April 18, 2020

I beat this two days ago and wanted to give some time to let it breathe before I wrote my
semi-final-ish thoughts.

I think that sidequests are largely superfluous time sinks that harm the pacing, with the last batch
of them especially really harming the narrative flow; speaking of flow, Shinra HQ has an entire
fucking dungeon inserted into the middle of it that serves no purpose other to destroy the pacing
in what was one of the best-paced and most memorable sections of the original.

Counterstance is broken as fuck and I think that its inclusion at all is odd, considering how the
punisher mode counter is fairly strong but has its own upsides and downsides inherent to its
properties that counterstance entirely ignores and lets you bust the fights in half. Said fights
occasionally dip into questionable telegraphing and I'm not sure how I feel about hard mode's
changes until I play it myself.

However, outside of the pop-in (which I pray is patched sooner or later), it's one of the most
graphically impressive games I've ever played and it ran rock-solid on my PS4 slim. The
gameplay has fantastic kinaesthetics and I think it's an amazing way to make ATB combat
interesting moment-to-moment. The encounters surprised me in that you had to actually interact
with a lot of the game's systems in order to survive in them on Normal, which is a bar that most
JRPGs I've played have failed to reach.

There is a deep and abiding love for Final Fantasy VII that creeps into every inch of its meticulous
world and the characterization is incredibly spot-on, with the voice acting, writing, and area
designs really making the setting and its inhabitants feel fully-realized.

The music is more varied than I could have ever hoped for, blending an incredible amount of
genres and dynamically mixing between them, and the game's cutscenes made me age regress
into a twelve-year-old again and be joyfully, unironically enjoying its chuuni - and I didn't play even
a bit of FF7 until last year.

Any review of this has to touch on its ending, I think, and its narrative holds genuine promise and
pleads for faith in them for future installments. On the back of how they handled this first part, I
think they understand the bones of FF7 enough for me to have that faith.

Doom Eternal is still probably gonna be my GOTY because it's one of the best FPS games of
this millenium, but I think that FF7R is an incredibly enjoyable experience and if you're at all
interested in returning to the world of Midgar you should jump on it.