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Late to the Game(s): You can’t go home again (Can you?) – Final Fantasy Remake as nostalgia cash-in and game preservation

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

Remakes and reboots are always a bit of a crap shoot. Sometimes they are fantastic. Sometimes, well… not so much. There really isn’t much to do but try them out and see. One reboot I’m really looking forward to is the Final Fantasy VII Remake, coming to PlayStation Plus this month.

The April, 2020 release is almost a year old now, so it’s still fairly “new” game to be given the PS+ freebie treatment, even though it’s technically a remake of a game from 1997. New copies of the game can run anywhere from $30 up to $100 or more, depending on the version of the game purchased and the console it was purchased for, though most hover right around that $60 new game price for a standard edition. While we’re waiting for it to be released for PlayStation Plus subscribers the standard version of the game is still priced at $59.99 on Sony’s digital storefront. 

Despite that hefty price tag, the game you can buy right now – the one Sony is adding to PlayStation Plus for subscribers – isn’t a complete recreation of the PlayStation classic. It’s simply the opening chapter of the original game; with some expanded content. Square Enix, the owner of the franchise, has decided to try the episodic model for their Final Fantasy VII Remake

And the remake is a full remake. This isn’t just a re-skin with new graphics. Gameplay and combat are updated, along with visuals, and there is additional story content to help flesh out the chapter. 

Final Fantasy VII is a classic in the RPG genre for several reasons. It wasn’t the first Final Fantasy game to diverge from a strict traditional fantasy (read: magical and medieval) setting. Final Fantasy VI, released three years before for the Super Nintendo and later ported to the PlayStation, had already done that with some steampunk type elements. But FFVII had a decidedly modern setting, without sacrificing those fantasy elements. Contemporary urban fantasy may be it’s own, rich genre today, but back in 1997 the game setting and story felt fresh because they were. 

It will be interesting to see how that holds up nearly a quarter of a century later. 

As noted, Final Fantasy VII Remake is not the complete classic game. If you want to play Final Fantasy VII exactly – or very close – to how it was originally released you can of course play the original PlayStation disc on any original PlayStation compatible consoles (PS, PS2, PS3, or through mobile or PC emulators). The game has also been ported to Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and to mobile platforms like iOS and Android. While these don’t all control exactly like the original PlayStation game, the ports are true to the gameplay and storyline of the original. And it’s the storyline that made FFVII a classic in the first place.

If you have PlayStation Plus, FFVII Remake will be available with the March games for the service. Subscribers can add the game to their library during the month of March and – as long as they keep up their PS+ subscription – can come back to download and play the game at any time.

Xbox Game Pass subscribers can download the Windows port of the original game while it’s still part of the Microsoft subscription service for PC as well. The graphics on the original version don’t hold up so well, but the story still does, even if dialogue is a bit stilted. 

Both the original FFVII and FFVII Remake are rated T for Teen, and should not be played by children under 13 without adult guidance and supervision. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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