With fresh gameplay, Final Fantasy VII Remake looks great and plays great.
There's a certain surrealism inherent to playing the demo of a game that you've been doggedly following for five years.
Going into the demo for Final Fantasy VII Remake, I knew exactly what to expect—After all, the demo was first playable at E3 2019, and videos of second-hand playthroughs have been on YouTube ever since. I knew that the demo covered Cloud's first mission alongside Barret and the eco-terrorist group, Avalanche. I knew that I'd get to slash the sh!t out of some Shinra goons. I knew that a giant metal scorpion waited for me at the Mako reactor's core.
But as the opening cinematic—which I'd already watched at least ten times—came to a close, I still could hardly believe it when the camera lingered on Cloud instead of skipping me to another YouTube video. After five years of actively waiting, at long last I was actually playing the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
For a solid three minutes, I ran Cloud around in circles, wildly swinging the Buster Sword in the air. Each thrust had a nice weight to it. In shoddier ARPGs (action role-playing games), weapons tend to feel weightless, so it's always a good sign when your character's giant, heavy sword actually feels like a giant, heavy sword.
Eventually, I decided it was time to move on from the empty corner I started in and proceed with the mission. In a larger sense, the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo is clearly designed as a gameplay tutorial for people who are already familiar with the franchise. While it gives some helpful insights into Final Fantasy VII's sprawling story (and even fleshes out a plot point from the original), the demo's primary focus is throwing enemies at Cloud and teaching you how to mow them down. That was definitely the right call.
Pretty much everybody who is even mildly familiar with video games already knows that Final Fantasy VII has one of the most beloved narratives in the history of the medium. So the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo doesn't need to sell the promise of a narrative—It needs to sell fresh gameplay that sets the reimagining apart from the 1997 original beyond just incredibly updated graphics.
Thankfully, the Final Fantasy VII Remake combat system plays phenomenally, blending modern ARPG combat with more classic JRPG elements like a real-time, menu-based system for magic, specials, and items. The resulting system feels incredibly distinct and entirely new, yet so obviously inspired by the original.
Better yet, even at its simplest, there's an inherent complexity to the gameplay that will almost certainly deepen and expand with the addition of Materia, summons, and new party members in the larger game. One of my biggest worries going into Final Fantasy VII Remake was that it would feel more like a generic hack-and-slash than a Final Fantasy game, but the demo puts all those fears to rest—This is a game that looks great and plays great.
One of my favorite parts of the demo was stepping into Barret's shoes. As cool as it is to swing the Buster Sword willy nilly, I've played as Cloud in everything from Super Smash Bros. to Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring on PlayStation 1. Firing a slew of bullets from Barret's machine gun arm felt like a fresh experience and, most surprisingly, his ranged gameplay flowed perfectly with Cloud's close combat style.
Switching between characters with such distinct play styles can oftentimes lead to a sense of dissonance, but the Final Fantasy VII Remake battle system manages to feel cohesive whether you actively switch characters or just stick to one and dish out commands. In fact, there's so much variety to the potential gameplay tactics that the 45-minute demo actually has a substantial amount of replay value.Thus far, I've only played the demo once, but I have a feeling that I'll be spending a lot more time with it before
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Sometimes you've just got to get yourself that Winter Candy Apple and Iced Gingerbread.
I hope Jen from Appleton, Wisconsin is doing well these days.
As for Angela, the star of the best Bath & Body Works rant of all time (and there are surprisingly many on YouTube), I hope she's living a Winter Candy Apple-scented life to the fullest.
In 2012, the aspiring vlogger posted a rant about her dire mission to acquire two coveted candles from Bath & Body Works: Winter Candy Apple and Iced Gingerbread. The outstanding 11-minute video recounts her harrowing journey to the store in APPLETON, WISCONSIN (it's very important the store is called out for their heinous treatment of Angela).
After the video was discovered and spread across Tumblr, it was recognized as a cultural masterpiece of our time, a treatise on the frailty of the human condition and our undying perseverance to end our own suffering at any cost.
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It's an unprecedented time for brand deals and nonsensical collaborations
I'm convinced that the Supreme Oreos that terrorized the internet (and which I haven't stopped thinking about since) were the cultural reset.
Released in February 2020, right as everything started to go wrong, these bright red Supreme Oreos were met with equally visceral confusion and anticipation. Despite many on the internet claiming that Supreme and Oreo had gone too far, the 3-pack of Oreos inevitably sold out in minutes online.
It seems Oreo have not learned their lesson. Just announced: their collaboration with Lady Gaga
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Life is short, go for a bold eye like Jules.
From Rue's grungy over-sized aesthetic to Jules' femme futuristic looks, there are plenty of outfits shown throughout the series to inspire you to reinvent your whole wardrobe. Not to mention the makeup looks, which are so unique and striking as to have inspired hundreds of Halloween costumes last year. But why reserve a neon eye shadow or sequin eyelid look for Halloween when you can channel your inner Maddie or Jules all year long?
Euphoria Season 2 may be a few months away, but HBO is releasing two special episodes much sooner. The first of these specials, "Trouble Don't Last Always," focuses on Rue (played by Zendaya) and just dropped on HBO Max. To celebrate, we've listed some of the most essential cosmetic products to help you make your Euphoria-inspired makeup dreams come true—no drugs required.
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Here's what to stream this weekend.
If you're anything like us, you're probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of albums being released on a weekly basis.
Popdust's weekly column, Indie Roundup, finds the five best albums coming out each week so that you don't have to. Every Friday, we'll tell you what's worth listening to that might not already be on your radar.