Final Fantasy VII Remake
Hello! I’m forced to interrupt your regularly scheduled content due to a matter of the utmost importance.
By now you may have realized that i’m a huge Final Fantasy fan, and Final Fantasy VII happens to be my favorite game of all time. It should come as no surprise, then, that a certain recent announcement made me a little excited. I thought i’d celebrate that announcement by doing a retelling of the game with most of my FF7 cards (and potentially screw myself up for future posts), both new and already published here. I won’t cover every detail but, needless to say, huge spoiler warnings for the entire plot of the game.
An ancient alien organism arrives on Gaia. A creature of corruption, it used its ability to mimic the traits of other organisms in order to infiltrate the Cetra populations, and infect them with its genes. Every living creature in its wake either died or was mutated into a mindless monster, until a small band of Cetra finally managed to defeat and seal the creature away in the northern crater. The Cetra civilization was lost, replaced by the Humans who had scurried away from the calamity.
Fast-forward a couple thousand years. The remains of an ancient creature, believed to be a Cetra, are found by Shinra Inc. in the northern crater. Experiments are made with the cells of this organism, named “Jenova”, with the intent to create a new Cetra that would lead them to the fabled Promised Land. Mad scientist Hojo led one of these projects, which involved infecting his wife Lucrecia and their unborn child with Jenova cells. The child, named Sephiroth, did not seem be able to “talk to the Planet”, the Cetra ability Shinra required; he did, however, develop superhuman strength and combat prowess, and became the catalyst for Shinra’s super-soldier project, SOLDIER.
Jenova’s cells have almost a mind of their own, and will attempt to reform themselves if separated. This process was named the Reunion. Even if the cells are currently inhabiting another organism, the being will gain an irresistible urge to make the pilgrimage to the Reunion site, often going mad or dying in the process. So insidious is the process that the host may not even realize they’re being controlled. The card’s abilities represent the indoctrination of new hosts, and the eventual Reunion.
At the end of disc 2, Hojo reveals that he injected himself with Jenova cells. He undergoes violent mutations as he attacks the player’s party, until they finally put him down. The card represents his human stage, where he performs experiments with Jenova cells on other creatures, and his own final mutation before being struck down.
Sephiroth leads an expedition to Nibelheim, with fellow SOLDIER 1st Class Zack Fair, to investigate a rise of monsters in the area. At the site’s Mako reactor, they come across the sealed head of Jenova – the name of Sephiroth’s mother, as he was led to believe – along with many vats containing humanoid monsters. Sephiroth explains the creatures are the result of advanced Mako poisoning; when Zack wonders whether SOLDIERs are created in a similar way, Sephiroth begins to question his own creation. He seals himself away in Nibelheim’s Shinra mansion, which contained a secret library filled with research notes on the Jenova Project. For three days and three nights he obsessed over these journals. When he finally exited the mansion, he headed to the Mako reactor to find Jenova, but not before razing Nibelheim to the ground. Zack rushes to the reactor to confront Sephiroth, where he explains his findings: Sephiroth believes himself to be Cetra, and that Jenova will help lead him to the Promised Land. He resents all of humanity, for leaving the Cetra to die from the calamity; branding Zack and “his kind” a traitor, he attacks and defeats him, only to be caught off-guard by a rookie Shinra guard who stabs Sephiroth in the back. Greatly weakened, he attempts to flee with Jenova’s head, but ends up being thrown into the Lifestream flowing in the reactor.
Hojo learns of Sephiroth’s actions and decides to test his Reunion theory, by infecting the entire village with Jenova cells. Zack is unaffected by the process, having already undergone it in SOLDIER, but the Shinra guard, Cloud Strife, becomes a shell of his former self. Zack manages to drag him out of Nibelheim and they head toward Midgar, but Shinra eventually catches up to them. Zack is killed, and Cloud is left to die. Grabbing Zack’s sword, Cloud drags himself to Midgar, where he has a chance encounter with his childhood friend Tifa. A combination of his trauma and the Jenova cells’ imprinting of Tifa and Zack makes Cloud create a new persona for himself, in which he was not a former Shinra guard, but a former SOLDIER 1st Class.
Cloud joins AVALANCHE, a rebel group led by Barret Wallace, who are trying to bring down Shinra, believing that their use of Mako energy is slowly killing the planet. Their efforts are noticed after the destruction of a Mako reactor, but their location is soon discovered by Shinra: the entire sector slum is destroyed, as is all of AVALANCHE, save Cloud, Barret, and Tifa. Cloud’s party make for Shinra tower to rescue Aerith, an earlier chance encounter and ally, who let herself be caught to protect Barret’s daughter. They successfully infiltrate the tower but end up being caught and imprisoned. It is during this imprisonment that they learn why Shinra was so interested in Aerith: she is Cetra, the last of her kind. The imprisonment is cut short when their prison cells are suddenly open. As they investigate, they find the body of Jenova – which was being experimented on in Shinra’s laboratory – gone, and president Shinra impaled by a sword eerily similar to Sephiroth’s. Rufus Shinra, the president’s son, arrives to confront the party, but is rebuffed by Cloud. The party manages to escape through the highway and flees Midgar.
Haunted by Sephiroth’s sword, Cloud tells the party the events of the Nibelheim Incident, as recalled by his traumatized persona: he believes himself to have taken the place of Zack, and cannot remember anything after confronting the mad Sephiroth. Believing Sephiroth to be alive, they decide to chase him down. They end up learning of his plan to use the Black Materia, an artifact containing knowledge capable of destroying the entire planet, sealed away by the Cetra in the Temple of the Ancients. Cloud recovers the Black Materia, but Sephiroth appears before him. Unable to control himself, Cloud gives the artifact to Sephiroth. Aerith leaves the party in order to find a countermeasure; they track her down to the Forgotten City, a ruined city of the Cetra. The party finds Aerith praying on an altar, as Sephiroth descends and impales her on his sword. Cloud’s party defeat the Jenova fragment left behind, but Aerith doesn’t survive.
In his boss battle, Rufus comes accompanied by his pet Dark Nation, who continually casts defensive spells on itself and its master. After being dealt enough damage, Rufus escapes on his helicopter.
Aerith’s abilities are based on her limit breaks, which focus on healing and reviving party members.
Despite Cloud’s unstable nature, the party continues chasing Sephiroth. Their efforts lead to the northern crater, where they recover the Black Materia from another Jenova fragment, and realize they were chasing Jenova all along. They are then engulfed by an illusion of Nibelheim, replaying the events that truly unfolded in the Nibelheim Incident. Cloud is confronted by the fact that his memories are false, and is led to believe he is nothing but a Sephiroth clone. Sephiroth’s true body emerges, frozen in a materia cocoon, and Cloud again gives him the Black Materia. Sephiroth activates the artifact to summon a roaming meteor towards the planet. Five colossal creatures are suddenly awakened as the crater floor begins to crumble; the party is forced to escape, leaving Cloud and Sephiroth behind. Meteor looms ominously in the sky, slowly making its way toward Gaia.
The party discovers that Cloud washed up in Mideel, a town where Lifestream flows close to the surface. Cloud is in a vegetative state from severe Mako poisoning and Tifa decides to stay behind to watch over him. The rest of the party hasten to stop Shinra’s new plan, involving sending Huge Materia in a rocket against Meteor, knowing it is a futile attempt and the untold knowledge within the artifacts would be permanently lost.
The five creatures released from the northern crater, named WEAPONs, are guardians that lay dormant until the planet itself is in lethal danger. Unable to reach Sephiroth, who erected an impenetrable shield around the crater, the WEAPONs turn to the next greatest threats: Mako reactors, draining the lifeblood of the planet, and the human settlements formed around them. Sapphire swiftly makes its way towards Junon but is destroyed by its Mako cannon. Ultimate flies to and destroys Mideel before flying off again: Cloud and Tifa fall into the Lifestream and end up in a projection of Cloud’s subconscious, where they piece together the truth of their and Zack’s past, and Cloud regains all his memories. Diamond makes its way toward Midgar: after Shinra’s rocket fails to destroy Meteor, they move Junon’s Mako cannon – renamed the Sister Ray – to Midgar. Using the power of all its reactors, the Sister Ray fires a powerful shell that destroys both Diamond and the northern crater shield, but not without severe collateral damage to the city and the Shinra tower in particular. Ruby and Emerald never directly take hostile action, but can be confronted by the party.
Cloud and company learn that Aerith had gone to the Forgotten City to summon Holy, an ancient magic designed to counter Meteor. They learn that she was successful, but something is containing the spell: Sephiroth.
I wanted to make the WEAPONs a high-risk, high-reward cycle of creatures. Sapphire is never fought in-game, so i just based its abilities on water magic; Ultimate’s reflects its tendency to fly away mid-combat and return at a later date; Diamond is immune to physical damage in its default state; Ruby can permanently remove characters from combat; and Emerald’s reflect both its underwater setting, which gives the party limited time to fight it, and its Airetam Storm ability, which deals more damage the more materia the characters have.
With the shield around the northern crater gone, the party descends it into the planet’s core, where they see the pulsing Holy magic being held back by Sephiroth. There they battle and defeat the remnants of Jenova, before facing Sephiroth who is undergoing his final Jenova cell mutations, first turning into a huge hulking monster, then into a One-Winged Angel. The party finally defeats him, and Cloud fully overcomes Sephiroth’s hold on him.
As they escape the crumbling crater cavern, Holy is released and holds back Meteor, but it is too late to stop it. Midgar is obliterated by the magic clash, just as a green-white mist begins to congregate on it: Aerith’s presence in the Lifestream, strong enough to command it. The combined power of Holy and Lifestream succeeds in destroying Meteor, and Gaia is saved.
Synthesis and Bizarro were covered before; Safer’s abilities represent both his Supernova limit break, which debilitates the whole party, and his Heartless Angel ability which reduces a character’s HP to 1.
The White Materia must be activated by a Cetra before it can be used, at which point it protects the entire planet. The Lifestream contains the life force and memories of everyone who perished, and new life will eventually emerge from it.
Thanks for bearing with me in this extra-long post. Have some tokens:
Until next time!