Square Enix had already released the release date for Final Fantasy 7 Remake prior to its E3 2019 showcase, but there was still plenty for the publisher and developer to share. During the showcase, Square Enix pulled back the curtain even further on the long-awaited remake and gave curious eyes a look into how the game’s combat will work.
The pre-orders that went live alongside the Final Fantasy 7 Remake release date announcement made no mention that the game would consist of multiple parts but Square Enix confirmed this in the opening moments of the showcase. The first part of the FF7 Remake will play out across two Blu-ray discs if you purchase a physical edition.It was described as the first game in the FF7 Remake project, with no mention of how many more there will be.
The confirmation of multiple parts and discs was followed by a gameplay walkthrough that focused on Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s combat. The brief, rapid clips shown up until this point looked like a mixture of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy 15, but the walkthrough showed that the remake is getting a fresh combat experience all its own.
The combat takes place in real time, but the game’s use of active-time battle (ATB) bars pays homage to the classic in an interesting way. The bars fill up over time and are accelerated by successful attacks. Once full, the bars can be used for special attacks or magic. The special attacks differ based on the character and magic is dependent on what type of materia, FF7’s source of spells, is being used. The homage to the original comes in how you’re able to use these abilities. Tactical mode can be activated when ATB bars are full, slowing the action down to a crawl and giving you different options via a command menu. It’s not quite turn-based, but it allows you to strategically assess the conflict, use abilities, spells or items, and then return to real-time action.
Players can switch between party members with a button press. Once the bars are full, you can switch to them and use their abilities how you see fit. The combat trailer showed off Barret and Cloud’s different ways of contributing to a fight. In a different Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailer, we also see Aerith and Tifa in combat. Enemies have a focus meter that rises as your party attacks and, when full, staggers the enemy to the point where they sustain bonus damage.
The combat walkthrough ended with a lengthy boss fight that progressed through different phases. The bosses’ attacks changed through the phases and the player had to use different tactics to move forward. Destructible cover was also used to survive attacks from the boss
A final roundup trailer showed off Tifa for the first time while also giving viewers a glimpse at motorcycle combat, different areas that players will explore, additional boss creatures, and a glimpse at the game’s main villain, Sephiroth. The segment closed out with the announcement of multiple editions of the game that can be found on the Square-Enix store. There’s still more to be shown before Final Fantasy 7 Remake‘s March 3, 2020, release, but it finally looks like a game that can be played.
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