There are two ways to remake a game: Recreate, or reimagine. To recreate is to take what was there and rebuild it exactly as it was, or as close as possible. To reimagine is to take the spirit of what was and transplant it into a new shell. If remakes by Bluepoint Games stand as examples of the former, Square Enix's remake of Final Fantasy VII is the new gold standard for the latter--a reimagining that feels like the FFVII of 1997, but with better controls, more intricate systems, and richer characters for a new generation of players and old-school fans alike.
Final Fantasy VII ('97) put a focus on Cloud. You could command Barrett, Tifa, and Aerith/Aeris in battle, but Cloud was your avatar on the world map, and thus for most of the game. Final Fantasy VII (2020) still has you spend most of your time with Cloud, but the additional material spanning cutscenes, dialogue, battles, areas to explore, and quests to complete flesh out everyone, even tertiary characters like Jessie who were relegated to bit parts way back when.
The battle system, an amalgamation of real-turn and turn-based, lets you switch between characters on the fly, an effective way of highlight everyone's unique abilities and contributions to the team. As the game continues, you'll find yourself relying on every character's strengths to get through tougher battles. The frantic pacing and team-oriented structure of combat deepens your bond with your party: You know their skills because you rely on them to survive for 10, 20, 50-plus hours, and by getting to know their abilities, you get to know them.
Fans were worried when Square announced that Final Fantasy VII remake was only one part of the remake. After playing this year's release, those fears should be assuaged. This game, one part of a whole, has more than enough content to justify its price tag and Square's decision. The Shack staff can't wait for what comes next, and that's why Final Fantasy VII is the Shacknews Best Remake of 2020.
Check out the other winners from The Shacknews Awards 2020 in our Year of the Games: 2020 article.
David Craddock posted a new article, Shacknews Best Remake of 2020 - Final Fantasy VII