‘Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth adds an addictive card game and some familiar social mechanics

Another hand. Another attempt to win the Queen's Blood card game. In my limited preview time with Final Fantasy 7 Rebirtha few weeks before the game's release, I may have spent a little Also long learning the rules of this companion card game, introduced relatively early in the game. And I regret nothing. (For one thing, because I made most of the changes to the combat system a few months ago.)

This early addiction bodes well for the game at large. It's a sign that the team behind this sequel to a remake is creating a bigger, richer world than the one sometimes on the rails of Redo. I'm hoping for a more open world experience, now that the characters have finally escaped Midgar. (See: the plot of Final Fantasy 7 Remake) A change of location also disrupts the look of the Renaissance. There are plants! Nature, everywhere! At least once you leave a satellite town called Kalm in Chapter 2.

Square Enix

First, I played Chapter 1, which also doubles as a tutorial. It's a flashback to Nibelheim, which explains how the protagonist Cloud and the antagonist Sephiroth worked together before; well, the latter apparently lost his mind and massacred everyone in town.

This is a more narrative version of my previous demo, but now I get to explore the town that several members of the group grew up in. When Cloud explores his friend Tifa's house – without her permission – he makes amusing criticisms about her lack of boundaries. . However, it all depended on me choose being horrible and barging into Tifa's room, playing her piano and just being a bit of a creep.

The chapter also raises unanswered questions surrounding Cloud and his hazy memories of Nibelheim. Anyone who played the original knows where this is going, but given the way some characters in the first third of the game doesn't die, I'm waiting to see how the developers further shake up the plot for new and old fans. There should be one significant death during this middle chapter of the game: Will they twist the knife?

Back to the new card game. Queen's Blood follows Triple Triad, Tetra Master and that weird Final Fantasy XV pinball game that might be best forgotten. You'll be able to customize your deck of cards, each with a different tile layout and occasional special effects. It's almost a risk-type game, aiming to dominate the board and accumulate the highest score across three rows. Cards can reclaim territory, lower stats, and all the usual video game card antics, and yes, I have a hard time explaining it in words. But it's fun. And I should have stopped playing and explored the prairies more than I did.

Square Enix

Once you finish your card games and leave Kalm, I will be able to explore in most directions. In the time I had left, I saw points of interest filled with treasure, unique monster packs, resources to collect, weapons with skills to master, chocobos to tame and pilot, chocobo stops to repair (which add fast travel points to the map). ); and the return of the terrible Chad with virtual battles and tasks to help you unlock more materials for additional spells and abilities. I then ate dirt during a battle to unlock the summon Titan spell.

I enjoyed this activity of choice, but some diversions seemed to be there to kill time, like Assassin's Creed. I hope the developers remember to reduce the travel time where they can, because crossing an area can get boring, even while riding a giant bird.

Fortunately, the move from point A to point B is interrupted by entertaining, sometimes difficult battles. A new addition to Renaissance is an enemy detection radar that shows the aggression level of enemies, helping you avoid fights when you just want to go for it.

Another new dynamic is the bonds between party members, which are now integrated into your movesets and stats. This presented itself in dialogue choices and side quests, adding a popular social mechanic seen in SO many JRPGs in this remake sequel. What's remarkable is that the deeper you go into this friendship, a separate skill tree improves character stats and even unlocks new synergy attacks (that I developed) to use in battle. Square Enix has hinted that the level of links could also affect the story – but this could simply reflect the theme park “date” that Cloud will take place, later, in the original game. We will know in a few weeks.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches for PS5 on February 29, 2024.

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