushed under its metal feet.
The game looks every bit as good as you’d hope, from the steampunky enemies to every perfectly tousled hair on Cloud’s head – and the edge on his preposterous sword.
For those worried about all this interpolation, know that the key crew who wrote and designed the original are all key here — this isn’t Square cashing in and filling in the gaps, it’s the original creators delivering what they intended.
We have no idea how long it’s going to take to finish making these games, or even how many there are going to be.
The second one is being planned as the first one is being finished, but beyond that is anyone’s guess.
That means it could well be another ten years before we get to the end of Cloud’s tale for a second time – but everything we’ve seen showcased so far suggests it will be worth the wait.
Elsewhere at E3, Ubisoft have revealed two wildly different new games due early next year – Watch Dogs Legion (which is also going to support ray tracing on PC) and Roller Champions.
Microsoft meanwhile revealed its plans to release its next Xbox in time for Christmas next year when they revealed it would have hardware support for ray-tracing tech.
Keanu Reeves also dropped by to let fans know he was starring in next year’s Cyberpunk 2077, and that the game would be available in April.
They also revealed more about Project Xcloud, which will let you play the latest Xbox games on any screen you like, whether you own an Xbox or not.
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EA also revealed more details of its new Star Wars game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and has admitted that it’s not going to be bringing the real Fifa 20 for Nintendo Switch.
You can also see all the best new trailers revealed so far right here, with highlights including Gears 5, Halo Infinite, Doom Eternal and, of course, Cyberpunk 2077.
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