A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story tackles timely topics including environmentalism, terrorism, and refugees, encouraging players to think about the importance of activism but also the repercussions of extreme actions. Strong themes of love, duty, parenthood, and friendship run through the narrative. It also promotes racial and sexual diversity as well as gender fluidity.
Positive Role Models
Cloud -- an elite soldier disillusioned with authority -- makes for a reluctant but dynamic protagonist, gradually shifting from aloof, self-interested mercenary to a morally conscious member of the community and altruistic friend. He and his friends are quick to take up arms in dangerous situations, but typically stop short of killing human enemies.
Ease of Play
Complex systems governing combat and character growth will likely require several hours of use to fully understand and master. But ample in-game tutorials and multiple difficulty levels -- including a "classic" option that automates much of the combat -- should keep most players from growing frustrated.
Violence & Scariness
Heroes attack fantasy creatures and humans using swords, guns, staffs, and magic. Hits are accompanied by flashes of light and occasional grunts of pain, but no blood or gore. Enemies disappear in a mist of sparkling light once defeated. Wounded and dead bodies are strewn in the environment in some locations, several important characters are seen battered and bruised, and some are killed, dying onscreen in lengthy, dramatic scenes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many men and women are provocatively dressed, with very short skirts and plunging necklines. Dialogue includes loads of innocent flirtation as well as more evocative comments, with characters hinting at sexual topics -- including prostitution -- but stops well short of anything explicit.
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Moderate language frequently appears in text and spoken dialogue, including "s--t," "bitch," "piss," "hell," "bastard," "damn," and variations.
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Products & Purchases
This game's a remake of an extremely popular RPG (role-playing game) for the first PlayStation that has spawned a wide variety of movies, books, toys, and other collectible paraphernalia.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cloud orders and drinks a couple of alcoholic beverages at a bar. Dozens of characters are seen in various states of drunkenness, from slurring words to vomiting in toilets to laying passed out in alleyways. One character smokes a cigar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Final Fantasy VII: Remake is role-playing game (RPG) for the PlayStation 4. The game's a re-creation of 1997's Final Fantasy VII. It's set in a fantasy world run by corporations slowing sapping the planet of its life energy, and is focused on a group of eco-terrorists fighting to save the globe. They use extreme tactics that end up leading to multiple tragedies, from key character deaths to the creation of mass refugee camps. This complex and timely narrative encourages players to think about parallel issues in our own world, giving special consideration to the notions that all actions have consequences and that people have the power to choose who they become. Frequent combat involving swords, guns, and magic used against both monsters and humans is fast-paced but bloodless. Fantasy creatures disappear in a mist of sparkling lights, and human foes are typically knocked unconscious rather than killed. Parents should also be aware that large parts of the game involve no combat, but are instead set in vibrant urban locations. This includes a lengthy segment that takes place in a red light district filled with scantily clad characters engaged in flirtatious and sexually suggestive conversation (though nothing explicit), as well as people in various states of drunkenness, ranging from stumbling to sick to unconscious. Dialogue includes a good deal of moderate profanity, but stops short of stronger language such as the F-word.
Is It Any Good?
Expectations must be properly set before diving into this beautiful first entry in Square Enix's long-awaited retelling of the story of Ex-SOLDIER Cloud Strife. Covering only the first handful of hours of the original game, Final Fantasy VII: Remake takes it slow, providing a much deeper look at the politics and population of Midgar as well as the stories and backgrounds of several important characters. Players accustomed to geographically epic Final Fantasy stories in which they explore an entire planet won't get that here. This is a small but visually sumptuous and emotionally resonant experience that brings to life familiar characters in new ways, but players should go in knowing that not all of their favorite personalities, summoned entities, quests, music, and moments are present. Many of these things are bound to come in later installments, but, for now, players are meant to be satisfied with an expanded Midgar that provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of the city's people, more clearly explains the potential evils of oversized corporations, and shows the lasting impact and consequences of an eco-terrorist organization that has noble ambitions but suffers tragically from a lack of foresight.
Scope and story aside, Final Fantasy VII: Remake provides players with combat, quest, and growth systems that draw from the original but are ultimately new and unique. For example, combat's designed to be action oriented with players tapping buttons to attack in real time, choosing commands for special attacks, magical spells, and items as appropriate -- a major departure from the source game's traditional turn-based fighting. A "Classic" mode automates attacks and allows players to pause the action at will in order to command characters, though it should be noted this makes the game much, much easier and won't be to all tastes. And while iconic summoned entities -- a key part of the original experience -- such as the goddess Shiva and the demon Ifrit, may still be acquired and used in battle, they appear far less often. The bottom line is that what's present in Final Fantasy VII: Remake is very good and makes for a great start to Square Enix's ambitious recreation of one of the world's most beloved games, but some players are bound to come away wishing there was just a little more meat on this bone.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.