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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

‘Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’ Review

The Only Promise at Journey’s End is Fun
Photo Courtesy of Square Enix
Photo Courtesy of Square Enix

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is the sequel to Final Fantasy VII Remake and the second game in the remake trilogy that Square Enix is making to completely overhaul the original Final Fantasy VII game from the first PlayStation. Rebirth was released on February 29, 2024 and at the time of this article, is a PlayStation 5 exclusive. 

Riding off the back of its predecessor, FFVII Rebirth takes the groundwork laid by Remake and elevates it to an entirely different level. Taking the once linear-ish progression found through Avalanche’s journey through the cyberpunk city of Midgar and expanding it EXPONENTIALLY by making it an entirely open-world game changes absolutely everything. 

Even as a notorious open-world game critic, I have found myself so excited to 100% every last piece of the game. When I say that each side quest was actually fun to do, I mean it. The range of stuff to do is absolutely absurd as well, whether it be playing Wipeout after transforming into a frog, traveling between dimensions, mourning the deaths of your friends, or chasing after a dog named Salmon while Barret sobs over being afraid to let his little girl, Marlene, grow up. Trust me when I say that the side content is so worth doing. Not only is it fun, but it goes the extra mile to ensure that worldbuilding is at its peak.

Exploration isn’t the focus of Rebirth, however, as its combat system has also been expanded to make it flow infinitely better, allowing for more character versatility and depth. The original crew from Remake: Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and Aerith all play about the same from the last game with some added bells and whistles.

For example, Cloud is now able to shoot wind slashes from his dodge attacks as well as having a massive gap closer to always ensure that he can reach his target and Barret has some new melee attacks and support skills to round out his inherent tankiness.

Rebirth also adds three new playable characters to the roster, being Red XII, Yuffie Kisaragi, and Cait Sith. If Remake already did a stellar job ensuring that each character had their own unique identity and playstyle, Rebirth takes this to the next level. 

Red XII’s gimmick revolves around the old saying, “the best offense is a good defense,” as the more attacks you block, the more Red’s Vengeance Gauge fills. One filled, Red activates his Vengeance Mode, increasing speed, offense, and enhancing nearly all of his attack skills. 

Yuffie, being the party’s self-proclaimed “beguiling ninja”, utilizes ninjutsu, evasive abilities, and even creates clones of herself to capitalize on enemy weaknesses and unrelenting combos. 

Last but not least, Cait Sith lives up to his original goofy identity from the original game by being a kind of gambler-type character. Combining offensive rushes on top of his robotic Moogle (for those who don’t know, Cait Sith is a tiny cat robot) while literally rolling the dice to dish out randomized attacks and party buffs, you really never know what to expect from this guy.

If the game itself doesn’t sound fun and fitting for all playstyles, the game’s story is absolutely nothing to scoff at either. There are very few games that I believe to be as emotionally gripping and attaching as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. As someone who’s played the original game, Remake, and the prequel, Crisis Core, Rebirth takes all of the knowledge and personality from its predecessors and develops it in ways I never would have expected. 

Picking right off where Remake ended, Rebirth expands on the events from the original game’s first disc, being the meatiest in terms of content and playtime. For those who know what goes down in disc one, yeah … it ends there. If you know you know … I won’t spoil anything.

Each character and their relationships with one another all feel so real and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The banter, the emotions, and their love for one another all shine through in each and every one of their interactions. Even more so, I feel like I’m with them exploring the totality of their journey alongside them. 

It doesn’t help that Rebirth’s story decides to subvert expectations even better than the original game. It takes the story that fans think they already know and twists it on its head, taking familiar and iconic scenes and mixing them all up to set up one major question by the end of it, being: “WHAT IS GOING ON???????” Even after seeing the credits roll, I legitimately have no idea how they’re going to put the icing on this six-hundred-layered cake of peak fiction.

They somehow even manage to make all of the antagonists even cooler than they already were in the previous game! Shinra, the villainous and excessively militarized electric power company that your crew is trying to stop throughout the game, feels so present throughout the course of Rebirth. This is only as important as it is, as in the original FFVII, they kind of feel like an afterthought as you chase down the real threat, Sephiroth, who in Rebirth, is as terrifying as ever. As someone who loves Shinra’s special task force, the Turks, it was amazing to see just how often they appeared to chase down our friendly neighborhood ecoterrorists with some silly banter and some of the best boss fights in the entire series.

Oh, and buckle up, as Sephiroth isn’t going to let you off easy either. I hope you like Sephiroth, because you’re going to get a lot of screentime with his velvety smooth voice, piercing predator eyes, luscious hair, and his very, very, looooooong … sword … haha, yeah, sword …. 

It also wouldn’t be one of my reviews, and even more so one for Final Fantasy, if I didn’t have my obligatory music section. Once again, Square Enix has somehow defied all of my expectations with their musical expertise. 

For each area you venture through, the main overture of FFVII is revamped to fit the environs of the new area. From hearing the theme regularly in the grasslands suddenly changing pace to fit the theme of a peaceful summer breeze on the beaches of Costa del Sol and suddenly changing again to sound like a wild west trailblazer in Cosmo Canyon, there’s always a song with a familiar motif to fit the mood.

The breadth of musical choices Square made also felt so much more encompassing than Remake. Fighting Shinra in a stadium? Okay, take their theme, crank it up to an eleven, and make it sound like it would be blasted at a sports event. Fighting some ancient race of indigenous people who want nothing more than to die because they can’t die? Okay, let’s SHRED IT ON THE DIDGERIDOO FOR A WHOLE FIGHT! Want to chase after Salmon the dog again? Okay, let’s make a techno beat with its only lyrics being “bow wow wow”. Every song fits every mood and gets your body moving and grooving.

Okay, so video game music might not be your favorite. I hear you. Well, the main theme of FFVII Rebirth, No Promises to Keep, was written by the father of Final Fantasy’s music, Nobuo Uematsu, and even better, performed by Loren Allred. In case you’re not familiar, she’s most arguably most famous for her role as Jenny Lind in The Greatest Showman, and more specifically, her performance of Never Enough. Take those stellar vocals and put them into Rebirth and I am in tears (I was, in fact, in tears). 

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is hands down one of the most unique, exciting, and emotionally gripping games I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting my hands on. As someone who’s usually an open-world hater, Rebirth has made a jaded gamer such as myself eat up everything it has to offer. A story that’s made me laugh, cry, and jump out of my chair panicking, combat to keep me on the edge of my seat, and a soundtrack to have blasting through my AirPods twenty-four/seven; I hope Square never forgets the magic that makes this game unlike any other. I desperately await the conclusion of their Remake trilogy.

My Score: 9.5 out of 10 Materia

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