You may be asking yourself if forty minutes of free gameplay really needs to be talked about? My answer to that is an absolute yes, as even though this is just a demo of a remake of a classic, it definitely deserves your time and attention. I never played much of the PlayStation One iteration of Final Fantasy VII, mainly because I had a Nintendo 64 instead of the original PlayStation. I attempted to play it many years later but couldn’t get passed the dated graphics at the time and so I let it pass me by. The announcement of a remake felt like a second chance to experience this game that so many people had nagged my ears off about playing for over a decade, and with the recent release of the demo on the PlayStation Store, I felt compelled to dive in and give it a shot .

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It is no secret that Final Fantasy XV is my favourite game of all time, and so when I heard people whining that the VII remake is too similar to XV’s combat it isn’t hard to imagine how excited that made me. Sure enough after the stunning opening cutscene and upon first taking control of Cloud Strife, the replacement of XV’s hectic and cinematic battle system instead of the turn based combat from the 1997 version could not be more apparent. I for one am incredibly happy with this change and think it will serve the remake well at bringing in new gamers to the franchise as well as retaining the existing ones, but the decision about the combat ultimately boils down to personal preference.

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The voice acting and environment design are both great here, and even though the demo experience clocks in at less than an hour, I still feel completely satisfied and invested as if I had been playing for much more than that. As with all the Final Fantasy games I have played, Square Enix mix up the expected formula and throw curveballs in to keep players surprised. The best example here is the battle towards the end with the Scorpion Sentinel, where it outmanoeuvres Cloud and Barret by leaping around the arena, clinging to walls and firing off lasers when you get its health down enough. This means that if you were planning on relying on the sole tactic of just chasing after it while slicing away with Cloud’s famous Buster Sword, that’s not quite going to cut it here, if you see what I did there.

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The soundtrack is perfect too, and even I recognised the battle music playing despite having only heard it in YouTube videos over the last decade and during in-game Final Fantasy XV car journeys.

To summarise, you should absolutely play the Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo, available right now, ahead of the games release on 10th of April. Thank you for reading and I will speak to you again soon.

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