June 28, 2024

Insert Disc 2 for our Final Fantasy VII Rebirth review!

Firstly, my apologies to the two and a half of you who were waiting for the Qualbert review of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Sometimes life gets in the way. As much as I would give my left testicle to have a well-paying job to play and review videogames – that is never going to happen. I’m stuck with a ‘real’ job…for now at least.

But I WANT to play more videogames! Also, I’m like 40 years old.

I did have an opportunity that one time for my dream job, but they wanted my right testicle as part of the deal…and nobody gets their hands on Righty! But I digress, if you are reading this review, you are probably wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the various elements of this game, and not my genitalia.

I’m certainly not trying to make any allusion to my genitals with this screenshot. Nope. None at all.

Whilst we here at Qualbert have a passion for independint developers and lesser-known titles, it would be remiss of us to completely ignore the blockbuster AAA titles that for better or worse drive this industry we love forward with both technical innovation and visual spectacle. Certainly, there is no doubt that Square-Enix as a videogame publisher requires no introduction. Final Fantasy is definitely one of the most famous series in all of video games and the original Final Fantasy VII to many is the high point of the series… I will argue for Final Fantasy VI being the better game until the end of time though.

Yes. Suggesting that FFVII is better than FFVI does make you a dumbass.

When Square Enix announced the FFVII remake trilogy the internet exploded. The first title in the trilogy, FFVII Remake, released in April 2020 to universal acclaim. It was a beautiful update to the first section of the original title, whilst also being an excellent introduction to the series for new players. It was unquestionably a Game of the Year contender. I definitely enjoyed playing though FFVII Remake (I do have the Platinum Trophy for it), though even with the additional time spent to ‘Plat’ it, in the end it felt a little short.

After an almost four year wait, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is here. How will the second part of the trilogy fare?

Sephiroth, we have come for you (and Tifa).

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review – Story

Everyone who is yet to play Rebirth will fall into one of the following two camps:

  • People who have played the original Final Fantasy VII and know the events that played out in this section of the game.
  • People who have not played the original Final Fantasy VII at all

Iconic scenes return and look amazing with modern PS5 technology

Regardless of which camp you fall into, our furry friend Red XIII does a great job in narrating a moving summary of the events of FFVII Remake. As such, you don’t need to have played the first title in the trilogy – though it is a cracking game in its own right so you really should play though Remake if you have access to it. You’ll get much more out of the events of Rebirth having played every minute of Remake, particularly due to the massive amount of call-backs and returning characters that aren’t necessarily covered in Red XIII’s abridged version.

I mean, Tifa, Cloud and Barret did most of the work, but sure take all the credit you like

The story of FFVII Remake was contained entirely in the city of Midgar. Not this time. In fact, other than some flashback episodes, our adventurers don’t set foot back in Midgar. This is a complex tale encompassing Political intrigue (the bubbling conflict between Shinra and Wutai), environmental/climate change activism (Shinra company draining the world of its lifestream and Avalanche fighting back), genetic experiments of the mad scientist Hojo, and of course the mysterious plans of the enigmatic Sephiroth.

Shhh, you’re giving it away!

For those that have some experience with FFVII and its wider universe (especially Crisis Core) I don’t want to spoil what happens in this game because there are some differences here that are both exciting and at times shocking. What certainly isn’t a secret is the appearance of Zack Fair. In the original FFVII he had only a small role before having his backstory fully fleshed out in Crisis Core. There is some funky stuff going on here (that may anger the PS1 FFVII purists) but it is a point of difference and I personally enjoyed that it wasn’t simply a re-hashing of the original story.

Hey! I know that guy!

I will say that this is most definitely ‘Act 2’ of this trilogy. Not everything goes the way our heroes hope and when all is said and done with the complete FFVII trilogy, I believe that this will be seen as the equivalent of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. I certainly hope that the final part of the trilogy doesn’t drop the ball like Return of the Jedi did.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review – Gameplay

The original FFVII was a turn-based RPG…which was the style at the time. Remake completely flipped the script and introduced us to one of the best Action RPG battle systems ever devised. Fortunately for us, a very similar battle system returns in Rebirth, though there are some tweaks that keep things fresh.

Each of the controllable characters in the game have a totally unique control scheme and battle style. Both Cloud and Tifa are physical combat characters that get up close and personal with the enemies, Tifa is physically stronger but doesn’t have as much movement capability as Cloud. Barret uses his arm cannon from long range but is also the tankiest team member and can take a lot of damage (two things that don’t really go together all that well). Aerith is the main mage/healer of the team. Each character uses their basic attacks to build up the ATB gauge, which can then be used to unleash special skills and magic attacks.

As experience is earned through battle, additional nodes will be able to be unlocked in the games version of a skill tree that provide stat upgrades and new battle options. Some of these are powerful Synergy Skills and Synergy Abilities that require two characters to unleash (and look fantastic). Each character also has up to 3 Limit Breaks they can use to devastating effect. The Materia system is also back, allowing players to mix and match spells and abilities, with an understanding of enemy elemental and attack type weaknesses essential to progress (especially for boss battles).

Weak to fire AND ice? What are you

But that is enough about battles. FFVII Rebirth has the largest list of minigames I have ever experienced in an RPG. There are over 20 playable minigames here. Some are callbacks to the original FFVII while others are brand new distractions that will constantly pull you away from the main story line. I mean, why save the world when you can play a card game instead, right? Queens Blood is a brand new card game in the vein of Triple Triad and Tetra Master. Placing cards unlocks additional places on the board and earns you points. Having the most points across two out of the three gameplay rows will win you the round (and one of your opponent’s cards). I very much enjoyed Queens Blood (which has its own substory attached as well).

They call this one a flawless victory.

Chocobo racing is another huge minigame (that could almost be its own small self-contained title). It is a fully fleshed out racing game where you guide your bird around a track Mario Kart style with speed boosts, weapons and jumps. There are a massive 19 different tracks that you can race on. However, even as someone that has only a passing enjoyment of racing games I rarely needed to race the same track more than twice to come away with the W. Still, this was a very strong addition to the overall experience.

The other major minigame I want to focus on is Fort Condor. This is definitely a love letter from the developers to the original FFVII. I won’t go into detail about the tower defense style gameplay, because all you really need to see is this:

Wow! Look at those pointy…knees

Exploration is another element of FFVII Rebirth that is better than its predecessor in every way…except maybe one small gripe I’ll mention in a moment. All of the places we visited in the previous adventure that was encapsulated in the city of Midgar had a ‘long series of connected corridors’ feel. Not this time though. The Grasslands, Junon, Cosmo Canyon, Corel and Nibel – all of these locations provide huge free roaming areas where there is simply a ton of activities to complete. I commented to a friend that these areas had a very Horizon Zero Dawn/Forbidden West, particularly as the method to unlock the map markers for activities involves climbing a radio tower. Still, these areas are massive, and the power of the PS5 allows you to see extremely far to areas that you can definitely explore for yourself.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review – Visuals

This game looks excellent. Bur rather than going into detail about this, sit back and watch this video:

Let’s all pick our jaws up off the floor now. All jokes aside this is one of the best-looking games on PS5. It doesn’t reach the facial graphics fidelity of Horizon or the Last of Us releases on PS5, still the cutscenes are gorgeous and the standard gameplay animations are not far behind at all. Sure, sometimes in battle there is way too much going on to be able to see everything in detail. But watch someone else play (or watch some replay vidoes) and you can really enjoy the mountain of work that has been put into Rebirth to make it a magical quest from start to finish.

Cloud and the crew have never looked this good, but in my view the characters and enemies are completely outshone by the effort that has been put into the massive landscapes and ecosystems of Rebirth (both in scripted cutscenes and in general gameplay). Seeing some of these locations in this quality is a joyful experience. This is a game that does have a lot, and I mean a LOT, of scripted moments and cutscenes. We are talking almost Metal Gear Solid levels of story exposition. This might rub some people the wrong way, however these moments are so well done that I couldn’t help but be glued to the screen for every single moment.

There are some artistic decisions I personally don’t agree with though. The main one being that the Moogle race has for some reason been transformed into something that resembles a Koala. I prefer the simple design used in FFVI which was replicated in later games including FFIX, FFXI and most recently in FFXVI. It isn’t something that spoils the experience. Overall, this is a premium AAA title on the PS5 and it absolutely performs as expected. Smooth as butter gameplay. No frame rate issues. No bugs. No soft-locks. No crashing. Short and sweet section here, because there is nothing negative to speak of at all.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review – Audio

The voice cast from Remake (and Remake Intergrade) is back and once again put in an absolutely masterful performance. These characters are brought to life. You can feel their emotions (or lack of them in the case of Cloud) and the poignant story moments, particularly for Red XIII and Barret, are delivered perfectly.


The Final Fantasy series has always been the pinnacle of video game soundtracks. Final Fantasy VII’s original soundtrack had some of the master Nobuo Uematsu’s best work – J.E.N.O.V.A, One-Winged Angel, Tifa’s Theme and Aerith’s Theme are classic tracks. Just like Remake, Rebirth gives us fully rearranged, orchestral versions of these songs and they do sound better than ever.



Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a game that exceeds the previous game in the series in every conceivable way. It looks better, it sounds better, there are more minigames (WAY more), the entire adventure is significantly longer and, most importantly, it hits many of the emotional highs and lows of the (almost) unbeatable Final Fantasy VII story. We meet more of the main characters of the original game in this outing, and they are more fleshed out than ever before.

One of the reasons this review took me so long to write is that I was getting everything I could out of my Rebirth experience. I sank no less than 90 hours into this game and I still have many things I can go back to do, including replaying the entire game on ‘Hard’ mode (which is required to unlock the Platinum Trophy). Indeed, if life allows, I will go back and do those things, because this is an absolute cracker of a game.

I want to explore every corner of this world

Even when life is busy, we can use interactive media to escape our own mundane world to experience the fantastic and impossible. I can’t think of a game from 2024 that encapsulates the beauty of this reverie more than FFVII Rebirth. Once again, apologies to Qualbert staff and readers alike for the delay here. If you were waiting to hear my thoughts – in short make no mistake, this is the frontrunner for Game of the Year so far. Things have quietened down a little for me, so I am looking forward to digging into some more games and reviews. I’ll be starting off with Stellar Blade (you might have been waiting for that review as well).

I might not be getting paid…but at least I still have both of my testicles.

So, why should you play Final Fantasy VII Rebirth?

  • One of the most stunning looking games ever made, with a story and gameplay to match.
  • Ensure you have experienced the game of the year before it wins the crown.
  • Tifa…in a bikini (and Aerith as well if you prefer). You know what, here is another screenshot for you:

You can make me whatever you like babe.

But, why shouldn’t you play Final Fantasy VII Rebirth?

  • If the first chapter in the FFVII Remake trilogy wasn’t your jam, this is more of the same (but better). Still, if you didn’t like that one, you probably won’t enjoy this unless you are a fiend for minigames
  • If you don’t have enough time to really engage with everything on offer here. This game is long, and even rushing through the story alone while ignoring everything else would likely take you between 40 and 50 hours.

Do you love the Final Fantasy series as much as me? Check out some other Qualbert team reviews for Final Fantasy XVI, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, and Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster. Do you agree with me that FFVI is better than FFVII? Come and help me convince everyone else of this simple fact on the Qualbert Discord Server.

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