So I've taken some time out of my big OG FF7 replay in order to go through the remake again, as I'd got some unfinished business with it. I also thought I could hit the exact day that I originally completed it two years ago, which I've (kind-of) managed to do.
My original idea was to replay it on normal difficulty again to do all the little side things I didn't do before. I figured this would be good so that I could remember how to play it, while also fully levelling the characters and materia, setting myself up as best as possible for a hard mode attempt in which I would just skip all the side missions and stuff.
However, a lot of the things I was worried about two years ago have proven to be true, culminating in the sad fact that this game is just not very fun to replay. The many, many, very slow parts drag on even more, and I got very annoyed every time the game made my character slow to a walk, or take control of the camera away from me for some time-dragging and arbitrary reason.
So I quickly started to get bored with it, and by half way through I wasn't really fancying another play through.
Instead, I just did everything I could possibly do on this normal replay, and have laid the game to rest.
Admittedly, it's been 21 years since I last played through the original, compared to this one's two years, but I'm having a lot more fun with the old game, which I didn't think would be the case.
Why can't I just use a cure spell?
Still haven't patched these textures, I see
That simultaneous walk
Swatting some bugs
Ghostly Aerith. Oh, the foreshadowing.
So what was my experience like doing all of the extra things that I skipped passed before?
Well, ultimately, because I was overlevelled compared to when I should have done them, I found most of these extra things quite easy and probably not as rewarding as they might have been.
In fact, all the way through this playthrough, there were only three fights that I failed to beat first time and with very little difficulty. Up first was the Fat Chocobo battle, because I rushed straight into it with only Cloud in the party, and before I had fully remembered how to play. Secondly, in one of Aerith's simulator fights I came across the phantom who put reflect on itself, making it immune to all of Aerith's attacks. And finally was the battle against Bahamut, who put me on the defensive straight away and made it very difficult for me to hit back.
In all of these cases I won the fight at the second attempt, either with different party members, different materia, or different tactics. The Bahamut fight in particular felt the best to beat, even though I had to leave my fave girl Tifa on the sidelines. But with the extra ranged attacks provided by Aerith, I was able to answer Bahamut's aggression with my own aggression, and wore him down.
I do wish, however, that I had not missed the chance to do Aerith's colosseum fights, because this meant having to replay part of chapter 9 to get back there and tick those off the list.
Some of the other little side mini-games were more challenging. It took three or four attempts to get the top score in Whack-A-Box, and probably 8-10 attempts for me to finally beat Jules in the pull-ups. I just kept pressing the button too early right at the start of round 2. Took me a while to remember to slow it back down. But getting it done was a relief. Also, whoever it was who recommended turning the sound down for this challenge was a genius. Thanks, internet.
Though the slow moments dragged down the experience, there are still plenty of things to enjoy in this game.
It simply can't be overstated how much I appreciate the re-casting of the English voice cast. Tifa's and Aerith's actresses in particular are way better than their previous English actresses. If you hear how they sounded in something like Advent Children for example, the actresses in that seem like they just don't care. Whereas here, they simply knock it out of the park. How neither of them even got a nod at that year's game awards still boggles my brain.
Aerith doesn't like Hedgehog Pie. Don't tell a man called Martin.
Who put all these boxes in my way?
Barret wailing on a bad doggo
Tifa wailing on everybody
And while that, yes, I was overlevelled and combat was much easier, it was still fun using certain tactics and mechanics that I never used in my first playthrough, after reading about them on the internet. Using lots of Cloud's punisher mode and counter attacks was something I only really did in certain boss fights in my first run, but here I was always looking to use it as it really does make you feel like a boss.
Using Barret was also much more agreeable, as I brought in more of his defensive, tanky skills, and also optimised his overcharge a lot better, making him kick out a lot more damage.
But it was with Tifa I had the most fun. She is simply a joy to play, and to watch. That is, if your eyes can keep up with her. It was made all the better because in this playthrough I finally used the L1 shortcuts during combat, so I was jumping around all over the place having a grand old time. It's going to be so much fun seeing her and Yuffie in the same party in future games. The screen is going to be a whirlwind of mayhem.
Two years ago, in the end fight, I got Tifa then Barret to help me out. In this playthrough, I thought I would get the same, as I didn't feel like I'd used Aerith enough to warrant her inclusion. But I was wrong, and it was Tifa and Aerith that rocked up to help me smack Sephiroth down. Though how annoying is it that we still can't screengrab the last chapter, as there are so many cool screenshots I would like.
When it comes to the story, I am still concerned about that ending, and where the story might be going. I'm never a fan of time travel, multiple timelines, or any of that baloney, as 9 times out of 10 things end up with huge plotholes or simply not making any sense. In addition, this is modern day Square Enix after all, so I have a right to be worried. Good old Squaresoft this is not.
However, if they nail it, it will probably elevate the FF7 story to even greater heights in my mind. So I will continue to hope.
Ultimately though, when part 2 comes out, I think I will end up just watching someone else play it, rather than worry about it myself. For a start I don't have a PS5, and don't really want one just for FF7. I already did that by buying my PS4 essentially just for this game. The way it's going, it might still be hard to get hold of a PS5 anyway, even when the next part comes out.
I guess there's always an outside chance I could get it on PC in the very distant future, but that seems unlikely. Square, like many Japanese developers, seem to be madly in love with DRM these days. Such a shame.
Tifa is the pull-up champ
That's an ouchie right there
Hot damn, I love going mental with Tifa
Get that hentai shit outta here
Red comes diving in
Scoob and I recently had a little go on two RTS games, just testing to see if we want to get back into that genre.
Up first was Command & Conquer: Red Alert, using OpenRA. I don't remember playing this all that much back in the day, as I only really got into the series for Red Alert 2. But it's a game I own that deserves some gameplay, and hopefully, a completion.
We just played a few short skirmishes against the AI for a bit of fun and as a refresher. I couldn't get into it as much as I hoped I would, and Scoob really didn't seem into it that much at all. But I'm leaving it installed as I really want to play all the campaign levels so I can say I've completed it at last. Maybe this will be the game I play alongside FF7 going into the future?
My dudes try not to get their eyebrows singed
My blues and Scoob's reds move in on the yellows
The pinks having a mammoth problem
Total War: Warhammer was recently made available for free on Epic Games, so Scoob and I quickly swiped it with our grubby paws. This was a game we had long wanted to try, but didn't really want to use any launchers or DRM bollocks.
But for free, could we really grumble?
After trying a few skirmishes against the AI, I can definitely say that the tactics the computer employs are far better than in the only other Total War game I have played, which was Rome. In that other game, smacking the AI all over the place was no challenge whatsoever, but here, even on easy, we were only winning about 50% of our battles. True, we've only just started to play it, but it definitely seems like it's going to be much harder.
Scoob has started his own single player campaign, but I've not played it since we played these games a couple of weeks back. It's our intention to do a multiplayer campaign, but whether we will ever find the time, who knows.
My Wolf Riders charging into battle
Our Ladz look down the valley at the 'Oomies
Big spooder, little spooder
Engaging an enormous Undead horde. Things do not go well.