Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Review

I played Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Overall, I want to first say: it’s really cool! In general, I liked it. Here’s a list of pros and cons.

Also, I’ve decided to make this article SPOILER FREE so please feel free to read it.

EDIT: Put this song on while you read my review.  This song captures what it is like to play Rebirth. What an achievement this song is, by Mitsuto Suzuki, who I don’t really know, but apparently he also worked on the amazing Final Fantasy XIII-2 OST with Naoshi Mizuta, which is a great OST if you don’t know it.

My two most important takes

PRO: The charm. The charm of this game is off the charts and is the main thing that makes me love it. Where Final Fantasy XVI kind of feels like “a bunch of white men growling at each other”, FF7 Rebirth is a very diverse world of colorful characters, almost all of which (Cloud being the exception) wear their heart and their personality on their sleeve. There’s just so many creative, brilliant, fun to look at, surprising situations – the dev team had a ton of fun making a lot of the game. The minigames, the different modes of travel, the MUSIC, the characters are all just like brimming with charm.

CON: The narrative. The “story” in this game is really just… very awful, I’m sad to report. This really great piece from Jackson Tyler goes into detail and is right about everything if you want to hear more about it (not as spoiler free). But as written in the article, “Rebirth is the longest Final Fantasy game with the least that actually happens” is exactly right. There are basically two broad good approaches that they could have taken with this Remake trilogy:

  1. Make it a straight remake, just literally retell the story of FF7
  2. Make it a divergent, new story, a sequel that comments on the original

I would have been cool with either of these, and after the end of Remake I was pretty convinced that what they were after was option 2. However, it is now clear to me that they are doing neither of these options. Instead, I am convinced that they want people who want 1 to think this is for them, and they simultaneously want people who want 2 to think this is for them. This explains the otherwise confusing use of the title “Remake” for a game that… isn’t(?) actually a remake?

The side quests and smaller interactions in the game are good, those cutscenes are great. It’s only when they start having to interact with “The Plot of Final Fantasy 7” that they start tripping all over themselves and, I don’t know how else to put it but just being awful at storytelling. There’s tons and tons of HUGE events that happen in this game which are then taken back moments later. That plus the homogeneity of the plot (I basically chased phantom(?) Sephiroth around for 70 hours) made it just feel really boring and annoying to reach a point in the game where plot would be happening.

CON: It’s too god-damn long! I feel like I RUSHED through it, missing giant chunks of stuff and feeling a bit under-leveled, and I finished at 70 hours. These kinds of games are really “stuff reliant” – new characters, abilities, mechanics, loot, story events, monsters, etc need to be fed into the system at a good pace to continue being fun. I felt like Remake was also too long by about 5-10 hours, because it just didn’t have enough stuff to support the 40-some hours it took me to beat it. With Remake I think they added in that 5-10 hours worth of stuff, but then extended the playtime by like 30 hours. I really wish big AAA game developers would stop stretching everything as thin as possible. If this game was 30 hours long it would be one of the best games I’ve ever played probably.

Other pros and cons


PRO: The combat is extremely developed and really fun and cool. I thought Remake’s combat system was great – probably the best “real time” system that has some kind of pausing that I’ve ever seen. And also it’s brilliant how they were actually able to make a game that controls like a modern 3rd person action game be a truly party based game. I really, really miss that when I try and play other action RPGs. And Rebirth built on that. In Rebirth, the combat system is now really fleshed out, and I’d almost say “deep”, but I’d definitely say “fun”. Of course, any time a big modern videogame has a good thing, they stretch it to its limits, so by the end of the 70 hours I spent with the game, it was starting to get a little thin. But it’s still the best approach to a party based “action RPG” (if you want to call it that) that I’ve ever seen.

PRO (mostly): The music. Almost goes without saying that Nobuo Uematsu is one of the best composers in videogame history and 7 is one of his best works, and a lot of the arrangements and stuff in here are fantastic. I do feel like even the composers started to get bored near the end, though. The best music is stuff like silly songs they write for the dog chasing sequences. The worst stuff is when they have to write the 18th Epic Trailer Edit version of One Winged Angel. Between Remake and Rebirth they really trying to make me hate that song.

PRO: The minigames! Incredible minigames, especially Queen’s Blood which is the best card game minigame of all time. But there’s a ton of them, I think I actually missed a few of them entirely, but even just the ones I saw were mostly surprisingly well developed. I will say that Queen’s Blood is almost TOO good of a game to be a minigame, and because of that I was able to kind of “solve” it and become unbeatable about 10 matches in or so. But still, it’s super fun. And the Queen’s Blood puzzles are extremely well designed. The chocobo racing was pretty cool too, felt like a nice little Mario Kart kinda experience.

PRO: Barret. The dating sim element was cool, especially because I ended up with Barret, which… the game definitely gets me, every time Barret spoke pretty much I was like “hell yeah”. He’s the real hero of the story.

CON: That reminds me, I think Final Fantasy 7 has always had this problem of two unrelated antagonisms, Shinra and Sephiroth. Shinra, for me, is my kind of antagonist – an unregulated mega corporation that’s sucking the life out of the world, for profit. That is an antagonism that I really understand and we all can relate to. But then there’s also Sephiroth, who is just like… a cackling evil guy who wants to blow up the world, sort of. And they’re not really that related to each other, which has always caused problems. There was one scene in Rebirth where someone was saying how bad Sephiroth is and then Barret chimed in with “Yeah but what about Shinra, they’re destroying the planet” and it just felt like kind of confusing. I really kinda wish that they made Sephiroth into a mid-game boss of some kind and the actual final boss was the Shinra CEO.

HMM: The overworld stuff like running around and unlocking towers and collecting shards for the crafting system, I didn’t hate as much as I thought I would. It’s “surprisingly not that bad”.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who likes RPGs or Final Fantasy games, and, as much as I might groan and grumble, the fact is that the game was good enough to get me through SEVENTY HOURS. That’s no small feat; I’m not sure I’ve spent that much time with any 1 player RPG (except maybe a handful of CRPGs like Morrowind and Fallout 2).