Final Fantasy 7 Remake is out in just over a month. If you've been paying attention to the remake's storied development journey, then it's almost time for your patience to be rewarded. In fact, your patience over the past five years can be rewarded right now, as Square Enix stealth-launched the demo earlier this morning.
I cared little for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake when it was announced. I remember watching the Sony E3 2015 presentation from somewhere in Morocco at 3 a.m. with incredibly dodgy internet, slightly taken aback at the people literally crying and screaming in the audience as the reveal trailer played out on stage.
I didn't care about Final Fantasy 7 until last year. I was never much of a gaming kid—I didn't get my first console until an Xbox 360 and a copy of The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion landed in my lap when I was 13—so you can probably see why I missed out on Final Fantasy 7.
I finally put down the cash for Final Fantasy 7 on the Switch midway through last year. Two months and countless YouTube walkthroughs later, I finally beat it. It's a great game (I mean, duh), a fantastic game, even, and I finally got the excitement of seeing Cloud Strife in glorious HD on the PS4.
Final Fantasy 7 has aged surprisingly well. Playing it in 2019, I made it through the game with relatively little trouble—for a game that was 22 years old, at least. But however well it holds up, you can't escape the fact that Final Fantasy 7 came out a very long time ago, and a vast amount of people either have no connection to it, or won't want to play a very old game that takes 40 hours to complete.
Still, I finally get it. I finally get why everyone lost their collective minds when the remake was revealed at E3 2015. I finally get why everyone's so excited to revisit a digitally reconstructed Midgar, complete with an expanded tour of the city. I get it.
There's still things that concern me about the remake. It concerns me that all the previews and extended impressions pieces that went live earlier today had zero experience with the more open portions of Midgar in Final Fantasy 7. To this point, we've only seen sneak peeks of this section in teaser shots.
Normally this wouldn't concern me, but this has to be taken in the context of Final Fantasy 15. Now, I like Final Fantasy 15, but the open-world portions of that game were bad. Real bad. Lifeless terrain stretched on for eons, broken up only by lonely towns and villages where you could undertake even more lifeless fetch quests and hunting missions. I enjoyed my time with Final Fantasy 15, but I did not enjoy its world.
I will say that I am absolutely looking forward to Final Fantasy 7 Remake now. I even considered pre-ordering that First Class edition with Cloud on his motorbike and wrecking my bank account in the process. Nevertheless, I need to see that Square Enix's development team have made the side missions and stories more involved and meaningful for the remake, instead of just padding out the game with fetch quests and menial tasks.
Either way, I think it's an excellent time to be a Final Fantasy 7 newcomer—or even just a series newcomer in general. I think you can go into the remake knowing literally nothing about the source material and still be amazed by everything it has to offer. And hey, maybe you'll be so enamored that you'll go back and check out the original game. Speaking from experience, it's worth it.
Major Game Releases: March 2 to March 6
Here are the major releases for the week of March 2 to March 6. Want to see the complete list? Check out our full list of video game release dates for 2020.
The Division 2: Warlords of New York [March 3, PC, PS4, Xbox One]: The Division 2 goes back to where it all started in New York. In the expansion that's attempting to breathe life back into Ubisoft's shooter, we'll be returning to a different area of New York from the original game.
Granblue Fantasy Versus [March 3, PS4]: Granblue Fantasy Versus is finally launching in North America this week after an unexpected delay. A spin-off of the extremely popular mobile game by Cygames, its main focus is accessibility. Like all Arc System Works games, it's also gorgeous. Look for impressions from Mike and Eric later this week.
Black Mesa [March 5, PC]: After more than a decade of development, Black Mesa is finally receiving a full release this week. Crowbar Collective's Half-Life remake began life as a free mod before transitioning to early access as a commercial product in 2015, and now it's an honest-to-goodness game. Should be the perfect appetizer for Half-Life: Alyx, which also releases later this month.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX [March 6, Nintendo Switch]: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon originally released as two games in 2006: Red Rescue Team, and Blue Rescue Team. This package brings both games together in one remaster, where you play as the actual creatures for a change.
Five Things You Should Know Heading into This Week in Gaming
- GDC 2020 has been postponed. After Microsoft, Sony, Kojima Productions, EA, and many more prolific organizations bowed out of the Game Developers Conference due to the coronavirus, the organizers behind the event have postponed the entire show.
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons was playable on the PAX East showfloor over the weekend. There were a ton of new details to glean from the limited demo, including Kicks selling more than just shoes, new fish to catch, and much more.
- Plague Inc., one of the biggest mobile games in China, has been banned. After rising to the top of the paid mobile charts during the spread of the Coronavirus, the Chinese government banned Plague Inc. from the Apple App Store after the game introduced a 'Fake News' update. It is also now unavailable via Steam in China.
- Greninja is the most popular Pokemon in the world, and we have no idea why. The Pokemon Company recently ran a poll to decide the most popular Pokemon among fans, and Greninja of all creatures emerged victorious. Seriously, how did this happen? [Ed. Note: The obvious answer is that Greninja rules]
- PlatinumGames is making moves. Yes we're rolling two things into one here, but there's a lot going on over at PlatinumGames right now. Firstly, the developer/publisher has opened up a new Tokyo studio to work on live service games, and secondly, Project G.G. has been revealed as Platinum's new "superhero" game, directed by Hideki Kamiya.
Axe of the Blood God for March 2
Axe of the Blood God is our official RPG podcast releasing every single Monday. You can find subscription info here. We also put out an Axe of the Blood God newsletter every Wednesday, which you can subscribe to here.
The Console RPG Quest continues with our exploration of the PlayStation 2, just in time for its 20th anniversary! We talk about its incredibly deep library of RPGs; the rise of companies like NIS and Level-5, and classics like Final Fantasy 10 and Persona 3. Plus, Kat recently got a chance to check out Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Baldur's Gate 3, and she has lots of thoughts! Get ready because we've got a huge podcast for you this month!