It goes without question that Final Fantasy VII transcended not only the JRPG genre but the gaming world in general. With groundbreaking graphics (at the time) and a compelling story, it quickly became the magnum opus of Squaresoft. With that said, expectations for the remake are astronomical. Fans all over the world hope Square Enix will capture their favorite moments perfectly while delivering on new ones that weren’t possible on older hardware. We were fortunate enough to get a chance to try out the 20-minute demo at E3 2019 last week. While there are concerns with the development schedule and episodic feature, there were certainly no doubts about how slick the combat felt overall. In fact, The combat was so impressive I’d wager to even say its the best yet of any Final Fantasy game. This said by a die-hard fan of the series for well over 22 years. Here’s what I loved about the revamped combat of Final Fantasy VII: Remake:
The New and Improved ATB System
Perhaps the largest concern fans had upon the official announcement of Final Fantasy VII: Remake was whether it would stay true to its roots combat wise. Most fans (myself included) would have been just fine with turn-based combat but Square Enix would rather modernize the action with real-time combat. Yet, as we’ve seen with their contemporary titles such as Final Fantasy XV, this direction can make combat feel like a spam fest with little to no depth. Final Fantasy VII: Remake rectifies these modern issues by marrying some of the best elements of the ATB system of old with the fast-paced delivery of real-time combat. The results? A refreshing experience with surprisingly tactical elements. Here’s how it works:
As shown above, Tifa has dealt enough damage to building up two meters of her ATB gauge. This meter builds up slowly over time, however, by performing regular attacks players will be able to speed up the process. Once an ATB segment is filled players can spend it on an action. These actions include abilities and items, with the cost depending on how powerful the action is. For instance, some abilities require more than one segment to perform but deal more damage.
In addition to spending ATB gauges for actions, players are also able to go into tactical mode, an all-new feature that slows combat to a crawl to make the decision-making process easier.
The next gauge players should keep their eye on is the classic Limit Break meter.
As players take damage in combat they generate more resources for their Limit Break gauge. Once full, the player is given the option to perform a devastating move akin to one’s characters performed in the original game. Tifa, for instance, is able to perform her classic limit break “Somersault” to deal massive damage to her enemy. Each character has their own special given their role in combat, with the new fully realized combat of the remake, Final Fantasy VII’s characters are even more pronounced as specialists within their role. Cloud can’t hit aerial combatants with his basic attack but Barret can for example. This adds variety to encounters and truly makes each character feel vital in their own respect.
Players will also be happy to know they can cast magic freely, so long as they have the ATB to spend. This greatly contrasts the system in Final Fantasy XV which magic had to be used sparingly. Flinging fireballs and lightning bolts mid-combat was certainly welcoming, especially after spending countless hours in XV.
Final Fantasy VII: Remake is shaping up to have some groundbreaking encounters, heck, the first boss fight with the Scorpion was insanely cinematic and felt dynamic. If I were to compare this boss encounter to battles we’ve seen in the past it would be akin to an MMO raid boss, given the various phases the boss has and the emphasis on positionals. The Remake is slated for a March 3rd, 2020 release on PlayStation 4. Well, at least the first part of the game. Hopefully, we hear more details on the full release schedule in the near future, as we certainly are excited to get our hands on the game once again.