Later this month, Square Enix will finally release Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. A few weeks back, we received an invitation to check the game out early and left impressed with what Square Enix had to show. Square Enix allowed us to play the first two chapters of the game, which can be both a blessing and a curse.
The first two chapters showcase the tremendous potential that the second game in the Final Fantasy VII Remake trilogy possesses. With that said, a bittersweet moment occurred when Chapter 3 started, only to see a “Thanks For Playing” screen. We had reached the limit of the content for the event but wanted to play and see more of the world. Fortunately, fans don't have to wait much longer, with the release date set for the end of February.
Those who finished Final Fantasy VII Remake will remember that the game finished once Cloud and Company left Midgar. In the original Final Fantasy VII, the crew headed to Kalm after leaving Midgar, and the same happens here. A certain flashback takes place before arriving there though, something fans of the original know all about. For those who haven't played the original, no spoilers here.
Keep Kalm While Exploring This Reimagined City
Fans familiar with Kalm from the original title will be awestruck with how it looks in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. The development team did a fantastic job bringing their vision to life. A small town in Final Fantasy VII, Kalm now appears to be a bustling city filled with people to interact with and activities to complete. Obviously, Kalm isn't on the scale of Midgar, but fans should still like what Square Enix has done here. After being in Kalm for a little while, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth introduces everyone to a new game, Queen's Blood.
Queen's Blood is a card game played by people worldwide. Throughout the journey, Cloud will have the opportunity to find Queen's Blood players and challenge them. Upon winning, Cloud will receive more cards to add to the collection. As the game progresses, players try to collect as many cards as possible to try and get more powerful cards for future battles. Some shops in the game will also carry booster packs for purchase.
The First Step in a Grand Journey
Once the party leaves Kalm, the game begins to open up. The player gets treated to this tremendous sweeping shot of the landscape as Cloud and the rest of the group take their first steps on this epic adventure. For those who thought Square Enix did a great job reimagining Midgar, wait until the world opens up in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
From what Square Enix showed during the event, everything has received a nice upgrade, even the menus. In Final Fantasy VII Remake, the development team put the characters against a blue background when players entered the menu. It looks nice but pales in comparison to what Square Enix has in store for fans in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. This new menu feels much more dynamic and does a great job showing off some of the new mechanics in this game. One of those new mechanics fans will take advantage of revolves around having three preset parties to swap between. This will allow everyone to adapt to any situation and will enable the player to change strategy at a moment's notice.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth also features a crafting system. One way to get the materials revolves around collecting them in the open world. Doing this gave me a Horizon Zero Dawn vibe with how items appear in the environment and how Cloud can pick them up to add to the collection. While exploring the open world, one of the locations available to explore includes the Chocobo Ranch. One of the funniest moments during my playthrough featured Red XIII sitting on a Chocobo like everyone else.
New Mechanics Await, Including a Reworked Sphere Grid
Once the world opened up, the urge to explore every nook and cranny took over. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible due to the timed nature of the event. Staying on the main story track has advantages, allowing for more opportunities to experience the story beats.
One such instance involves getting familiar with the new Folios system. Each character has a different Folio. The Folio system immediately reminded me of a reworked Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. Once someone earns enough skill points, a new skill becomes available to unlock. This could include raising maximum health points, utilizing an ally's magic, increasing damage by five percent, and much more. When one skill gets unlocked, that opens up a path to a new one. Square Enix has also included the ability to reset your skill core in case your upgrades don't work out as expected.
Another new feature that has a lot of potential involves collecting world intel. More items and adventures will become available by finding towers and activating them. This includes new materia, quests, combat simulations, and more. Another advantage of activating these towers revolves around getting to know the world better, including where certain items might be, as well as enemies.
Like many open-world games, fog initially covers the world map. However, that will disappear as Cloud explores each new area. While players can mainline the story in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and not do any of the optional side material, a lot of fascinating material will get lost.
Opening Act Shows a Lot of Potential
Square Enix only allowed us to see the first two chapters. That tiny glimpse shows immense potential for the overall game. Fans can expect another grand entry in the Final Fantasy franchise if the rest of the game stays at the quality level of the opening sections. In those two chapters, Cloud and his group of friends give us memorable moments, some expected, with a few surprises thrown in as well. Fans have a lot to look forward to when Final Fantasy VII Rebirth finally arrives on the PlayStation 5 on February 29th.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth arrives on the PlayStation 5 on February 29th.