The Moment I Fell In Love With Aerith In The Final Fantasy VII Remake

In the original Final Fantasy VII, Aerith and Cloud’s escape from Shinra across the rooftops of the Sector 5 slums is a minute-long sequence with a few lines of dialogue and a bit of hopping. The Final Fantasy VII Remake turns that fleeting moment into so much more.

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As Jason Schreier says in his excellent review, Aerith is one of the most improved aspects of the remake. Between the expanded script and the lovely voice acting of Briana White, she’s evolved from a waifish tagalong character into the dynamic, witty, and playful young woman she was always supposed to be. There’s a subtle, enigmatic air about this Aerith that fits her nature perfectly.

Illustration for article titled The Moment I Fell In Love With Aerith In The iFinal Fantasy VII/i Remake
Screenshot: Square Enix (Kotaku)
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The new rooftop sequence, which you can watch in its entirety in the video atop this post, is basically a seven-minute walk and talk between Cloud and Aerith. There are no battles or quick-time events. Just two people forming a tangible connection while the player pushes the analog stick about. That’s all it took for me to become completely enamored with this new and improved Aerith.

Illustration for article titled The Moment I Fell In Love With Aerith In The iFinal Fantasy VII/i Remake
Screenshot: Square Enix (Kotaku)

Before I played this game I was worried that a fully voiced, beautifully rendered Aerith would make the character’s eventual fate hurt much more than it did the first time around. I remain deeply worried.

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Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

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DISCUSSION

I never really got into FF as a series, so watching this as someone with no nostalgia for the content... meh?

Maybe it can’t really be helped because it was made in Japanese first, but those mouth flaps... wow. Not even close. It’s disappointing that such a big-budget game doesn’t even attempt to re-work that sort of thing and instead just tries to make the English words match up, because they just... don’t. And it’s really obvious and off-putting.

The characters have a kind of dead-eyed, thousand yard stare even when they’re supposed to be looking directly at one another.

They don’t seem to change their gait when walking up or down an incline, and the walking (for Cloud, anyway) just seems so clunky in a way that rips you out of the experience because you’re constantly reminded that you’re playing a video game.

I have no skin in the game here, since I’m not an existing fan of the series. But if I were, and if I’d been waiting decades for this, I’d be pretty disappointed by what’s on display here.