Final Fantasy VII Remake is a brilliant game that redefines what it means to be a remake

In many ways,  Final Fantasy VII Remake  feels like a game that shouldn’t exist.
To start, reinterpreting a beloved classic for a modern age is always an incredibly tricky venture that risks alienating lifelong fans. That’s especially true for Final Fantasy VII , a landmark PlayStation Japanese role-playing game that’s widely credited with popularizing the genre worldwide. For years, developer Square Enix seemed to feel the same way, repeatedly shutting down the idea of a VII remake and even going so far as to say that doing one would likely kill the entire Final Fantasy  franchise .
Even when it was eventually confirmed to be in development, Final Fantasy VII Remake appeared to be woefully mismanaged, with key members of the original development team initially working with a lesser-known external studio .
What followed was two-and-a-half years of silence between first gameplay trailer and subsequent re-reveal, which certainly didn’t quell any fears. That’s also to say nothing of the questionable decision to remake   VII across an unknown number of games — the first of which is set exclusively in Midgar , a section that accounted for maybe six hours of the original 35-hour VII  experience.

When considering all of that, it’s easy to see why fans might be apprehensive going into Remake. As someone who considers Final Fantasy VII  his favourite game of all time, these are all concerns I definitely had in spades. That’s why I’m beyond overjoyed to say that, seemingly against all odds, Final Fantasy VII Remake is absolutely outstanding.
Somehow, Square Enix has managed to faithfully capture the spirit of the original game while improving on it in several essential ways. What’s more, the company’s familiar-but-fresh philosophy to reimagining Final Fantasy VII   actually smartly redefines what a remake of a video game can really be.
A touching reunion
Above all else,  VII ‘s enduring popularity can be attributed to its story and characters, which Remake wonderfully brings to even greater heights. On the surface, the basic premise remains the same. Stoic and brash mercenary Cloud Strife gets pulled into eco-terrorist group Avalanche’s war against a megacorporation that’s siphoning the life force of the planet in its everyday business. In 1997, VII ‘s environmentalist themes were something of a revelation, and now, they’re unfortunately more relevant than ever.
But  Remake  is careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past. At this point, it’s no secret that the original  VII  suffered from a spotty English translation plagued with various typos , stilted dialogue, misinterpreted plot points and even the misspelling of a major character’s name. In Remake , however, these are no longer issues, thanks to a new and genuinely well-written script and rock-solid translation.

This leads to countless memorable moments throughout Remake ‘s story....