Breaking Free from Fate: The Subversive Brilliance of Final Fantasy VII Remake
When Final Fantasy VII Remake launched in 2020, tensions were high. Fans of the original game were skeptical about the project, which would only adapt...
When Final Fantasy VII Remake launched in 2020, tensions were high. Fans of the original game were skeptical about the project, which would only adapt a small part of the 1997 release. The launch coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, adding to the frustrations. Despite receiving warm critical reception, the remake quickly became a polarizing game among fans. However, with the buzz surrounding its upcoming sequel, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, it's time to reassess the remake and appreciate its subversive brilliance. Set aside the nostalgia goggles, and you'll find a game that challenges conventions and embraces the fight against destiny.
A Faithful Modernization... or Is It?
At first glance, Final Fantasy VII Remake appears to be a faithful modernization of the original RPG. The opening sequence introduces us to Cloud Strife, a mercenary engaged in ecoterrorism against the evil Shinra corporation. It's a longer sequence compared to the original, but it seems by the book. However, this initial impression is a ruse. Later on, Cloud and his companions encounter mysterious Whispers that control their fate, forcing them to follow the original game's events. These creatures, dubbed "plot ghosts," literally prevent Cloud from deviating from the script. This revelation completely changes the focus of the adventure, pitting the characters against the concept of destiny itself.
The Metatextual Journey
Final Fantasy VII Remake is not a mere 1:1 recreation of its predecessor; it's about remaking Final Fantasy VII. Viewing the game through this metatextual lens reveals its true brilliance. Cloud and his comrades represent the creative team, facing the daunting task of reinventing a beloved game. A remake of Final Fantasy VII would naturally face resistance due to the strong emotions associated with the original. The writers would be bound by fate, trapped in a predetermined script defended by the plot ghosts: protective fans. Instead of avoiding this reality, Remake embraces it, transforming subtext into text. The result is a subversive game about breaking free from fate, a tale that combines absurd escalation and a fight against God with a deeply humanistic message. It affirms our capacity to control our own destiny, which is especially relevant in the face of climate change and the impending destruction of our planet.
Artistic Controversy and Thematic Unity
Even the divisive design choices in Final Fantasy VII Remake serve an artistic purpose. Its tight, linear levels symbolize the characters' entrapment in claustrophobic corridors, with an inevitable exit point. In contrast, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the upcoming sequel, will feature open-world spaces, reflecting the party's newfound freedom. These controversial decisions give Remake its power, allowing Square Enix to deliver a thematically grounded and focused story. Every aspect of the game contributes to its overarching message.
Embracing Boldness and Rejecting Nostalgia
Despite the initial mixed reactions, Final Fantasy VII Remake's split reception reinforces its artistic point. Square Enix faced immense pressure to meet fan expectations, making it risky to deviate from the original's path. However, great art often requires bold decisions. Remake brilliantly rejects cheap nostalgia, distinguishing itself from the microtransaction-filled Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis. It stands as a masterfully self-reflexive game, reminding players of the series' battle against its own plot ghosts.
As Final Fantasy VII Rebirth approaches, it's essential to appreciate the subversive brilliance of Final Fantasy VII Remake. The game challenges conventions, embraces the fight against destiny, and delivers a thematically grounded story. It serves as a testament to the power of art and the creative vision of Square Enix. So, when you embark on your journey into Final Fantasy VII Rebirth or try the new demo, remember that these experiences wouldn't exist without the series' determination to break free from its own plot ghosts.