FF7 Remake Demo Design Analysis

Battle Design

I am in awe of the battle system! It looks extremely promising. While a little clunky at first, there’s a lot of potential for it to be extremely deep and strategic (it already is in the demo with just two party members and one boss). Here are some good design principles it uses and some concerns I have about it:

Good Design:
  • Attacking building up ATB quicker – GREAT Design – It encourages you to be offensive, putting you in more danger. Very Reminiscent of Kingdom Heart’s magic system. Restoring health costs ATB – Low on health, but no ATB? You better go in for the attack!
  • Hybrid of action and turn-based – Genius system that gives an opportunity for strategy like turn-based games while still feeling fast-paced and intense. Feels good to slow time.
  • Hack and slash isn’t necessary. You should be timing your attacks and guarding based on what the enemy is doing. Attacking is pretty much just for increasing ATB. I’ll try to play more slowly and carefully, but I’m used to Dynasty Warriors, so that could be hard 🙂
  • Some abilities increase stagger. While it could be more clear which abilities should be used to increase stagger, having the difference is good so you need a variety of abilities in your party at any time.
  • Characters are useful in different situations – encourages you to change which character you’re using
  • Love barret’s Triangle ability to increase his ATB quickly and being able to charge it! I found myself planning out when to use it and his abilities.
  • Cloud’s Triangle has good trade-offs to encourages strategy. Stronger, quicker attacks + counter-attacks, but much slower and can’t guard ranged-attacks.
Concerns:
  • The boss length was too long and drawn out for my liking. I think it’s fun if you understand what your doing, but then too short. But if you don’t understand, it just draws out the battle. If you can’t figure out how to stagger it, you’re just chipping at its health and it’s not fun, not really hard, just long and tedious.
  • The boss kept interrupting gameplay with cinematic attacks that take control away from the player.
  • I want an extra goal for bosses and normal enemies to add more challenge layering. Overkill in FFX or Tech Points in KH1 are good examples. I think guarding or counter-attacking would be useful to have bonus points or something, so you are encouraged not to freak out and hack and slash all the time.
  • Classic mode isn’t as turn-based as it could be. Cloud attacks really slowly, so it feels like you’re missing out. I’d also like to see Classic mode and difficulty be separate options, so you can still play on higher difficulties and play more strategically even if you don’t like action games.

Environment Design

They expanded the environment from the original game. There are more screens, more detail. Nice to see. It feels very old-school designed. Good for the first mission and keeping it similar to the original, but hopefully the full version has better areas with more complex goals.

  • Not a fan of crates. Cloud’s animation for swinging his sword is too slow and stops your movement too much. It’s not fun, just annoying. I’d be fine if it didn’t disrupt your movement so much, like Zelda WW or TP’s swinging to chop grass.
  • Very linear in both navigation and goals. I don’t mind that so much, personally. But, I’m not sure how new players to the series will feel about it. Since this is just the first mission, and you probably can’t come back to this area, it’s okay that there’s no optional bosses or anything. Hopefully, later missions open up a bit and give some optional goals.
  • Speedrunning seems like it will be annoying. You’re stopped by scenes + things where you have to wait for characters to do things. Not a big deal, especially since it’s the tutorial mission.
  • Can you skip enemy encounters? I hope so.
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