Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis is shaping up to be a properly impressive adaptation

Square Enix's booth for Summer Game Fest this year was a noticeably laid-back affair, with the showcase title of our appointment being Foamstars of all games - but also present was the first playable demo of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis - and if what we played, and what we've heard, about the upcoming mobile game is anything to go by, Final Fantasy fans both new and old have a lot to look forward to come the game's release.

First things first; we managed to confirm with PR a few key pieces of information about the upcoming title - notably, what content from the anthology will be available come launch, and whether the game would feature a stamina system - immediately we can confirm that the original Final Fantasy VII story content will be available in its entirety at launch, and that players will not have to juggle a stamina system in order to play through said story. Additionally, it was stressed that the game's monetization has been deliberately tuned to stay out of the way of the story; what this amounts to is, at least as we were told, additional costumes that players can dress the cast of Final Fantasy VII in as they progress through the story.

As for the gameplay - it's a simplified ATB system. You'll charge up your meter automatically, and select actions that use a certain number of charges to activate; your additional party members will act on their own for the most part, however players will be in charge of activating their Limit Breaks on their own instead of the companions using them at their own leisure. There's a system in place where using multiple Limit Breaks at the same time will buff their damage output - and the addition of Offensive and Defensive stances give combat a decent amount of depth for a mobile game, even if it will likely not eclipse that of the original release. In practice, the game feels like a slightly retooled version of Final Fantasy VII - especially with how gorgeous the visuals are.

The best way to describe the glow-up the game's visuals received is that the game looks how you remembered it looking on the original PlayStation; yes, the fidelity is improved, but the new visuals really do feel like they're respectful of the game's original vision, enhancing the presentation without forgetting what made it so memorable to begin with - even down to the dichotomy between the "chibi" models on the overworld and the properly proportioned models for battles.

We had access to test the game on multiple generations of iPad to get a feel for how the game will look and play on a variety of hardware - no word on if the game will either be playable on Apple TV, or support gamepad controls, but on the same token it's not like Final Fantasy VII is a title that truly requires precise inputs of any kind to begin with - and for the format it's in, it works more than well enough.

Obviously, there's still a lot that we'll have to wait and see - but at first sniff, Ever Crisis appears like it has a real shot at living up to the idea of an alternative remake of the Squaresoft classic, and if things work out and it ends up as a sort of almanac to catch players up to speed for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth - all the better. Hopefully, it won't be long before we all can play the full game for ourselves!