E3 Day 1 has come to a close and man what a great selection of games on show! Ubisoft, Capcom and Nintendo are out in force as is Square Enix. Square Enix came out strong with Final Fantasy VII Remake, a good portion of their booth themed as Midgar! The demo of Final Fantasy VII Remake on display was a good chunk of what was shown during the Square Enix conference being playable. Our gameplay session was introduced with a briefing from Jessie setting up the Mako reactor destruction.
The first thing to note about Final Fantasy VII Remake for longtime fans is this game is a vast departure from the original. First off there are no random battles, all enemies are visible on the world map aside from certain scripted events. Second, all combat is done in real time, no more turned based or active time battle system to be found here. Controls are simple, Square does a basic attack, Circle does a dodge roll and R1 blocks. Pressing up or down on the D-pad will also allow you to switch between party members you have at the time. Cross will bring up a combat menu that will let you use items, magic, skills and limit breaks.
As the demo began, I was immediately taken in with how quick the gameplay was. No loading screens are present to interrupt exploration, with combat and non combat sections flowing seamlessly together. The combat feels superb with the combination of quick flowing basic attacks building up the ATB gauge which allows you to use either skills or magical attacks. The ATB gauge also is what determines if you can use items so basically ATB is needed to perform all but a basic attack. Outside of batttles, items and magic curing can be used without restrictions. When taking damage, a limit meter begins to be filled which lets you unleash an ultimate attack that deals massive damage.
Cutting down basic Shinra soldiers was a blast! As I proceeded further into the Mako reactor new obstacles were introduced to further show off gameplay mechanics. Distant turrets began to appear requiring the use of switching from Cloud to Barret. Barret provides a similar yet distinct gameplay difference from Cloud which was great to feel in motion. While Barret doesn’t deal as much damage as Cloud, he is able to attack much quicker and cause enemies to stagger quicker. Getting to the end of the mission our dynamic duo is attacked by the robot boss spider. This battle was an absolute blast! Most of the time I was utilizing Cloud for his strong attacks but as the battle progressed new tactics had to be called into play. A strong shield soon surrounded our mechanical foe which cause massive damage to Cloud upon striking. A switch to Barret allowed for damage to be done until the shield finally fell.
This fight also highlighted the importance of blocking and dodging as certain attacks from the boss would send my health plummeting requiring the use of potions. Utilizing the new stagger mechanic also allowed for massive damage to be dealt to the boss which is when I would save my more powerful Skill attacks and Magic. After the boss was defeated the demo sadly drew to a close. I honestly went in with no expectations for the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo. As I played, I couldn’t wait to get to the next battle and see what comes next. The world of Final Fantasy VII has never been more exciting to me and I can’t wait to see more!