If Closing Fantasy 7 Remake was shrouded in thriller, its sequel, and the second within the trilogy of remakes, is perhaps much more so.
The place the earlier, literal ‘Remake’ reimagined the long-lasting sport utilizing modern-day tech, solely exploring the primary portion of the sport set within the slums of Midgar and making just a few delicate but vital tweaks to the well-known plot, now, the second instalment will see us enterprise additional into the world – and with it, discover extra of a narrative which could be the one we all know. Or, could not.
The 2020 sport’s ending, the truth is, presents some tantalising questions: will it take us on an alternate timeline fully? Will sure characters’ fates, lives and deaths, be completely switched on this remake? And, are you able to pet a chocobo? Now, having gone hands-on with the very first preview of gameplay, we will verify not less than a type of greatest questions is lastly answered.
Sure, you possibly can pet the chocobos.
Past that, we’ve skilled the primary gameplay past Midgard and even performed as Sephiroth, because of an all-new hands-on play by way of with two missions from the sport – and swinging Masamune has us impressed.
Although the sport itself follows instantly from the earlier Closing Fantasy 7 Remake, the place our heroes have escaped Midgar, the primary mission we preview is “Fated Mt. Nibel”: a flashback to 5 years prior. Right here, we play as a youthful, fresh-faced Cloud, a part of a soldier survey staff guided by educated native Tifa, and headed by lauded white-haired conflict hero Sephiroth.
The staff is headed towards the Mako reactor present in a Shinra development web site on the peak of Mt. Nibel, and this implies a extra pure setting, traversing the mountain, whereas preventing Insectoid Chimeras and flying Velociwing enemies alongside the best way. Extra importantly although, it means enjoying as Sephiroth – the primary time the long-lasting villain has been totally playable.
Delivering deathly blows in battle with the character as your principal is arguably the spotlight of all the things we’ve performed up to now. Slashing with sword Masamune is satisfying itself, however Septhiroth’s particular assaults, like Sword Dance, his restrict break capability Octaslash, which can slash at your chosen enemy at breakneck pace, and his capability Hell’s Gate, used to descend from the sky and impale your enemy from above, all make lastly battling as the massive baddie a delight definitely worth the wait.
These strikes are available notably helpful when taking up the massive boss of this mission, the Materia Guardian, a beast who lives within the depths of Mt. Nibel, which has mutated right into a lethal sharp-clawed, ceiling crawling beast, because of extended publicity to Mako within the mountain.
We uncover on this battle that maybe the one factor cooler than delivering deathly blows as Sephiroth is delivering them as a Sephiroth-Cloud Strife duo, unleashing coordinated Synergy assaults collectively – a spectacular addition to fight for Rebirth.
As we go for their Double Helix Synergy capability, which sees each playable characters in the end deliver the Materia Guardian crashing to the ground, by way of a satisfying mixture of high-damaging motion and cinematic sequences of the 2. Sephiroth, who we’re nonetheless enjoying as, impales the creature earlier than telling youthful soldier Cloud to “Take it from right here… good work,” a deal with for followers of the sequence to see and management, first-hand.
“Maybe the one factor cooler than delivering deathly blows as Sephiroth is delivering them as a Sephiroth-Cloud Strife duo, unleashing coordinated Synergy assaults collectively – a spectacular addition to fight for Rebirth.”
Synergy apart, the remainder of the battle system is basically the identical as within the earlier Closing Fantasy 7 Remake. Attacking, hacking and slashing your means by way of enemies builds up your ATB gauge, which additionally fills over time, and permits you to land large battle abilites, switching between your staff and delivering instructions as you go. That’s no dangerous factor, as the combo of real-time battle and technique nonetheless strikes a satisfying, enjoyable and fast-moving steadiness.
The second demo mission we tackle is “The Open Wilds of Junon,” our first correct glimpse of the remake past the darkish capital of Midgar. Against this, its open stretches of nature look a pleasure to discover – although within the construct we play, the extent has been set to a extra on-rails model, with the intention to showcase battle sequences. Within the full sport, we’re informed, this can be a much less linear, extra open-world map to navigate.
What makes it most fun to discover is that we’re doing it on the again of our chocobo steeds, who have been sadly but understandably not rideable round Remake’s Midgar. Now, nevertheless, your total occasion of Cloud, Barret, Aerith, Tifa and even Pink XIII, saddle up at a chocobo ranch and take your lead dashing by way of the wilds of Junon, which after all, is as enjoyable because it sounds – and brings a welcome PlayStation 5 energy to probably the most iconic actions in gaming.
We trip them en masse as they decide up scents and information us towards hidden treasure to be scavenged from the bottom and used later.
Junon shouldn’t be all rubies and squeaky pettable chocobos, nevertheless. Once we encounter foes within the wild, battling them splits the group into extra manageable mixtures, so that you don’t have to fret about controlling your complete occasion without delay, whereas nonetheless permitting for technique together with your selection of characters, and making means for extra enjoyable with Synergy assaults, akin to Pink XII’s Planetary Roar with Aerith, a ranged assault which permits her to channel her magic by way of Pink’s howl.
Past, we uncover Below Junon, a “sunless oasis” of an impoverished fishing village, discovered below the bottom and full with a rickety wood inn, gigantic fish bones hung within the city sq., Amity Island-style, and townspeople screaming in want for assist so that you can save them from, oh, simply massive previous fish monster.
This massive dangerous, the ‘Terror of the Deep,’ blasts out of the water and into the air for us to battle – and once more presents an important instance of the battle system, with Cloud and Pink XIII’s Savage Assault inflicting critical harm, and Cloud and Aerith’s Firework Blade providing up a helpful ranged assault.
Nevertheless, it’s the ending of this fishy foe which is most memorable. Seemingly defeated, it crashes into the ocean… earlier than Cloud hops on the again of a useful dolphin to ship its remaining blow into the ocean, adopted by a cinematic sequence of the dolphin by his facet within the sea, cackling in opposition to a picturesque horizon. It’s simply as daft because the picture of Pink XIII saddling up and using a chocobo twenty minutes earlier – and an thrilling teaser that exterior of the confines of gloomy Midgar, brighter, bonkers moments are set to ship laughs on this sequel, too.
There have been a number of questions we have been trying to reply earlier than this gameplay. None of which concerned laughing out loud at dolphins. Most significantly, although, it’s satisfying to play – and although technically a Remake, solely serves to remind us to anticipate the sudden when Rebirth launches subsequent yr.