Few games out there have a cultural footprint as significant as Final Fantasy. Originally a fantasy role-playing game inspired by western titles such as Ultima and Wizardry, the first Final Fantasy in 1987 was a small project that followed four Warriors of Light as they set off on a grand adventure to save their world.

The game was a commercial success and set off a chain reaction that led to many more games being made in its name. After more than three decades, the series has given form to fifteen mainline titles and a dizzying amount of spin-offs. It has its own themed cafes,merchandise, and even movies. When you think Japanese role-playing games, it’s hard not to have Final Fantasy at the top of the list.

A solid argument for why the series managed to become so popular has always been its penchant for innovation. The first Final Fantasy captured the minds of many with its diverse class system, a focus on story, and engaging gameplay. The series has since continually evolved its story, graphics, music, and combat with each new title, striving to offer an experience wholly unique from its predecessors.

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This rings true for Final Fantasy VII. Launching in 1997 on the PlayStation, it was the first game in the series to introduce 3D graphics and full-motion video. Putting the traditional fantasy setting of its previous games on the back-burner, the developers at Square instead pushed elements of cyberpunk and science fiction.

This, complemented by an emotional story, lovable cast, and killer soundtrack, catapulted the game into the realm of all-time gaming classics. Though admittedly a dated game now by modern standards, nobody had seen anything like Final Fantasy VII back in the day.

Fast forward to 2020 and Final Fantasy VII is somehow back in a really big way. A remake of Final Fantasy VII is here, and it’s only one part in a massive series. Built from the ground up with modern technology and for a new generation, the games are a bold (and somewhat expensive) reinvention of the PlayStation classic that so many fell in love with.

Some aspects of the original game, such as music and character interactions, have been spruced up for this remake, but plenty of other elements have also been radically changed.

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Most interesting of the big changes is FFVII Remake’s battle system. Gone are the random encounters and turn-based battles of the old game. In their place are predetermined battles that happen in real-time. The player controls Cloud and his party, dodging attacks, switching between members, and executing moves on the fly. What happened to the strategic and deliberate role-playing elements that fans had grown to love about the original?

The truth is, we didn’t get FFVII Remake’s action-oriented battle system overnight. While some of the decisions behind this change can be chalked up to caving into gaming trends, much of VII’s combat is still. In fact, an appropriate tribute to the series’ long history of unique battle systems. If you’re wondering what Final Fantasy’s battle systems were like prior to FFVII Remake and whether any similarities have carried over between them, then this article is for you.

NEXT: Humble Beginnings

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