Critics say Final Fantasy Rebirth a stunning sequel

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A group of four male figures illuminated from behind by car headlights in fog, creating a ghostly glow. The men on each end of the row wear identical armour which covers their whole bodies and hold machine guns up in front of their faces, aiming. In the front, a man with long white hair in a leather outfit adorned with mutiple belts and buckles holds a long, katana-style blade. Next to him a shorter man with spiky blond hair wearing similar armour holds an oversized silver sword. All four look ready for battle.Image source, Square Enix

Image caption,

Final Fantasy Rebirth explores the history between hero Cloud Strife (front row, right) and villain Sephiroth (left)

By Tom Richardson

BBC Newsbeat

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth has been hailed as a "stunning recreation of a classic" in the first reviews of the game.

The follow-up to 2020's Final Fantasy 7 Remake is the second part of a trilogy based on the beloved 1997 original.

A PlayStation 5 exclusive, the game's been praised for improvements to its prequel.

But some reviewers have warned that it will take players dozens of hours to wade through the sheer amount of content in the game.

What the Rebirth reviews say

Final Fantasy 7, released on the original PlayStation, introduced many westerners to Japanese role-playing games and gave gaming one of its most beloved casts of characters.

And in Rebirth players once again resume the role of spiky-haired mercenary Cloud Strife and team-mates including Aerith, Tifa and Barrett.

Bloomberg's Jason Schreier called Rebirth a "a stunning recreation of a classic", and "a joy to play and look at, with a phenomenal soundtrack, confident writing and dozens of delightful activities".'s Michael Higham gave the game nine out of ten, describing it as a "best-in-class action-RPG full of exciting challenges".

Games Radar's Iain Harris said it was "a second act that meaningfully improves the past and charts a course for a final act that promises plenty of twists and turns".

And in a four out of five review, Eurogamer's Ed Nightingale called Rebirth a "toy box of a game that's messy but loveable".

Some reviewers complained that the game's performance mode, which favours smooth visuals over graphical detail, resulted in a "blurry" experience - a criticism levelled at the recent demo version.

A whole new (open) world

Image source, Square Enix

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Cait Sith is one of the original characters making a return in FF7 Rebirth

One thing all reviewers agreed on is that FF7 Rebirth is a huge game.

When BBC Newsbeat spoke to the series' lead developers just before last September's Tokyo Game Show, director Naoki Hamaguchi said the main game would take between 40 to 50 hours to complete.

But he told us adding in side quests and optional content would allow you to "easily" rack up more than 100 hours.

Reviews seem to confirm this, with IGN saying it took 82 hours to complete the game, taking in the main story and a large chunk of side content.

And Video Games Chronicle, in its five-star review, called Rebirth "a hugely enjoyable road trip you'll be playing for hundreds of hours".

The game's vast range of mini-games are also likely to keep players busy and, in keeping with Final Fantasy tradition, there's an addictive card game - Queen's Blood - to keep you hooked for hours.

Some sites, such as Eurogamer, said having so much stuff to do can make the game feel "bloated" at times, but it was a minor complaint for most.

Spoiler warning

Image source, Square Enix

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Square Enix and fans have high hopes for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

The original Final Fantasy 7 is famous for containing one of the most devastating twists in gaming history.

We won't spoil it here, but after 2020's Remake made some tweaks to the original narrative fans wondered whether the developers would leave that famous moment alone.

Unsurprisingly, the developers have pleaded with reviewers and streamers to keep a lid on any spoilers, and none of the big sites are giving much away.

While some critics were left unsatisfied or "confused" by the final hours of Rebirth, when the iconic scene is revisited, there was plenty of praise for the game's story, performances and attention given to each character's back story.

Will FF7 Rebirth only be on PS5?

Image source, Square Enix

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It's not all heavy going and, like other Final Fantasy games, Rebirth is full of quirky activities

Console exclusivity's been a hot topic recently, with Microsoft revealing four Xbox-exclusive titles would come out on PS5 and Nintendo Switch.

And PlayStation Studios' Helldivers 2 - released simultaneously on Sony's console and PC - has been a runaway success.

But as for the revamped FF7 games on Xbox? We're not holding our breath.

Producer Yoshinori Kitase previously told Newsbeat Rebirth "has been developed very much optimised for the PS5".

And while trailers for have stated the game could appear on other formats from 29 May 2024, that's more likely to suggest it will follow Remake and eventually come to PC.

You won't have to wait a decade to play Rebirth, as it's out on PS5 next Friday.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays - or listen back here.

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