If you don’t know what my Diaries are, please go here. Spoilers ahoy!
Otherwise, let’s go!
As I mentioned, like many other people, Final Fantasy VII was my first RPG. Well, I remember playing a little bit of The Legend of Zelda, but I didn’t really understand it. Sure, I played Pac-Man, Barnstorming, and other games, Final Fantasy VII really got me into gaming as a hobby. I saw my cousin playing it, and I was enthralled. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I didn’t have an SNES, so I missed games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV (II) the first time around, and the NES games I had were mostly Mario-related.
But my parents were generous enough to get me a PlayStation as a present (for my birthday I believe), and I couldn’t put it down. I’ve played it several times over the years, and I’ve played through all the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII games except for Before Crisis. For years, I’ve wanted more of a remaster rather than a remake. Updated graphics, voice acting, some battle system retooling (preferably in the veins of Final Fantasy X-2), etc. Square Enix had said repeatedly over the years it would be too expensive to remake it, but I thought there had to be some kind of happy compromise to bring the visuals of the game more in line with Compilation without trying to be a full-blown 3D epic of the PS3/PS4 games.
I do admit my to my jaw dropping at the announcement though. Although until I saw the word “Remake”, I thought it was going to be a new game, probably tackling the ending of Dirge of Cerberus. That whole secret ending has just gone nowhere… although I’m glad it didn’t lead to Dirge of Cerberus II. The less I see/hear of Lucrecia, the better. I’m sure Cid has some better words to describe her than I ever could. Please, Square Enix, feel free to retcon Dirge‘s story to your (cougheveryone’scought) heart’s content.
But as you might have gleamed, I’m a bit… well, apprehensive about Remake. Much of the fun of Final Fantasy VII lies in its Materia system. It’s simple enough for anyone to understand (equip orbs in slots, level up, earn new spells), but you could pull off some crazy combos or get some valuable offensive/defensive capabilities with the right combinations. I know how Materia works in Crisis Core and Dissidia (although you can’t equip it), but I don’t know if things like All + Lightning or even Deathblow are going to be feasible in Remake. I just don’t want to see Dragon Quest become the strict old-school turn-based series while Final Fantasy becomes the action RPG series. There’s a lot of us who fall in the in-between segment between thought-out strategy and fast response.
Plus, Limit Breaks are awesome. Much better than VI‘s Desperation Moves, and still better than later games’ spiritual successors like Trance.
Anyway, getting off topic here. Because despite that, I really want to hear Sakurai/Burton do their best “Cloudko” / “Cloudia” voice. And have Square Enix FINALLY decide once-and-for-all what the events at Nibelheim were.
So, I’ve already talked about New Threat. But I am playing with some other mods. Most are visual-related, but I am turning on things like always run, and I might increase Sense’s limit. I plan on playing on Recommended ATB. I usually don’t play on Wait, even though New Threat recommends it. I might switch the ATB speed, but Active often depletes Barriers too quickly to be useful if you turn the speed up. Recommended at least gives a little reprieve even though most people don’t Recommend it. Just enough of a break for my hand and for recording purposes.
My end game party has always been Cloud/Tifa/Yuffie, although Tifa’s ultimate weapon is just awful. Even her limits are pretty bad because unless you manipulate the slots, you don’t know how many hits you are going to get. Yuffie’s Doom of the Living is also better than All Creation much of the time, but who doesn’t love Conformer? It’s probably nerfed here though, but I hope Yuffie makes it into my final team. Barret or Cid are probably more likely to take Tifa’s slot with an outside chance of Cait Sith. (WAY outside.) Someone to act as a tank probably. Also maybe Vincent got a much-needed boost. I think he should have had the “how-full-Limit-is” ultimate weapon rather than Tifa because otherwise, both his Limits and Death Penalty are just terrible in normal playthroughs.
Of course, some of you may be wondering if mods are illegal. Yes, I do own a copy of the Steam version (along with my original PlayStation version), and I do not advocate piracy. But mods kind of fall into a legal grey area. Yes, some mods work directly with the Steam version, but others require patching the game. I bought the game, the mods are free, I’m not hacking any Achievements or anything, and I already have two copies of Remake preordered (it’s true!), so really, not an issue. If you want to mod the game, I used Tifa’s 7th Heaven.
But for disclaimer purposes: Square Enix owns the original, I did not create the mods, and most importantly, BUY THE GAME!
So while you may be expecting this:
You’ll actually see… well, you’ll have to wait for the first Episode! But unlike my previous Diaries, this won’t be a daily thing. I’ll update it randomly depending on how things go and how fast I finish the videos.
Since it bears repeating, I do not have a graphics card installed. That’s why there is some lag and slowdown. But I don’t think they are too bad considering my desktop is from 2011. I’m also using a PS4 controller, but I have to use the analog stick for the menu instead of the D-pad. If you see some bad or strange decisions now and then, it’s probably because of me tilting the joystick wrong and entering commands too fast. Really wish I could just use the D-pad, but ah well. At least I could use a controller I already have.
I currently am not planning on uploading my entire runthrough. Uploading takes enough time as it is. I will be uploading most Bosses along with any interesting or changed scenes. Most Boss videos will include my first attempt (since I’m generally going in blind) so you can see me trying to stammer through and a second with my victory.
Also, as you may know, New Threat has two versions: Original and Arranged. Arranged is meant to be played on a second runthrough, as it contains some revised Boss battles and harsher Materia penalties. And probably some other things it said that I don’t remember.
Full disclaimer: I did start playing a previous version of New Threat (1.3 maybe?), but the game has undergone several changes since then. (It’s currently 1.5 as of this writing.) I got to the getting the buggy before I decided to wait for a later version. I honestly don’t remember too much of that playthrough, and it definitely wasn’t the Arranged version. (Was there even an Arranged version then?) I also did a couple of tests up to Guard Scorpion in order to test out the mods and my recording, so the first few minutes I’ll show aren’t a blind runthrough. I’ve also seen some Boss battles on YouTube, but I have not seen the Arranged version. I won’t remember a lot of strategies anyway, and some won’t work on Arrange anyway I’m sure. And I’ll be using a guide for some of the parts I dislike or don’t remember right off the top of my head (like the Shinra Mansion safe)… unless it doesn’t work of course. I’d rather just not waste time remembering all the paths in the Icicle Area/Gaea’s Cliffs. Blegh!