Square Enix wants to make something clear: the upcoming release of Final Fantasy VII for PC, currently without a projected release date, is absolutely not a remake. Yoichi Wada, the CEO of Square Enix, announced last week that Square Enix barred itself from giving the JRPG classic a visual makeover until they had created a sequel which “exceeds the quality of Final Fantasy VII.”
So, Square Enix must be allowed to re-release Final Fantasy VII exclusively on the Square Enix Store, so long as the graphics and gameplay are not improved.
The consequences of that decision are mightily apparent in the game’s announcement trailer, released July 4. To be square with you (ha ha) I haven’t played Final Fantasy VII. I was never a PlayStation person, and when I read rumors that Square would re-release Final Fantasy VII on the PC I hoped to finally get on that Cloud-loving wagon, albeit fifteen years late.
After watching the trailer though, I have to say Square is doing an excellent job of discouraging me from being interested in what most people call the best game in the Final Fantasy series, and possibly the best JRPG of all time.
Ready to judge it for yourself? Head past the break, and watch out for finely sharpened hairstyles.
As rumors suggested, Final Fantasy VII will have achievements, and saves are accessible online. (Forget it! I won’t have “cloud saving” make a mockery of my high standards of pun quality. “Square with you” was Grade-A.) Both are fairly standard PC features, and hardly selling points for anyone not just looking for a nostalgia-trip.
The new “character booster” is a unique feature to the re-release of Final Fantasy VII. It acts as a sort of portable inn and money-printer, allowing the player to fully heal or load themselves with Gil at any point if they feel the game is too challenging. This could help to cut down on grinding, but compared to other possible features it’s not a massive selling-point.
So, as a potential buyer, what has Square Enix presented me with so far? Achievements and cloud saves, but no quick saves to make the game one I can play in short bursts on a laptop. The character booster gives me the ability to somewhat cheapen the experience in favor of decreasing my likelihood of giving up on the game entirely.
Graphically, Final Fantasy VII offers me nothing. Fifteen years has been monstrous to poor old Cloud, leaving him with bizarre Popeye forearms and Shakespearean puffy pants.
Worse, we’ve all been teased by Final Fantasy: Advent Children as well as every other modern Final Fantasies which, barring improbable hair and even more improbable outfits, look better than reality. In comparison, the scenery in Final Fantasy VII is dark, blurry, and both it and the people inhabiting it are toeing the line separating “annoying to look at” and “painful to look at.”
Still, it’s not the graphics, the lack of worthwhile features, or Cloud’s disturbing forearms which are now holding me back from getting on the Final Fantasy VII wagon. It’s the challenge I see for Square at this juncture. I’m not going to buy Final Fantasy VII until Square tunes it up, and Square won’t tune it up until they can rediscover the magic of the earlier Final Fantasy titles. The day Square stops chasing long-lost nostalgia trips is the day I can finally start chasing mine.