Just casting my mind back to 1997. I’d just got my original PlayStation and after cracking my way through Tomb Raider, Resident Evil and Streetfighter Alpha, I wanted something different. My brother started talking about this new game by the name of Final Fantasy VII. At the time I was an obnoxious 17 year old who kept convincing himself that playing games like that would make me a geek and at the time I thought that was something I didn’t want to be. I ignored my stubbornness and actually gave it a go and was so glad I did. I had never played such an absorbing game which such a well thought out storyline. The game hit me on an emotional level so I had to go straight out and get my own copy. I have since purchased all the old Final Fantasy games but that’s a story for another day.
Although at the time the game was a technical advancement on its predecessors it had its shortcomings and 20 years later it’s starting to look dated unfortunately. I can embrace the fact that certain aspects need changing but at the same time some things don’t need changing. I am going to run off 7 things I would like to see improved and 7 things I wish to see remaining within the game so without further ado.
7 Things That Need Changing
Although it was 1997 and full 3D graphics were in their infancy Final Fantasy VII had 1 major problem with its graphics. It had 4 different graphical styles used within it. It had the LEGO style look on the field screen when you control Cloud through the towns of the game, it had a rendered version of that style for certain cut scenes, it had full FMV sequences that were good though by today’s standard the characters looked like action figures and finally it had the battle scene character models that also looked quite good though a lot of it was obscured by the blue menu screen that you used to enter commands. This can easily be sorted by today’s standards.
I remember when I first met the Guard Scorpion and Barrett tells Cloud to attack whilst its tails up which I of course did. Guard Scorpion quickly counter attacks and wipes both my characters out. I couldn’t believe the first boss could be that difficult but it turns out if the game had been translated properly then that and much of the other bad dialogue would’ve helped the game make a lot more sense.
3. Character Development
If you haven’t played the original this may contain some spoilers so I apologise. The game contains a narrative where new characters keep joining your party until your party is complete. Each character has relevant sections whereby their plot is explained in some detail. I’m talking here about when you take Red XIII back to Cosmo Canyon and when Barrett meets his old friend in North Corel. The game also has 2 secret characters in the form of Yuffie and Vincent that you could potentially miss. Yuffie has a few plot things she can do in her home town of Wutai but Vincent doesn’t unless you force yourself to hunt. After you get him the only plot elements he has are 2 cut scenes hidden in a cave you need a blue chocobo to even get to. Certain characters need a lot more development in order for them to make sense.
4. Crisis Core
Certain elements of the game were revised slightly and elaborated on in this excellent prequel game. If you haven’t played Final Fantasy: Crisis Core then get to it right now. It has many elements that were shown in flashbacks in Final Fantasy VII though in greater detail. These flashbacks in their full glory should be included the remake.
5. Voice Acting
I think it goes without saying that this game will include a full American voice acting cast much like Final Fantasy X had. Don’t use the voice actors that Advent Children used though. I always envisioned Cid would have a personality akin to Clint Eastwood but this vision was dashed when in Advent Children he opened his mouth and what I believe was a Texan accent was vomited out. This combined with Cait Sith’s Scottish accent is enough to say don’t use the same actors.
6. Gold Saucer
This one is slightly shorter. I just would like more things added to Gold Saucer. Make Chocobo Racing a lot more fun.
7. Limit Breaks
Just a slight shuffle to the Limit Breaks to everybody’s Ultimate Limit is actually their strongest attack. Clouds and Cid’s actually were powerful although everybody else’s fell pretty short.
7 Things That Need Leaving Alone
1. Battle System
The battle and levelling up system is really good, not the best because Final Fantasy X’s sphere grid just clinches that but still really good. I don’t want the ability to possess more magic, command, summons etc. Based on the material I have attached to my weapons and armour to change. I also hope we don’t lose lucky 7’s. I did read the system is changing and unfortunately I dread what it’ll become.
2. Materia System
The materia system is really good whereby you fully master materia and it divides providing new materia. The system was open to being manipulated so I assume Square Enix will work on that. After 20 years I assume they have spotted the W-Item trick though if not I hope they don’t read this.
I did read that this game was aiming for a much darker tone and although the game is quite dark it does have its light-hearted parts. The Gold Saucer, Wall Market cross dressing and of course any scene with Yuffie in it. I hope if the game possesses darker elements then these humorous parts remain. Final Fantasy VII without Clouds squats and Heideggers horse laugh isn’t Final Fantasy VII.
I hope all these guys make the cut although I hope they level up a bit so Shiva and Ifrit aren’t useless after the first use.
5. Optional Bosses
Ultimate Weapon, Emerald Weapon and Ruby Weapon. I hope these guys are still in it. Don’t get ridiculous and put as many option bosses as Final Fantasy X.
6. The Turks
Make sure these idiots are still around but perhaps allude to what happened to Cissnei after Crisis Core.
I can understand the music will be redone using today’s technology but here’s hoping the soul of the original remains. The boss battle music will sound awesome with today’s technology and the Aeris theme needs to resonate like it did in 1997.
So to Conclude
Just as long as the plot remains and the main heart of the game doesn’t go unchanged then I will embrace the remake but I am still looking at this game with some trepidation. The change in the development team may have a different vision to what the fans expect. A lot of people will be upset either way and I’m hoping I’m not one of them.