News: Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo Released

The Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo Is Out Now

The release of the Demo now confirms beyond any doubt speculation that Classic Mode is linked to Easy Mode. In some earlier leaks and gameshow playables the initial difficulty selection had only a vague description on the screen which only referenced auto-fighting, although screenshots of the in-game menu were at variance with that. With the demo, the difficulty link is beyond dispute: Classic Mode, when selected, includes a description explicitly linking to Easy Mode. It is a shame too, because the mechanics that Square Enix have built around this ‘Classic Mode’ all feel surprisingly good to use.

The demo wasn’t a bad experience, but my concerns still stand.

The demo covers the initial bombing mission.

People really should not look at ‘Classic Mode’ as having fully automated melee combat, because using it in this way would make for a miserable and clunky experience. ‘Classic Mode’ offers a kind of soft automation where the player can play the game as normal, but if the player does not attack enemies immediately then after a few moments the game will take over – so ideally the player will fight regular scrub enemies directly since a couple swings of Cloud’s buster sword is enough to tear them apart like paper dolls (which is far quicker than waiting for the CPU to take over), but then melee and defence can be left to automation during boss encounters, leaving the player free to use strategic commands when it matters.

The ‘Classic Mode’ mechanics really do a wonderful job of alleviating a few of the annoyances found in the game’s ‘Normal Mode’, so it is a great shame that the difficulty really is not there. In any other game Final Fantasy VII Remake’s ‘Normal Mode’ would be the ‘Easy Mode’, and the game’s ‘Easy Mode’ and ‘Classic Mode’ just feel broken in terms of difficulty, to be frank. To be fair the bombing mission is right at the start of the game, so the difficulty might get ramped up as the game progresses, but Final Fantasy VII Remake really needs an additional harder difficulty setting, and ‘Classic Mode’ really needs to be made compatible with any difficulty setting. As things stand it will be kind of difficult to decide which game mode to go with when the game releases in April. The Action RPG mechanics of ‘Normal Mode’ are a huge improvement over the awful mechanics of Final Fantasy XV, and it actually feels reasonably good to play. The mechanics of ‘Classic Mode’ feel even better to play, yet they come with a drastically reduced difficulty that make battles a complete joke, at least during the opening section of the game. ‘Classic Mode’ is probably still the best way to play, but it is no easy decision.

NHK Viewers Rank Top Ten Final Fantasy

This week Japanese broadcaster NHK conducted a massive viewer poll asking the Japanese people to rank their top ten Final Fantasy games, top ten Final Fantasy characters, and top ten pieces of Final Fantasy music. The poll received 470,000 responses and was evenly spilt between males and females, making this a fairly representative sample of Japanese gamers.

470,000 Japanese couldn’t be wrong, ya?

Looks like Final Fantasy X is officially the best game in the series! [The Day Tonight’s *scientific* examination was conducted with an INTERNATIONAL panel of EXPERTS, rather than NHK’s purely national survey of random nobodies. -Ed.]

In terms of games in the series, NHK viewer’s tenth favourite game in the series is Final Fantasy XV, their ninth favourite game in the series is Final Fantasy XI, their eighth favourite game in the series is Final Fantasy IV, their seventh favourite game is Final Fantasy VIII, their sixth favourite game is Final Fantasy V, their fifth favourite game is Final Fantasy XIV, their fourth favourite game is Final Fantasy IX, their third favourite game is Final Fantasy VI, their second favourite game is Final Fantasy VII, and their top pick for best game in the series is Final Fantasy X. A fine choice! In the West Final Fantasy VII is so popular that other games in the series rarely give it a run for its money, but in Japan Final Fantasy X remains very, very popular.

In terms of characters, Zack is their tenth favourite, Tifa is their ninth favourite, Lightning is their eighth favourite, Tidus is their seventh favourite, Emet-Selch (FFXIV) is their sixth favourite, Zidane is their fifth favourite, Vivi is their fourth favourite, Aeris is their third favourite, Yuna is their second favourite, and Cloud is their top pick for best Final Fantasy character. Cait Sith was not even mentioned. It is a little bit interesting that none of the characters in this top ten list were in a game that predates Final Fantasy VII, especially given that Final Fantasy VI was ranked the third best game in the series.

Finally, in terms of music the tenth most popular piece was ‘Those Who Fight’ (FFVII), the ninth most popular piece was ‘Final Fantasy’, the eighth most popular piece was ‘Melodies of Life’ (FFIX), the seventh most popular piece was ‘Aeris’ Theme’ (FFVII), the sixth most popular piece was ‘One-Winged Angel’ (FFVII), the fifth most popular piece was ‘Flash’ (FFXIII), the fourth most popular piece was ‘In Search of Friends’ (FFVI), The third most popular piece was ‘Eyes on Me’ (FFVIII), the second most popular piece was ‘Clash on the Big Bridge’ (FFV), and the most popular piece as determined by the NHK viewership was ‘To Zanarkand’(FFX). And it is at this point where one has only just noticed that there has not been a single mention of Final Fantasy XII. Really guys?! It was the last good one. Not only has Final Fantasy XII failed to rank as a game, but none of its characters or music have been recognised either. Even Final Fantasy XIII got some recognition. This is a very peculiar regional difference.

Rumour: A PS5 Pro Model May Launch with the Base PS5

Or at least that is what is being rumoured. To be fair, this is not the first time that this particular rumour has made the rounds. The last time this rumour made the rounds it was not attributable to any particularly authoritative source, and subsequent rumours did little to back it up. We have seen the leaked specs for the Series X, the PS5 base model, and even the still unannounced Xbox Lockheart model – but there was no mention of a PS5 Pro model among them. That cast some doubt upon whether there would even be a PS5 Pro in the offing, yet a Japanese journalist by the name of Zenji Nishikawa claims that there will be a more powerful PS5 Pro available for purchase at launch.

I’ll buy whichever model doesn’t look like this!

It has been rumoured that a PS5 Pro model will be available at launch.

The significance of this is that Nishikawa is close with Sony, even receiving thanks in the credits of The Last Guardian, and moreover he correctly predicted the PS5 and Switch Lite. This rumour sounds promising, and one really hopes that it pans out because it would be great to just buy the Pro console at the start of the generation instead of buying the base model and then having to upgrade later. So Nishikawa has a name and reputation, and is close enough to Sony that he could have access to this type of information. The one lingering doubt that one has about this rumour is the degree to which assumption may have played a role here. Nishikawa may have simply heard that there will be two different SKUs at launch with two different price points, and then just assumed that one of them would be a Pro model. It could be as simple as Sony offering a choice between 1tb and 2tb hard drives. One very much hopes that this rumour is true though.

7 comments on “News: Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo Released”

  1. Quite a lot of fake news kicking around in this week’s post!

    Without some leaked specs of the PS5 Pro, this rumour feels like the sort of thing to which one should give little credence, if any. They might be very good about keeping it under wraps, I suppose, but I think it more likely that the rumour mill is just that.

  2. Yea, it is odd that tests for an alleged PS5 Pro GPU weren’t unearthed at the same time as the tests for the other three GPUs were unearthed. That doesn’t put a stake through the heart of the rumour, but it does cast some doubt.

    As I said in the post, I think this journo may have just got their wires crossed when when interpreting evidence of two SKUs with differently sized HDDs.

    The default PS5 will definitely only come with a 1tb hdd which is as insufficient as a 500gb hdd was for the launch PS4, so there is every reason for Sony to offer a more expensive 2tb option.

    It would be crazy if Sony do offer a Pro at launch though. The Xbox Lockheart is 4tf, the base PS5 is 9tf, the Series X is 12tf, and a PS5 Pro would be (?)

    I have been worrying that the PS5’s specs were underdone compared to the Series X, but a PS5 Pro would change all of that.

  3. The FF7R options explicity state that the Classic battle difficulty is the same as Easy. Which sucks – they should make Classic the same as Normal difficulty, as it’s the option veterans would more likely choose. However, I’m not sure I understand what it is. It’s not like you wait for the ATB to fill and then choose the Fight command, it’s more for when you use Braver every now and then, and I just find myself attacking like you would the Normal mode anyways. It reminds me slightly of FFXIII.I’m going to stick with Normal for now, but if anyone can explain it better, please do. I’m only like 5 minutes in.

  4. The best way to use Classic is to only let it do its thing during boss fights, where it becomes more important to use abilities and keep track of things. I found that when using Classic mode with bosses my environmental awareness increased, and I used my magic and abilities as soon as they became available. By contrast on normal mode I would often be preoccupied with performing melee hits and forget to use my magic and abilities.

    I would be super happy with this game’s combat if Square Enix made a classic normal (or even a classic hard) mode. It’s just bizarre how they’ve locked it to easy.

  5. Thanks SN! I noticed that too, when I fought the boss, it would have helped to let go of moving around and attacking and focus on commands. Even the Sweeper took a little more time, and the Stagger mechanic was important. I have a feeling that abilities and spells are going to be more integral to the battles deper in, and it definitely reminds me of FFXIII’s battle system (which I liked). Here’s hopping they’ll fix Classic.

    The writing is worse than before, and the voice acting is from not bad (Jessie) to bad (Barrett) and I hope we’ll get Japanese voice acting too so I don’t have to hear it. The characters and environments look good. The music is okay, but let me down sometimes – like when about Cloud jumps of the train, it didn’t bring in that punchy electronic bass sound, but gave that melody to some violins and sounded weak. I do appreciate that the cutscenes weren’t overwrought and over-the-top where everyone’s doing kung fu flips and Matrix shit.

    All-in-all I didn’t hate it.

  6. The writing if far worse in terms of restraint and structure, since it has lost all subtlety and now continually beats you around the head with Sephiroth foreshadowing and the timid retconning of Avalanche – but the writing (or maybe localisation) is better from the perspective of giving characters their own unique voices. This was already a strength of OG VII, and it seems improved here. Jessie is a legit sweetheart, and I think SE risk overshadowing Tifa and Aeris with her.

  7. I still don’t know what ‘classic’ does. I imagine it just auto-fights?

    I didn’t have any trouble getting a handle on things in Normal mode. The amount of stuff which the player is expected to watch is not any greater than in many other modern games: indeed, there is less going on here than in a typical MMO raid, even from ten years ago. I quite liked the boss fight, although I felt it was too long. A good boss fight should test the player’s skills, but once that test has been passed a few times, that should be sufficient.

    The random battles, on the other hand, were pointless. The engaging, killing, disengaging takes too long for the rewards offered and yet the battles are also stupidly easy. They are structured inconveniences rather than battles. FF13 and 13-2 got this better, where ordinary battles are quick but also represent a serious threat if you don’t go in attending to what must be done to defeat the enemy selection on offer. I’m hoping this is just a demo issue (because it’s the beginning of the game and so it’s not meant to be properly challenging in that sense).

    I thought the VA work was good, but not great. I didn’t like Biggs. I thought Barret and Jessie were O-K. Wedge and Cloud were all right. The rest made no impression.

    The music is good, but not great. Missed opportunities with the soundtrack arrangements and a stupid need to try and force Sephiroth in everywhere (yes, I heard his theme, don’t think I missed that!). The new Shinra Company theme is good, though: better than the original, I’d say.

    Some of the writing is good. Some of it is bad. Generally: where they stick to the script, it’s good; and, where they deviate, it’s bad. The original cannot be improved upon by this group of jokers.

    In terms of visual presentation, top marks. It’s fantastic. The opening cinematic brought a tear to my eye.

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