Upgrading a classic: a first look at the technology of Final Fantasy 7 Remake

March 3, 2020
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Potentially one of the most exciting games of the year, Final Fantasy 7 Remake takes a beloved, stone-cold PS1 classic and revitalises it with the power of current generation console technology. What were once basic polygon models overlaid on pre-rendered backgrounds, interspersed with full motion video CG sequences has evolved – with full real-time rendering at a quality that far exceeds what Squaresoft could even dream of, let alone achieve back in 1997. The excitement is palpable – stoked still further by the surprise ‘drop’ of a demo early on Monday morning.

In an age of often colossal downloads, it’s refreshing to see the demo clock in at just 8GB – a drop in the water next to the 100GB install size understood to be listed on the retail box. Still, the demo packs a real punch, offering 45-60 minutes of action, depending on how you tackle it, covering Cloud and Avalanche’s route up to the first Mako reactor core. You learn the basics of combat, evade laser beam traps and end it all with a boss battle against a Scorpion boss.

It’s literally the first hour of the game, but obviously, it’s not final code – PSN hackers were able to access the demo months ago, after all. With that in mind, gameplay elements can be altered and story elements tweaked by the time the game launches on April 10th. Technically though, what we’ve got right here with this Unreal Engine 4-powered title is already extremely polished on PS4 and PS4 Pro, to the point where if Square-Enix ships the title like this, we’d be perfectly happy.

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