My hands-on with the Final Fantasy VII Remake – Reader’s Feature

A reader reports back on the MCM London Comic Con 2019 and details his experiences with Final Fantasy VII Reamke and Cyberpunk 2077.

Having failed to make my annual pilgrimage to EGX this year I made certain to attend MCM London Comic Con for my convention needs. MCM London is held twice yearly at the Excel in London and is the UK’s biggest pop culture event. It encompasses all aspects of entertainment, including the stars of film and TV, comic books, cosplayers, and, most importantly, video games. I have been regularly attending since 2012 and this was one of the best shows I have attended.

The main attraction for me was an opportunity to play Final Fantasy VII Remake on the PlayStation 4. The original is my favourite video game of all time, so it was only natural to start there. The demo was a short 10-minute playable preview of the opening of the game, the bombing of the Mako reactor with Cloud and Barret, culminating in a fight against the Scorpion Sentinel boss.

You start the demo working your way through various levels of the reactor, heading ever downward via a series of ladders. Along the way you fight a number of battles but I wanted to rush through to beat the demo before the time expired. One of the most significant changes is the fact that the combat contains elements of both straight-up action and the original’s turn-based tactics.

You can now manage all party members’ abilities, magic, and items which may sound tricky but you can seamlessly switch between the party members with the click of a button. I actually spent the majority of the time controlling Barret as he was much better suited to the fight. Shooting from a distance and exploiting the boss’s weakness with his Thunder spell caused the boss to become staggered, which then allowed Cloud to get in close and deal huge damage.

When you deal and receive damage your limit gauge will fill, eventually enabling you to execute powerful abilities unique to each character, such as Braver for Cloud. I managed to defeat the boss with not a moment to spare.

It was everything I could have hoped for and I love the more action-orientated combat and can’t wait find out how they incorporate some of the wackier moments from the original game. Fingers crossed that it sticks to the release date of 20th March 2020.

Adjacent to the rows of PlayStation 4s there was the opportunity to pose with the iconic Buster Sword from the Final Fantasy VII series. It weighed in at a hefty 7kg and was a great companion piece to have alongside the game.

Next up was the Cyberpunk 2077 theatre experience. You had to pre-book your place before to obtain entry, as this was a popular attraction. I actually went to a similar show at EGX 2014 for developer CD Projekt RED’s previous title The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Like the Witcher 3 show, there was no chance to play this game at the exhibition but instead the developers played through a live gameplay demonstration, providing a commentary along the way, to the onlooking 200+ audience members.

Firstly, we were shown the avatar customisation screen and the wealth of customisable options, including voice, body modifications, clothing, and character background. However, two very different pre-set characters had been set up especially for the purposes of this demo, to illustrate the two contrasting styles that could be used to tackle the mission. The first kind was a strong solo build, whose focus was built on melee combat, in contrast to the NetRunner class who was built around hacking and stealth.

The mission we were shown was around the halfway point in the game, but we were quickly provided context as to what was going on. Our mercenary character was carrying out a job for one gang, The Voodoo Boys, to infiltrate a rival gang, The Animals, at the Grand Imperial Mall.

We saw a quick drive around Night City in a motorcycle, listening to some tunes on the radio before arriving at the location. We were then shown the two different ways to tackle the level. The NetRunner sneaked past guards by causing distractions and using cunning. Perhaps the most creative way of killing someone was when an Animal gang member was pumping iron (without a spotter!) and then by hacking the weights terminal he was crushed to death.

The strong solo method was fighting people with guns and fists. At one point an enemy gun turret was ripped out of the ground and used as a weapon. We were also informed that you can play through the whole game without killing anyone, which I know will please many.

All this time we had Johnny Silverhand, the digital ghost character played by Keanu Reeves, acting as our guide. Apparently figuring out the mystery of Silverhand’s digital ghost is a large part of the main plot. Cyberpunk 2077 releases on multiple platform on April 16th, 2020.

Talking of the Witcher, there was a showing of the exciting new footage from the upcoming Netflix show, along with an exclusive panel with showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and one of the leading actors in the show, Freya Allan (who plays Princess Ciri). Alas, this was not on the day I attended.

Other games I played on the day included Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch Remastered, which is out now on both Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. I adored the original game and developer Level-5 are also one of my favourites. And who doesn’t love Studio Ghibli, who collaborated in making the game? Although this remaster does not include any new content is still one of the best role-playing games I have ever played.

What followed was yet another remaster: Disgaea 4 Complete+ for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, which is out now. Differences include extra story campaigns, along with additional characters and scenarios. Although in my opinion it is not the strongest game in the long running series it is still well worth a look.

At the Konami booth, sitting alongside the trading card game, was Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist available on the Nintendo Switch, which is also out now. After getting a reminder of the rules by a member of staff I played through a few games. What I liked was that you could play iconic duels from the entire animated TV series, which I watched many years ago, and features over 9,000 cards. If I wasn’t invested in a few other card games I would happily pick this up.

The last game I played was Dreams by Media Molecule. Dreams is a hard game to review as it is multiple games within a game. Essentially Dreams is an environment to play, create, and share user-generated games, similar to the Super Mario Maker titles and Media Molecule’s own LittleBigPlanet.

Players can create their own levels in the game by using custom and pre-built objects. I didn’t create any games myself but played on a few different levels that had been crafted by Media Molecule themselves. They were simple 3D platform games, with a few basic puzzle mechanics – stepping on certain panels in certain order, for example, with a number of collectibles to obtain. Dreams is currently in early access with no formal release date.

MCM continues to have the best current and upcoming games available to sample so I won’t hesitate to attend next year’s show, which takes place back at the Excel in May.

By reader Thomas Pozzetti (eyetunes – PSN ID)

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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