Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review

The OMG Review
Our review format is not your usual fare and we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!

“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.

“Wait for it…” means that while the game is good, it probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point. We suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.

“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future. Maybe ever. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.

Sneak Peek
  • Release Date: February 29, 2024
  • Platforms: PS5
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Similar Games: Final Fantasy VII Remake, Final Fantasy XVI
  • Price: starts at $69.99

Nearly four years have passed since the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake, and fans have been holding their collective breath in anticipation of the sequel. There’s a sense of cautious optimism as we look forward to the monumental task of adapting what is arguably the most pivotal segment of a trilogy—an effort that involves sticking the landing but also setting up the last entry for a striking finish.

Final Fantasy VII Remake fulfilled a promise to fans. I vividly recall playing the Final Fantasy VII demo back in 1996—a transformative experience that deepened my understanding and appreciation of RPGs. Now, almost three decades later, we find ourselves immersed once again in another potential masterpiece, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

As Cloud and his party continue their unknown voyage outside Midgar into the vast overworld chasing after their nemesis Sephiroth, we learn more about the motley crew of adventurers as we scour through a dying world ravaged by Shinra Electric Company’s greed. Will everything play out according to plan or will the threads of fate spin a completely different tale?

Fate Spins Her Thread

In the wake of the cliffhanger from Remake, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth quickly emphasizes that nothing is as it seems. Final Fantasy VII Remake expanded on pivotal events, infusing the world and its characters with newfound depth. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth now breaks free from the confines of Midgar, and with it, an ambitious undertaking to rebuild the world from the ground up.

A surge of excitement overcame me as the world opened up right in front of my eyes. I imagined fragments of it in my mind once before, but witnessing its actualization within the game was nothing short of overwhelming. From blocky pixels to almost picture-perfect visuals, it would immediately set the tone of what to expect.

Getting a platinum for Final Fantasy VII Remake, of course

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth spans 14 chapters based on disc one of the original game. This 40-hour narrative journey will take players across three continents and six different regions where Cloud and the rest of the gang will team up with Cait Sith, Yuffie, and a couple of others who don’t quite make the cut as playable characters just yet.

An “explore” button has been added, allowing players to move around the world even more than before. In Remake, you’re only able to walk around the corridors with some exceptions marked by the blue arrows, but in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, you’re able to climb mountains, jump on platforms, and yes… traverse in the direction marked by the blue arrows.

Each character in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth plays a distinct role, whether in combat or during their exploratory phases throughout the game. Much like Yuffie in Intergrade, every character possesses a unique method of navigating through the world. Barret can blast through areas with his Gatling arm, Red XIII can wall run with ease, and Yuffie and Tifa employ grappling hooks to reach higher platforms.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Story
…and another platinum for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on top of that.

While this may seem gimmicky at first, they all serve a crucial narrative purpose to highlight the growth of each character throughout the game. It’s directly tied to gameplay, and while the new traversal mechanics only appear during specific chapters rather than being naturally woven into the overall design of the world, it’s a small nitpick in the grand scheme of things.

In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the spotlight extends to every supporting character, giving them moments to shine. My connection deepened with Red XIII and Cait Sith this time around, allowing me to fully understand their motivations unlike in the original game, where they remained on the sidelines. Character and level progression happens so naturally that excluding them from the main party doesn’t hinder their impact during pivotal narrative sequences. My mind constantly draws parallels to Final Fantasy VI, a masterpiece that skillfully highlights each character, granting them their well-deserved moments in the spotlight.

This thematic continuity permeates throughout the game, where each character’s relationship with Cloud evolves through dialogue choices and subtle interactions. By undertaking specific tasks and engaging in mini-games, players can expand on their Synergy Actions (more details later) while influencing certain events.

You’re gonna say no to Aerith? Monster!

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth‘s voice acting remains excellent, with its English voice cast making a strong case as the default option, aligned with the spectacular performances of Ben Starr and the Final Fantasy XVI cast. Red XIII gets special mention, as there are layers to his character seen in the original where your imagination filled in how he sounded like with the dialogue text, versus hearing it in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Cait Sith is also stellar with his Scottish accent, while in the Japanese dub, he featured a Kansai-ben twang that’s equally as engaging.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth‘s story is told exceptionally, arguably its most important undertaking, but not without some minor hiccups. Certain moments of humor occasionally feel out of place, and minor pacing issues arise during the middle chapters, with forced mini-games getting in the way of the momentum of the journey. Some locales like Costa Del Sol and Gold Saucer slightly overstay their welcome, but at the end of the day, every chapter fulfilled their narrative purpose with precision.

I can understand the injection of humor and lighthearted moments as these serve as a necessary counterbalance to the bleak themes of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. When the story delves into its darker depths, it does so with unflinching intensity and is something worth experiencing. The stakes are extremely high and are communicated to the players masterfully, making each step leading to the final chapter an exercise in well-controlled excitement.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Sephiroth

How does it all end? I will leave the ending for you to discover, but I’m hoping that the developers navigate the final chapter of the Remake trilogy with utmost care and success. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has made me believe in what it is trying to do but will leave numerous questions unanswered, and understandably so, making the wait for the conclusion and the payoff for the creative choices throughout this journey nigh unbearable.

A Whole New (Over)World

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth hits a monumental achievement with its meticulous reimagining of the classic overworld, seamlessly melding it with the contemporary understanding of an expansive open world. Despite my occasional reservations about open-world fatigue, the implementation here not only succeeds but surpasses expectations.

Red XIII is asking for treats

The game revitalizes the open world by integrating successful elements from Remake’s quest system and finding a balance between engaging content and the amount of things to do. This approach rekindles the joy of discovery, moving to a place seen in the distance and finding something new, an aspect often lost in recent titles.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth commits to uniqueness, most evident in its overworld design. Each region possesses a distinct character, whether it’s traversing the outskirts of Midgar, exploring the grasslands of Kalm, or venturing into the swamp near the entrance to the Mythril Mines, creating an experience that feels fresh at every turn.

The latter regions offer a much more extreme shift. The verdant expanse of the Grasslands gives way to the desolation of Mt. Corel and leads to the awe-inspiring spectacle of the Gold Saucer. This juxtaposition between decadence fueled by Mako energy and the planet’s gradual demise serves to communicate a powerful theme that is felt throughout the game.

You get a chocobo… Everyone gets a chocobo!

Navigating through the diverse regions of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a joy because of the Chocobos endemic to the area. While the basic yellow Chocobos serve their purpose, Junon introduces the black Chocobo, capable of scaling cliffs and granting access to previously inaccessible locations. Additional chocobo species await discovery, each offering unique abilities.

Chadley makes a return in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, gathering region data to enhance his evolving monster database and Materia generation capabilities. These regions are littered with Remnawave Towers, a staple of open-world design, revealing relevant activities in the area such as locating rare monsters, exploring resource-rich areas, and even multi-step quests that culminate in valuable rewards and Materia.

The game further encourages exploration by rewarding encounters with unique monsters and the discovery of mako crystals that offer valuable resources to enable the crafting of items and accessories. The crafting system is a compelling addition, motivating players to improve their craftsmanship ability by crafting instead of relying on simply purchasing gear and items.

Piko is not pleased with my Final Fantasy V cosplay photoshoot

The vast expanse of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth beckons longtime fans of the series who have been craving a world filled with activities and exploration opportunities. Beyond the tangible rewards lies the intangible allure of discovery of a world that was once just a part of our imagination but is now fully realized in the game. Once left for the players to fill in the blanks, the world is now ripe for the taking.

Let The Battles Begin, Again!

Making a return to Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is its action-oriented combat system, arguably the best way to experience the game. While it remains a divisive element that some fans may not like over the classic turn-based system, this dynamic approach best captures the essence of the remake trilogy, offering a new take while respecting its foundations.

As a newly playable character, Red XII offers players a new melee option with an interesting Vengeance mechanic that offers a mix of offensive and defensive proficiency. Cait Sith, on the other hand, will provide a bit of a challenge to learn because of the option to switch between Cat and Moogle modes. The distinct playstyles of each character work well to offer players enough strategy and depth when choosing a main party.

The gang’s all here!

The progression of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s story will offer players moments where party members will split up due to narrative circumstances, but this shouldn’t worry players because unused members gain levels at the same time, unlike in previous titles where painstaking character-specific leveling was required.

This greatly alleviates the grind, allowing players to prioritize either exploration or narrative progression. While maintaining a consistent party lineup is an option, doing so comes at the cost of missing out on opportunities to improve relationships between Cloud and various characters through Synergy Skills and Synergy Abilities.

As the name suggests, Synergy Abilities require specific characters and grant various benefits like increasing their ATB meters to three bars, extending or increasing stagger, and allowing 0 MP activation, offering more strategy to approach battles with especially when you are low on MP or don’t have enough of your ATB gauge. Utilizing these new techniques will be key to success, especially on more challenging difficulty levels such as Hard mode.

Do I get a Quetzalcoatl materia?

A new feature in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is Party Level, which is increased as you complete various activities in the world. With a higher party level, you gain access to stat bonuses or more advanced skills in your Folio by expending Skill Points (SP), which accumulate as your characters level up. For instance, Yuffie gains Faith after successfully stealing, while Barret enters encounters with Regen.

This is a stark departure from the weapon upgrading system in the Remake. Weapons and Armor now come with predetermined Materia slots, enabling you to strategically select your loadout, while the unique abilities per weapon from the Remake make their return. As your weapon levels up, you unlock distinct weapon skills within your Folios, further enhancing your character’s capabilities

Combat in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is elevated due to the variety of enemies that introduce a dynamic experience. Each enemy possesses unique weaknesses, and there are multiple ways to trigger the stagger bar. This not only enhances the flow of battle but also encourages various approaches to deal with immediate threats. Additionally, the revamped limit break system seemingly allows for quicker activation in every encounter, making fights more engaging and efficient.

I cast magic missile

Boss battles, as expected, are awe-inspiring set pieces and often cinematic in nature. While not as grand in scope and scale compared to Final Fantasy XVI, seeing the Midgarsormr in full form, along with some new foes along the way, is another triumph. Meanwhile, secret bosses hidden throughout the overworld offer an even greater challenge. Locating them requires persistence, and defeating them demands strategic mastery, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

A delightful detail in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is the participation of the party members even when they are not part of your active team. Witnessing Barret take down a flying enemy or Tifa intercepting an adversary adds a level of immersion to the game, and it’s these subtle touches that truly elevate the overall experience. The concept and theme of the team and their relationship with each other shine once again.

There’s Always Time for Queen’s Blood…

In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the vast open world is teeming with diverse activities. Unlike other Final Fantasy titles, the range of activities available extends far beyond the main storyline, resulting in a content-rich outing that will keep players busy for hours on end.

However, what truly sets Final Fantasy VII Rebirth apart is its addictive card game, Queen’s Blood. This easily rivals the likes of Gwent and Triple Triad, and is, in my opinion, leagues better and more engaging than Intergrade’s Fort Condor.

A few squares more than Triple Triad

Queen’s Blood has a simple premise: you have three rows with five spaces each where you can play your cards. Each card will have different properties, such as power, casting cost, and an ability that you must utilize to gain the most points per row. While it sounds simple, it is tough to master, and will certainly require a certain amount of thought and strategy.

Elsewhere in the expansive world of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, quests take on a nice twist. Beyond the typical fetch quests, players engage in multifaceted activities that add depth to the gameplay experience. Catching Chocobos endemic to the region is often a multi-step affair that presents players with a puzzle that has to be solved, while a particular quest in Kalm involves tracking down a rare monster that needs a Chocobo to complete. There’s almost always a connecting tissue, which is nice to see.

Beyond these typical quests, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth also introduces Divine Shrines, mystical locations that allow players to make acquiring Summon Materia easier while enhancing their abilities. Summons have always been awe-inspiring in the series, and the prospect of adding more divine beings to aid in battle adds an extra layer of excitement.

These fetch quests are ridiculous

Across the swath of new activities found in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s open world, the game also employs mini-games galore. Many of these are realized in Gold Saucer, with a good blend of returning activities like the box time attack mixed with new ones like a motorcycle game, a Chocobo racer, and even a space shooter. Each one is a worthy distraction from the main task at hand.

Most impressive of these is a piano player that is reminiscent of the highly-detailed guitar player from The Last of Us Part II. The demo already gave a glimpse, but it’ll be great to see how the community will utilize this to offer creative performances that will fill social media in the coming days and weeks.

These moogles got no chill

Cue Fanfare Track

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a triumph, but it is not without faults. As seen in the demo, some lighting issues paint the cast in an unusually dark shadow, making their models appear miscolored in dark areas. Transitioning from a brightly lit landscape to a dimly lit cave can be jarring due to glare and sudden dimming effects, with an adjustment period that could disrupt the flow of gameplay.

Technically, the game could also use some stability in terms of frame rates. While the improved visual fidelity in graphics mode enhances the world and its inhabitants, camera movement can be jittery and there are noticeable texture pop ins, sometimes compromising the overall experience. Players may often find themselves switching to performance mode for smoother gameplay during fast-paced combat sequences. Loading times are also lightning-fast, and when considering the vast scope of the game world, achieving such efficiency is a remarkable engineering feat.

Given these hitches, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth succeeds in other aspects so well that it becomes easy to overlook niggling issues. There’s much to love and look forward to, that most, if not all, won’t mind a hiccup or two along the way.

Twenty slashes short of an omnislash

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth also stands out as an impressive title in terms of overall presentation. Its visuals are striking, and every intricate detail has been meticulously considered. Even the little things, where the game asks you if you want to fast travel to a location on foot or atop a Chocobo, show how much thought was put into every aspect. These touches contribute to an immersive experience that brings the universe of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth to life.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth wouldn’t be complete without a heartfelt conversation about its mesmerizing soundtrack. Returning remixed tracks from Remake evoke nostalgia as they seamlessly blend with new remastered compositions like the iconic Junon theme and the soothing Cosmo Canyon melody.

As with the many titles in the series, a fantastic soundtrack ties the game together in a lovely package, mirroring the emotional journey of Cloud and the gang and tugging at our heartstrings from start to finish. It elevates us during exhilarating highs and allows us to empathize with characters during their most challenging lows, becoming an integral part of the experience.

It is the cherry on top of an already masterful immersive experience, uniting the world and its characters in a wondrous reunion decades in the making.

Face to face with a super boss

What We Liked

  • A fully immersive and fully alive open world.
  • Superior quality-of-life features and improvements make it a real joy to play.
  • Fast-paced combat with new features delivers an exciting time.
  • Streamlined character building and weapon system with the introduction of folios.
  • Fantastic presentation and dedication to detail that brings the world of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth to life.
  • Supporting characters get a lot of spotlight and we’re all richer because of it.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Some out of place humor and cringe moments.
  • Pacing issues in the main campaign by introducing forced mini-games.
  • Lighting issues, texture pop-ins, and a jittery camera in graphics mode.

Verdict: Buy It!

Editors choice

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth rises to the challenge set by its predecessor, by bringing to life every facet of the imagined open world we’ve cherished for decades and executing the vision to near perfection by marrying it with today’s technology. Square Enix’s meticulous attention to detail, no matter how minute, resonates with awe-inspiring clarity, no longer feeling the need to imagine because the world is finally alive and it is here.

While not flawless, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth navigates its journey with grace and offers a fascinating experience that makes it easy to overlook the minor issues. I found myself deeply impressed by the expansive overworld, the iconic set pieces, and the thoughtful expansions that honor the beloved title’s essence, making it a strong contender for Game of the Year nods and a definite reason to finally get a PS5 if you haven’t yet.

The monumental task of crafting this second entry is now over, surpassing expectations. The final chapter now looms in the distance, and the pressure is on Square Enix to wrap things up with utmost care. For now, we can take solace in the fact that Final Fantasy VII Rebirth masterfully does the job, setting up the grand finale in stunning fashion.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was reviewed on a PS5 with a review copy provided by the publisher.

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