Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Is the Final Fantasy VII Remake a Good Thing?

I think I might be getting older. When the FFVii remake got announced yesterday I went through a bunch of emotions. Nostalgia, happiness, joy, surprise. And then the day went on, I played some GTA Online with my mates and had a think. FFVii was the game that introduced JRPGs to me. I've played a hell of a lot of Final Fantasy in my time, and skipped a couple due to circumstance, but you always remember your first. It set the bar for me, an RPG needs to have engaging characters, interesting scenarios and a fun battle system to pique my interest, because these games are LONG. No one wants to put 40 hours into something like Legend of Legaia (if you did, well... good on you, I could only manage about 10 and lost interest and I LIKE games like that).

Then the worry set in. A lot of FFVii is weird. I will admit that. Theres the whole hidden affection rating shenanigans that decides which of the ladies you get to go on a date with. Theres the minigames. Oh god, are they going to remake the minigames in HD? Let's talk about the minigames. The wiki lists around 25 different minigames, ranging from riding a bike and fending off soldiers with your massive blade (which is badass) to the fairground attractions at the Gold Saucer (most of which are terribad).

My worry is, are they going to remake all of these? Some of them fit really well into the story and are also really fun in their own right, but a lot of them? Not so much. Theres the CPR minigame for instance. Do we really need that redone in HD? And will it look weird? Is it even viable to redo the minigames in HD? Will the story suffer without them? And holy fuck are they going to get voice actors for the cast? What if they suck? WHAT IF TIFA SOUNDS AWFUL!?

See, I wasn't lying about the CPR minigame.

I think a lot of the worry stems from my love for this game. I understand that the graphics are very dated nowdays, it was early 3D and it does not hold out well at all. Final Fantasy VI by comparison LOOKS better, because it was the end of the sprite era and they had nailed that shit. With Vii, and its weird looking SD (super deformed) character models with no mouths and massive bodybuilder arms, it looks like a 3D modelling students first attempt at making character models. And nowadays there would at least be some anti-aliasing on that shit.

And then theres the question of the World Map. To the best of my knowledge, there hasn't been a proper world map in a major Final Fantasy since IX? I think? X had a system where you could kind of walk from one side of the world to the other, but it was more paths and roads, and XIII was critiscised for being one corridoor of enemies after another. A game that did world maps well in the PS2 era was Dragon Quest VIII, with a fully fleshed out map you could walk around in with treasures to find and caves and such. I don't need them to make FFViis map into a Skyrim-esque place, but I wonder if they'll cut it and just have a list of places to warp to. The world map has an important place in Vii though. It's after the afore-mentioned awesome motorbike minigame, where you're escaping from the city. You manage to escape from Midgar, a huge industrial city where you've spent the entirety of the game so far. Then you see it. It's there on the map and the whole world is laid before you and you think. Holy shit, this is going to be a big game.

I have a sinking feeling in me that they're going to cut a lot of the content out. They're going to "streamline" the experience. Hell, they're definitely going to redo the battle system to something new. Probably with a lot of really glowy lines and runes and stuff. Why stop there though? Why not streamline some of the characters? Let's make sure EVERYONE finds out about Zack Fair so that people don't miss that plot point.
You don't know who this guy is? DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT.

I'm going to buy the hell out the FFVii remake. And I am going to finish it. There is no doubt in my heart of hearts about that. But it's not going to stop me from worrying that a lot of it might look wonky in HD, and whether or not losing that wonkiness will detract from the charm of the whole game.