At Tokyo Game Show 2023, I used to be in a position to spend some fingers-on time with the upcoming second title in the Final Fantasy VII: Remake trilogy, Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth. Players got the selection of two attainable demos to play. The first adopted Cloud and the celebration and was set outdoors of the metropolis of Junon. The second was the Nibelheim flashback. As solely certainly one of these offers you the likelihood to play as Final Fantasy VII‘s large unhealthy, Sephiroth, you possibly can in all probability guess which one I selected.
The Nibelheim flashback demo follows a youthful Cloud, Sephiroth, and Tifa, as they climb Mount Nibel en path to the Mt. Nibel Mako reactor—together with a anonymous, silent, masked soldier who will in no manner turn out to be essential to the story later. The primary gameplay stays the similar as in Final Fantasy VII: Remake. You assault usually, block, and dodge whereas ready for the ATB gauge to fill—which, in flip, lets you do talents and solid magic.
This part of the recreation, whereas missing any actual problem, does an incredible job of displaying off just a few new additions to the recreation. There is extra free motion all through the recreation’s areas. If any platform or rock face is at Cloud’s peak or decrease, he can nearly at all times soar up on prime of it—resulting in new paths and extra possibilities for exploration. The blue markers which can be used to mark these sorts of areas are actually regulated to being at the base of climbable surfaces or to mark slim, much less apparent passages.
In fight, there are just a few modifications as nicely. The most evident is that Cloud’s dodge now doubles as an assault as he spins away together with his large sword. There are additionally a ton of recent materia to mess around with—and I loved chucking waves of cash at my enemies to do injury.
In boss battles, when sure injury thresholds are hit, the boss will turn out to be quickly invincible—main right into a cutscene or a particular assault. While the injury quantity nonetheless seems, the boss’ HP gauge positive aspects a particular “do not assault” icon to let you understand that you’re not doing injury—i.e., to warn you to not waste your MP or particular assaults. It’s a welcome high quality-of-life change from the earlier recreation. The demo’s boss additionally serves as the introduction to the new crew-assault combo system—which leads us to the elephant in the room, attending to play as Cloud’s accomplice for this part of the recreation: Sephiroth.
While taking part in as Cloud feels almost equivalent to the way it did in the earlier recreation, being Sephiroth is an expertise—you are feeling like an unstoppable badass whereas taking part in as him. His regular strikes and assaults are quick, have huge vary, and are immediately recognizable from his appearances in different media. His dodge is a nonchalant facet-step teleport that, together with every part else, offers off the feeling that he is not even actually making an attempt. Rather, he is merely letting Cloud exhibit a bit—and instructing him about excessive-stage combating in the course of.
All that is some significantly glorious present-not-inform that allows you to expertise first-hand simply how a lot stronger Sephiroth is than Cloud. This is what it’s essential to catch as much as—the true power of the risk you are going to need to face. It makes Sephiroth a greater, way more intimidating unhealthy man and allows you to know you and your celebration are going to need to work onerous to even get near his stage. I can not wait to revisit this part of the recreation when the full model is launched early subsequent yr.
Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth can be launched on February 29, 2024, for the PlayStation 5.