Saturday, April 10, 2021

Final Fantasy VII Remake, Finale - Edge of Destruction

After a long journey, we arrive at the finale of FFVII exactly a year after I began it, holding four orbs Jenova. Is Sephiroth seriously gonna lug this thing everywhere?

Tune in for my final thoughts on this one.

Michael Cole: "Wait a minute, we know him! King, that's..."
King: "Ruffhouse Stevens! He's wrestled all over the world!"
Mike Tenay: "What's he doing here in the Thunderdome!"

Er, anyway...I've been waiting all game for this part.

Whoa. He looks a lot like his original FFVII sketches, for sure. Except they gave him weird pants-ribbons for some reason.

In the original game's sketches: No pants-ribbons. Did they wheel in the Kingdom Hearts character designer for this?

::holds earpiece:: oh.

He's got his iconic shotgun. Man, Rufus is such a bad-ass. I hope he has a more prominent role in future FFVII properties.

What follows is a one-on-one fight...well, one-on-two because Rufus' dog? bodyguard? still runs interference.

Cloud takes it to the new president of Shinra. Extreme slow-mo continues to be tremendous for screenshots.

This was such a memorable fight in the original game that I fully expected it to be the final boss of this remake, unless they snuck in a Jenova fight. Since they already did the Jenova fight, I really wasn't sure what to expect by this point. Would the next game start with the highway escape / Motor Ball?

Rufus' best move involves throwing coins into the air and then blasting them at Cloud. seems like there would be a more sensible way to do all of this, but hey, it looks awesome. Here's the emblem of Shinra Inc.

As is tradition, here's the boss fight itself. This is on the shortlist for possibly being the toughest fight in the game. It's definitely in the top five.

After the fight, Cloud nearly falls off the tower as Rufus escapes in his helicopter. Luckily, Tifa ran back up to help him out.

Elsewhere, Barret and Aerith are escaping with Red when they get ambushed by what appears to be an exaggerated proto Hunter-Killer Tank.

This is Arsenal, formerly known as Hundred Gunner.

This is one of the more drawn-out fights in the game and it actually pushes you a bit compared to the fights leading up to this. It's worth noting that in the original game, this fight was followed by the Heli-Gunner boss. Here, that doesn't happen, because the Heli-Gunner was moved to the plate-climb level.

Later, the fight breaks down into an INFERNO MATCH.

Here's the fight. It's one of the game's most memorable bosses, at least for me, even though it's the least-relevant of all of the final chapter's endgame bosses. The devs just went all-out with this thing being a huge destructive mech.

Heidegger holds nothing back! What a douchebag. Looking forward to fighting this guy in his Proud Clod / Pride and Joy Mk2 or whatever in FFVIIR Part 8.

Shinra troops corner our heroes in the lobby! looks like Red is emerging from Barret's gun. "Pop!"

As is tradition, Cloud crashes on down with his motorcycle to save the day, while the other heroes steal that beat-up old truck from the Shinra showroom.

Well, the truck's not so bad. Though it's pretty clear that the designers wanted Cloud to seem WAY cooler than everyone else here.

We get some pretty great bickering between Barret and Red XIII that makes me look forward to Part 2.

Meanwhile, giant cosmic shitting sounds are heard as the Whispers converge on Shinra Tower. That didn't happen in the original. What's goin' on?

Rufus meets with Tseng and they call in whatever support they still have. It's been a dark day for Shinra Corp, though neither of these two seem particularly bothered by the demise of the old man.

We definitely need a battle with Tseng to actually exist somewhere in these remakes. The fact that you never fight him in the original game is pretty odd. They've already added several new Turk battles in this game so I probably don't have anything to worry about.

The highway chase scene is next. In the original game, this was a fairly clunky minigame with great music. Here, it's a super-badass minigame with awesome music. It's also a good opportunity to see more of the Upper Plate area of Midgar, which is super-underdeveloped and underused in both versions of this game.

At first you just contend with Shinra bikers and flying barrels.

Then, a disturbance in the force happens. Something's roaring up the highway.

Behold, the massive engine of destruction that is MOTOR BALL.

Here's the Motor Ball fight, mostly relevant because of the awesome soundtrack during this whole part.

This thing also looks like some kind of proto Hunter-Killer (though more advanced than Arsenal). It's different from every other boss in the game in that you fight it entirely inside of the action-oriented minigame.

Motor Ball unleashes devastating beams! You know, I thought this thing wasn't a worthy final boss, but I was wrong. They really went nuts with this fight. I've seen people complain about the fight because it's different from the rest of the game, and if you're someone who doesn't like's a skippable fight after you've done it once. That's right, even on Hard Mode. Never have to do it a second time if you don't want to. Me? I think this fight is great.

Our heroes scrape past that monstrosity, only to face a new nightmare:

Sephiroth, standing in the middle of the highway like a Portland protester blocking a street at 2:30 in the morning.

This highway tollbooth begins the final chapter of the game. Video and screenshots are actually blocked by the game from this point onward. Interesting.

Luckily, I've got a capture box to circumvent this.

Cloud runs down the highway into an uncertain future. Needs Sarah Connor narration.

Sephiroth awaits at the end of the highway. And...this really should have been the end of the game. Cloud sprints towards him, fade to black, WHAT'LL HAPPEN NEXT?

If we need a real final boss besides Motor Ball, have a fight with Seph here, or better yet Jenova (provided we didn't blow that earlier).

If the game ended right here, I'd probably say it's a 10 out of 10 remake. didn't. And I don't like anything else that happens. Your mileage may vary, and if you liked the ending, feel free to disagree. I'm about to get really critical here.

Sephiroth babbles on a bit in Advent Children speak (aka using a lot of words without actually saying a lot)

He then disappears into a portal, and our heroes have to decide whether to pursue him into the portal. Why would they, though? Nobody really knows what the deal is with him or Jenova. They're all acting like he's the big bad, the threat to the planet, even though they haven't actually figured that out yet in the game. Like they know what the player knows or something.

Barret stares down the portal. I can't wait for Part 2 and what I assume will be a lot more detail for the backstory of this guy in Corel. One of the more interesting/depressing parts of the original game that felt kind of underdeveloped. And Mount Corel should be pretty nice-looking.

Eventually they decide to jump into the portal to chase Sephiroth, for whatever reason, and end up in some sort of crumbling space-world full of flying condom Whispers. Is this a Yoshi's Island level? I feel like I touched fuzzy and got dizzy.

Can't really tell what's going on, but suffice to say Cloud runs through a lot of crumbling highway while the world disintegrates or whatever. The music here is super-epic, which tells us that we're supposed to feel like we're seeing something epic going on.

The characters announce that they're going to "fight fate" or something. This leads to several fights with a bunch of elemental Whispers that have a ton of HP. I have no idea why I'm fighting them but they look cool and they do some MMO-like stuff (HP balancing). I guess if the heroes defeat these things, they gain the power to change the timeline / deviate from their script?

Mike Tenay: "Goldberg's telling Russo he won't go up for the Jackhammer!"

Cloud slides around in more crumbling cityscape. This would have been amazing if it were the end of FFXV, since that game ends in a crumbling city and yet they made it as bland as they could.

This isn't bland at just doesn't mean anything or make any sense. Is this all an illusion, or some kind of sub-dimension? Either way, it isn't the actual world of the rest of the game.

They end up fighting a Whisper version of Bahamut. The modern FF developers have been really into Bahamut. Homie gets super high placement (final boss or close to it, etc) in the sequels to FFXIII, as well as World of Final Fantasy and several other modern-era games.

Aerith summons Leviathan to help deal with the scourge of these Whisper guys. This fight really drags on. I was ready for the game to be over soon after the highway chase. Instead it pulls you into this Whisper dimension slog that goes on for like 45 minutes. Just you beating on these Whispers with insane amounts of HP while wondering what's going on. Luckily it's got that epic music to tell you how to feel.

Here's the last Whisper brawl. Finally you fight the Whisper Harbinger, the biggest and baddest Whisper? He's the size of Shinra Tower.

Much like Cloud seeing Tifa or Aerith get naked, I'm just not interested.

The battle is won!

Time for the real main event, as Cloud must face Sephiroth in the crumbling ruins of Midgar.

This...should be like the final battle of the entire Remake saga. Like the end of Game 3 or 5 or whatever ends it.

Instead they just...blow it here, with no build. It's like they designed the end of the series ahead of time and couldn't wait to get there so they threw it onto the end of the first game instead.

A duel between these guys at the end of the highway would have been fine, and I expected things to go that way. Just a normal duel, not this apocalyptic world-shattering space-duel.

Regardless, this guy is the REAL toughest fight in the main game. Tougher than Rufus, tougher than Hell House, tougher than Reno+Rude.

...not tougher than the optional uberboss though.

As the fight goes on, more characters slowly arrive to help.

A lot of this fight is cutscene, with Sephiroth posing for the camera a lot like Wonder Woman.

I love Wonder Woman, but she does indeed pose for the camera frequently.

The epic apocalyptic space battle continues, as Sephiroth sprouts one wing and powers up!

Might as well just have him use Supernova and summon Meteor at this point since we've jumped forward four games.

Not gonna lie though...

This fight looks really...really good, at least.

More planet crumbling as time and space crunch together or whatever, who knows.

Methos: "My God. The moment of The Source!"

Video, as is tradition, at least it looks cool

The animators/designers continue to just blast the final battle of the series all over Game 1. The epic music tells you it's working.

Seph is bilingual, and goes from Advent Children speak to Kingdom Hearts speak.

Basically, everything that's going to happen...doesn't have to happen. Everything can be changed. Why he's telling the heroes this, I have no idea. Unless he wants to prevent his own demise, but also recognizes that they can prevent their own demises as well. The insinuation is that this is Sephiroth from the future who has seen his own destruction. They never actually state that though.

Then he and Cloud warp up to outer space and he says more stuff that doesn't make much sense. However, this all looks pretty epic.

They should have saved all of these scenes for later episodes and had them fit / make sense within the story. This scene could have been during Cloud's Mideel coma, for example.

Sephiroth wants to team up? I don't know.

"Maaaan I don't know what's goin on."

They do more cutscene fighting...ON THE MOON~!

Sephiroth easily out-maneuvers Cloud and says more cryptic stuff while posing for the camera a lot.

Though "seven seconds till the end" will certainly inspire a lot of internet discussion leading up to future episodes, and that can only be a good thing. There are several things he could be referring to from the original game.

Elsewhere, we get a good scene with Rufus taking the throne of Shinra Corp.

The Minions gather for this moment, and they all have different reactions. Heidegger is a President Shinra loyalist, so he isn't too happy about the change of bosses. Most of the others seem fine with it, though.

Elsewhere, we cut to Zack at the end of Crisis Core for some reason. One of the best scenes in the entire Final Fantasy series is the ending of Crisis Core, where Zack refuses to follow a corporation that he considers evil, and falls during his resistance. He'd rather stand and fight than bow down to something he doesn't believe in, even if it means he loses everything. His friend Cloud finds him after the fight, and it plays a large part in shaping whatever heroism Cloud has in his persona.

It's a great scene, glad to see them reference it here.

Back in Midgar, stuff happens, glowy radioactive dust falls out of the sky.

We cut to...Biggs? And he's still alive, like Wedge. ...why? So now that the heroes have defeated the Whispers, stuff can just be changed from the original story if they wish for it hard enough or something?

Barret, looking a lot like Macho Man Randy Savage, stands with his friends... the end of the highway, looking back at Midgar. This should have been the last scene. I mean they could have gone right from the Motor Ball fight to this and narratively the game would be unchanged. That hour-long excursion into DBZ space battles was out of place.

I dunno. Go to Kalm Town I guess? Everyone seems to already know the Sephiroth deal so I'm not sure why we need the Kalm flashback, and we already fought him in space so I'm not sure where the game really has to go from here.

It begins to rain. This scene is actually kind of perfect. Absolutely should be the end of the game. Well, all of that other stuff was a bit much, but hey, it's still a good game.

...oh COME ON. They cut back to Zack in the past, except now he survived the Crisis Core fight and got back to Midgar. Disney's Doug!


Putting aside that this completely trashes the great story arc that Crisis Core told, this is completely out of nowhere. So Zack is still alive now? Shouldn't everything be different in this new Zack-containing world?

There are ways to make all of this make sense, but I have a feeling they're just Kingdom Hearts-ing the story of FFVII. And reviving all of these people (who had important, notable deaths) for no apparent reason except "death is meaningless in the story now lol" just cheapens everything. So if Aerith still dies, she can just come right back because the characters will it or something?

I'd like it if Aerith survived this time because I love her character and it'd be a nice full circle development for people who grew up with the story. However it needs to mean something, there needs to be a reason for it besides flying condoms wishing it, etc. If they completely cheapen death in this universe by having people come back to life, to the point that characters who died in other games are back with no explanation, then people will expect Aerith to be saved and it won't have much impact when it happens. Not the impact it should have.

"Unknown journey" indeed. It feels like the devs themselves aren't even sure where they're going with this. Zack being around, by itself, is going to severely muck up the story of the game.

In better news, the Deluxe Edition came with a pretty swank artbook. It's got some art of Midgar's Upper Level, which I've mentioned really needed more fleshing-out in the game. There's a ton of interesting-looking stuff there. Would have loved to see this area greatly-expanded during the game, instead of having 90% of it transpire in the Lower Level junkyard.

Bahamut. And speaking of which...where was Bahamut? We got Whisper Bahamut as one of the final bosses, but what about regular Bahamut? Well...he's the final "VR Simulation" fight from Chadley, and you have to fulfill certain objectives to unlock the fight. I missed it entirely on my first go through the game. Bahamut also shows up in the optional superboss gauntlet, which I'll get to in a minute.

Cloud's swords. They included maybe a third of the swords from the original game, and did a great job translating their appearances into the modern era. There are still plenty of weapons / Limit Breaks / etc for the following games. Going off of the fact that they used about a third in this one, the aim is likely a 3-game series. Not sure how that'll work out, though. Midgar is like 10% of the original game.

More weapons, used by non-player friends and foes. One thing worth noting: The Scarlet weapons. To my knowledge, Scarlet never fights in this game, not in battle or cutscene. So her having a minigun and RPG is curious. Could this be planned content that was cut?

Welp, that's it for this game. It was pretty good, but I don't know about how they've set up future installments. Feels like Kingdom Hearts all over again in terms of incomprehensible plots and way too many games being set up.

...What? You still want more? Okay. Very lastly, here's the uberboss fight of the game. It's more of an "uberboss gauntlet", with powered-up versions of several bosses you've faced previously. The final round is against an entirely new opponent: A prototype of the infamous Proud Clod. The worst part, though, was Bahamut. Easily the hardest fight in the game.

This gauntlet took many tries and I barely scraped by. The key was using Elemental materia in armor. Having a character who absorbed Blizzard meant I could completely gimp Shiva (and thus spec for the later fights instead of speccing for her). Having a character who absorbed Fire meant I could nullify Ifrit's threat and focus on Bahamut, while also using fire pools to heal. Still, it was an epic brawl.


  1. Let go of his tail, Barret!

    The sights are certainly something, but...

    ...who knows where they're going with all of this. Wouldn't it be funny if you got your Upper Midgar wish by the second game having them inexplicably return to Midgar and the game just went in an entirely different direction from there? Would save Square from having to make the rest of the world.

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