HomeTechnologyFinal Fantasy Reunion Review: Reboot Is a Much Better Game

Final Fantasy Reunion Review: Reboot Is a Much Better Game

One of the crucial anticipated video video games of the 12 months isn’t actually new. It’s 15 years previous. And it’s a prequel to a recreation that’s even older.

The brand new recreation is Disaster Core: Ultimate Fantasy VII Reunion, set for launch subsequent week. It’s a reboot of a cellular recreation with virtually the identical title from 2007, besides with nicer graphics and sped-up battles so it may be resold for contemporary programs, together with new PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles. It’s additionally a prequel to one more recreation reboot, 2020’s Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake.

If that sounds complicated, that’s as a result of it’s. Online game reboots are nothing new, and, boy, there have been lots of them currently. This 12 months, recreation studios have launched refreshed variations of widespread titles together with The Final of Us, Marvel’s Spider-Man and Techniques Ogre, amongst others.

With Reunion, the maker of Ultimate Fantasy, Sq. Enix, is capitalizing on the enterprise of nostalgia. Ultimate Fantasy, initially launched in 1987, grew to become a blockbuster when the sport’s seventh installment debuted in 1997. In that recreation, gamers took on the position of Cloud, an angsty mercenary working with a bunch of misfits to stop the apocalypse.

Since then, Ultimate Fantasy VII has develop into one of the vital influential video games in historical past, spawning spinoffs, animated films and fan fiction. The sport has been rereleased not less than half a dozen instances on each main gaming platform, together with PCs, tablets and smartphones. It’s a juggernaut — and Reunion is enjoying its half in holding that franchise going.

Most online game reboots don’t do rather more than bump up the decision of the graphics to look higher on new TVs, however Reunion is totally different. With fully overhauled visuals and smoother gameplay, it’s significantly better than the unique. It’s a robust instance of the way to do a reboot with justice and to maintain a well-established title going with a really secure guess.

“We will see the viewers for these characters and the Ultimate Fantasy VII franchise higher than if we had been to do one thing that didn’t have already got a specific amount of recognition,” mentioned Yoshinori Kitase, Sq. Enix’s government producer of Reunion, by means of a translator.

I completed Reunion final week after enjoying a part of the unique Disaster Core. The modifications within the battles and visuals remodeled the sport from a so-so installment right into a must-play episode of Ultimate Fantasy, whose cachet within the gaming world rivals that of “Star Wars” in popular culture. (To place it one other manner, Reunion is Ultimate Fantasy’s “Rogue One” — the prequel we deserve.)

Reunion can be an excessive strategy to a “remaster,” which is online game parlance for an previous recreation whose graphics have been scaled as much as look higher on new TVs. Since Sq. Enix initially launched Disaster Core for a cellular gaming system, the out of date PlayStation Moveable, the graphics needed to be redone for contemporary programs.

Now the pixelated, expressionless faces of characters within the unique have been changed with detailed, lifelike mugs; the drab backgrounds of metropolis streets and dungeons have develop into wealthy with coloration and texture.

The sport’s producers additionally took an additional step to repair probably the most annoying facet of the unique — the battle system — to make progressing by means of the sport extra fast-paced and enjoyable. That’s a sensible repair in an period when individuals have limitless choices for different stuff to do in the event that they get uninterested in a online game.

Sq. Enix in any other case left Disaster Core’s story intact, together with its script carried by voice actors. The sport facilities on Zack Truthful, a member of the elite navy power, Soldier, which is managed by Shinra, the world-dominating electrical energy firm.

Zack is tasked with monitoring down a pair of comrades who’ve abandoned Shinra. It’s not a spoiler to say our hero meets a tragic finish, a undeniable fact that has been well-known by followers of the franchise for greater than 20 years. However the prequel tells the story of how his legacy contributed to the epic occasions of Ultimate Fantasy VII.

But whereas Reunion’s graphics are a marked enchancment from the unique, the sport just isn’t almost as polished or as extremely produced as its sibling, Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake.

That’s as a result of Reunion is basically an intermission for a a lot larger present. Its important goal, in line with Sq. Enix, is to maintain avid gamers hooked on the franchise in between releases of Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake, which offered 3.5 million copies in its first three days in 2020, making it one of many fastest-selling PlayStation 4 video games. That remake is being unfold out into installments that may come out each two to 3 years. (Episode 2 is predicted for launch subsequent winter, almost three years after Episode 1, and the collection will conclude with Episode 3.)

“It’s going to be an extended wait,” Mr. Yoshinori mentioned. “So we wish to be sure that to maintain these followers on board and .”

Even so, this intermission is a crowd pleaser. The sport offers numerous airtime to Aerith, Sephiroth and Cloud, the celebrities of Ultimate Fantasy VII, fleshing out these characters and setting the stage for the epic recreation.

By way of gameplay, Reunion takes a novel strategy to battles. Gamers can freely management Zack in 3-D house, swinging his big sword at a monster and dodging its assaults in between nuking it with magic spells. This feels extra stimulating than the old-school “turn-based” system, by which gamers exchanged blows with an enemy by urgent a button to set off an motion after which ready for the enemy to take its flip.

The most important drawback with the unique Disaster Core’s battle system was the Digital Thoughts Wave, which is basically a slot machine continually working within the background of every struggle. When the reels land on sure mixtures, particular assaults are triggered that may obliterate enemies.

Within the unique, the slot machine was noisy and downright obnoxious, interrupting a battle to play its animations. Fortuitously, it has been toned right down to silently run within the background, and when the slot machine unlocks a bonus, gamers can press a button to activate it each time they need and even skip the animations.

Reunion additionally streamlines the expertise of grinding, which historically includes doing repetitious (typically mind-numbing) fights to get robust sufficient to proceed by means of the sport. As an alternative of wandering round and combating random enemies, gamers can embark on non-obligatory missions, which deploy Zack to get rid of a particular foe. On this course of, gamers can degree up and collect helpful objects and magic spells to assist them on their important journey.

Ultimately, it took me about 18 hours to finish the sport, and I had enjoyable (not like my expertise with the unique Disaster Core, which I finished enjoying after 4 hours as a result of the battles had been so tedious). My chief grievance is that the sport was too straightforward. After finishing a small variety of non-obligatory missions, gamers will discover themselves overpowered and vanquishing the sport’s important villains in just a few easy blows.

Some avid gamers looking forward to brand-new titles might really feel that releasing reboots is just too straightforward for recreation makers like Sq. Enix. Mr. Yoshinori mentioned the danger to reboots was that they might find yourself interesting to a single demographic of older followers. The corporate had initially meant to do a extra modest refresh of Disaster Core with minor enhancements to graphics, however as soon as it grew to become clear that Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake had drawn in lots of new followers, the mission modified to draw these avid gamers, too.

“We determined halfway by means of improvement that we needed to up the sport,” he mentioned.

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