Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is on the horizon, and fans were treated to a 20-minute-long State of Play and a demo drop. After bearing witness to that information overload of a presentation and putting in a few hours into the demo, I must say… Wow. This is an unadulterated, bona fide, JRPG Masterclass of a game. Read our Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Demo Impressions to get an idea of what’s in store!
Check out the demo (right this second!) on the PlayStation Store. Beware, as this is a MASSIVE demo of over 50 GB!
A World REBORN
All the way back in the far distant year of 2015, Square Enix announced their Final Fantasy VII Remake initiative. We were finally graced with the release of the first part of this planned trilogy in 2020. After just shy of 4 years, part 2 of 3 is just about here! Final Fantasy VII Remake set a precedent with its state-of-the-art graphics, the next evolution of the ATB battle system, and a deep reimagining of the events of the original game’s Midgar section. Rebirth is the next chapter in this saga, recreating the broader world of Gaia. Since Rebirth is no longer contained within the confines of Midgar, there’s a lot more variety than Remake. This will be an experience to remember!
The original Final Fantasy VII was an extensive RPG with an emotional story, great characters, an expansive world, tons of side content, and a deep battle system. Remake for sure was a wonderful reimagining that kept much of that spirit intact. However, Remake only covered the first act of the original game, the Midgar section, to be precise. That means that a lot of the aforementioned content wasn’t there, as that content was more prominently featured AFTER Midgar. This means that Rebirth is sure to delight fans of stacked JRPGs. To get a better idea of the reimagined world of Final Fantasy VII, check out the Gameplay Video featured in the recent PlayStation State of Play!
Stepping Up the Quality
Final Fantasy VII Remake quickly became one of my favorite games of all time with its slick combat, industry-leading presentation, and tried-and-true Final Fantasy plot. Judging Rebirth from this demo alone, I’d liken this upgrade to that of Kingdom Hearts to Kingdom Hearts II. Everything feels grander, snappier, and like the next evolution. To me, this is what a Final Fantasy sequel should feel like. Pure iterative goodness. The next step up in the series.
Pretty much anything and everything there is to appreciate about Remake is in Rebirth, just with some additions and tweaks that make it sing. Remember the clunky and sauceless aerial combat in Remake? Rebirth blows it out of the water with more control and access to your abilities in midair. Some abilities even have qualities that differ depending on whether you’re on the ground or in the air. Talk about an upgrade! Not to mention, combat, in general, is much faster paced and even includes new Synergy attacks with your party members. Offering you a tactical advantage and a tangible reward for being invested in these characters.
The Devil’s in the Details!
The demo is chock full of things to do. There’s a lot of optional stuff that you can just FIND. Check out Tifa’s room, make some decisions, visit Cloud’s mom, and so much more. The amount of little details and optional content far exceeds that of Remake. Even your everyday animations are packed with little details and love. Take another look at the Gameplay trailer, and you can see this.
Even the menus and UI have fun little details. When you pick up items, you get actual item images on your UI. You can even examine your inventory in glorious detail now! We haven’t had this much love poured into the little things in a Final Fantasy game for a while! There’s a perfect balance of style, fun, and function.
Good lord, the graphics are immaculate in cutscenes. Those High-Quality models and effects are ABSURD. I swear the material work on clothing, skin, hair, and environments is significantly higher quality in terms of resolution and shaders. Even the performance mode still looks unreal while running flawlessly! Don’t even get me started on the music! Over 400 songs? I really can’t wait, as the music present in the demo and the gameplay trailer is nothing short of ear candy. It’s a perfect pairing to the game’s eye candy.
I do have a few nitpicks. There is mild jank in animations, such as snapping during ‘Terrain Actions’ and set up for certain attacks. It is a necessary evil to make stuff feel and look good, depending on the situation. Also, while the textures and graphics are a huge step up even from Remake Intergrade, there are some low-quality assets, shadows, and, of course, some pop-in here and there due to the more open nature of this title. It’s not distracting per se, but it makes me think about how some environmental art in Final Fantasy XVI is of higher quality. To be fair to Rebirth, it appears to run at a much higher internal resolution and has a significantly more stable performance mode. So, really, any of my graphical complaints are null and void. I personally believe that some lower-quality settings and assets here and there are a fair trade-off for a crisp and smooth presentation.
A Content Update… For a Demo? A Huge Demo Gets Bigger!
Have you ever heard of a demo that’s over 50 GB? Because I sure haven’t! This attests to Rebirth’s breadth of content and high-fidelity graphics. I mean, the game is on two discs and is rumored to be around 150 GB. That’s crazy to me! Definitely explains the size of the demo, too. Although this demo does have a nice chunk of content, it IS only a couple of hours long.
Despite the rather large size of this demo, it has been announced that the demo will receive an update closer to the full game’s launch. This update will feature the Junon region and allow players to experience the more open-ended segments of the game. Does this mean that the demo already contains this content? Or is the demo about to get bigger? All we can do is wait, I suppose! Oh, and you can definitely expect me to talk about that update with a “Disc 2” to this Impressions piece.
What is in Store for Cloud & Company?
From the looks of it, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is going to offer a wonderfully updated reimagining of this part of Final Fantasy VII. New scenes, characters, and updates are in store for us for sure. However, what surprises await us? Remake had a divisive twist, so what does Rebirth have up its sleeves?
How remiss of me; I never linked the Final Trailer! Just a warning: this trailer could very well contain spoilers. Context is bereft due to how it’s cut, but due to the nature of the additional story elements in the Final Fantasy VII Remake Project, I recommend those who are sensitive to spoilers skip this trailer to preserve the element of surprise. However, theory crafting and keeping yourself up late at night in a state of wonder and hype is definitely more some people’s style (like me!)
The Final Fantasy VII Rebirth demo is available now on PlayStation 5.