I can’t believe this actually happened: I got to play the Final Fantasy 7 Remake demo at Gamescom 2019 today. We all loved to take part in any rumours about a remake for FF7 happening one day and it was a dream come true when that finally became a reality. And now the release date is less than a year away… And we have a playable demo to enjoy!
The demo was about 20 minutes long (depending on how long you spent messing around in the opening area, but it was pretty straightforward) and it was really effective in giving us an idea about what to expect from the final game. We only got to play in the Mako Reactor with a rather linear path leading us to the final boss, but for a fan of the series like myself, it was pure gaming bliss…
The visual detail of the world and characters that have come to feel like friends over the years is simply stunning. The in-game footage looks exactly the way my teenage mind romanticised my memories of the FMV’s of the original game. Battles no longer take place after a small loading animation which used to transport you to an arena to fight in. Now you simply press the Square attack button near an enemy and you’re in a full-on Action RPG with direct controls of your actions.
If you want more control over what to do, you can simply pause the game with a press of the X button and choose if you want to use an Ability, Magic or an Item. All of these consume one part of a bar (out of a max of two in the demo) that refills over time, with magic also costing MP as you would expect. I estimate time to move at about 10% of its regular speed when you’re in this menu, possibly slower, giving you ample time to make strategic decisions.
The demo did give us a bit overpowered characters and inventory for the part of the game where it normally takes place, but that’s a good thing as no one wants to die and potentially lose their slot at the booth. Against regular enemies, we could get away with simply using the basic attack, but the Scorpion boss at the end required a tad more strategy.
You could switch between Cloud & Barret however many times you wish and it was as simple as pressing up or down on the D-pad. Barret’s basic shooting attack didn’t cause a lot of damage, but it did increase the Boss’ Stagger bar, which allows you to attack for a big amount of damage once the big guy is down on his knees. Thunder was also an effective strategy but the biggest part of the damage came from the two Limit Breaks I got in.
You can use a Limit Break after dealing and receiving a certain amount of damage. It happens infrequently enough that it still feels like a major turning point in the battle. I believe it didn’t even use a part of your Action Bar, so fire away when the enemy is Staggered for huge chunks of life to break away. I can’t wait to see the Summons in Action!
After beating the Scorpion, the demo is over and it left us with an insationable hunger to play more. I need this game in my life, TODAY! But sadly we’ll have to wait until March 2020 to find out the full scope of this first part of a multi-chapter strategy for the Remake. I just can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!