top of page
  • Writer's pictureGameNChick

FINAL FANTASY VII: REBIRTH | REVIEW | PS5

''YUGI-OH: THE GAME''

 


Developed: Square-Enix

Published: Square-Enix

Genre: Role Playing

Release Date: Feb 29th, 2024

Platforms: PS5

*Review copy provided to me by Square-Enix


Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is the long awaited anticipated sequel to the previous title of Remake and it is developed and published by Square-Enix. With the realization that this game is finally exploring venues and characters from the original game that weren't present in Remake, fans have been anxiously waiting to see if it's done with the proper respect and care. So does the title live up to the original titles charm? or did they trip at the finish line?. Only one way to find out, so lets go!



SPOILER REVIEW




STORY:


Cloud Strife and his companions set out in the vast world in search of Sephiroth in order to attempt to save the world from whatever he has planned. But with the further discoveries that unfold, more mysteries remain. The journey to save the planet has just only begun.


 


''JUST AROUND THE RIVER BEND''

 

GAMEPLAY:


Its been a VERY long four years since Remakes release in 2020. Now here we are in 2024 and the continued ventures of Cloud and his buddies continue on in an even bigger and broader scale than even I was expecting, especially with the way Remake had ended. Which, if you were around at the time of my Remake review, you'd know that I was NOT a big fan of the way things went at the end of Remake and that it felt like some of the worst fanfiction I've ever seen. Sure it was cool looking and on such a scale of epicness that it looked bass and played great, but it was such a departure from how the rest of the the game unfolded. So much in fact that it felt like an entirely different game itself and basically used the worst elements possible from both Advent Children and Kingdom hearts. Like, yikes! needless to say I was a bit triggered, not as much as my annoyance for things like the plot ghosts, aka, Whispers, who are an abomination and I hate the fact that they even exist, so much that I would do a blood sacrifice during the 3rd blood moon of the tenth year in a cemetery during the winter solace in Bohemian Grove if that's what it took to get rid of them in these games. Notice how I said ''games'' and not ''game''. Yup... that's right. they're back again and even WORSE than ever before, and just as idiotic and mind numbing than you thought was possible. Its even worse than being dead tired, getting in bed, its nice and cold, so you fall asleep comfy cozy and THEN get woken up at 3am because you have to pee, which wakes you up to the point that you cant get to sleep properly again. Yes, they're worse than that. Damn Pee Ghosts. But enough about the overly negative stuff, we'll definitely have more negatives to cover the further I get in this review, but for the most part, it will be rather positive. With the latest entry of Rebirth, the game itself faces an uphill battle to not only live up to the quality that brought us Remake and the retelling of those iconic scenes, but also figure out a way how to expand the world and lore itself by taking us to places like Kalm, Nibelheim, Corel, Gold Saucer, Mythril Mines and many other places from the original game that gave each one of us special memories that have endured in our brains for decades. Like remembering the first time you arrive at Chocobo Bill's farm and hearing the silly sounding music and dancing Chocobos, or screaming in panic as you try to cross the swamp, but being stopped in your tracks due to the gigantic Midgardsormr serpent coming to make you its next meal. While we were excited to re-live these moments, we were confused as to how it would be done. Square made Remake in Midgar only. While it was a very good game, it was basic and linear in the design department, but... it did give us the best character to ever grace the series, The Door. I love you Door. So if they had to put one game in Midgar only, how the hell were they going to do these areas too? it would take forever, right?. Oh baby Kupo was I ever wrong.


Through my trek of Rebirth, in which I put in over 80 hours of gameplay into it as of this time, with definitely way more to come so that I can get the eventual Platinum trophy for the game that I got in Remake. From the start I was immediately floored from the get go with seeing the new and reimagined Kalm with my eyes for the very first time. My literal first thoughts were a mix between ''Wow'' and ''holy shit'', with the latter of the two being a reoccurring theme throughout my playthrough. The city was robust, it was alive, hundreds of NPC's all with their own unique dialogue and animations and things to say, reacting to your movements, playing music or selling food and even having a full on concert in one of their show rooms in which this random dude is performing in the hopes of making a name for himself. I feel this is the same guy from Midgar Wall Market in the first game that sang karaoke in the bar, I'm pretty sure this is him, but regardless, these songs are pretty damn good. I literally sat and listened to him perform every song he had in his arsenal and I was NOT disappointed. Please all local radio stations, take the garbage that's blasted all over the air waves nowadays and put this guy from the game on, I'm begging you. Visually Kalm was just an absolute spectacle and every detail down to the walls, roofs, aesthetics were just simply fantastic. It was at this moment, doing side quests for characters like climbing tower with Aerith, building bonds with Tifa and Red to prep for my eventual Gold Saucer date, because you know I gotta get my date with Tifa, right? there's no question. But it was that moment, as wow'ed as I had been, I realized I still haven't left the town yet and I was again not prepared for what I was about to experience - a fully traversable open world with seamless travel. Well , mostly. When you first step out of Kalm into the Grasslands, you're immediately hit with scope of just how large the area of grasslands is just by itself, It's absolutely massive and it makes you a bit confused as well. Why confused? well, now in this large expanded world, you have to figure out just what the hell you want to do with your life now that are you're finally here. So... with this new open world, your first questions probably are, ''what do you do in the open world'' and ''is the world empty?''. The answer to these questions are ''a lot'' and ''yes and no''. Its hard to describe really, but I'll attempt to. When you play and advance the story in the game, you will come across various regions that are open world or rather big open areas that give you the illusion that it's an open world with barriers like cliffs to cut off your path from going to a certain area either to soon or at all, as well as branches and stuff that hinder your progression until certain requirements are met like acquiring The Buggy after your stint at the Gold Saucer and driving over what blocked you, or simply finding the right key for a side quest that unlocks a door leading to a new brand new area to traverse. This level of thought and exploration extends to multiple large regions such as Grasslands where you can visit Chocobo Bills farm from the original game, participate in a chocobo tutorial race, buy cute gear for your chocobo, find a man in a house and challenge him to a game of Queens Blood to take the chocobo moogle card he has, fight the do reck em pants Punks from Remake, who remember that you and Aerith kicked the crap out of them and have hilarity ensue, etc. But that's not the only region with things to do, as we have a few others to talk about as well, from linear to explorative like the Grasslands.

 


''HOMEWARD BOUND: A RED XIII STORY''

 

As I've tried to emphasize, revisiting iconic locations like Junon, Cosmo Canyon, Nibelheim, Gold Saucer, Kalm, Gongaga, evoked a feeling of of excitement and enthralled me at every twist and turn, leaving with me with a sense of rejuvenation I had not felt in an open world game in quite sometime, with only games like Breath Of The Wild being a comparable second. Through each expansive open areas that I listed, while you traverse on foot, on Chocobo, riding your Buggy car, all areas are individually littered with side quests, combat challenge, queen blood card games, treasure hunts, intelligence towers, Notorious Monster hunts, Life Springs, Summon intel, etc. This in turn, if you're borderline ADHD like me, will make it VERY hard to move onto the main story due to the sheer amount of content to do, and while some of the content in each area can feel a bit of the same, such as climbing and clicking a button on a tower to unlock further objectives on your map or digging with your chocobo to find a mission objective, the overall as a whole content can feel not only rewarding, but give you quite a few laughs along the way as well, that utilize both the playfulness of the original games style and goofy aspect of its bravado and intertwine that with its engaging and flashy combat system that chains together to further expand on the deep lore of Final Fantasy 7, and makes you invested into each character. While it also lets players like myself and original game players have their Captain America moment when we hear specific music or see Palmer teasing us and shaking his butt after he slaps it. It leaves us with a ''HEY! HE DID THE THING, HE DID THE THING'' moment. So I keep harping on about all this content, almost talking in circles in a way, and yes that's kind of true because there's SO damn much to talk about that I cant cover everything, so while I'm doing this, I'm still thinking of ways to actually properly convey the full aspects of this game. Again as stated, this game has content that extends into every major region, with Costa Del Sol sharing a region with Corel. Which can get a bit confusing when you're doing missions for our boy Johnny and he's like ''BRO, get me a tonberry king crown'' and you're like uhhh yeah sure ok and then you go to do it, only to find out you can't do it yet because its not available for a few more chapters, the same holds true for each regions World Intel as well. World Intel are a collection of 30 tasks that are completely optional that you can do in order to help out Chadley in collecting regional data to unlock extra combat simulator missions to further earn rewards such as Materia,EXP and accessories. The first of the World Intel's I've already told you about, the Assassins Creed towers that are scattered all over the world, and your objective is simply to climb it, press a button, it does its little pew pew pew and unlocks further intel on your map for you to find. Simple yes, but somewhat exciting when you're in a new area and are intrigued to see what the tower will throw your way next. Which sometimes can be very awesome stuff like standing at the edge of a cliff, being in deep thought as you overlook the beautiful land of the Junon region as Karate Kid music plays. What? no I'm totally dead serious, the music near mister cranky sleepy boy on top of a mountain, who I'm going to call Ralph just because he looks like a Ralph, it totally sounds like Miyagi would be teaching me Karate up there. Its awesome.


Karate Kid awesomeness aside, this still leaves you with a gang buster of content. So we might as well start from the top, then work our way into combat, then further details on story, then my personal dislikes, then I'll let you leave. Well.. maybe. Further expanding on the World Intel, you have Life springs that you find, which are small natural Mako crystals that you extract data from in order to learn about each regions lore such as the war between the Republic Of Junon and Midgar, which when exploring the Junon region, you can still see the effects and remnants of that war, Fiend Intel that allows you to enter a specific location of a map to fight a Notorious Monster that is WAY stronger than a normal enemy with an even greater challenge so that you may try to earn rare items drops off of them. These damn things kicked my ass, no lie, especially my tango against the Tonberry King, it made me feel like that Team Fortress 2 meme ''I fear no man, but that thing.. it scares me''. Why do Tonberry's have to be so dang freaking cute, but then at the same time possess such murderous intent with their stabby stabs? Is the world that unjust?. After following the crazy owls, who wouldn't stop calling me on the phone as I was playing Fatal Frame, as they lead you to Life Springs, kill all Notorious Monster missions, you then are invited to even more Gaia world lore as you participate in Divine Intel that has you find hidden lairs of summons like Titan, Phoenix or even Alexander and participate in a muscle memory game in order to extract data from it that allows you to de-buff the summon in your fight with them via combat simulator with Chadley, and when all 3 are collected, the acquired Divine Intel will make your Summon Materia even stronger than normal, which is awesome. Next up in the content related to the overworld are Moogle Intels. These are both fun and a disappointment for me, much like my first date. The reason why I say disappointment is because in the original game, Mog House was a mini game at the Gold Saucer where you feed a fat little Mog his treats so he can get a girlfriend and it was cute as heck, but here in Rebirth its a literal and physical Mog house out in the world that actually exists, which is both really cool and very weird. The objective of these houses is to help the nightmare enducing Mog of the house get all mogs back to work so they can open up their store for you so you can purchase things with your acquired Mog Medals. To achieve this goal of helping this nightmare fuel of a face Mog, you must chase down each friend and make them escape into a pen before the allotted time runs out while they throw bombs at you, launch energy attacks or make you slip on a banana peel. GET BACK HERE YOU FREAKING JERK, DONT MAKE ME EAT YOU. Ehhh, as I was saying, its both fun and a disappointment for me, but I can appreciate the expansion of the concept, so I can't be too mad at it. You know who I can be mad at though? Cait Sith. He gets to sit on Tifa's lap, jealousy levels rising, that piece of crap. ''IT SHOULD'VE BEEN ME, NOT HIM, ITS NOT FAIR''. Finally we have my favorite piece of side content in the game, the Protorelics. These are series of quests that change every region and feel the most fleshed out and imaginative of the World Intel. For example in the Grassland region as mentioned before you chase around the Punks from Remake to different locations, beat them up, drop crates on their head and make them play dead in fear, which is pretty dang funny, i love these silly guys. However as you head over to the Junon region, these Protorelic missions change again, but this time transforming you into block polygon models from the original Final Fantasy 7 and you're tasked with playing a game of Fort Condor, which was first introduced In Final Fantasy 7 Intermission Yuffie DLC, and then my last example for now, as I don't want to give up everything, takes place in the region of Corel where you must locate reactors with a magical Cactuar statue to find hidden bases where you must strike a deal with Dobby, I mean.. a Goblin, in order to get the protorelic from his possession. Weird, right? yes, but very on brand for Final Fantasy 7. Doing all these in every compatible region will give you more insight and glimpses of another foe, Gilgamesh, who is just itching for your challenge.


While you're exploring your head off, you will also have to re-tune your skills into getting reacquainted with the games battle system, should you have played Remake or Intermission. While its not drastically different from the core concept of the original game or even a far departure from Intermission, it still pushes the system forward enough to make it that much more interesting and engaging by introducing a Folio system that acts as your characters sphere grid, ala Final Fantasy 10, to earn more abilities, combo attacks, MP or HP up, defensive moves in relation to your characters level, Synergy attacks that allow a two character team up, that changes based off characters in your party that unleashes a wide amount of damage to your foes, including either raising your ATB, infinite MP for short periods or invulnerability for a short period as a short length buff after successfully pulling off a move. These can be used no matter who you are pairing up, whether its Aerith and Tifa creating a barrier for Tifa to jump and zip around in to fight, Cloud swinging Tifa into an enemy as she and Cloud double team combo attack an enemy, or a Cloud and Aerith attack which turns his sword into a powerful magic blade. With 7 playable characters, that's dozens of different Synergy combos to try out on during the fast paced melee combat, turn based battle by pressing X to allow you to slow down time to pick your move traditional style, managing your Materia add-on for all characters which includes Weapon Abilities for each characters weapons that unlock the more you level up your character with SP points that gives upgrades like 200 extra HP, stronger synergy, skill upgrades to make your attack more potent and other abilities that are not only unique to the weapon you're using, but to the character wearing it as well, which in turn makes each character worth trying out and get the hang of. Just like you Tifa and you Barret and you Cloud and you Doggo and... no, not you - you dumb cat, go choke on a fortune card and bun, Cait Sith. Much like the original title, here in Rebirth I tried not playing as him as much as humanly possible. But the one character who I used quite a lot, in which I didn't in the original, is Yuffie. She's so awesome in this game, maybe its my bias, but her character development and fighting style is absolutely fantastic and she's an absolute savage at building up stagger meters. So large expansive world with mega ton to do, upgraded combo and upgrade system, fun World Intel for each region, but I'm missing something, oh ya, that's right, the dang story. I'll dive into a bit, but I'll try not to be too overly spoilery, such as major plot points that relate to the end of the game, but everything else will be fair game. Narratively the game follows 90% of the same story beats from the original game, complete with Cloud and crews adventure across the Grasslands to Chocobo Bills, moving through the swamp to get by Midgardsormr, exploring the absolutely gorgeous Mythril Mines with Barret and Red, getting help from good ol Mister Dolphin as you participate in a race so he can throw you to a higher platform, Infiltrate Junon forces and take part in a parade to try to get awarded the presidential accommodation that ends up with hilarious scenes of Turks member Rude hanging out with his fellow bald brethren and singing their theme song while Aerith and Tifa act cute as hell as they pretend to be soldiers and arrest Cloud. No Tifa, arrest ME, not HIM. Those are just some of the story beats the game follows flow for flow, bar for bar, but It also enhances scenes even further as well with a full on fight with Midgarsormr and Sephiroth's interference, new Shinra troop invasion scene during Kalm to further up the action that the original never had, expanded story of the tragedy of Barret and his friend Dyne that is a culmination of events that transpired 5 years prior when their hometown was burnt down by Shinra, which is EXTREMELY emotional, bigger role for Costa Del Sol other than just a resort to kick a ball at Red or watch Hojo relax, and instead allows you to play dress up at the beach as you explore on your segway, have a gigantic battle on the beach and... stare... respectfully at Tifa as she just ''magically'' gets put in the tiniest bikini possible. I am DEFINITELY not sure how that happened.

 


''MY ADHD NIGHTMARE''

 

EXTRA STUFF:


What? were still going? I know I know, but were on the last two topics I swear. Its just that you have NO IDEA just how massive this damn game is, and you also have to realize I've only talked about a tiny percentage of it so far. Besides everything I listed, there's still a fair share of things to do or discover should you seek out to do so or just want to do it just because you feel like it. Beyond World Intel you have side quests in each region and towns that allows you to take on tasks for civilians that include events such as using the item maker in your main menu to create specific materials for a woman to fix her wind mill, find piano pieces to get new pieces of music to play to get a higher rank on, participate in Costa Del Sol festivities as you play a shooting game with Barret to show off your skills as a marksman, collect all pieces of beach wear for Aerith, Tifa and Cloud by finding pictures of painted Cactuar hidden around the resort, return abandoned Segways to their rightful spots, help crazy as hell Johnny fix up his seaside hotel alongside like 10 versions of himself that stayed in this reality due to Yuffie messing up her clone Ninjutsu, engage in a Junon army mini game as you try to lead your troops to the highest fanbase as you perform live in front of a sold out crowd, help the mayor of Kalm fix the broken Mako pipes by seeking out the mercenary who said they would help but havent, but it only ends up by Kyrie from Remake who took up the mercenary name for quick cash. Shes got way more development this go around and even has a banger of a theme song too. Then of course you have Gold Saucer. I mean what list would be complete without that?. In this title you will go to Gold Saucer multiple times both story wise and basically whenever you damn well want to and just like the original FF7, there a multitude of mini games to play, some familiar to you with some twists and some brand spanking new. For examples you have mini games like G-Bike where you ride your motocylcle and slice and dice as many soldiers as possible to get the highest score, which I ended up doing, then you also have Brawlers, the silly polygon fighter from the original, but this time its in 3D and lets you dodge and throw punches, including using a limit break, chocobo races to participate in, the space rail gun game, which is now turned into a Star Fox clone mini game, complete with barrel rolls and everything...which is awesome, before finally capping off with a moment I have been waiting for, to happen in HD, the Gold Saucer date!. I built everything up for this sole purpose, being an ass to most characters, mainly Aerith so I can keep my bond level higher with Tifa, which like in the original game, is the requirement to earn a date with your character of choice. But I wasn't prepared for what I was witnessing. If you played Remake then you know they teased a kiss multiple times between Cloud and Tifa and its like OH MY GOD JUST DO IT ALREADY. So the anticipation was super high as they went on the Skywheel for their date, and let me just say, I was not expecting what happened at all.


 


''WE'LL KNOCK YOUR BLOCK OFF''

 

DISLIKES:


Uh oh, the dreaded dislike section has arrived, and contrary to what you've seen and heard so far, this game is far from perfect. There are several gripes for me that range from small to outright triggering when taking off my fan girl glasses and looking at the game itself from an objective standpoint. My first gripe is the existence of Cait Sith. Ok no I'm just joking, he's not THAT bad in this game, but you know what is? Queens Blood. Look I agree the game is fun and even addicting, but from the very first starting moments in Kalm, its literally shoved down your throat. What starts off as a do at your leisure type of activity, starts to become a mandatory thing after what feels like every chapter. For example when on the cruise ship heading to Costa Del Sol, you must participate in 5 rounds of Queens Blood vs other passengers to even advance story. I was already burnt on the card game at that point so I played a round then proceeded to forfeit the tournament to advance story, smart right? I thought so, but then to finish the arc of the story, you still had to play one more round as a mandatory story entry to advance, so skip or play, you HAVE to participate. Annoyances aside, you finally make it to Costa Del Sol, you finally get away from Queens Blood, only to AGAIN have to participate in Queens Blood in order to advance the story in a mandatory story mission. Ok Square I get it, you're proud of Queens Blood but please calm your butts down. Then no more than a chapter or so later, as you gather food for your silly chocobo friend Piko in order to enter him into a chocobo race, you must... play Queens Blood to win him food so he can recover from fatigue. OH MY GODDDDD. Tonberry friends, kill me now. Moving on from Queens Blood horror, my next gripe is a bit smaller and it relates to Cid. I really don't like how much his character has changed since the original game, he's not as rash or jerk or foul in this iteration of him, which was key to his character development as he changed from rough exterior type of person to more caring and understand by the time credit rolls. But here? he's more like how he already was in Advent Children, more polite and understanding, and he's the only character I did not like with their upgrades. Yes, even Cait Sith is better, I'd never thought I'd see the day. My final gripe has to do with the damn plot ghosts, the whispers. I. HATE. THE. WHISPERS. If you thought they were dumb in Remake, prepare to hate them in even more now in Rebirth because now there are TWO versions of them. Black whispers are the ones that Sephiroth controls now and then there are now WHITE WHISPERS who are on Aerith's side or rather the planets side. Just... WHAT?. I won't get into them too much as they partake in the ending of the game and that's a HUGE spoiler, but they ruin and taint so much and just like Remake, they're everything I hate from the new changes to this soon to be trilogy.

 


''STAY IN HOGWARTS PLEASE''

 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth ends up as an extremely fun, engaging and love letter to the franchise. Yes it has issues with over reliance on Queens Blood, questionable character changes, head scratching elements in relation to Zack and those stupid as hell Whispers, but with the journey of Cloud and his crews constant emotional venture into new territories that strengthen the bonds of each character as the game progresses that are interwoven with combat scenarios that offer variations to exploration like taking minecarts down Corel mountain, using a new grapple hook feature as Yuffie to swing your way across sections of the map that only she as a ninja can do, Synergy abilities that enhance the gameplay in innovative ways like splitting the ATB bars and improving enemy stagger, driving around in the Buggy in the desert and listening to character banter, engaging and quick combat system that keeps you on the edge of your seat, over the top silly scenes like Yuffie's attitude being infectious and showing off her kid side more, dance scenes in Gold Saucer and battle with Dio offering creativity and laughs, etc etc. Hell I didn't even get into Bugenhagen and the amazing emotionally charged Cosmo Canyon talk, visit to Gongaga, stage play at Gold Saucer, Temple Of The Ancients, Black Materia, plot twists with Sephiroth, Barret looking like a big marshmallow in his sailor outfit, etc etc. Like I said, there's SO much content in this game that it's impossible to convey in one review alone. So to wrap this up, there's two verdicts I need to give. One from the perspective of bias as a long time fan of FF7 since its my favorite game of all time, and then one from the viewpoint without rose tinted glasses. The fangirl and FF7 fan of me, absolutely adored this game from start to finish, everything was damn near perfect in every aspect from gameplay, environments, gorgeous music and visuals, side quests being fun and never feeling like a chore, its easily one of my favorite games I've played in years and my personal Game Of The Year in this early going. Now taking those glasses off, Rebirth still does remain a damn good game, but looking at it objectively, you can see its rough around the edges in certain areas like Junon where a glitch causes a bloom of sunlight that blinds you to the point of annoyance, story can get all over the place with the new elements added to the game and not make much senses towards the end of the game, with all new Folio and combat changes, even on Dynamic mode which scales enemies to your currently level, they still manage to die rather quickly, too much reliance on Queens Blood to the point it can go from fun to obnoxious, lazy environments like the basement of Shinra mansion looking no different than your average cave in Remake than what you'd expect under a mansion home, etc etc. Rebirth to me, glasses on or not is definitely a game that has flaws. Is it a masterpiece? no, but its the closest I've leaned into saying one was. However it loses out on that title for me due to the game's ending and how it takes place, much like my critique of Remakes ending. However, regardless of the games flaws, I feel the positives FAR outweigh them by a ten fold and whether you're a long time fan like myself or new to the series, there's enough content for every player to be engaged with for 80 hours or longer. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW.




 




Comments