Final Fantasy VII is one of the most acclaimed role-playing games in all of video game history, with many fans considering the PlayStation classic as the best game ever made. It’s surprising then, that when developer Square Enix decided to remake this beloved title, that they chose to make some significant changes. Although the recently released Final Fantasy VII Remake contains the same characters and setting as the classic version, there are some huge differences of note. From the gameplay to the narrative, Final Fantasy VII Remake gives gamers an experience that mixes the original concepts with bold new mechanics, which has caused some discourse among fans. While there are many small changes we could cover, these are the six biggest changes in Final Fantasy VII Remake. If you’re unsure about whether or not this remake is for you, this list will hopefully clear things up.
Combat is No Longer Turn-Based
The changes made to combat in this game are huge, and one of the primary reasons that many fans of the original Final Fantasy VII are swearing off the remake entirely. Instead of offering the classic turn-based combat that older Final Fantasy games are known for, Final Fantasy VII Remake delivers real-time action more akin to Final Fantasy XV. Instead of choosing attacks and spells from a menu, you’ll have to pull off attack combos, quickly manage multiple characters at once, and keep yourself properly healed. The beginning of Final Fantasy VII Remake is pretty forgiving in terms of combat difficulty, but things ramp up quickly, so those who struggle with its fast-paced battles might become frustrated.
The Story is Episodic
If you haven’t been paying attention to the marketing around Final Fantasy VII Remake, you might be surprised to learn that despite being a full-priced game, it only contains a portion of the original game’s story. Final Fantasy VII Remake still tells the same overall story as the original (more on that later), but expands several sections with additional content to flesh them out. This means that, by nature of being an episodic game, the story is ultimately unfinished. If you’re a nostalgic fan eager to relive your favorite moments from the original game, they might not even be in this game. Final Fantasy VII Remake only covers the content on the first disc from the initial three-disc PlayStation release. With no release date yet announced for Final Fantasy VII Remake: Part 2, you might be waiting for some time to dive into those childhood memories. While the episodic storytelling works to varying degrees, it’s important information to know before playing.
There Are New Side Quests
In an effort to expand the Midgar section and make the first episodic installment of Final Fantasy VII Remake feel like a fully-fledged game, certain areas have opened up and now contain additional side missions to complete. A large chunk of the game is linear as was the original, but these newer explorable areas represent a decent time of the game as well. You’ll hang out around the Sector 7 Slums, as well as a few other semi open-world areas, picking up tasks from various citizens. These range from standard fetch quests to combat challenges, offering a fun break from the more serious main story. Although the side quests are mostly optional, they provide some precious experience and worthwhile rewards.
Summons Can Be Unlocked Through Boss Fights
Just like in the original Final Fantasy VII, players can summon gigantic beasts to aid them in battle. However, Final Fantasy VII Remake shakes up how summons work, as well as how you unlock them. While a few summons are awarded to you via story progression, most of them can be unlocked by completing challenging virtual reality missions. These missions can be undertaken by speaking with Chadley, one of Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s new characters. In the VR missions, you’ll face off against these intimidating monsters in epic boss fights, with victory allowing you to call upon them during battle. When you request a summon during a fight, they’ll not only pull off exceptionally strong abilities but consistently attack your enemies automatically for a short period of time.
New Characters Shake Up the Story
In addition to the new episodic format, Final Fantasy VII Remake changes quite a few other things about the storytelling that fans might expect. By expanding the first segment of the original game, the new remake adds in quite a bit of extra screen time for both returning characters and new ones. While many fans will surely recall the tale of Cloud and his friends, you may be surprised by the inclusion of some new faces. One of the most notable differences between the original Final Fantasy VII story and the remake’s story is the inclusion of spectral creatures known as Whispers. These mysterious entities pop up very early in the story and play a huge role in the remake’s overall narrative, offering a new perspective on existing events. Generally speaking, you should go into Final Fantasy VII Remake expecting some extra character development and new subplots to discover.
Fun Mini-Games Lighten the Mood
While the original Final Fantasy VII contained a few short puzzle-solving segments, Final Fantasy VII Remake pushes the envelope further away from RPG norms by including some exceptionally wacky mini-games. During your adventure, you’ll participate in casual sports like darts, compete in silly competitions like dance-offs and exercise contests, and much more. Mini-games offer more than just a fun distraction though, as reaching certain requirements grants your new items and powerful gear. Generally speaking, Final Fantasy VII Remake attempts to add as much variety as possible when it can, offering more than just chaotic battles. Although they might seem a bit gimmicky, the new mini-games are one of the most enjoyable changes in Final Fantasy VII Remake.