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    dkirschner's Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)

    [June 10, 2024 05:59:53 AM]
    Epic but drawn out nostalgia machine, with the experience hampered further by the context in which I played.

    This is, as the title suggests, a remake of FFVII, and I think that unless you've been playing the OG recently, you will experience it as a very different beast. FFVII is being split into three full-length games, and this is the first third, which takes Cloud et al. until their escape from Midgar. Most of the main story beats are the same as the OG, but Remake expands everywhere it can--both fleshes out and pads. I generally appreciated the more in-depth look at existing characters close to or in the party (e.g., Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge; they were great!), but disliked plenty of the additional content because it often didn't add anything compelling. That is, the story would have been the same if we didn't have to learn so much about Don Corneo and his pimps, or watch Hojo scheming, or spend a few hours in the sewers. The Don Corneo part was straight up cringe (minus an amazing dance scene). We are treated to Cloud dressing up as a woman, which I remember being much funnier when I was 14. In 2024, we get a one-liner on gender expression, identity, and fluidity from a dancer, which was nice, except that the game then represents stereotypical exaggerated femininity of gay-coded male (and/or trans?) characters (like the squat champion bodybuilder), and Corneo is trying to fuck Cloud until it is revealed with a change of clothes that he's really a man, and Corneo is disappointed (if we're practicing what we preach about gender fluidity and whatnot, perhaps Corneo would be into the representation of femininity, no matter male or female; there is no nuance or exploration there, negating the one interesting thing the game said about gender). We know Don Corneo's a lech. We know Hojo is deranged. Making players run around doing quests for Corneo's pimps doesn't add anything; making players spend forever in Hojo's endless labs doesn't add anything; making players operate slow-moving robot arms to solve simple puzzles in a greatly expanded sewers section doesn't add anything; etc.

    The side quest parts, though optional, are neat for expanding on the lives of citizens in Midgar, but are dull in terms of gameplay (usually, go find these things or go kill these monsters). I did like the proximity-based conversations between NPCs. Instead of clicking on them to talk, you listen in on their conversations when you approach them, and they're often talking about whatever has just happened and its effect on them and their lives. Despite the long and sometimes padded parts, the game was highly engaging. The presentation of FFVII Remake is amazing in every way. It's visually stunning, especially the many, many cut scenes; the music is evocative; it's really well-written; the combat is fast and fun. I definitely did not take advantage of min-maxing weapons and materia, or re-slotting materia to suit the situation, or controlling all the characters in my party. I would have liked to have been more motivated to master the combat.

    It's interesting how they took the first chunk of the OG and made it 40 hours. That means they had to put all the materia, summons, weapons, leveling up etc. of a full 40-hour RPG into what used to be like 5 hours of game time. But knowing that this is only the first third of the full game, I felt like I didn't want to spend time maximizing materia, doing side quests, fighting coliseum battles, and so on. Like, it felt like a waste of time to do more than I needed to given that I could pick up the next game tomorrow. This is part of what I mean when I say that the context in which I played hampered the experience. If there is a (more highly rated) sequel, I am not motivated to spend time beyond the main story on this one. I would rather spend my time on the next one (although the next one will have the same problem, because by the time I play it, the third and final game will probably be available). What would be awesome is if the three games were released in a package and you could play them as one...kind of like...FFVII. I know that you start back at level 1 with no materia and whatnot in the next game; they're all self-contained. That also makes me worried that it'll feel like playing the same thing three times (different story, of course, but if the gameplay is the same, it'll get repetitive).

    The other two contextual things that affected my experience were: (1) playing on a time crunch. I played on a PS Plus subscription, which ends in 5 days, and I still have 3 games I want to play in that time. I was rushing to beat Remake, so the longer sequences were getting frustrating. I thought I would finish the game on Saturday afternoon because I had entered the "there's no turning back now; are you sure you want to continue" part. I didn't finish it until SUNDAY afternoon, like 8 gameplay hours later, because the end is so dang long! There are actually three "there's no turning back now" points. Three! And boss fight after boss fight after boss fight at the end. I mean, totally epic, but I felt the time crunch. (2) The other thing is that the room I was playing in has no air conditioning, and it's summer in Georgia. This weekend, it was about 90 degrees. Two fans blew on me, increasingly hot air as the morning turned to afternoon, and I was physically uncomfortable. (After beating the game, I moved my PS4 and beanbag into another room with AC.).

    SO, despite my playing in less than ideal conditions, and the game feeling longer than it needed to be, it was undeniably epic. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and look forward to playing (and hopefully getting more out of) the second one.
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    dkirschner's Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 23 May, 2024

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 9 June, 2024

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    The nostalgia hits hard. Neat seeing what's changed. -------- Epic game, but feels padded.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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