Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth: A Flawed Masterpiece Misses Its Emotional Mark

by Ji-yeong
3 minutes read

Note: This review delves into significant plot details of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and the original Final Fantasy 7, including major spoilers.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth almost achieves perfection, offering an unparalleled combat system, expansive open worlds, and deeply engaging character development. It stands out as the most impressive entry in the series for the past two decades until it reaches its critical juncture. At this pivotal moment, instead of delivering a powerful emotional punch, the game fumbles, diluting its impact through a series of bewildering choices.

The game’s climax unfolds at the Forgotten Capital, echoing a crucial scene from the original game where Aerith meets her demise at the hands of Sephiroth. This event, teased by Square Enix, fueled speculation and hope among fans that Aerith’s fate might be altered. The anticipation was built on the premise introduced in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, suggesting the possibility of changing key events from the original narrative.

In a dramatic twist, Cloud intervenes as Sephiroth attempts to strike Aerith down, hinting at a rewritten destiny. For a brief moment, it appears Aerith has been spared. However, the reveal of her death is handled clumsily, with confusing editing and juxtaposed realities, leaving the audience to piece together what has transpired.

The narrative choice to obscure Aerith’s death undermines the moment’s gravity, opting for a convoluted presentation over the direct emotional resonance that fans expected. This decision not only detracts from the impact of Aerith’s death but also complicates the narrative unnecessarily, making it less accessible to newcomers and frustrating for long-term fans.

The game’s attempt to maintain suspense and engage the player in a “meta puzzle” surrounding Aerith’s fate results in a disjointed experience. The immediate transition to a lengthy boss battle further prevents players from processing the emotional weight of the story, a stark contrast to the original game’s handling of loss and mourning.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s finale was an opportunity to honor Aerith’s character and the emotional investment of the players. Instead, it becomes an exercise in subverting expectations, sacrificing clarity and emotional depth for ambiguity and complexity.

Despite these criticisms, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth remains a monumental achievement, redefining the series in many ways. However, its handling of one of the most iconic moments in video game history leaves a lingering disappointment, overshadowing its many triumphs.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s ambitious narrative choices in its climax illustrate a missed opportunity to fully resonate with its audience. While it excels in gameplay and storytelling, its convoluted approach to a defining moment underscores the delicate balance between innovation and emotional integrity in remaking classic tales.

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