Final Fantasy VII Rebirth review — A detailed, no-nonsense take

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth emerges as a narrative grappling with the clash between destiny and liberation
The image shows three characters from Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. — Square Enix
The image shows three characters from Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. — Square Enix

In the climactic culmination of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the protagonist, Cloud, stands at the pivotal juncture known as Destiny's Crossroads. Here, the antagonist Sephiroth has ruptured the fabric of reality, unveiling a portal to an uncertain future. 

Aerith's cryptic assertion that their next step involves "changing more than fate itself" hints at Square Enix's audacious intent to diverge from fans' expectations. This moment encapsulates the profound unease shared by both characters and players alike. 

As they brace to step into the unknown, Tifa's inquiry to Aerith about what lies beyond elicits the ominous response: "Freedom. Boundless, terrifying freedom." And indeed, it proves to be true.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth emerges as a narrative grappling with the clash between destiny and liberation, while also exploring the delicate interplay between narrative authorship and player agency. 

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth trailer

Through gameplay mechanisms that encourage exploration, Rebirth empowers players to chart their own course within its expansive world. Its narrative weaves a captivating tale of environmental exploitation and radical environmentalism, underscoring the human consequences of these conflicting ideologies. 

However, this narrative, inherently bound by predefined story beats, occasionally constrains the player's agency. The equilibrium between these opposing forces manifests throughout Rebirth, offering moments of both empowerment and frustration.

The game extends beyond the confines of Midgar, inviting players to explore new territories alongside Cloud, Aerith, Tifa, Barrett, and their companions. 

From the verdant expanses of the Grasslands to the bustling transport hub of Junon, each locale pulsates with vibrant life, enhanced by a resonant orchestral score. Travel between these diverse regions is facilitated by various forms of transportation, seamlessly connecting the world and immersing players in its vastness.

Rebirth introduces a gameplay loop centred around discovering and activating Remnawave towers, unlocking a plethora of activities and challenges within each region. While reminiscent of traditional open-world design, Rebirth imbues these activities with narrative significance, reinforcing the game's thematic underpinnings. From excavating transmuter chips in Mythril mines to vanquishing powerful fiends, each task contributes to a deeper understanding of the game world and its ecological dynamics.

Final Fantasy 7 combat

Combat in Rebirth builds upon the foundation established in Remake, blending the fluidity of action gameplay with strategic depth. The introduction of synergy skills encourages players to leverage the unique strengths of each character, fostering dynamic combat interactions. However, Rebirth's heightened difficulty demands strategic finesse, requiring players to exploit enemy weaknesses and coordinate synergistic attacks to prevail.

Character progression in Final Fantasy 7

Character progression in Rebirth mirrors its predecessor, with experience points and AP contributing to stat growth and materia enhancement, respectively. The introduction of weapon skills and the Folio system offers additional layers of customisation, allowing players to tailor their characters' abilities to suit their playstyle.

While Rebirth excels in individual storytelling and gameplay mechanics, its overarching narrative occasionally falters. Pacing issues arise during extended periods of diversionary minigames, disrupting the flow of the main plot. Additionally, attempts to reimagine iconic moments from the original game often result in narrative convolution, detracting from the coherence of the storyline.

Despite its flaws, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth stands as a testament to Square Enix's ambition, setting the stage for a finale shrouded in uncertainty. As players navigate the tumultuous journey ahead, they are reminded of the enduring bond between characters and the limitless potential of their collective will.