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See that throng of delirious gamers in your local Gamestop? Those are the shell shocked fans of Final Fantasy VII after seeing the HD remake trailer. Fans of the epic RPG have been begging for a re-do of this PS1 classic for ages. In this year’s E3, Square answered their prayers.
Since the announcement, the internet has been ablaze with lists of fan demands. Some realistic, some outlandish but all proof of the fervor a three minute trailer caused. And guess what? We’re freaking out too! As a result, here are six do’s and five don’ts for one of the most anticipated re-makes of all time.
Note: This article spoils one of the most famous surprise moments in the history of gaming. Let the reader beware!
DO: Make the Graphics Seamless – Note that I said seamless, not better. Enhancing the graphics will be a gimme. One of my favorite aspects of modern gaming is the seamless visual transition from the in game art to the epic cut scenes. I’d hate to see a beautifully HD movie segue into the blocky Lego characters from 1997. Make it a visually flowing experience and the whole game will be better.
DON’T: Turn the Game Into a Final Fantasy Movie – Maybe I’m in the minority, but the simple art style of FF VII is endearing. Converting the game into The Spirit Within would lessen what made the original fantastic. Remember, nobody suggested we re-draw the Sistine Chapel. A simple restoration was all the old church needed.
DO: Expand the Characters Through Side Quests – Wouldn’t you love to know more about Vincent without playing Dirge of Cerberus? Of course you would. While the movies have done much of this, the key here is experience our characters development and backstory as opposed to seeing it. What if we could play a few missions of Cloud in SOLDIER before joining Avalanche? Play as Sephiroth during the Nibelheim incident? The possibilities are endless.
DON’T: Change the Core Story – Yes, it’s convoluted, but I’d hate to see the main campaign get radically changed. A simple FF XIII style datalog can fill in the blanks while keeping the tale intact. The themes of environmental awareness are still timely and Sephiroth’s fanatical obsession is still riveting. Long story short, it’s classic for a reason.
DO: Make X Talk – How’s this for bizarre? Unlike every other game in the series, O talks and X cancels / runs. This is madness. I’m sure I could change this in the settings, but I am a fancy gentleman. Make it a default like every other game in the series.
DON’T: Keep Aeris Alive – It may be the worst kept secret in video games, but Aeris’ death at the hands of Sephiroth is an iconic moment that needs to endure. Removing it, as some have suggested, would be blasphemy. Now if you could bring her back ala FF VI’s General Leo hoax, I would be more than OK with that.
DO: Make the Golden Saucer More Gooder – Said a thousand times because it’s true, the Golden Saucer is lame. Very lame. Other than the chocobo race, the battle square and a touching gondola ride, there’s not much to do at “the world’s biggest amusement park.” Making the Saucer a time sink destination would be a huge improvement over the original. And please remove the 5 gil save point fee. Seriously.
DON’T: Remove Random Encounters – Among the avalanche of fan requests, this may be the most universal. Simply put, I don’t agree. Never knowing when an enemy will strike adds tension to travel and forces you to stay on your toes. While I’m all for making it more balanced, removing it all together would weaken the game’s challenge. And remember, you can always jump in your airship if it bugs you that much.
DON’T: Scrap the Entire Battle System – Call me a nostalgic old fart but I don’t get the hate for turn based battle. Waiting for that cursed time meter to fill while anticipating your enemy’s next move provides simple tension. Substituting it for a FF XIII kung fu fest would quicken the game play at the expense of maintaining the feel of the original.
DO: Make Fighting More Fun – But that doesn’t mean the system can’t use a good sprucing up. Simple touches like introducing an auto attack or regenerating health after a match would lessen the tedium of battle and make my beloved random encounters more enjoyable. I’d even be OK with a gambit system where you can pre-program move sets, leaving you to the strategy (ala FF XII).
DO: Give Me a Choice – Among every update and upgrade, addition and change, there’s one thing everyone is forgetting: the original is a classic for a reason. As such, there should be the option to play Final Fantasy VII as Yoshinori Kitase intended back in 1997.
Want to step it up a notch? Give us the option to turn the new stuff off. Want to roam the world without a waypoint? Click, it’s gone. Fancy the original soundtrack instead of the 5.1 remaster? Bang, see ya later. Although the new enhancements will be amazing and exciting, there’s nothing wrong with letting those new to this epic adventure experience in all of it’s original 32 bit, FMV glory.
Agree? Disagree? Still think random encounters are the work of the devil? Sound off in the comments!
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