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Whatever you do, don’t skip Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s card minigame

A Queen's Blood board appears in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

If you’re getting ready to start your Final Fantasy VII Rebirth adventure, let me offer you fair warning: it is a long game. If you’re planning to do every sidequest, minigame, and Chadley combat battle, you’ll be wandering around Gaia for 100 hours. That’s not an exaggeration; I hit credits in 73 hours and I still had a massive checklist of side content to complete.

Considering that length, you’ll want to prioritize the best content if you want to get through the story in a timely matter. Some minigames are safe to skip, but there’s one you absolutely should not sleep on: Queen’s Blood. Not only is it a surprisingly deep deck-builder, but it contains a secret story all its own that makes it Rebirth‘s absolute best minigame.

All hail the queen

Introduced early in Rebirth‘s story, Queen’s Blood is an optional card game that appears all over the world. It’s essentially Rebirth‘s Gwent equivalent, giving players an in-world deck-building game to obsess over. That’s become a bit of a cliché in modern open-world games, but Queen’s Blood is the best take on the idea I’ve ever seen.

Queen’s Blood plays like a mix between Marvel Snap and Splatoon 3‘s Tableturf Battles. Two players take turns placing cards on a grid-based board with three lanes. At first, players can only drop cards in the first column of their side. Additional spaces need to be captured in order to play cards on it. That’s where the deck-building aspect comes in. Every card contains its own point value, but also a specific grid pattern that will claim spaces and allow players to drop cards on them. The ultimate goal is to capture lanes by scoring the highest number of points in them. Whoever has the most at the end wins.

It’s not hard to win Rebirth‘s first few battles against NPCs, but Queen’s Blood gets surprisingly strategic the deeper the adventure goes. High-level play requires some spatial reasoning as players don’t want to open up too much of the board at once. That’s because opponents can take control of claimed spaces if a card hasn’t been played on them. Winning requires a patient strategy that goads opponents into vulnerable positions. It’s all about cutting off an opponent’s access to free spaces with proper board management.

The queen's blood board in FINAL FANTASY 7: REBIRTH.
Square Enix

It didn’t take long before I was absolutely obsessed. Queen’s Blood plays like a mix between a card game and a puzzle game, which makes for a deeply satisfying deck-builder that could have been a standalone game. Rebirth is also smart about rolling out new twists slowly. Later in the game, it introduces support abilities, cards that can be played on top of other cards, and advanced strategies built around destroying cards. By the time I got to the last battles, it felt like I’d crafted an unbeatable deck.

Even with that praise, Queen’s Blood might still sound like skippable side content. I wouldn’t fault you for thinking that considering the role card minigames play in similar titles. But there’s a twist that makes it more engrossing. Without going into too much detail, Queen’s Blood has a dark underbelly. The more you rank up in it and defeat champions, the more its secrets are revealed. It gets a full-on narrative arc that’s totally bizarre and one of Rebirth‘s best mysteries.

Queen’s Blood provides a great snapshot of what Rebirth does so well. It never does anything half-heartedly. Every random minigame is taken very seriously and loaded up with surprising depth. Chocobo Racing, for instance, has way more tracks than you’re expecting and a tie-in sidequest to boot. There are no shortage of examples like that throughout Gaia, but Queen’s Blood is the pinnacle of Square Enix’s all-in design philosophy. It’ll leave you wishing for a full spinoff game, a physical version, or both.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is available now on PlayStation 5.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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