Final Fantasy VII Rebirth review for PS5

Platform: PS5
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

For ages a remake of Final Fantasy VII was one of the longest-running rumors, with E3 after E3 ending in slight disappointment for fans expecting Sony and Square Enix to finally unveil the project. So when it was officially announced back in 2015, the hype for its potential was virtually through the roof. Then we had another slightly long wait until the release in 2020, at which point we were finally able to see if this long-awaited remake of a PS1 classic could actually stand up to people’s expectations of it. For me, Final Fantasy VII Remake did just that. It was a fantastic way to re-imagine a classic game, with some fairly interesting twists and surprises that hinted this wasn’t just a run of the mill remake, but maybe something a little more interesting. It also had a heck of a teaser at the end of the game, so needless to say my anticipation for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has been pretty high.

Now, after 4 years, we’re right around the corner from the official release date of this hotly anticipated sequel. I’ve had the opportunity to put significant time into Final Fantasy VII Rebirth for this review, and let me tell you, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a fantastic follow-up to the groundwork that was built with Remake, improving on combat, story, side quests, towns, and more in a way that may have been expected, but probably not to this extent. Rebirth is a massive game, with huge open zones to explore, lots of interesting and varied biomes, a murderer’s row of iconic enemies and monsters, and a few surprises for Final Fantasy VII veterans. 

While the core mechanics of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s combat isn’t changed significantly from Remake, there are a couple of new additions. The most significant of which are Synergy Abilities, which allow you to team-up with one other party member to perform special attacks that also have additional properties, like the ability to raise your limit level, or increase stagger time for enemies. These are cool, flashy moves that actually add quite a bit to the combat, unlocked via the new skill trees available in Rebirth. There’s combo’s for just about every character in the game, and I found them all worth seeking out as I progressed. In addition, the flow of combat in Rebirth just feels faster and more involved overall. I had a number of fights against just basic enemies that would catch me off guard, and if I didn’t stay attentive during the fight, I’d often find myself spending a lot of mana or item resources healing up afterwards. 

Visually Rebirth is also super-impressive on PS5, provided you aren’t playing in Performance Mode. Performance Mode isn’t bad, but there’s a clear difference between the two, and I found myself switching between them pretty often. Framerate tends to hold up on both, but this is one of the few games where I might argue that you’re better off prioritizing visuals over a slightly higher framerate. 

Likewise, Rebirth’s soundtrack is amazing. Remake also made great use of classic tracks, but Rebirth has so much more going for it. Tons of iconic music pops up here, as the heroes make their way out of Midgar and into the world proper. As much as I love the original soundtrack for PS1-era Final Fantasy VII, I may love some of the updated music featured here just a little bit more at this point.

Again, Rebirth just feels like a much larger game overall than Remake did. I’ve certainly spent more hours on my initial playthrough than I did in Remake, and I think it helps that we’re out from under Midgar’s metal umbrella, which in turn just opens up the world that much more. Visiting these larger takes on known locations like Junon and Cosmo Canyon has been super enjoyable for me, and I love that almost every location has unique traversal functions, chocobo to use, and a ton of optional/side content to engage with. I was a little worried early on that Rebirth was going to fall into the typical open-world map spam trap seen by other big AAA games, but Rebirth is pretty content to let you explore and see what you can uncover. You’ll have your important locations highlighted, but unique treasure areas and crafting materials give you plenty of excuses to uncover every nook and cranny of each location you visit. 

I’ve absolutely loved playing through Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, and I’m happy to say that Square Enix once again delivered with this release. It’s a fantastic follow-up to Remake that expands the world of Final Fantasy VII even more, and it’s a sequel that shouldn’t be missed. Whether you’re a hardcore Final Fantasy VII fan, or someone that came on board via the Remake, you won’t be disappointed. 

Score: 10

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