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Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-on Demo Experience

Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-on Demo Experience

by Aiman MaulanaJanuary 16, 2020
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Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-on Demo Experience

Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-on Demo Experience 18

We at were invited by Sony Interactive Entertainment Singapore today to get a first-hand experience with the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo. It was based on the same build from E3 2019, which covers the early portions of Midgar, and we’re here to share our thoughts on the game.

We were explicitly told to not take pictures or videos of gameplay so there will be none of that in this post.

The Final Fantasy VII Remake demo starts out with Jesse from AVALANCHE giving you instructions on what you need to do inside the Mako Reactor. Afterwards, you primarily take control of Cloud Strife with Barret as the secondary party member. While journeying downwards, you will fight against Shinra soldiers and weird plant-like creatures for three battles. It serves as a warm-up for you to be acquainted with the new battle system.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Gets Release Date Ahead of E3 2019
This picture is purely for decoration. It is not from the demo we tried.

Unlike the original game where you take turns to initiate actions, this one uses an action-oriented hack & slash-style combat. You do still have an Active Time Battle (gauge) which fills up over time and by attacking enemies. You can use up the gauge to enter Tactical Mode, where you can execute special actions such as using items, casting magic, and skills.

Interestingly, Cloud has Braver listed as a regular offensive skill and has both Fire and Blizzard as magic options whereas Barret is the one with Thunder. As this is a demo, things may differ in the final game. You do have access to Limit Breaks, which are only accessible when the Limit gauge is filled up.

The game feels more responsive than Final Fantasy XV, making you feel like you’re doing actual damage upon hit. Furthermore, the game gives you incentive to switch between Cloud and Barret as they serve different purposes in combat. For example, Cloud is more useful in close quarters but Barret is ideal for ranged attacks, which is needed at times when enemies are out of range.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-on Demo Experience 19

As I progress through the demo, I’m treated with a cutscene where Barret gives Cloud a bomb to detonate in the Mako Reactor. Cloud then suffers a headache and starts seeing an odd, hazy vision. Then, we see a feather falling down beside the detonation spot, a clear allusion to fan-favourite antagonist Sephiroth.

Afterwards is where the fun truly begins as you enter a boss fight against Scorpion Sentinel. Unlike grunt enemies, this one won’t budge when hitting. This is where you start to truly maximize your chances to guard and evade as the boss can dish out some serious damage upon hit.

This is when I realized they have one additional battle mechanic that’s seen in Final Fantasy XIII; the Stagger gauge. As you attack the boss, the Stagger gauge will slowly fill up. When it maxes out, it will enter into a Staggered / Break state where it stops moving and becomes far more vulnerable. This is the perfect chance to dish out your best attacks, especially Limit Breaks, for maximum damage.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Hands-on Demo Experience 20

There is even a sequence where Scorpion Sentinel will jump off and stick itself to a wall where melee attacks cannot reach. This is where Barret shines as he’s the only one that can freely do ranged attacks without costs. The boss battle itself is pretty easy and takes about five minutes to beat. Afterwards, the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo comes to its conclusion.

Personally, I find the combat system pretty enjoyable. It feels like a slower paced Dark Souls (sans the frustrating difficulty) with elements that still bring it back to its roots with the Tactical Mode. My only complaint is that the button configuration is a bit messy and the camera angles can get wacky. At one point, the camera literally went through the boss and I can see the insides.

It’s a minor complaint which I’m sure can be easily fixed and optimized. I’m also certain that you can customize, or at least choose a different preset, the controls in the final game. All that’s left now is to wait for the final release.

In case you missed it, the game’s release has been delayed. If you want to know why, click right here.

Final Fantasy VII Remake will be coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4 on 15th April 2020.

About The Author
Aiman Maulana
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. YouTuber, video editor, tech head, and a wizard of gaming. What's up? :)

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