Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review | PlayStation 5

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth's characters, combat and captivating story made it the best Final Fantasy game ever.

By SnowWhite, Posted 06 Mar 2024

It's probably impossible to name a series more influential or rooted in the JRPG history than Final Fantasy VII. Not only did it mark the onset of the glorious age of JRPGs, but it was a massively successful JRPG that changed the face of Square Enix and the Japanese gaming industry for life. For over three decades, we immersed ourselves in a world through many events, each adding to the rich, intricate, and, most importantly, alluring lore. Taking on the role of Cloud, we embarked on a breathtaking adventure populated by memorable characters who have impacted countless lives.


Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Screenshots, Zack, Cloud
 

Now, imagine a world instead of a typical open world. That's how it feels in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. No Final Fantasy game has ever had more content than this one, even more so than the massively multiplayer online games. Taking cues from the Final Fantasy VII Remake masterwork, Rebirth boasts a high level of consistency in its gameplay, engine, and boss battle system. So, with this structure essentially in place, SQUARE ENIX's primary challenges this time are updating the original work's iconic narratives and compromising with the linear process by introducing the open world concept. Playing Final Fantasy VII Rebirth beforehand will give you a leg up in knowing how everything ends.

The events of Rebirth take place after the Final Fantasy VII Remake ends. Defying fate, Cloud and his army destroyed part of Midgar in their battle against a furious Sephiroth before fleeing the city for the wild outdoors. Our heroes left their bags at the Kalm Inn, a little settlement on the borders of the wider Prairie Region, a few kilometers from the big city. Cloud lingers in the past, revealing a lengthy flashback of the wonderful era when Sephiroth was a hero and a legend.

The horrific tragedies that led Cloud to pursue Sephiroth so doggedly. On a mission of vengeance that will spare Earth from certain destruction. Because of this overt intention, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth presents as an instant sequel to Final Fantasy VII Remake, which could confuse newcomers eager to get into this remade saga. To fully grasp the adventure, you need to play Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. The main menu also has a synopsis, although it's brief and won't cover enough ground if you haven't started the game yet. Only as a booster shot will it be effective.

As Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart, Aerith Gainsborough, and Barret Wallace reunite in Kalm Village, Red XIII escapes Midgar and joins them. In it, Cloud explains what transpired five years ago and gives further background on Sephiroth and their legendary feud. A common motif in Rebirth is the inclusion of a chapter detailing the backstory or character arc of an ally; the original cast includes four characters and two more are introduced later on (Yuffie Kisaragi and Cait Sith).


Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Screenshots, Cloud, Tifa
 

This approach is well thought out, considering the story's origin. In their quest to find Sephiroth, our main characters discover each other's histories as they journey through various locations, ultimately strengthening their bond as a team. Though none of the stories are noteworthy, most people will likely find the most exciting parts in Red XIII and Barret.

Players familiar with the original game will note that certain events now occur in a different sequence. Spoilers aside, it is already known that Vincent and Cid do not join the celebration, and the story sets the stage for their roles in the sequel. Red XIII, Cait Sith, and Yuffie—now fully realized characters—underwent the same procedure. Because of this, the plot suffers since we don't learn much about Vincent's role in the bigger picture and nothing about the bits involving Cid. Everything from Cait Sith to Red XIII, Tifa to Aerith, is well-developed and deserves attention. There may not have been much space for the plot with two additional party members, so they'll have plenty of opportunity to develop in the future game.

That being said, the story is a patchwork of both predetermined and unexpected turning points. Almost all of this story is entertaining, which amazed me. Curiously, this game is both somewhat and more predictable than the first. Every time it veers off course, it usually does it most creatively, surprising and exciting us along the way. One might expect a game with an open environment to have less plot, but that was not the case.

There is a strong emphasis on the plot, and the cinematic quality is on par with that of more recent Final Fantasy games, such as Final Fantasy XVI and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Nevertheless, there are a few places where I feel this plot veers off the road. The storylines of the characters are what will draw in the majority of players.


Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Screenshots, Boss Fight
 

Combat in Final Fantasy VII Remake was top-notch, with excellent parrying blows, dodge rolls, and special attacks. It was a very cutting-edge game, and everyone seemed to agree it was great. In some ways, Rebirth is more comfortable. Playing Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is similar to the original Final Fantasy VII Remake. At first glance, everything appears to be the same; nevertheless, upon closer inspection, it improves in every respect. It does a fantastic job of combining action with ATB strategic fighting.

Now, outside of the ATP, the action is heating up. Synergy is a new mechanic that allows you to perfect dodge and block, allowing you to entirely nullify damage. You can use synergy talents to activate abilities linked between two characters without using resources like ATB or MP. You can use some of them to get closer to your aerial adversaries and create tag combos like never before, and they're a huge assist in battle. Another thing about the Synergy system is that you'll need Synergy points to buy abilities.

Typically, they impart passive abilities, such as enhanced defense or limit break, upon you. In addition to being visually appealing, those things have a practical purpose in battle. Their lack of invincibility during animations is my only real complaint about them; this makes them terrifying to use at times. As for the combat system, they revived the ATB combat we loved in the original game and made it more active by integrating it into the action aspect, making the combat system very dynamic. It's an essential move in the right way because you're continually doing something that extends beyond what you did in the previous game. Because of the improvements made to air fighting, this combat mechanism feels flawless.

That's correct; there has been a huge improvement in aerial combat, allowing characters to remain airborne for long periods and execute a wide variety of moves when airborne. Not every character works well on paper. Cloud Yui and Tia are very good at it, though. You can do more than simply mass square between ATB assaults with synergy; it lets you switch up your plan effectively. A decent system for parrying is to do a perfect block. It's the only major issue I have with this combat mechanism. Your expectations for an action game will determine this.


Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Screenshots, Boss Fight
 

The combat in this game somewhat still relies heavily on animation locks. Thus, you cannot cancel out into a block while attacking. Since some people emphasize precision, the ability to simply cancel out of an attack has sparked heated discussion about whether or not this is a bug. Having the option to do these kinds of cancellations is nice, though. Party AI has also undergone significant advancements. They have a renewed sense of self-confidence and feel more capable of handling their needs. In every regard, it's an improvement over the fighting in Final Fantasy VII Remake.

The world design of this game is unlike any other because it features open-world exploration and linear sections. For this reason, the game deftly implements a linear part anytime you feel tired of the free environment. This ensures that both open-world and linear gameplay elements will always be present. This is why, despite the game's open-world design, it was not explicitly labeled as such. However, you can't freely choose your party in many places. But I think it's great for getting to know each character well when playing as them. Also, by the time you reach the game's conclusion, you will have a solid grasp of every character's mechanics.

Additionally, they have a special way of traversing the landscape, making most dungeons fun to explore. Final Fantasy VII Remake's dungeon design was criticized for being excessively padding. Most of these dungeons in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth are entertaining and fast-paced. There are certain late-game events that are incredibly bloated, but there are also those that make Hojo's Lab seem like a picnic. The majority of the dungeons in this game strike a fantastic mix between puzzle-solving, exploration, and combat. Compared to Remake, this one has better flesh and is generally fun to play.

The newly created skill tree system known as Materia, which enables you to build up your characters, is supplemented by new systems such as Folio. One of the appealing aspects of Folio is that it allows you to have elemental attacks that are not connected to your MP or Materia requirements. Having that Elemental Materia on hand usually makes the pressure less effective. In contrast, these assaults from your Folio can be chained together to deal more damage to bosses that are vulnerable to lightning, even if you don't have that spell equipped.


Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Screenshots, Traverse
 

However, the side content was a major dissatisfaction for the original game. But Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has a decent amount of side content, which includes the ability to unlock hidden optional dungeons, open up new areas of the world, and provide satisfying rewards. This game contrasts modern Final Fantasy titles, such as Final Fantasy XIII and XVI, which leave players bereft of hidden secrets within the game's universe.

I got it by completing all of the side material in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Still, in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, it was difficult to keep myself from becoming distracted by the side distractions. Thanks to the incredible mini-games, like Queen's Blood, Dethrone Triple Triad became my favorite mini-game in the series. Getting used to it could be a slow process, but once you do, it will distract you from the main objective for quite a while.

Having said that, Rebirth has a plethora of obligatory mini-games. Although there was a good amount in the original Final Fantasy VII, there is far more here. However, I still didn't find it very bothersome, even after considering that. You will have a blast with the majority of these mini-games. Nevertheless, the plot and people are Final Fantasy's lifeblood. The game's characters are, unsurprisingly, portrayed superbly. The secret character development of Barrett will finally hit you, and you'll understand why he turned against Shinra.

Tifa and Aerith's bond deepens, and they are very sweet when together. For example, there's a scene with Tifa that I consider to be her finest moment in Final Fantasy VII, and it moved me deeply. This includes the growing friendship between Berrett and Cloud, which is evident in their relationship. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth takes the arcs of all its characters very seriously, which is unusual for a game with such a large cast. The parallel arc of every person is handled quite nicely.


Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Screenshots, Zack
 

Regarding character design, Rebirth accomplished something that appeared to be unattainable. Every single one of the characters here is brilliantly portrayed, in my opinion. Even though the Cloud is the game's focus, it never gives the impression that she is the only character that matters. It blew my mind that they could accomplish such a feat, as these characters hold enormous significance. Even though it takes place in an open environment, this game is just as story-driven and dramatic as Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Their unwavering commitment to creating this game is mind-blowing. Considering how thoroughly these character arcs have been supported is truly remarkable. Reimagined in high definition as a state-of-the-art AAA title, this is the ideal Final Fantasy IV–IX gameplay-style update. Not only is Final Fantasy VII Rebirth a fantastic game, but it also exemplifies the kind of gameplay that Square Enix should prioritize moving ahead. The developers have done an incredible job with the game's exploration, combat, mini-games, and overall pacing, except for the final quarter.

There was a slight improvement made to the visuals of Rebirth when compared to those of Remake. When you look over the environment, you will see a lot of attention to detail, which is to be anticipated, given that this time around, it is a more open game. Each region has been exquisitely constructed with an artistic mind to maintain the ambiance and feel of the original game while adapting it to the present era.

Everything about the place, from the interiors to the exteriors, was just fantastic. The game makes a few mistakes that don't detract from the stunning visual design overall. But keeping performance mode on is hard because the game becomes blurry in certain places. The one thing I didn't like about this game was having to switch between performance and quality settings so often.



 

It is genuinely remarkable how far Square Enix has come with the reincarnation of Final Fantasy VII, which is a surprisingly stunning achievement. Rather than replacing the original, it will sit alongside it, as the two are distinct but complementary experiences. But there is more to Final Fantasy VII Rebirth than just reliving an adventure or going on a nostalgic voyage. It differs from the original game in its audacity and intends to leave an impression that will remain with us for a while.

Square Enix gave us the ultimate role-playing game and the best Final Fantasy ever with its flawless combat, charming cast, and fascinating tale. If you enjoy role-playing games or Final Fantasy, you will simply love Rebirth. Immersed in its 14 chapters, you'll relive moments from past events that you now understand more clearly. However, I still suggest playing Final Fantasy VII Remake before Final Fantasy VII Rebirth if you can.
 

Asura Kagawa (@AsuraKagawa)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PS5
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix Creative Business Unit I
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Fantasy, Action, Adventure
Release Date: 2024-02-29

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