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After just a few hours, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth shows me why Sephiroth is a great villain

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With Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the trilogy surrounding the original Final Fantasy VII continues. Many fans are eagerly waiting to see how Cloud, Tifa, Aerith and Co.'s journey continues. At a preview event, MeinMMO editor Jasmin Beverungen was able to get a taste of the first hours of the game and immediately fell in love with one of the characters. She was also able to get an impression of the open world and the mini-games.

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, the first part of the trilogy, Sephiroth only appeared occasionally. There was little insight into his past and why he became such a villain in the first place. Additionally, for most of the game he could only be seen by Cloud. Anyone who hasn't dealt with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion hardly knows anything about his motives.

But in Rebirth, Sephiroth gets the stage he deserves. Without spoiling too much: We see the heroic, young Sephiroth. He is celebrated by the world population and besieged by the press.

Through a fateful event, Sephiroth suddenly realizes that a detail from his past is wrong. He reads through several books and suddenly finds something that drives him crazy.

You can see what awaits us in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth in the following trailer:

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth – Trailer

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Sephiroth's change is dramatically staged

And it is precisely this change that is so brilliantly staged that I became even more sympathetic to Sephiroth. I can suddenly understand why he became an antagonist and went crazy. In the game the mood changes when he finds out the secret about his past:

  • the lighting becomes darker and the music more menacing
  • He locks himself in a cellar, pores over books and takes on manic traits
  • Cloud tells in the third person how he experienced Sephiroth's transformation and what kind of monster he became

The scenes captivated me so much that I couldn't put the controller down. I even waited to eat lunch because I didn't want to interrupt these atmospheric scenes. The chaos that ensued afterwards was also a captivating experience.

I was very pleased that Sephiroth's character change was staged so well. He is one of the most popular Final Fantasy antagonists of all time and occupies one of the top places in all rankings.

His story is believably written and he transforms from a hero to the planet's worst threat. Additionally, its theme “One-Winged Angel” is one of the most iconic soundtracks in the entire video game series.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Sephiroth
One of Final Fantasy's most iconic villains is getting a bigger stage.

Open world and mini games bring more pastime

In the second part of the series, players get more freedom. In Remake the adventures only took place in Midgar, but in Rebirth they go into more open areas. Unfortunately, the game progress from the remake is not carried over.

According to game director Naoki Hamaguchi, there is a good reason for this: Since Cloud and his friends changed their fate by breaking through the barrier, their abilities also experienced a reset. In terms of gameplay, it also makes sense for the development team to reset the skills – after all, players should have a feeling of freedom when they are released into the open world and not be tied to old skills.

After I was able to experience the great sequence with Sephiroth, I went out into the open world – or rather, into an area of ​​the open world. The game world is a connected world in which individual areas only become accessible over time through newly learned skills.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Open World
An open world also comes with more job opportunities.

The new game world is lavishly filled: after unlocking the area of ​​towers, several symbols suddenly pop up on the map. This is reminiscent of the many side activities from The Witcher 3 or the Horizon series, which is why I was a little worried that players would be faced with a large forest of unnecessary side activities.

It's such a big leap that Cloud and his troops suddenly find themselves in an open world. If it were also full of MMO-like fetch quests, that would spoil the fun of the game for me.

But Hamaguchi was able to partially alleviate my worries:

I understand that there is a bit of worry and concern about whether these story-driven games will mesh well with the idea of ​​an open world and free choice style. (…) But in the end the player decides, he has the choice what he wants to do.

Naoki Hamaguchi, director of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

Although there should be more side quests, it should be clearly marked which quests are important and useful. For example, some side quests can increase the party level to unlock new Synergy abilities, which is otherwise only possible through the main story.

The additional activities can easily double the playing time. The new mini-games also contribute to this, some of which I was able to test in the preview. For example, it is possible to play a piano at the start of FF7 Rebirth. The casual gamer will probably strum the keys a few times, while musical virtuosos could have fun with this.

I had a lot more fun with the new card game Queen's Blood. Here we play against a direct opponent and place cards in such a way that we win most of the areas with points. Tactical skills are required here and I can imagine that I will spend a similar amount of time with the game as I did with Gwent in The Witcher 3. I couldn't turn down a game there!

By the way, Hamaguchi teased me with another mini-game that is supposed to be an homage to the Gambit system from Final Fantasy XII. He said that logicians in particular should get their money's worth from this mini-game. He didn't want to give me any more details, but I already know where I'll spend my time away from saving the world.

Incidentally, he doesn't yet know whether Hamaguchi will remain loyal to the franchise after the Final Fantasy trilogy. First of all, he wants to concentrate on the release of Rebirth and deliver the best possible gaming experience.

The first part of the series was a worthy remake of the original Final Fantasy VII. MeinMMO author Irina Moritz explained in an article what she particularly liked: The remake of Final Fantasy 7 helps me survive the drought in MMORPGs

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