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Inside the ‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’ Demo

  • After a long wait, that demo finally hit PlayStation 4.
  • The old becomes new again.
  • Slow download speeds? EG has you covered with footage.

Do you remember late December and early January when I was following the potential Final Fantasy VII Remake demo as close as I could trying to decipher the fact from fiction? I thought it was an absolute certainty when we finally saw some leaked footage drop, and that it would be releasing soon after. Yet it never did, two months ticked by and while it began to drop off of many radars I was starting to feel like Charlie in It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia when he took the deep dive down a conspiracy rabbit hole.

Thankfully, after a long wait the demo finally did drop, and with huge amounts of reactions across the internet. A lot of love, but of course a healthy dose of hate that comes with making the old new again. The demo released yesterday, alongside a statement made by Duncan Heany of Square Enix via the PlayStation Blog. You can find the full statement here, but the important parts you’ll find below:

The new demo features a lengthy segment from the very beginning of the game: the iconic bombing mission against the Shinra Electric Power Company, and the subsequent escape.

You’ll control two of the game’s cast – spiky-haired ex-SOLDIER Cloud Strife, and the ballistically-limbed Barret Wallace – and enact a dangerous plan to infiltrate and destroy Mako Reactor 1.

It’s a very large complex, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore, find secrets, soak in the richly detailed environments and, of course, bash Shinra Security troopers with a giant sword.

When you reach your target, you’ll encounter the Scorpion Sentinel. It may be the first boss of the game, but don’t expect this mechanical monstrosity to give you an easy ride.

If you manage to beat it, don’t think you can relax – you still have to escape from the complex before it collapses around you.

But did you give yourself long enough to do so…?

I sat down to play it this morning so I could give our readers some insight into what to expect out of the experience, the positives, the negatives, and a little random commentary. First and foremost, no matter how many times I see that introduction, whether it’s in the original 1997 form or this reimagining, it’s one of my favorite intros. Seeing the Midgar sprawl as a precursor to AVALANCHE’s attack on a Mako reactor is always cool to see.

Straight out of the gate, players are given a taste of the new combat, and while menus are always pesky and interruptive they are useful for anyone who needs a refresher. The combat runs incredibly close to what was experienced in Final Fantasy XV. It’s fast paced basic attacks with dodging and blocking thrown in and then utilizing your special abilities, items, magic, and limit breaks when applicable. I’m a huge fan of the combat so my first time through the demo I went with that. My second time through I did dabble with the Classic Mode but it just felt too much like autopilot sitting around and waiting for my abilities to be ready. I don’t think Classic Mode will be as enjoyable as fans who wanted the old combat system back were hoping.

On social media, I saw some people complaining about the difficulty of the game’s first boss which the demo showcases, the Scorpion Sentinel. It wasn’t a whole lot of people, but it was enough to catch my attention. One of those names happened to be Kotaku’s Chris Kohler whose scathing assessment may be offputting for some.

In the interest of fairness, the systems aren’t all thrown at you at once but rather introduced during the demo prior to that moment. By the time you reach the boss you are equipped with the knowledge of what you need to do, and in addition to that Cloud’s experience as a SOLDIER drops audible hints throughout the battle. It’s still a pretty intense first boss battle, but by his statement, you’d think it was too hard to play. I’m here to say I don’t think any of our readers, or most gamers in general will have a problem with it.

The only part I felt the demo fell flat in is the targeting system. It’s not a detriment when you’re Cloud, but if you switch to Barret it can get a little dicey. That being said, at this time I’m just chalking it up to a learning curve and my distaste of lock-on mechanics for firearm-based classes in RPGs. Overall, I found this demo a good taste of what’s to come in the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and while I still voice displeasure about a game being released in pieces, if they really have expanded on the game as much as they’ve said, maybe I’ll forgive that. If you haven’t played the demo yet you can check out footage of my playthrough below. If you have played the demo, or at least watched footage of it, what are your thoughts? Let us know down in the comments.