Final Fantasy VII Remake Reminded Me How Obsessed I Still Am with FF7

Final Fantasy VII - Midgar

I just earned the Platinum Trophy in Final Fantasy VII Remake for the PS4. It’s quite an achievement, requiring two and a half playthroughs at the bare minimum (I played through Chapter 9 five times). One of those playthroughs must be done on the game’s surprisingly punishing Hard Mode, and you must also tackle a couple optional boss rushes. In one instance, you must fight through a gauntlet of every major summon in the game, followed by a mech called the Pride and Joy Prototype.

Clearly, this is no small accomplishment. In total, my playtime for the remake clocks in at just under 108 hours (107 hours and 56 minutes, to be more accurate). That’s a lot of time to sink into a game that is merely the opening section of Final Fantasy VII (yes, Remake ends once the party leaves Midgar for the first time).

It’s a fantastic experience from beginning to end. We get to see the characters we remember from the 1997 original, only this time they’re more fleshed out (both visually and character-wise). This even includes non-party characters like Wedge, Biggs, and Jessie (the first portion of Remake features a surprisingly in-depth look into Jessie’s background). And getting to see Red XIII in HD is quite a treat.

Final Fantasy VII - Red XIII

So even though playing the game for over 100 hours can be a bit tedious at times (some of those Hard Mode boss fights are brutal), the journey is still incredible most of the way through. I’m already considering another playthrough just to experience the full story another time (though I’m definitely not going to play this thing on Hard Mode again).

All of this just served to remind me that, more than 20 years later, I am still obsessed with Final Fantasy VII.

For context, the original game came out on the PSOne in 1997, and I played it that same year. Before that, I had been a Genesis kid, so I had missed out on previous Final Fantasy games. In fact, Final Fantasy VII was my first ever JRPG, and my introduction to turn-based combat. When I saw the glorious case sitting on the shelf at an electronics retailer, I knew right away that this game was going to be different from anything I had played previously. And in that regard, it didn’t disappoint.

Final Fantasy VII was one of the first games — maybe even the first game — that made me realize the storytelling potential of video games. Before that, I hadn’t played anything that had made me feel the complex range of emotions that FF7 evokes. In FF7, the characters began to feel less like assemblies of jagged polygons and more like real people who I had befriended — people I began caring about deeply.

Final Fantasy VII - Aerith

So playing through Final Fantasy VII Remake felt like being reunited with friends I hadn’t seen in 20 years. Surprisingly, these relationships picked up exactly where they had left off. And now that I’ve been thrust back into this world, I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve watched some Let’s Plays of the original game in the past few weeks, but I’m getting ready to do a fresh playthrough of the PSOne classic. I’d forgotten how easy it is to obsess over this game.

It’s going to be an incredibly difficult wait for the second chunk of this remake to come out.

Final Fantasy VII Remake probably won’t have the colossal impact on the medium that the original had, but for fans of the 1997 PSOne game, it reminds us why we fell in love with this game in the first place — enough that it’s worth spending 100-plus hours with.

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