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The Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth demo has finally landed on the PlayStation Store, and let me tell you, it's one heck of a ride! It took me around 2 and a half hours to complete without skipping any cutscenes. When it finally came to an end, it left me craving for more and got me super hyped for when my pre-order copy arrives in the mail.
Assuming this demo serves as the starting point of the game, I noticed a note mentioning that players who complete it can skip this part of the story. So, it's not just your typical "demo" but rather a section of the actual game.
The demo even includes an option to view the story so far, which was quite welcome for me since it's been a while since I last played Final Fantasy. After platinum-ing both the main game and Intergrade, I stored my copy and patiently waited for the second installment to arrive. I tried filling the time by playing other Final Fantasy games like Stranger of Paradise, Ever Crisis, and Final Fantasy XVI, but nothing beats the emotional connection and nostalgia I have for Final Fantasy 7.
It holds a special place in my heart as it was the first game I ever bought for my PlayStation One. Playing it brings me back to my childhood when everything was simple, and gaming was the highlight of my day. Nowadays, I still feel that joy, though not quite at the same level as back then – until this demo dropped.
I was over the moon to see my favorite characters again, picking up where they left off at the end of the first game. The section of the game made Cloud recall when he first met Sephiroth. For those familiar with Crisis Core and the OG Final Fantasy 7, SPOILER ALERT it's not actually Cloud's memories but Zack's that he is sharing with the team.
On the Road to Nibelheim
The scene takes place in a vehicle heading towards Nibelheim, where Sephiroth, Cloud (Zack), Soldier 1 (Cloud), Soldier 2, and the driver are present. Cloud checks up on the 1st soldier, who is actually Cloud in the story. We can see his blonde hair under his helmet, and he is clearly struggling, most likely due to motion sickness. He doesn't talk much. If you pay attention, the Cloud here is incredibly talkative and animated, not like the Cloud we all know. His personality matches with Zack perfectly, and I appreciated the nuance the developers designed him with.
Back Home After 2 Years
Upon arriving at Nibelheim, Cloud checks up on various locations like the old water tower, his childhood home, and Tifa's house before heading into the inn to meet up with Sephiroth and progress the story. A particular scene I really enjoyed was when Cloud goes into Tifa's house and peeks inside her closet. The real-life Tifa then calls Cloud an asshole for doing so. Although the game gives you an option not to look inside her closet, I did the opposite because I wanted to know how Tifa would react. It squeezed a laugh out of me, which doesn't usually happen since I like to laugh on the inside most of the time.
You can also play the piano inside Tifa's room; the first piece you get is Tifa's theme, which is actually one of my favorites. I spent a few minutes there before proceeding to the inn.
Upon entering the inn, Cloud meets a buff gentleman who introduces himself as Zangan. I was pleasantly surprised to meet Tifa's teacher. He mentioned that Cloud would make a good martial artist if he bulked up, and I couldn't help but imagine what if Cloud was a brawler instead of a swordsman?
The game added a function to jump over walls and climb over low objects, adding to the freedom of exploring the world. I found a lot of Materia and chests exploring the surroundings. I appreciated the option since the game didn't feel like I was being herded into a specific direction. It was actually fun to go off the beaten path to explore.
Trekking to the Reactor
The group will climb the mountain, and Tifa volunteers to become the tour guide despite the reluctance of her father. Tifa is visibly young here and quite immature. The present Tifa comments that Cloud and her weren't very close despite being neighbors, and Barret comments that it might be because Cloud was weird. The music at the start of the trek up the mountain was marvelous, and I look forward to listening to the official soundtrack when it comes out.
You'll eventually be able to control Sephiroth in battles, and it was a great experience. He is speedy, precise, and has good range with his attacks, a welcome change from Cloud, who mostly has heavy attacks.
The party will cross a bridge, but the bridge will get hit by lightning and get destroyed, causing everyone to fall. One of the soldiers dies (not the soldier Cloud). The soldier Cloud actually saves Tifa at one point, and she thanks him. I love the little nods from the game that that soldier is actually Cloud, who really cared about Tifa.
Materia Boss Fight
Eventually, Cloud and Sephiroth fight a Materia guardian. It was a challenging fight because I forgot how to retarget. The boss can grab one of the party members, and the other one has to hit the limb to free him. I struggled there but eventually managed to vanquish. Afterward, the story progresses, and no more battles ensure as Sephiroth slowly descends into madness following the discovery of Jenova and him being a manufactured creature. I didn't truly understand how Sephiroth turned bad until now. The game showed his descent so masterfully that it made me have sympathy for him.
The demo ends with his iconic scene looking at Cloud with fire in the background while he walks into the fire towards Jenova.
Post Demo Scenes
Players will get an option to view a teaser trailer for the game, and boy, did it hype me up. Cid, Vincent, Cait Sith, and the gang all appear in the trailer, as well as some characters I don't know. I am really excited about the game and am pleased with this well-made demo that they made available for everyone.
I give this demo a 10/10. It's definitely a must-play, even if you don't plan on buying the game (yet).