Release Date: April 10
This year we finally got to return to Midgar, and it was glorious. Sure, any game surrounded by this much hype was bound to have criticism heaped on it, but Final Fantasy VII Remake is a masterful reimagining of the title that redefined what an RPG could be. It takes the iconic story of the original and draws it out, but not in a shallow way. Tetsuya Nomura and Square Enix fleshed out nearly everything in this world that could be fleshed out—like so many characters who appeared in FF7 but never got the time of day, save for roles as class fillers in the party—without making it drag. Remake also introduced an engaging style of action-RPG, melding the party balancing system from traditional RPGs with more fluid, flashy combat, and overturning the turned-based system. It was revelatory as a longtime fan to dive back in and experience so much more of Midgar, all while digesting it in the way the original illustrators wanted our imaginations to see those primitive, blocky 3D characters more than 20 years ago. By no means does the Final Fantasy VII remake replace the original. It instead does something even better: It creates what feels like a truly new experience. —C.S.