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Final Fantasy VII Remake hands-on preview – the biggest JRPG ever

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Final Fantasy VII Remake - one game isn't enough

Final Fantasy VII Remake – one game isnt enough

GameCentral plays the reimagined version of Square Enixs epic Japanese role-player and speaks to producer Yoshinori Kitase.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake might just be the most ambitious video game ever made. So much so that the team behind the project has revealed that the story will stretch across multiple games… and even they dont know how many titles that will eventually encompass.

The first of what will be a multi-game series, Final Fantasy VII Remake – the first extended gameplay footage of which was unveiled at E3 this week – is so huge that it will be spread across two Blu-ray discs when it is released on 3 March 2020.

It has taken a huge volume of work and a massive amount of data to reimagine the world at this scale, producer Yoshinori Kitase told GameCentral. And for that reason, the first game in the project is going to be a two Blu-ray disc set.

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The team are already working on the follow-up game and its expected to take less time than the first instalment, which has been in development since 2015: Whilst the development team finish the first game in the project they are planning the volume of content for the second. Due to the work already done on the first game, we anticipate the development of the second game will be more efficient.

As a reimagining of the seminal 1997 PlayStation game, Final Fantasy VII Remake will take place in the city of Midgar, which was also the first location in the original. The reason we chose to focus on Midgar for the setting of the first game is because it really represents the world of Final Fantasy VII as a location better than any other place, revealed Kitase.

Exploring Midgar ourselves, the E3 demo retells the familiar plot from the original – our crew of eco-mercenaries are on a mission to plant a bomb inside a reactor which is being used by big-business power company Shinra to drain the planet of Mako, its vital life force. Theyll keep sucking every bit of life from the planet until nothing is left, warns character Jessie.

Swinging Clouds famously gigantic sword is enormously satisfying, slashing enemies with force in fast-paced, close quarters combat. And its super simple, too. Though being strategic with battles is the way to master the game, you can unleash a basic attack with an easy button tap.

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But as Jessie tells players before our demo starts, Its not the size of your sword. Its how you use it.

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Button-mashing a big sword will only get you so far. Your ATB gauge, a classic element of the Final Fantasy series, is the key to unleashing the games most powerful moves in combat. For the unfamiliar, this charges up over time: when it has fully charged up ATB allows you to use your characters magic and individual special powers.

Crucially, for such a huge-scale blockbuster, its easy to play Final Fantasy VII Remake without having ever played the first game – or having much of an understanding of Japanese role-players at all.

Combat is simple to pick up, and in just the demo alone, understanding the use of spells and tactical use of your range of characters comes quickly, in a way which is gratifyingly straightforward for newbies.

Final Fantasy VII Remake - combat is very newbie friendly

Final Fantasy VII Remake – combat is very newbie friendly

Your party in the full game will be made up of up to three members, which you can switch between at any time for optimum use of each characters specialties. In the demo we controlled a party of two – Cloud and Barret – and alternating between them, based on their individual skills, is where the role-playing tactics come in.

Clouds abilities are best used for close-quarters melee attacks (see: big sword), while more damage can be unleashed with special attacks like his classic Braver ability, which increases his power but slows down his agility.

Barret, meanwhile, with his signature gun-for-an-arm, is best for blasting enemies at a distance in long range attacks.

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The team members themselves have been completely overhauled from the blocky characters of the original. Every pore and freckle is on display in every close-up, every whisker of stubble and sheen of sweat visible in glorious high definition.

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