April 15, 2024

In extending one 40-hour RPG into three separate, equally lengthy, titles Sq. Enix has discovered plenty of methods to construct out the world of Last Fantasy VII. Rebirth, the second entry within the trilogy, takes it a step additional than in its predecessor by packing the now-sprawling world stuffed with actions. Extending the story has additionally allowed Sq. Enix to revisit and broaden upon beloved characters from the bigger Last Fantasy VII universe. However in its opulent reimaging of the unique, Rebirth finds itself falling into one the remake trilogy’s most harmful obsessions—changing into a nostalgia tour of what followers love, generally on the expense of narrative cohesion. No place is that this extra evident than in how Rebirth presents the interactive play Loveless.

The primary time gamers are capable of discover the Gold Saucer amusement park, they go to Occasion Sq., residence of the theater that places on Loveless. Within the entryway to the theater Cloud and his companion, see portraits of previous and current actors from the present. One stands out: Jessie. Whereas those that performed the unique and Remake will keep in mind Jessie because the Avalanche demolitions professional who can’t cease flirting with Cloud, she beforehand labored as an actress on the Gold Saucer. Within the wake of her demise in Midgar, Cloud and his companion mirror on Jessie as an individual in certainly one of Rebirth’s many small however extremely well-written character moments. (If you’re with Tifa, she’s going to speak about how a lot Jessie impressed her.)

After Remake fleshed out Jessie to nice success, it’s an equally somber second for the participant to mirror on the lack of an awesome character. However upon returning to the theater throughout the Gold Saucer date, we study Shinra has used state-of-the-art know-how to recreate Jessie’s efficiency in digital actuality. For enjoyment of followers, Shinra will make Jessie reside on in a pale imitation, as company property. On one degree this sickening act on Shinra works inside the narrative of Rebirth, one other instance of Shinra’s callous disregard for all times – be it of the planet or individuals. However within the spirit of the remake trilogy’s metatextual themes, the return of Jessie feels off. In its most indulgent moments Sq. Enix takes the identical path as Shinra in its method to characters on the earth of FF7 — if followers prefer it, why not deliver it again?

Jessie in a white gown with wings floating towards the ground

RIP Jessie. Gone however not forgotten.
Picture: Sq. Enix

That is the case with Jessie. Whereas the emotional recollection Cloud shares after encountering her portrait helps deliver the surviving characters nearer, her look in Loveless lacks any consequence to the story. Cloud, Barret, and Tifa eagerly watch the mute recreation of Jessie carry out Loveless like Shinra’s doll. However past saying she actually was a star, they don’t remark upon the disgusting use of their lifeless buddy’s likeness or in any manner protest. Jessie’s look in all her splendor feels all for the advantage of the participant’s enjoyment, however our essential characters ought to discover it ghoulish.

These sort of “memberberries” could be seen by Remake and Rebirth, in how the 2 video games generally play out like a who’s who of The Compilation of Last Fantasy VII. Characters like Glenn Lodbrok or Cissnei, each of whom come from FF7’s many spinoffs, really feel stitched into the bigger narrative in hopes of satisfying these dozens of people that will go “Hey, I like that obscure spinoff character!” And whereas that is accomplished extra gracefully in some locations, similar to Cissnei’s look in Gongaga, Glenn Lodbrok’s secret conferences with Rufus are extra baffling. This want to deliver all the pieces from the difficult tendrils of the prolonged FF7 universe collectively right into a cohesive manner results in plenty of bloat.

Glenn Lodbruck's face staring at the camera

How many people needed to Google who this man was?
Picture: Sq. Enix

Perhaps followers need this? In any case, the remake trilogy feels geared in direction of those that have poured over each little bit of prolonged lore, and on the finish of the day the primary purpose of any remake is to fulfill the expectations of gamers. However too usually, these nostalgia performs derail the story and even take away from its narrative weight. Remake received away with its extension of the brief Midgar part from the unique as a result of it was usually deft at weaving its many threads collectively, and was helped alongside by the sport’s metanarrative on the challenges of a remake.

There are nonetheless moments the place the remake trilogy masterfully handles this delicate steadiness. Considered one of Rebirth’s finest aspect quests, Cosmo Canyon’s Protrelic quest, expands closely on Jessie and the remainder of the misplaced Avalanche crew by the lens of how Barret and Tifa cope with grief and survivor’s guilt. It’s significant, well-written, and the non-compulsory nature of it retains it from muddying the primary story an excessive amount of. However these significant makes use of of the remake trilogy’s prolonged runtime really feel few and much between, too usually twisting Rebirth right into a Last Fantasy VII amusement park and never a worthwhile narrative in its personal proper.

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