Yes, you read the title of this article right: It has indeed been one year since Final Fantasy VII Remake’s launch for PlayStation 4. It is a new way of telling a familiar story with our heroes (Cloud, Tifa, Barrett, Aerith, and the rest) with new visuals, new voice acting, and new game mechanics, all bringing a much deeper breath of life into an already impactful game that hit waves of popularity all over the world for so many years. The remake has everything that made Final Fantasy VII memorable: from the gameplay that revolutionized RPGs going forward to the heart-warming and heart-pounding story-telling… but with a new view for the whole world to see, reintroducing veteran fans and introducing new fans to the beloved franchise.

Final Fantasy VII Remake started off as an afterthought from the original game’s impact on gamers all over the world after their impressions of the game. The original Final Fantasy VII released in 1997 for the first PlayStation console, and although it wasn’t my first introduction to RPGs or Final Fantasy, it was definitely the most talked about game among friends and folks on social media. I eventually tried it out when the game was ported over to the PSP and absolutely loved it! Years later, I watched E3 2015 and was in for a huge shock: a surprise announcement of Final Fantasy VII Remake! I always wondered if it was possible for such an incredible game to receive a huge upgrade and bring more realism to us. Believe it or not, I never actually finished the original game until only a few years ago–right before New Year’s Eve 2017 on the port on PlayStation 4–and was blown away after completing the game.

After the remake’s announcement, there was much speculation as to how the game would actually turn out, and knowing how huge the game’s original version was, the producers wanted to amplify that direction and broaden the story so much that the entire game would release as multiple games. As a result of this decision, there were mixed feelings from some fans purchasing Final Fantasy VII Remake, as they felt they would only cheat themselves in paying full price for “part of a game” (even though it was revealed that the remake’s gameplay length would be the equivalent of an entire game). Despite that, fans like myself trusted the process and didn’t care: we wanted it and wanted it done right! The Japanese voice actors who voiced Advent Children reprised their roles in the game, but the English voice actors were recast for the game for some reason. However, the voice actors are definitely a welcome change to bring much life to the characters all the same. The voice actors of our heroes thus far are Cody Christian (Cloud), John Eric Bentley (Barrett), Britt Baron (Tifa), Briana White (Aerith), and Max Mittelman (Red XIII). Fun tidbit: I subscribe to a YouTuber named 1st Class Soldier, who had a chance to meet some of the actors.

The game was originally slated to release on March 3, 2020. The excitement grew even more when I gained new friends who were also excited for the game (mostly friends from the local GameStop), and we all promised to get together to celebrate the release. Unfortunately, that was around the same time we all learned of COVID, and the world was on lockdown to prevent the spread of this pandemic that was new to us all. Restaurants, movie theatres, and shopping malls were all shut down, which meant the only way to enjoy new games was to purchase them online and have them shipped to your home.

Of course, shipments suffered delays, which meant the gaming industry was also affected by this crisis. This is why the game was later revealed to release on… you guessed it: April 10, 2020. With the release of a demo and bonus DLC of special gear from Butterfinger (yes, the candy bar), the day came when I finally got the game in my hands.

I can truly say this game really helped me during this pandemic; my big smile is definitely proof of that! Everyone looks amazing, and the story even opens up to new directions. A new DLC for PlayStation 5 also was announced with new quality of life features, including improved textures, photo mode, quick load times, and even a new story addition with Yuffie! I have a feeling there could be 3 or 4 parts to this fantastic game, but whatever happens, I’m in for the ride! Looking forward to more and more in this thrilling game and wishing a happy anniversary to Final Fantasy VII Remake!

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