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.
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.
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.
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.