Hands-on experience with the E3 demo
We can say that the hottest ticket to the E3 2019 is Remake of Final Fantasy VII. After surprising fans with a release date a few days ago, Square Enix confirmed that the game would be playable in the theater. On the first day of E3, the queue to get a game ticket wound up around the booth as the first participants rushed to try their luck. I was in this line and a few hours later, I had my first opportunity to give Remake of Final Fantasy VII a shot.
The demo is relatively short. After watching a video of instructions on how to play it, I am immersed in the heart of a Shinra reactor under the name of Cloud and Barret. Charged with laying a bomb and getting out of it, it's a quick descent on the various ladders and walkways leading to the reactor located below. There are some Shinra soldiers and flying robots on our way, which gives me a chance to familiarize myself with the combat system before the battle of Guard Scorpion Guard, which will ultimately make up the bulk of the demo.
To describe Remake of Final Fantasy VII As an action game, it's the most obvious and accurate way to tell you what kind of experience it is. For the demo, I can control Cloud or Barret, passing if necessary on the fly. Whichever player I do not play with, the attacker will fend for himself and the AI partner will prove himself more than competent enough to take charge and defend himself if necessary.
Cloud, armed with his Buster sword, is perfect for ground enemies and individual fights. A press on the standard attack button fills his ATB. When enough of this bar is filled, I can enter tactical mode, slow down the time and allow myself to attack with a skill or spell, or use an object. As I take damage, my Limit Break meter fills up. Once it 's full, all I have to do is go into tactical mode to release it.
The tight action game articulates quite well with the menu-based ATB system. It's pretty well built so that I can always totally control my characters and my actions. Surprisingly, I make no mistake in the demo, like choosing an attack spell while I wanted to heal myself. The slower time in tactical mode really gives players a break, but it can be easy to accidentally press the "X" button to initiate it while you do not really want it.
Barret is useful against flying enemies or those perched on the ledges above. His spells and abilities are different from those of Cloud, and in the march towards my battle with Scorpion, I switch over as needed. Once the battle is over, I have to go back to Cloud. Switching between group members seems to be possible only in combat.
The fight against the Scorpion Guard begins with a bang. As you probably know in the many trailers that Square Enix has put in place since its announcement FFVIIRemake, my party is ambushed before we can complete our mission to detonate the reactor. This battle is long and much more complicated than the little fights that preceded it. Staying alive against the robot requires extensive use of dodge and blocking buttons, as well as a general awareness of the battlefield to know where to hide from its most devastating attacks. The character moves are a little loose in the demo and the camera controls are not as close as they should be. These problems make this massive struggle a little more chaotic than it probably should. I am never short of what I am doing, but this certainly illustrates just how much the fighting system lacks the finish of the action games that inspires it.
In this fight, I have to alternate between Barret and Cloud many times, as they both have skills and spells – the latter requiring both ATB and MP – that work well against Scorpion. It takes two Cloud Limits for the robot to be knocked out to defeat it. Many times in the fight, I have to hide and heal my team before it eliminates us. If one of the characters falls into battle, the other will continue to fight and will be able to revive their fallen comrade with a broken phoenix.
The battle is more or less simple and easy enough to follow from start to finish, but there have been some moments when the action is not really synchronized with the other systems of the game. Several times in the match, when I was passing Barret, the camera was turned in the wrong direction. As the robot gained new hitting points, his left and right legs, which were actually on those parts of his body, did not seem to have much impact. Having people present was only used to try to distract me from the fact that I had reduced the health of the thing to a last shot.
The demo ended abruptly with the defeat of the boss. It was fun, that's for sure, and the duration of the battle is a good indication of the type of fights that players with Remake of Final Fantasy VII launches next year. But this is a radical change from the original fight of the replica, stacked by turns. Even though I only played the original Final Fantasy VII For the first time a few years ago, his fighting system remained one of the best of all the JRPG genre.
The fight here does not have the same effect on me yet. It is very polite apart from a few cases where the camera does not cooperate and the system in tactical mode will definitely be a boon once I will have access to more characters, spells, skills, materia, limit breaks, etc. I appreciate it enough not to deter being excited about the final product, but it's something Final Fantasy VII The fans will have to make the necessary experience themselves to really realize how dramatic the change will be from the original game to this one.
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