Why after playing 12+ hours of Final Fantasy XV, I am concerned
I am a big fan of Final Fantasy VII. I love the game. The story and the battle system esp are things that standout in my mind when ever I think about that game and it is one of the few open world type games I have played twice. I have a lot of love for the Final Fantasy Series in general, even thou it has had its ups and downs along the way, it has still provided some great and epic gaming memories.
So of course I am very excited for the FFVII remake and getting back into that world in a more fully flushed out universe both in scale and resolution, similar I hope in scale to the new Final Fantasy XV game, which looks utterly gorgeous. Seeing the world of FFVII rendered this way is going to be a feast for the eyes (yes I have seen Advent Children and yes it is amazing, and I know, why the hell didn’t they continue it with an anime series) But there is one major aspect about FFXV that seems likely to be ported to FFVII that has me deeply concerned because if they get this wrong, it is going to piss off a lot of people myself included. Yes I am talking about the combat system.
Now, the new combat system in FFXV isn’t bad and the idea around it is actually great and on that point I love it. But the execution of it leaves a lot to be desired. Having a real time combat system is a lot of fun and makes for more realistic game play and is one of the things I am glad they have finally updated in the FF Series and moved away from the turn based system. The paradigm system of FFXIII was pretty cool, but the real time system I just like better (however being able to use the paradigm shift in real time combat would be awesome!) The problem is that the FFXV combat system is more like something in its pre-Beta stage rather than game release. Battles turn into cluster fucks of chaos when multiple enemies are around. Your team mates become totally useless begging the question if they even have an AI controlling them or if it is a chocobo running around on a wheel deciding what idiotic thing they will do next. Spells when used basically destroy anything within the vicinity including your own team (you would think they would get out of the way?!) and the rolls of each party member isn’t exactly well defined in the way they act. For example, why the hell does Ignis as a support type character have daggers?! Dude dies more often than Kenny from South Park! Prompto is just as bad!
Now, imagine this system being crossed over into FFVII… If it comes across as it is, I wont be happy. A chaotic and incomplete battle system coming across to a story with 9 characters as opposed to 4 in a series renowned for its combat mechanics. And that’s not to mention no Materia, no summons and no defined roles of characters (or definable/adjustable characteristics) With so little information to go from, this is still just an assumption but given how their games have evolved over the years, it does seem very likely this is the route they will go. The upside is that it should be an easy fix, weapons can easily include materia slots that can give weapons elemental damage and provide spells which can be used (remove that dam elemency system!) Also summons that can be used anywhere (with maybe an extended cool down period or certain summons can only be used in some areas) The AI problem is a hard one, maybe being able to issue characters with commands or battle traits before battles would help but something needs to change with how the characters react or people are going to be pissed when Barrett gets himself constantly killed for staying too close instead of attacking at range.
It was hopeful that we would get at least some information over the past year but with the 30th anniversary celebration behind and E3 2017 done and dusted, all we were left with was a nice looking image and a lot of questions. Square Enix is still trying to recover from the massive project that FFXV ended up being especially money wise and they can’t afford not landing a home run on this. Final Fantasy VII like it or not is one of the most iconic games ever to hit consoles and after recent hiccups with recent games, to screw up this remake could spell the end of the series, if not the company itself.
Marcus Powell has been living and working in South Korea since 2010. Aside from writing for small publications, he is also a popular club DJ, English Teacher, gamer, sports and esports fan and anime enthusiast.