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HomeNewsFinal Fantasy 7 Rebirth review: Square Enix’s genre-defying magnum opus

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth review: Square Enix’s genre-defying magnum opus

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth has given life to Square Enix's greatest work.

Forget the notion that breaking FF7 into three different sections was a horrible idea; the unfathomable scope and superb brilliance of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth absolutely shines throughout its 100+ masterful hours of immaculate fun, reminding us all that patience is a virtue.
The much-anticipated FF7 remake was finally revealed in 2015, but it took five agonising years for the first delicious part to arrive. While it titillated the senses and dared to deviate from the hallowed source material, the obvious padding and attempt to make Midgar a full-length, separate entity left the first installment solid but little undercooked.

In retrospect, 2020’s part-one remake feels like a prelude to the gigantic proposition of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. We had the opportunity to play an early peek of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, but it was only a taste of what the game had to offer. Square Enix has created a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Rebirth by utilising the power of lifestream.

Junon too shabby

After a fairly linear first chapter that sets the stage, welcomes returning players, and gives newcomers a Barret-sized pat on the back, FF7 Rebirth opens up to show its multifaceted world filled with familiar biomes.
Kicking up dust on Mt.Corel while surrounded by a burning backdrop, gleefully hopping about to the bouncy Gold Saucer melody, or admiring the astronomical and satirical-sized Junon cannon will captivate you. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth removes the handbrake and puts us on a journey across legendary locations, replacing Midgar’s secluded setting. For FF7 aficionados, the nostalgia component is enormous.
Seeing my favourite iconic locations puffed up and appearing so dazzling in 2024 is something I never imagined as a child. The Costa Del Sol is no longer just a few backstreets with the occasional building and beach; it’s a sprawling resort complete with minigames, stores and missions galore. Junon’s dreary caverns are gone, replaced by a dynamic, energetic residential community with a massive cavernous ceiling.
Square’s production budget and decades of industrial skill are evident throughout all of FF7 Rebirth’s regions—does anyone do JRPGs better?

Materia girl

It’s not all about the past, however. A variety of fresh content provides FF7 Rebirth a sumptuous facelift, reimagining ancient systems and content for the twenty-first century while also improving on some of part one’s shortcomings.

Cloud and co can now automatically mantle most surfaces and ledges without prompting. New tag-team Synergy attacks reward you for using ATB commands with each of your active party members, effectively discouraging you from focusing on your favorite—adding another layer to the already complex fight.
Don’t worry, there’s still a tremendous amount of interchangeable Materia to cycle through, customise, and level up, as well as tonnes of weaponry and equipment to construct and sculpt your own squad. I still find it annoying to continuously swap out your best Materia when forced to move to other characters to fit the scenario, but it’s more than manageable.

Each location on the World Map is not only overrun with fiends and opponents to fight in the wild, but it also contains more side missions and activities than Yuffie has tantrums. Unlike 2020’s version, the majority of Rebirth’s optional content is fantastic, with my personal favourites being the squad turning into frogs and the reintroduction of old, humorous headaches.
Minigames deserve their own mention here, as while the famed Gold Saucer amusement park offers plenty of bite-sized tasks ranging from Chocobo Racing to virtual fighting, you won’t be able to get far into the main game without facing another diversion. The Queen’s Blood card game rivals The Witcher 3’s Gwent and is perhaps my favourite main FF minigame to date.

Whereas most open-world games are nonstop content trains moving through boring wastelands with less life than a petrified party member, FF7 Rebirth’s limitless hours are overflowing with energy, identity, and a captivating updated soundtrack that will stay with you for weeks.

A heartwarming homecoming

You would argue that being a fan of the original discredits my assessment on FF7 Rebirth, but I believe the opposite is true. I’m extremely critical, and the path of the heroes and story causes me more anxiety than a mid-fight “10,000 Needles” prompt with a Cactuar ever could.
So when I tell you that part two takes an already lovely group of misfits and gives each of them a platform to grow and bloom in front of your eyes, you know I’m speaking the truth. After a tense conclusion in Part One, in which Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Barret, Yuffie, and Red XIII battle the maniacal Sephiroth as he seeks to destroy the planet, they continue on their quest to stop Sephiroth, prevent the evil Shinra Corporation from syphoning the planet’s natural resource—Mako—and, ultimately, save the world.
Part one got overly focused on the dynamics between the same couple of duos and did not delve as deeply as it should have, but Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s lengthy runtime of 50-100 hours+ allows whole chapters for characters to bond with you.

Red XIII is now playable, and his cathartic Cosmo Canyon segment of the game is a masterclass in storytelling; Barret’s sad backstory is explored; we dive deeper into Sephiroth’s unravelling spiral into insanity; and the Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith love triangle blooms. However, the gloomy but beautiful plot understands when to tone down the intensity in favour of those odd “Final Fantasy moments.” One in particular had me laughing with amusement, and I can already see this type of crazy performance, among others, being meme-worthy.
While we will not reveal specific characters’ fates, Square made it plain from the start in 2020 that all bets are off. The appearance of Whispers—the Arbiters of Fate—should demolish whatever preconceived thoughts you had about Rebirth’s role in the broader story—expect the unexpected.

As a result, the already rich fabric of the Final Fantasy 7 universe is interwoven with new strands, and it’s clear that the original’s fundamental narrative has been syncopated and beats to the tune of Rebirth’s diverging drum.
Remember, this is a remake, not a remaster, and as such, Square’s unfettered licence and predilection for inventiveness result in some healthy modifications and twists, demonstrating revisionism at its best—even if die-hards may object to its boldness.

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