Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

by Matt Cabral |
Updated on

Platform: PS5

2020's Final Fantasy Remake achieved what many fans feared impossible: remaining faithful to the spirit of the beloved PlayStation classic (widely considered among the best games ever made), while building on it in meaningful ways. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth pulls off the same daunting feat as its predecessor, continuing (but not concluding) the story Remake began, while doubling-down on ambition to deliver a superior sequel.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

This is apparent the second hero Cloud Strife's iconic Buster Sword connects with one of the game's screen-swallowing bosses. Remake riskily abandoned the original's turn-based combat, but justified the choice with an incredibly deep, rewarding real-time battle system. Rebirth expands and enhances this template with smart, strategic layers, somehow offering an even richer experience without any added complexity. The result is a robust, accessible system that allows each eco-friendly fighter to shine, but, more so, puts a fresh focus on them joining forces.

Significantly builds on its excellent predecessor to deliver another spectacular title

Engaging progression will see you upgrading the various characters’ skills individually, but the new ‘synergy’ feature will find you equally engrossed in evolving your party's capacity to tackle enemies by teaming up. These special skills and abilities might see Barret hurling the newly playable Red XIII – fangs first – into a group of foes, or Aerith morphing Cloud's blade into a magic-spitting tool of death and destruction.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

While new and returning heroes consistently stand out on the battlefield, Rebirth refreshingly gives them just as much time to soak up the spotlight outside of combat. In fact, one of the game's biggest strengths is its ability to flesh out every playable character. Through flashbacks and side-quests, as well as critical missions, we're invited to not only learn more about the group's complicated relationships and brewing conflicts, but also the backstories and more personal tales of each party member.

Rebirth's overarching narrative, which sees our heroes continue their pursuit of arch-villain Sephiroth while trying to save the planet from the Shinra Electric Power Company, isn't quite as consistent, with the immersion occasionally suffering from pacing hiccups. Of course, that’s primarily due to the staggering amount of side activities on offer. The sprawling world's absolutely brimming with distractions that just beg you to abandon the main path. And while most of the optional content is compelling, the long stretches you'll inevitably lose to indulging in everything from Chocobo races to the dangerously addictive Queen's Blood card game can break the bigger story's cadence.

But imperfect storytelling and an overstuffed map make for only minor gripes in a stellar, visually sumptuous experience that you could happily sink 100 hours into. From deeper combat to character-focused storytelling, Rebirth significantly builds on its excellent predecessor to deliver another spectacular title worthy of the Final Fantasy VII name.

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