Gaming: Why “Final Fantasy VII Rebirth” is a Success

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

Seconde partie of an extraordinary remake of the mythical franchise, “Rebirth” lands on PS5 and is already establishing itself as one of the best games of the year.

Released with a bang in 2020, Final Fantasy VII Remake had the impact of a bomb. What the ancestral fans of the original 1997 game envisioned as a simple graphic upgrade turned into a total remake, a kind of modern reinterpretation of the myth.

The only real drawback: a vision so ambitious that it couldn’t fit into a single game. The second episode of this FF VII, Rebirth, is therefore released on Thursday, February 29, continuing the adventure started four years ago. After the acclaim of the first episode – adorned with a Metacritic score of 87/100! – is Rebirth up to the task? Without hesitation, Le Point Pop answers… yes!

Revelations and Journey A quick reminder for newcomers: released in 1997 on the PlayStation console, Final Fantasy VII is the episode that allowed the saga to truly expand beyond Japanese borders. Sold in more than 10 million copies (over 14 million if you count the different versions), FF 7 tells the story of a planet ravaged by the overexploitation of its resources and a group of diverse characters who embark on a frenetic race to try to save it.

A global success largely due to its exceptional technical and graphical qualities for the time, as the game brilliantly exploited the capabilities of Sony’s brand-new console. It also owes its success to a gripping storyline with a committed message.

When, in 2015, Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy VII, a title that had become legendary, would undergo a total revamp, many fans were quite skeptical: why revamp a game that had become legendary? But when Final Fantasy VII Remake was released in 2020, even the most suspicious had to admit that colossal work had been done: more than a simple port, this revamped version of the myth’s beginnings elevated the title to an almost Hollywoodian production.

Beginnings, because only the first part of the story was told, the game ending after one of the key events: the abandonment of the megacity Midgar, on the planet Gaia, after the catastrophe. The next chapter – which we discover on this February 29 – is the one where our heroes set out in pursuit of the antagonist Sephiroth to try to find a way to avert the programmed apocalypse. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is therefore positioned as the episode of revelations and the journey…

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth : Official Video / Playstation

Customizing Your Combat Style

Good news for gamers who haven’t finished Remake: a recap video is available on the startup screen (and here), but it’s probably a bit too brief. FF VII has a complex storyline with high stakes – which, by the way, explained its success upon release. However, not knowing these beginnings might be a bit disadvantageous during your journey in Rebirth.

After a short flashback chapter serving as a tutorial, Rebirth kicks off when our ex-Soldier Cloud and his comrades from the eco-terrorist group Avalanche recover from their emotions in the peaceful town of Kalm. So, you start with a team already formed by the companions encountered in Remake: Cloud, former Shinra employee; Aerith, descendant of the planet’s ancient inhabitants – the Cetra; Tifa, Cloud’s childhood friend and Avalanche member; Barret, their leader; and Red XIII, a guardian beast.

No doubt that it’s a sequel since you’re immediately immersed in this rich universe where the game quickly reminds you of the basic techniques, plus some new features like affinities or combined attacks. For beginners, this step is essential to fully appreciate the complexity of this world.

Apart from martial specifics, quite familiar to action-RPG players (weapons, equipment, powers, etc.), Rebirth is quite similar to Remake. However, there are some interesting developments such as the codex and combined attacks.

Like skill trees, the codex allows each character to customize their combat style and unlock new abilities and combined attacks. The latter brings two characters together in battle to perform devastating combos, adding a small but very stimulating tactical aspect: managing to unleash your most powerful attacks at the right moment.

Lush Jungle, Vertiginous Canyon

On the exploration side – the heart of this opus –, a gigantic map will gradually unfold, allowing you to explore thoroughly – if you wish – all the regions of the continent.

In each of them, you can search for or stumble upon mounts – like chocobos, which can climb, or others, gliding – rare monsters, opponents for a game of Queen’s Blood – a new and very enjoyable card mini-game – or even information about precious Materia d’Espers – or Summons, divine monsters recurring in the Final Fantasy universe – unlockable after defeating them.

If you decide to simply follow the main quest to advance the storyline, you might miss a large part of these zones, each more rich and diverse than the other, like beaches, a lush and labyrinthine jungle, or even a canyon with dizzying heights. We can only advise you not to skip too much of this tourist aspect; you’ll only be better equipped and stronger in the challenging battles that await you.

Last but not least: the story. Rebirth may revisit a narrative that many of you already know since 1997, but it does so with enough skill to be filled with key moments and small interactions that encourage the player to bond with each of their companions, creating affinities that will serve in combat and unlock certain camaraderie scenes.

Cloud and his unsettling hallucinations, Tifa and her protective side, Barret and his strong character, Aerith and her sad smile… Every dialogue, every interaction is skillfully staged to tell this story, characterize the characters, but also to create connections. The numerous battles are interspersed with small moments, sometimes funny or sad, that literally transport the player until the end credits.

A date in the history of video games Final Fantasy VII Rebirth respects the 1997 storyline while grafting elements from other episodes like Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core or the DLC episode Final Fantasy VII Intergrade, along with some narrative changes – follow the threads!

Above all, Rebirth marks a significant evolution compared to Remake: a much larger and diversified map, which can be explored at leisure after passing certain stages, as well as many side activities that multiply an already imposing lifespan: around 50 hours straight (!), doubled if you want to explore everything. It’s only February, but it can be said with little risk that Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is one of the best games of 2024.

As for the last opus, the one that should conclude the story after Rebirth, patience will be required: probably another four or five years of waiting. But whether you’re an old FF enthusiast or a newcomer, this Final Fantasy VII Rebirth – despite its convolutions and some artificial extensions of lifespan – has everything to become a milestone in the history of video games.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, exclusively on PlayStation 5, genre: action-RPG, published by Square Enix, public price: 80 euros, rating: PEGI 16, available on February 29.

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