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Final Fantasy 7 Ever Crisis Preview.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis is a ‘Remake’ Set in Gacha Hell | Preview

Don't expect a faithful remake.

I recently got the chance to participate in the Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis closed beta test, which ran from July 6, 2023, to July 13, 2023, and let me tell you, I was SO excited. It didn’t live up to my expectations, though, which honestly was probably my fault because it’s a free-to-play mobile game, and what did I expect hurr durr. But still, let me tell you why.

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If You’re Looking For a Faithful Remake, Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis Isn’t It

Upon starting the closed beta test, I was instantly thrown into an epic battle with Cloud against Sephiroth. “Hell yes,” I thought, “This game will be amazing.” Well, spoiler alert: that thought was short-lived.

While I knew Ever Crisis is a Final Fantasy VII experience tailored to mobile, I didn’t expect just how streamlined it would be. Maybe that’s just me being spoiled by other free-to-play titles like Genshin Impact, but I couldn’t help but go into it thinking the game would offer more than it did. And I ended up being sorely disappointed.

Graphically, it looks like a faithful PlayStation 1 remake with its chibi style, which players have been loudly requesting for what feels like forever. But chapters are short, with major story points too often replaced with a few lines of dialogue that you must read through instead of actually playing. And when you do get to play, it’s just in minute-long bursts that largely consist of battles and tiny sections of exploration.

Screenshot by Prima Games
Screenshot by Prima Games

For example, after beating the Guard Scorpion in the No. 1 Reactor, I thought we’d have the classic 10-minute timer to escape before it blew up, but nope. The escape sequence is done for you automatically. Talk about anti-climactic. Nothing like expecting the thrill of having to race out before you’re blown to smithereens, only to have it over within mere seconds, replaced by a handful of dialogue. Boo.

The closed beta only allowed access to the first few chapters in Midgar, so I can’t speak on whether chapters become more fleshed out and hands-on as the story progresses. But based on what I played, Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis feels more suited to someone who has never played Final Fantasy VII before and simply wants a quick run-through of the story. Which is totally fine, but longtime fans shouldn’t expect more than a condensed experience fed to them in bite-sized chunks.

Screenshot by Prima Games
Screenshot by Prima Games

Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis is Just Another Fish in a Sea of Gacha Games

When you’re not running through chapters, you’re given the option to flesh out characters with weapons obtained via gacha mechanics. Unlike other gachas where you unlock characters, here you pull weapons for the characters.

As you play and complete missions, you’re rewarded with currency to spend on tickets to pull weapons. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get something of gold or purple rarity. You can then upgrade the weapons with materials found as you play through the chapters and finish missions.

While this sounds all well and good, I found that the free currency and material flow ground almost to a halt the further I progressed. And this became a real problem because pulling new weapons and upgrading them is crucial to Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis‘ gameplay loop. If you aren’t constantly bettering your weapons, you’ll hit a wall where you can no longer meet the recommended power levels for chapters, and you’ll all too often be completely smoked into the ground by enemies who outrank you in sheer damage output.

How do you get over this wall? Well, it’s not surprising when I tell you that there are ✨microtransactions✨ that not only can help you climb the wall but fully propel you over it at full speed. That’s right: the best way to progress is by opening your wallet. And while this is expected in a free-to-play, I really didn’t like how much progress is hindered if you don’t splash your cash. It’s almost impossible to enjoy what should be a heart-pounding battle between life and death if you’re getting your butt handed to you just because you would rather not spend money on the chance to pull something that will push you through it. You can take your time and wait patiently for more currency and materials to drip in slowly, but at that point, it’s just not fun.

As I touched on above, if you’re looking for something that gives you the story of the Final Fantasy VII universe without having to spend hundreds of hours playing through it, or you just really like gachas, you’ll probably get a lot out of Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis. But for those expecting something meaningful that matches up with the experience of the main games, you may be disappointed. At least based on what I’ve played so far, anyway.

Will I download the full game when it releases sometime in 2023? Honestly, probably not. While I could see myself using it to kill 10 minutes here and there, there are other mobile games I’d rather play instead that I’d get much more enjoyment out of. And I’m so sad about it.

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Image of Meg Bethany Koepp
Meg Bethany Koepp
Meg was Managing Editor at Prima Games until April 2024.