'Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth' Review: A Second Reunion Well Worth the Wait

ff7 rebirth review mobile
Square Enix

The legendary Final Fantasy VII saga has enraptured me ever since I pleaded with my parents to get me the PS1 original back in 1997. After reading about its excellence in gaming magazines and seeing how visually majestic its CGI cutscenes looked in motion, I just had to see what all the hype was about. Thankfully, that high level of anticipation for greatness was met tenfold. That same feeling can be said about my reaction to playing through Final Fantasy VII Remake, which ended with a hell of a bang and filled my head with a million questions regarding the fate of Cloud Strife and the rest of his highly determined planet defenders. After a long and taxing wait for the second part of the FF VII Remake trilogy, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is finally here. For a myriad of reasons, I was left incredibly satisfied by what the developers at Square Enix did with the open-world portion of their lofty remake project. Here is my Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth review.

RELATED: 'Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth' Release Date: Story, Gameplay, and More

en 21 ff7rebirth ss 1208 trailer png jpgcopy wide 2cfceab21957becedfbc166e6dbdfe013806d305 s1100 c50
Square Enix

With the move to PS5 from PS4, FF VII Remake's stunning yet sometimes scuffed presentation got a hell of a facelift thanks to much cleaner-looking textures and more. FF VII Rebirth starts on a strong graphical note since it was made primarily with the tech behind Sony's latest gaming hardware in mind. The tremendous hub worlds you'll find yourself combing through every corner of look incredible - the vibrant "Grasslands," the rocky terrain of the "Junon Region," the beachside getaway destination of the "Corel Region," and the rest of this game's famous locales have been lovingly recreated from their original 1997 versions. Another part of this game's visual splendor worth mentioning is the characters themselves, especially the ones who are now making their first appearances as a part of this new FF VII chronology. Seeing the likes of Bugenhagen, Cait Sith, Dyne, and Dio in all their fully realized character model glory is a sight to behold. During the first portion of my playthrough, I encountered some visual hiccups while locked into Performance Mode. But thanks to a pre-launch update, those issues have become non-existent. Once the general public gets to play this game, they'll get to experience it at its graphical zenith.

The remixed soundtrack of FF VII Remake stood out as another one of the game's biggest wins for longtime fans. FF VII Rebirth ups the ante by featuring not only all the songs present in its predecessor but a whole new collection of retooled arrangments for the songs that accompany Cloud & his crew during the second leg of their adventure. I've already fallen in love with the latest renditions of the themes that play while you explore the "Golden Saucer" and "Cosmo Canyon." Plus there is a host of brand-new songs that are insanely catchy and manage to hype me up when the time comes to head into battle. The jazzy tune that can be heard during an intense game of "Queen's Blood" and the hilarious yet precious canine kiddy ballad that plays every time you accompany a dog during a side quest stand out as some of the best new tunes added to the FF VII's extensive song catalog. Another strong facet of this game's audio presentation is the excellent voice acting for the main characters and NPCs, which should come as no surprise seeing as how that positive facet was also present in FF VII Remake.

final fantasy rebirth chocobo riding
Square Enix

FF VII Rebirth kicks off its leg of Cloud and company's planet-saving adventure on a high note with a shocker of an intro that I won't spoil here. From that point forward, the game's plotline plays out as expected in regards to events of the original FF VII while also sprinkling in new plot threads that harken back to FF VII Remake's themes of changing one's fate and how it impacts a familiar journey. The iconic moments that made the original game such a landmark RPG, such as Cloud going undercover to participate in a Shinra soldier parade and Red XIII discovering his father's true purpose, are lovingly recreated here and will evoke heavy feelings of hilarity and sorrow upon seeing them unfold. Zack Fair's role in his newfound journey makes for a separate wrinkle to the storyline that plays out here and it manages to build up even more intrigue as you gradually see how his importance to FF VII's new timeline comes into play. FF VII Rebirth's story has all the emotional weight and shocking moments fans have come to expect from the original and then some.

FF VII Remake had a lot going for it, sure. FF VII Rebirth incorporates the best parts of that release while also adding a ton of additional worthwhile content to supplement its vast open world. The nonlinearity of this sequel is such a blessing - you could easily spend a few hours in each location activating "Remnawave Towers," discovering "Lifesprings," completing tricky stealth segments to unlock new types of "Chocobos," unearthing ancient sanctuaries to gain the knowledge of summons, and more. What's even better about FF VII Rebirth from an exploration standpoint is its vastly superior side quests. The less-than-enthralling side endeavors from FF VII Remake are no longer the case here - there are far more meaningful and enjoyable optional objectives to fulfill now. Seeing as how a good majority of this game's side missions include chances to play any of its diverting minigames makes them even more of a necessity to play. Even after you complete FF VII Rebirth's main story, you'll still have a wealth of optional battles to complete, card game competitors to challenge, mischievous "Moogles" to round up, and more.

final fantasy vii rebirth pc game wallpaper 5
Square Enix

FF VII Remake's combat system did an exemplary job of horning the traditional turn-based combat systems of the original game while bringing it into modern times via active-action RPG mechanics. FF VII Rebirth improves upon those systems in a manner of ways that each battle a whole hell of a lot more exciting. Yuffie Kisaragi's "Perfect Block" maneuver from her previous DLC chapter has now been applied to the rest of the party, which was a smart decision to make on the developer's part. Teamwork plays more of an integral role during combat now thanks to the debut of "Synergy Skills" and "Synergy Abilities." When things get truly dire, you can now call upon your backline party members to activate one of those aforementioned Synergy Abilities to give your current three-person roster another chance at survival. The fresh playstyles that accompany playable versions of Red XIII and Cait Sith deepen the pool of unique attacks & abilities each member of Cloud's party can pull off. I had a blast switching between my different three-person party compositions to make use of everyone's combat mechanics and the Synergy skills attached to certain pairs of characters. The same high level of satisfaction that comes from staggering a big boss in FF VII Remake feels even better now thanks to being able to overwhelm a downed foe with flashy Synergy Abilities.

Another facet of FF VII Rebirth that deserves mentioning is how you can now upgrade your party as a whole. By fulfilling this game's myriad side objectives, you'll gradually increase your party level and unlock the points needed to earn new stat boosts and abilities via a grid-like system that harkens back to the one seen in Final Fantasy X. I was already incentivized to complete everything on this game's massive map but had even more reason to do so since I could pour all the party experience gained from them into attaching a ton of new skills to my party. FF VII Rebirth's deep yet approachable combat system manages to be a triumph on every level. Credit must also be handed to the new "Item Transmuter" system - now you can run around the environment retrieving the materials needed to concoct items, armor, accessories, and more. I found this new mechanic to be useful in a pinch since it allowed me to cook up all sorts of healing items and conserve my funds for the game's more expensive goods.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down