Games Technology

Ultimate Fantasy VII’s Most Iconic Flashback Is Higher Than Ever


The church within the slums, the Gold Saucer date, the slap-fest atop Junon’s Sister Ray cannon—Ultimate Fantasy VII has a heaping serving to of memorable setpieces. And few amongst them are extra iconic than Sq. Enix’s personal Rashomon—the Nibelheim Incident.

Right here’s the setup: After leaving his hometown to hitch the elite army drive often called SOLDIER, Cloud Strife returns to Nibelheim accompanied by the legendary warrior Sephiroth. They’re investigating issues with the close by Mako reactor, when issues go very incorrect very quick. All through FF7, we see this inciting incident from a number of views, studying new info every time. What occurred at Nibelheim is foundational to our understanding of Cloud and a significant cause why FF7 remains to be so beloved greater than a quarter-century later.

Pre-order Ultimate Fantasy VII Rebirth: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Reimagining FF7‘s Nibelheim Incident

The pose that launched a thousand shipfics.

Picture: Sq. Enix

In a current demo of Ultimate Fantasy VII Rebirth, the second installment of the three-part remake out February 29, I acquired an amuse bouche of Sq. Enix’s reimagined model of this sequence. Accompanied by path information Tifa and a faceless Shinra grunt, Cloud and Sephiroth ascend Mt. Nibel to the reactor, demolishing monsters alongside the best way. Within the 1997 model of FF7 this climb is the one probability you get to play as Sephiroth, and his immense energy relative to Cloud is communicated through his Large Boy HP stats and talent to hit for 9,999 harm with each swipe of his sword.

Rebirth communicates Sephiroth’s power in additional refined methods, however they’re nonetheless impressively badass. He’s acquired a completely realized moveset that feels distinct from Cloud’s, and may warp brief distances within the real-time fights to keep away from harm or arrange combos. He and Cloud even have a cheek-to-cheek tandem assault that’s most likely already impressed numerous sexy fanfics. You positively come away from this reimagined sequence feeling like Sephiroth isn’t somebody you’d need to mess with.

Past the pyrotechnics, the storytelling in Rebirth’s riff on the Nibelheim Incident actually shines, including a stage of nuance that simply wasn’t potential with the low-poly block monsters and textual content bins of 1997. The very first thing you’ll discover is that one thing about this model of Cloud Strife is off. It’s not simply that he’s youthful. It’s not the pie-eyed innocence, though that’s additionally jarring. What’s discordant right here is the simple appeal, the pure self-assurance. Teen SOLDIER Cloud is, fairly merely, cute. The Cloud of FF7’s current tense has none of those qualities—not but, anyway. He offers aloof responses, has a behavior of telling folks to “stand again” so he can “deal with” issues, and is palpably scared of women.

Longtime Ultimate Fantasy dweebs will instantly clock the explanation for this disconnect, which I received’t spoil right here. However I can simply see how Cloud’s clear persona shift can be compelling to of us who weren’t already aware of the sport’s sophisticated lore. Your complete sequence is cleverly and lovingly dealt with, and I can’t wait to see extra examples of this within the full recreation.

Exploring the outskirts of Junon

The vast skies and dusty plains around Junon.

Picture: Sq. Enix

The second a part of my demo consisted of open-world exploration and monster searching within the space close to Junon, and golly, there was an terrible lot to take onboard in a half-hour or so. The actual-time fight gameplay has been expanded since Remake to incorporate tag-team assaults and extra highly effective variations often called Synergy assaults. You’ll even have extra playable characters to select from, together with Crimson XIII, whose low-slung middle of mass and speedy moveset make him a enjoyable pairing with combo monster Tifa.

Throughout fights, you’ll see members who aren’t within the lively get together bopping round within the background. So far as I may inform, they’re probably not contributing to the battle, but it surely makes extra sense than everybody disappearing and reappearing, I suppose. It wasn’t precisely immersion breaking, since I used to be largely involved with remembering the controls and combating kinds of every character, however I may think about ultimately getting irritated by Barrett doing pointless sprints on the periphery whereas I’m getting my ass handed to me in a troublesome brawl.

One of many largest questions heading into Rebirth has been how the sport would deal with FF7’s expansive world map. The environments stay true to the aesthetics of the unique whereas increasing the size to account for the shift from the top-down overworld map of the OG PlayStation period to a seamless third-person expertise. You’ll have entry to quick journey through the in-game menu, in addition to chocobos to hurry up exploration. Up to now, so good. Although I’m glad to see each member of the get together get their very own noble chicken-horse to journey as a matter of precept, I did run into uneven visuals, whiplash digital camera motion, and a jumble of choco-butts whereas I used to be wandering round or turning abruptly. Hopefully the ultimate launch will easy that out.

The Junon part of my Rebirth demo felt way more cluttered than the Nibelheim stuff. Abruptly I used to be buffeted by a Cyberpunk 2077-esque barrage of notifications about actions like monster searching, following chocobo chicks, and crafting. Mixed with new HUD components, the general presentation felt a bit crowded and cluttered in comparison with that of Remake. The total recreation will probably profit from integrating these actions into the expertise extra step by step, quite than overturning the toy field multi functional go.

If there’s one factor precisely nobody was asking for, it was including a crafting system to FF7. (Ultimate Fantasy XV’s magic-crafting system managed to be each deeply damaged and boring as hell.) Even so, I’m excited for Rebirth’s usually more-is-more method to this story. Within the traditional unique, Cloud’s doomed world is a superb place to get misplaced in, and that definitely appears to be the case on this trendy reimagining as properly. I could not develop into a grasp potion-maker anytime quickly, however I’m awfully excited to hop aboard my chocobo and go discover some hassle.

Ultimate Fantasy VII Rebirth releases on February 29, 2024 for PlayStation 5.

Pre-order Ultimate Fantasy VII Rebirth: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop