It's time to remake "The Legend of Dragoon."
Technology has finally reached a point where the greatest old school video games can be properly updated for the modern era.
Many of our favorite games from the '90s and early 2000s feature amazing stories, concepts, and gameplay, albeit with graphics that no longer shine. Updating, remastering, or in the case of Final Fantasy VII: Remake, entirely remaking from the ground up, can bring a beloved game right back into the pop culture limelight. But just because a game doesn't boast the massive fanfare surrounding powerhouse titles like Final Fantasy VII and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, that doesn't mean it's not worthy of an update, too. In fact, underrated titles might benefit even more from a 2020 polish.
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Even to this day, "Dark Tournament" remains the defining shonen "Tournament Arc."
Oftentimes, it's impossible to separate the quality of the anime we grew up watching from the sense of nostalgia those series evoke.
Case in point: Dragon Ball Z. Historically, DBZ is likely the most influential anime series of all time, both redefining the shonen genre for every series that came after it and introducing an entire generation of Western kids to Japanese animation through the legendary Funimation dub on Cartoon Network's Toonami block. Chances are high that if you meet someone who loves anime and grew up in the late '90s or early 2000s, they'll have a deeply personal bond with DBZ.
At the same time, it's hard to argue that DBZ holds up in the modern day, especially for new viewers coming in with fresh eyes. The pacing of the original series is super slow, the fights drag out forever, and while DBZ created so many of shonen's most prevalent tropes ("This isn't even my final form!"), almost everything DBZ ever did has since been done better by other series.
From Red XIII to Cross-Dressing Cloud to the best Nobuo Uematsu theme song in ages, the newest FF7 Remake trailer has everything.
To say that Final Fantasy fans are hyped for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake would be the understatement of the century.
The newest Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer is a master class in video game marketing, hitting literally every note that a fan could ask for in preparation for the game's long-awaited April 10th release. But first, some history:
The original Final Fantasy VII, which came out for Playstation 1 in 1997, was a generation-defining game. For many kids growing up in the '90s, Final Fantasy VII was their first exposure to a truly epic story-based game, a 40+ hour experience that played out across three entire discs. Combining cinematic visuals, deep gameplay mechanics, and unforgettable story beats, Final Fantasy VII captivated imaginations and solidified JRPGs (Japanese Role-Playing Games) as a go-to genre in the Western hemisphere.
Not everything stands the test of time, though. While the original Final Fantasy VII's game play and narrative are still just as rich as ever, its visuals are not nearly as impressive in 2020 as they were in 1997, with the polygonal in-game character models frequently positioned as the butt of ridicule within the gaming community. That's not to say the polygon models don't have a certain charm (they absolutely do), but it's impossible to detach affection from nostalgia.
Regardless, if any game in the history of the medium has ever deserved a modern update, it's Final Fantasy VII. So, when after nearly a decade of fan demand, the Final Fantasy VII Remake was officially announced at E3 2015 with a gorgeous cinematic trailer, it seemed impossible for excitement to grow higher. Unlike many modern updates to classic games, Final Fantasy VII Remake wasn't just set to be a prettier re-skin, but rather an entirely new game built from the ground up.
It's been five long years of waiting since then––a relatively long time for game development––but anticipation has only continued to mount. Ramping up to the game's launch over the past year, Square Enix has slowly rolled out trailers revealing everything from new gameplay elements to updated designs of beloved characters like Tifa, Aerith, and Sephiroth. Each trailer has evoked the same response: "How could this possibly get any better?"
Now, this newest trailer answers that question once again: "Like this."
The new trailer introduces us to many of the members of the Shinra Electric Power Company, the corrupt megacorporation responsible for much of the sociopolitical oppression in the world of Final Fantasy VII. We get the first official reveal of fan favorite character Red XIII, the talking lion-like creature who Cloud and co. rescue from the Shinra lab. We get the promise of fresh storylines with Roche, a new character who seems to view Cloud as a rival. We get summon clips of Leviathan and Chocobo. We even get an extended clip of cross-dressing Cloud, one of the original game's sillier story beats that many fans worried wouldn't translate well into the modern era. And more surprising than its inclusion, it actually seems to work within a progressive context, with Cloud's makeup artist saying, "True beauty is an expression of the heart. A thing without shame, to which notions of gender don't apply."
Oh, and let's not forget legendary Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu's new theme song for the game. "Hollow," with its downbeat tune and haunting vocals by Yosh from the band Survive Said The Prophet, imbues the entire trailer with a deep sense of sad nostalgia––a feeling that any fan of the original game will recognize as emotionally spot-on.
After every new Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer, it's hard to say whether the proper response should be cheering or crying. But that's the beauty of this game, just like its predecessor in 1997. We can do both.
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