Yesterday at the Playstation Experience conference there was a lot of exciting news, but what’s got the internet buzzing right now is the newly released gameplay trailer for the upcoming FF7 remake on PS4.
Fans of Final Fantasy 7 had a collective fit of joy when the project was first announced in June, and for good reason. While many Final Fantasy fans will debate their favorite, FF7 remains Square-Enix’s most successful release with nearly 10 million copies sold. As such, gamers have pleaded with Square-Enix for a remastered version, and was even teased with a glimpse of FF7 on the PS3 when it was used for a hardware demonstration. So, now that the project is officially underway, you can imagine the excitement that those who had hoped and dreamed for this project are starting to feel.
Well, at least most of us. Following the gameplay video release yesterday, a particular line of criticism has sprung up: the FF7 remake can’t be considered a faithful remaster without maintaining the turn-based combat system we all know and love. If you haven’t watched the trailer or can’t for some reason right now, the gist of combat in the remake looks similar to how Kingdom Hearts handles it: action-based with AI controlling your other party members.
For some, this shift in combat signals a sad downward spiral for gamers in general. They argue: In our day gaming took skill! Instead of the tactical/strategic turn-based battle system, FF7 has devolved into a button mashing and brainless slug-fest. To which I say: please. If you were like many gamers back in 1997, you probably power-leveled your favorite team of 3 until you were just mashing “X” anyways because all it took were regular attacks to clear the field. With ATB, or the “Active Turn Based” combat that FF7 used, the enemy wouldn’t just wait around for you to input your commands, so you still didn’t have the luxury of planning out some elaborate and strategic attack or response. A shift in the direction of a more free-flowing and responsive battle system makes sense for this remake. It can put the hardware on the PS4 to work if it’s not just rendering three models standing in the same spots.
The combat and gameplay we saw was rich and inviting. Cloud’s run through Midgar got my heart racing with the possibilities of exploring that world all over again. What will it be like scaling Midgar Tower with this new camera-work and expanded world?
We got a preview of the scorpion-bot boss battle in the gameplay video as well, and that got me excited for other boss encounters. What will golden saucer be like? Chocobo racing? Fighting the alternate Emerald/Ruby weapon bosses? There are just so many possibilities now with this remake, it’s hard to list them all. One thing is clear – this is a remake, and so Square-Enix should be allowed to re-construct it as they see fit.
If the game is released in 2017, that will mark a full 20 year departure from its original release in January of 1997. Kids born when it came out will be in their sophomore or junior years of college. A desktop computer in 1997 with 2 GB of hard drive space and 32 MB (not GB, MB) of RAM was “fast”. Cell phones still looked like this:
In other words, we’re worlds away from where we were in 1997. Doesn’t it make sense that Square-Enix re-master this beloved classic in a way that can reach out to even more gamers? Gamers who weren’t even alive when the original came out?
Let us reserve judgment, and just be thankful to be alive in the time that we are. After all, we’ve got a new Star Wars film coming next week, a Marvel movie timeline that we could have never imagined even 10 years ago, and now we get to look forward to one of the most highly anticipated remakes of all time. It’s a good time to be a nerd.