I don’t think I’ve made any secret that I think that Final Fantasy VII is probably one of the most overrated games in the history of the industry. Personally, VI is still my favorite among all that I’ve played, followed closely by IV. But all pale in comparison to Final Fantasy Tactics.
Regardless, just because I thought it was overrated didn’t mean that I didn’t play it; of course I played it. Did all the stuff that all players back in 1997 did, breed chocobos so you could get a golden one, which was the only way to get the Knights of the Round materia which basically put the rest of the game on easy mode thereafter. I beat Emerald Weapon, but was never able to beat Ruby, but by then my interest had already waned and I didn’t feel any real need to bother and try.
Needless to say, the game didn’t really leave a long lasting impression on me personally, and I was always fascinated to why so many people thought this was the pinnacle of video games, and continued to do so for literal decades afterward.
So imagine my general ambivalence-resentment at the nearly decade-long song and dance of a FFVII remake being developed and released, that ultimately dropped over the last year, to which I was disgusted to find out that even that was still just a portion of the game, which people basically had to pay a full price for a part of a game, and a remake at that. Obviously, I wasn’t going to shit on everyone’s parade who was ecstatic for more FFVII, but I was pretty irritated at the general low-ambition business model of remaking an old game instead of trying to develop and tell new stories.
Recently, I’ve been getting video suggestions for FFVII remake videos on YouTube and because I’m now a parent with low tolerance for searching and wanting to instead be presented, I’ve watched several over the last few days, because I was seeing things and/or characters that I didn’t recognize from the original version, plus watching gameplay videos satiates any curiosity I might have about the way the game plays or looks without having to commit the money or the time investment into finding out personally.
Clearly, because the objective of the remake is to drag things out as long as possible so they can sell individual chapters of the game at full MSRPs over a window of time, the remake has definitely taken some liberties to flesh things out tremendously, and give a lot more spotlight to characters that were definitely more tertiary in the original than they are now.
But in the process of fleshing things out more thoroughly, I’ve noticed that the game has taken the time to really inject some more personality and character into the individual core characters as well, and 23 years of technological advancement has given the visuals the ability to interpret stuff like facial expression and body language to do all the talking that the dialogue might not have been able to do itself in 1997.