Yes, you will be able to play as Sephiroth. As part of a new trailer for the game earlier this year., Final Fantasy VII Rebirth confirmed that a key scene from the original would appear in this, the second entry in a three-game project of the seminal PS1 classic. In 1997, that moment (a younger, revenge-driven Tifa confronting Sephiroth) was part of an extended playable flashback. Back then, the legend SOLDIER was nothing more than an NPC in your party. In last week’s State of Play, a new trailer revealed that not only would that flashback be present in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth in some capacity, but an accompanying interview confirmed that One-Winged Angel will be DualSense ready. And now, thanks to a new hands-on test with a preview version of the game, we know what it will feel like to play as Sephiroth.
That build is actually a two-part demo. The first half is a combat-heavy but story-driven section that shows Cloud and Sephiroth’s mission to mountainous Nibelheim and lasts around 20 minutes. The second part, Cloud and company’s post-Midgar adventure that takes them through a wide valley located in the shadow of Junon, has a similar length. Yeah you head directly to the destination marked on the HUD. Playtime could and is extended due to the area’s expansive world and the side activities that invite you: following Chocobo chicks, visiting Chocobo farms to customize your newly acquired mount, beasts to hit with one eye put in optional objectives. (It’s also an area rendered in such stunning detail that I wasted time simply moving the in-game camera around to admire my surroundings.)
The demo in its entirety is curated for attendees of this week’s Tokyo Game Show. As such, additional tutorials are incorporated to explain the mechanics and new additions, to refresh or familiarize players depending on whether they are returning from Final Fantasy VII Remake or not. We managed to get an early look ahead of the showroom opening and here’s what we discovered.
Nibelheim Mountain was rich in collectible and equippable Materia, and the demo prompted me to change my build frequently to try out the new types. Examples included Magnify Materia, which increases the number of enemies hit by an attack-type Materia if Magnify is placed next to them. Fun but potentially powerful was the ‘Spare Change’ Materia, with my attack strength based on how much Gil I threw (threw?) at an enemy.
Kickass Angel: The Nibelheim flashback pairs Sephiroth with a younger Cloud, the latter’s inexperience serving as a window for players to receive exposition on the world-building of both his comrade and Tifa (before Avalanche and accompanying the visiting army). Shinra as a local guide). In the original game, the Masamune wielder played as an NPC in your party, generating instant respect with his four-digit HP stack and his ability to shoot most enemies with a single swing of his sword. In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, you have the option to direct or control him. That aspect of the battle system will be similar to that for Final Fantasy VII Remake players (use the DualSense triggers to give commands to allies, the left or right D-Pad to switch characters). He’s no longer a one-punch man, but he still boasts some spectacular takedown abilities that constantly turn heads (fun note: while his and Cloud’s HP stats are comparable in FFVII Rebirth, Sephiroth’s HP is still in the four-digit range). In addition to some fancy and unique abilities he can deploy during fights, he can also team up with Cloud to execute one of FFVII Rebirth’s cool new features: synergy moves (more on that in a moment). Unfortunately, this demo sequence is too brief, but the embellished moments of combat and story from the original leave me with a similar awe for Sephiroth as in the past.
The Nibelheim portion of the demo had me slowly ascending the mountainside, with narrow paths and cliff climbs. Moving the camera while exploring revealed glowing matter, suggesting optional routes I hadn’t seen. Rest stops allowed HP and MP to be recovered. At one point, a dangerous buildup of Mako gas covered an elevator lobby area, causing a shutdown and requiring me to clear the area with a nearby purification unit before the elevator was reactivated.
Synergy skills and abilities: Allow two characters from your active party to join forces to perform a powerful attack during combat. They’ve been developed with each member’s fighting style and strengths in mind, meaning there are unique synergies for each pairing – another reason to continually mix up your active party as you explore. Some Synergies are AOE, others directional.
You’ll discover which ones can be deployed immediately and which ones need a little preparation before activating. They all require you to properly weigh and measure enemy (and sometimes friendly) locations to ensure these attacks land. Synergies come in two types: Skills and Skills, each of which has a subsection of the command menu (slow down time by simply pressing X to enter Tactical Mode and cycle through combat options to strategize your next moves). your group).
Your entire party, even those not actively in your party, hop on Chocobos and follow suit as you explore. Yes, that includes Red XIII. And yes, it seems as wonderfully absurd as you imagine.
Junon: As mentioned, the second section of the demo allowed for (almost) free exploration of a rugged strip of land between the Mythril mine and Junon. Certain sections were closed for the demonstration, but there was still a generous section of terrain for me to guide my group of chocobos. This particular area really enhanced the visual splendor of the game, Square Enix made its depiction of the imposing Junon and the surrounding landscape wallpaper-worthy. Like Final Fantasy VII Remake’s delightful early panoramas of Midgar, I’m dazzled by what was once best presented in cutting-edge CG cutscenes in the ’90s and is now surpassed by an in-game model. That includes Under Junon, a township built beneath Junon’s feet that I have fond memories of visiting for the first time, and whose next-generation expansion retains the vibe of the original but better captures its contrasting scale and the colossus that towers above .
Open Wilds of Junon hides many secrets, some of which can be sniffed out by your Chocobo, others require you to help the Chocobo chicks. Help a chick reactivate a Chocobo stop and you’ll earn a Golden Feather, which you can redeem at a nearby Chocobo farm to unlock cosmetics for your bird mount.
A stowaway ninja, a dolphin and a boss fight: Under Junon is designed as the final destination of the second demo, but the climax of the demo takes place in an epic battle on the nearby coast. The serpentine monster from the original returns as the area’s boss battle, although the reason for his attack is a little different this time.
In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth it is the introduction (and rescue) of Yuffie Kisaragi (whom players last encountered in Final Fantasy VII Remake EPISODE INTERmission) as she sails toward land that sets up the reimagined clash between the sea threat and the best. from Avalanche.
The demo concludes with a scene that’s so bold yet self-consciously ironic that it elicits my second big laugh of the session, a section of which you can watch below (although a dolphin-assisted attack by Cloud still comes in second to sight). of Red XIII riding a Chocobo for my favorite moment of practice).
The two-part demo is a captivating slice of what we can expect on February 29.
With new flourishes to the combat system, the visual splendor of a reimagined world beyond Midgar already on display thanks to the power of PS5, and particularly juicy moments shown in this second act of the game’s story, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, looks very promising.