The gameplay trailer for Final Fantasy 7 Remake has some fans concerned about the game’s new battle system. However, a completely new battle system could be a good thing.
Ever since the teaser trailer for Final Fantasy 7 Remake dropped at E3 2015, speculation on what the game will entail has run rampant. For the most part, Square Enix has been purposefully vague when it comes to Final Fantasy 7 Remake, up until this past weekend’s PlayStation Experience event, that is.
It was at the PlayStation Experience event that Square Enix revealed the first gameplay trailer for Final Fantasy 7 Remake, showing off some exploration elements and in-game graphics for the first time. More importantly, however, this trailer has also put a light on Final Fantasy 7 Remake‘s brand new battle system, which is a significant departure from the original’s turn-based roots.
After seeing the new combat system in action for myself, I knew immediately that many hardcore fans of Final Fantasy 7 – largely, those who have been begging Square Enix for a remake ever since they teased them with the prospect a decade ago – would be upset at this change. I could sense it as I watched Cloud and Barret move freely around, blasting and slicing enemies in the vein of Kingdom Hearts. It was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
Lo and behold, I hopped on the Internet, a place usually lauded for being incredibly friendly, and the general reaction seemed to be anger at this new direction that Square Enix is taking Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Sure, there were a few gamers in support of this change, but many are vehemently against it. That being said, I think the fans upset about Final Fantasy 7 Remake‘s new battle system are too quick to judge, and furthermore, I believe that the new battle system could be a good thing.
For one, the action RPG combat system that is present in Final Fantasy 7 Remake better matches the game’s visual style. While turn-based games certainly have their place in the industry, by nature, they simply aren’t very over-the-top and exciting to look at, whereas the combat in Final Fantasy 7 Remake packs plenty of visual punch, taking full advantage of the Unreal Engine 4-powered game‘s graphical capabilities in the process.
This new combat system, and the fast-paced, eye candy action that comes with it, could potentially broaden the appeal of Final Fantasy 7 Remake to gamers that usually wouldn’t bother with an FF title. And that is a section of the market that Square Enix should be trying to appeal to anyway. Let’s face it, JRPG fans are probably going to buy Final Fantasy 7 Remake regardless of if they’re upset at the battle system, and so it would behoove Square Enix to try to draw in those that typically aren’t interested in Final Fantasy titles.
Another reason why the new, more action-focused combat system is ultimately a good thing for Final Fantasy 7 Remake is that it plays to the strengths of Tetsuya Nomura, the game’s director. Nomura has a proven track record working with action RPGs, with the Kingdom Hearts franchise and the upcoming Final Fantasy 15 examples of this. The man has shown that he knows how to put together a well-made action RPG, and it’s clearly a style that he is comfortable with. Simply put, if anyone was going to make an action RPG Final Fantasy 7 game, I’m glad that it’s Nomura.
Whether or not gamers are fans of Nomura’s previous work, however, hopefully some will be able to appreciate that Final Fantasy 7 Remake will be a fresh experience because of the new battle system. It should feel completely brand new when compared to the original game, even to veterans of Final Fantasy 7. The trick for Square Enix is to do this while also retaining the original’s charm and spirit, which I don’t think came from the turn-based combat, but rather the atmosphere and the components that created its atmosphere.
And if none of that interests you, at least there’s still the original game to enjoy. Not only that, but the original is not some super obscure, hard to find game, either. In fact, it’s readily available across multiple platforms. It’s possible to hunt down a PlayStation 1 and the multiple discs that comprised the original adventure, or even download it as a PS1 Classic on the PS3, PSP, or PS Vita. Final Fantasy 7 is also available on PC, iOS mobile devices, and PS4 with added cheat codes and trophy/achievement support.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how fans react to other changes coming to the game. Square Enix said shortly after Final Fantasy 7 Remake was revealed that both gameplay and story changes are coming, but has kept those story changes under wraps. So far, we know that there will be no new characters, and that Cloud’s famous cross-dressing scene is still going to take place. Beyond those details, it’s a crapshoot as to what the Final Fantasy 7 Remake story will feature, but if the (perhaps undeserved) backlash to the new combat system is any indication, Square Enix may want to tread carefully.
In any case, Final Fantasy 7 Remake should prove to be one of the most compelling gaming experiences ever, even if it is a failure – which doesn’t look likely. I am extremely interested to see what the general consensus is for the new battle system after the game is actually in the hands of players, and I am also excited to see the tweaks Square Enix is making to the story. I can definitely understand why some fans are less excited for the game after seeing the new battle system, but I think that they will be pleasantly surprised when it’s all said and done.
The Final Fantasy franchise is all about reinvention. The games are constantly employing new gameplay mechanics, settings, stories, characters, and more, in an attempt to keep the franchise from stagnating. While some attempts have been better than others, it’s remarkable that Final Fantasy has had 15 core entries in the series and is still going strong, whereas the bulk of JRPG franchises from the 80s and 90s seem to have vanished. The genre is simply not as popular as it used to be, but in spite of this, Final Fantasy has prevailed, and I believe that is largely due to Square Enix’s willingness to take risks and innovate with it. Hopefully the risks Square Enix is taking with Final Fantasy 7 Remake pay off, and we’ll have another classic on our hands.
What do you think about Final Fantasy 7 Remake‘s new battle system? Do you think that it’s best for the game, or would you rather Square Enix stuck with the tried-and-true turn-based combat? What other changes do you want to see in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and what would you like to see stay the same? Sound off in the comments below and give us your thoughts on everything Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake doesn’t have a release date, but for now, it is only slated for the PlayStation 4.