Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Feels Like a Strong Step Forward from Remake | Push Square
12.02.2024 - 23:49
«How did it feel being back up there? I don't know… nostalgic, I guess?» Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth summarised our feelings with one simple question. We love the original game but when Final Fantasy 7 Remake opened the door to some dramatic changes, nothing was guaranteed moving forward. Thankfully, Rebirth feels like a natural evolution that continues walking this precarious path with grace, and right now, it's mixing that nostalgic familiarity with a renewed uncertainty.
This isn't the first time we've previewed Rebirth. You may recall we went hands-on last September as we explored Mt.Nibel and Junon's surroundings. This time, we played Square Enix's latest preview build for roughly three hours, and because it featured the Mt.Nibel segment once again, we're mostly focusing on what's new — our first look at the reimagined Kalm and its nearby grasslands.
For anyone unfamiliar with the original Final Fantasy 7, Kalm is a fitting location to start Rebirth — Mt.Nibel flashback sequence aside — as it's the first town Cloud Strife and his friends reach after escaping Midgar. Compared to that dystopian Shinra-led steely metropolis we spent all of Remake in, Kalm's vibrant scenery offers a pleasing contrast that's highly appealing, and nicely symbolises the group's new chapter.
Much like Remake's Midgar, Rebirth significantly expands Kalm by giving this once-minor mining village plenty of additional activities. That creates an interesting introduction to Rebirth's new features, the most prominent being Queen's Blood, a deck-building card minigame. Reminiscent of Gwent in The Witcher 3, you can challenge people to win new cards and unlock different opponents across the game's world.
Queen's Blood involves strengthening your power across three lanes, placing down cards with different power levels that add to your lane score. Every card shows position tiles in the middle where you can place further cards, though you can only draw cards that are equal to or higher than their rank, indicated by a pawn symbol. You're only awarded points if your final lane score beats your opponent's. While we needed several tries to understand the basic rules, it's an entertaining minigame and we enjoyed challenging people across Kalm.
Elsewhere, party members were all dotted around the town. Like before, your conversation choices affect Aerith, Tifa, and Barret's affection for Cloud, though it's too early to know what this will bring; perhaps something special at the Gold Saucer? Regardless, we're keen to see where this leads, and what's more intriguing is how character relationships are reflected in battle. While it's not revolutionary, Rebirth does a good job of adding to Remake's combat through Synergy Skills.
These abilities let