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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review

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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has a tough act to follow after the success of its predecessor, Final Fantasy VII Remake. The game must not only meet the extremely high expectations set by its predecessor but also modernize and synthesize a crucial chapter in our heroes' journey across Gaia. Despite a few stumbling blocks like a bloated open world and uneven pacing, my 80 hours in Rebirth were filled with excitement and a well-told story that kept me hooked. The game may not have reached the same level of nirvana as Remake, but it is a deeply reverent love letter to one of gaming's most beloved RPGs, with an awe-inspiring finale that almost made me forget its flaws.

After escaping Midgar, Cloud, Aerith, Tifa, Barret, and Red XIII set off on a thrilling adventure across continents to thwart Sephiroth's destructive plans. Their first stop is the charming city of Kalm, beautifully recreated in stunning detail. As they journey through iconic locations like Junon, Cosmo Canyon, and Nibelheim, memories flood back of the original game, now brought to life in 2024. Each visit to these beloved places is a nostalgic delight, filled with awe and wonder at the incredible attention to detail. The journey is just beginning, but the excitement and anticipation never wane as they race to save the planet from Sephiroth's impending doom.

While the game may offer stunning visuals and immersive environments, there are certain drawbacks that can detract from the overall experience. In some cases, asset pop-in in larger areas and abrupt lighting changes when transitioning from indoor to outdoor settings can break the immersion and distract from the awe-inspiring moments. Additionally, the performance mode, which runs at a stable 60 FPS, may seem too blurry for some players to enjoy, causing them to opt for the 30 FPS graphics mode instead. Although a recent patch has attempted to address these issues, they still persist and can impact the overall enjoyment of the game.

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Exploring the open areas in Rebirth initially felt exhilarating, with side quests, combat challenges, and treasure caches scattered throughout. However, the repetitive nature of these objectives became apparent over time, leading to a sense of disappointment. While the combat and connections to Final Fantasy VII's world and lore were well-executed, the lack of variety in the activities outside of the main story content left something to be desired. More diverse gameplay elements could have enhanced the overall experience and added depth to the exploration aspect of the game.

Exploring the world of Cloud and his friends in search of hidden treasures and powerful materia can be a thrilling adventure, filled with pockets of greatness that keep players engaged and excited. While the standard area objectives may feel repetitive at times, the side quests scattered throughout each region add a touch of weirdness and humor to the journey. One particularly memorable quest left me laughing out loud as Red XIII received a reality check that was both unexpected and entertaining.

However, traversing the lands can also be a test of patience, especially in areas where specific Chocobo mechanics are required. Despite these frustrations, the fantastic Queen's Blood card game and special Summon Shrines still shine brightly, making the journey worth every moment.

As a fan of Final Fantasy VII, I was initially hesitant about the Remake, fearing it would not live up to the nostalgia of the original. However, the inclusion of old and new story beats, such as Bugenhagen's explanation of the lifestream and the return of familiar faces from Crisis Core, reignited my excitement. The beautiful visuals and expanded exposition breathed new life into some of my favorite moments from the original game.

The combat system in Rebirth, with its mix of new foes and classic bosses, added an exhilarating element to the gameplay. The addition of party members like Red XIII, Yuffie, and Cait Sith brought new layers of strategy and whimsy to the mix, ensuring that each character had their moment to shine. The Remake smartly utilized both the weapon proficiency bonus system and story moments to keep the gameplay engaging and the characters relevant.

Square Enix has truly outdone themselves with their latest release, hitting almost every story beat perfectly and expanding on the lore in ways that fans didn't even know they wanted. The game remains faithful to the original narrative, staying true to its roots while also adding new layers of depth and complexity. However, there are a few missteps along the way, particularly with some needlessly overstuffed chapters.

One chapter, in particular, sticks out like a sore thumb, starting off with the excitement of the Gold Saucer only to abruptly transition to a tedious series of monotonous quests in a dustbowl area. The sudden shift in pace brings the fun to a screeching halt, leaving players frustrated and longing for the more engaging parts of the game. Despite these few hiccups, Square Enix has still managed to deliver a captivating and immersive experience for fans of the franchise.

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, the theme of capitalism and its destructive nature is further explored in Rebirth, showing how the villainous Shinra Electric Power Company is not only destroying Midgar, but also the entire world. Square Enix uses the game's various regions to vividly illustrate the effects of Shinra's greed on the planet and its inhabitants. While the Gold Saucer dazzles with its bright lights and exciting minigames, the surrounding Corel region lies in ruins, stripped of its life force by Shinra's insatiable thirst for power. This stark contrast serves as a powerful reminder of the consequences of unchecked corporate greed on both nature and society.

As Cloud continues his pursuit of Sephiroth, the focus shifts to the deep emotional journey he embarks on with his companions. The group finds themselves in uncharted territory, both physically and emotionally, as they navigate the challenges of their mission. Amidst the intense battles, moments of reflection and growth occur, strengthening the bonds between them. The new Synergy Abilities they acquire prove to be invaluable assets, enhancing their combat capabilities and teamwork. These abilities not only aid in their fight against Sephiroth, but also deepen the connections between Cloud and his allies. With each battle won and obstacle overcome, their special relationship meter grows, solidifying their unity and determination to see their quest through to the end.

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Sephiroth's limited screentime in Final Fantasy VII only adds to the intensity of his appearances as the One-Winged Angel. Each encounter with him is fraught with terror, building up to a final act that completely blew my mind. The challenge of facing him in combat was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, pushing me to my limits. The ending of the game, while already known to players, still managed to surprise and delight, especially for long-time fans of the series. The music of Rebirth perfectly complements the epic nature of the closing act, with emotional arrangements and catchy tunes that enhance the overall experience.

The sequel to this beloved franchise has expanded its world in new and exciting ways, offering fans the chance to explore different sights and locations. However, with this wide expansion comes a set of drawbacks that may hinder the overall experience. While playing as familiar characters may alleviate some of the frustrations, the open-world checklist can sometimes feel tedious and overwhelming. Despite this, the essence of what made the original game great can still be found in this sequel. It's the unique open-world elements that sometimes fall short, detracting from the true brilliance of Rebirth.

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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review
The sequel to this beloved franchise has expanded its world in new and exciting ways, allowing fans to explore different sights and locations. However, with this vast expansion comes drawbacks that may hinder the overall experience. While playing as familiar characters may alleviate some of the frustrations, the open-world checklist can sometimes feel tedious and overwhelming.
Stunning visuals & environments
Nostalgic journey & lore
Engaging combat & characters
Immersion-breaking issues
Repetitive side quests
Frustrating Chocobo mechanics
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