What To Play After Final Fantasy VII Remake

It’s been over a month since Final Fantasy VII Remake released and I know it’s not just me that’s struggling with the post-game blues. FFVII is an extremely important game to a great number of people, and the Remake has brought the characters and world that people adore to life in a way we never thought possible. As fantastic an experience the game has been to play, it leaves you in this state of withdrawal afterwards. So, as someone currently experiencing this crappy feeling, I thought I would suggest what to play after Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age

The game is set in the world of Erdrea, and begins as the kingdom of Dundrasil is invaded and destroyed by an army of monsters. A series of events lead to the protagonist floating down a river and winding up in the small village of Cobblestone. During his coming-of-age ceremony, the truth of the protagonist’s birth is revealed. He is the legendary luminary, a warrior of light destined to vanquish the looming darkness that threatens the world of Erdrea. He sets out to visit King Carnelian of Heliodor who would aid him on his journey, or so you would think… 

I cannot express how much I loved this game when I first played it, so much so in fact, it was my game of the year in 2018. The game is set in a wonderful world, filled with vibrant colours and characters, a stark contrast to the dark underlying plot. The cast has got to be one of the most likeable of any JRPG I’ve played. Erik being the first you meet, there is no other way to describe him than being a complete ‘bro’ to our protagonist. Veronica and Serena are the adorable sibling-duo, Sylvando is a burst of eccentricity to the team, and Jade… Make sure you buy the Switch version so you can marry her. The game will take you on this magnificent journey bursting at the seams with twists and turns, character growth and development, epic highs and crushing lows. When you reach the ending, does your journey truly end?

The combat is the classic turn-based system we JRPG fans know and love, but it keeps up the pace while still remaining strategic. It combines a few different systems from other games, such as the ability to actively switch your current party members on the fly like in FFX. The ‘Pep powers’ are awesome as well! Throughout battles your characters will become ‘pepped-up’, powering them up temporarily, and granting them access to Pep-powers. These are special abilities, think along the lines of Persona 3’s fusion abilities, where multiple pepped-up party members can perform a unique attack or support ability. There are tons of these abilities and each of them have their unique uses, even those you may think confusing at first. For example, Hero, Jade, and Sylvando have a pep-power called “Electro Light” and ability where they can turn all enemies into metal slimes. Seems odd right? Why would that be useful? Well, metal slimes offer a ton of EXP, so you can use this ability if you ever think you’re under-levelled and need to farm. How awesome is that?

DQ11 is a fantastic game with an “endgame” that blew me away. Play this game, it really is the complete package.

Legend of Heroes – Trails of the Sky/Cold Steel

Trails in the Sky FC follows the journey of Estelle and Joshua Bright, as they train to become bracers in the Liberl Kingdom. As such, they travel through the five regions of Rolent, Bose, Ruan, Zeiss, and finally Grancel. Their journey through the regions has them encountering challenges they must solve as they pursue the rank of the senior bracer. From the small-scale theft of an expensive crystal to the country-wide military coup of Liberl.

Trails of the Sky is only the beginning of what might be one of the most epic and expansive stories in the genre. Originally released back in 2004, the game has a charming aesthetic, engaging and immersive story and a fun combat system, albeit slow at the beginning. The game starts off with a fairly light setting and story, with the characters motivations simply being to become senior bracers by travelling throughout Liberl and gaining their recommendations from each Bracer Branch. Along the way, you start to peel back this darker story with an ending that will leave you wanting to jump straight into the sequel to get the answers you’ll no doubt be demanding!

Cold Steel follows Rean Schwarzer, who finds himself part of Thors Military Academy’s brand new Class VII, an experimental course of study in which the otherwise-segregated nobles and commoners are forced to intermix. Over the next six months, Rean and his classmates find themselves lodged deep within Erebonia’s complex political landscape as it begins to fracture over worsening class conflict, discovering hidden agendas and terrorist plots that threaten to erupt chaos across the whole empire.

I wanted to include Cold Steel on here as well, as some people may be put off by the older aesthetic of Trails of the Sky, despite being fine with it personally. Cold Steel has a more anime setting, or rather something reminiscent of an anime setting that is more familiar to people interested in playing. There are large segments of the game that are fully voiced in either English or Japanese as well, with some notable voices like Takahiro Sakurai voicing Crowe. 

The combat system also feels more refined, as you would expect, with the ability to assign master quartz to your characters and have them take on more dedicated roles in your party. For example, Laura is a strong physical damage character. So, assigning her the Vermillion master quartz, which increases her physical damage by having higher HP and allows her to recover health upon killing an enemy, is a great choice for her. I personally loved this system and felt it added something that was missing from Sky.

As I said at the beginning, this story is massive and all the games are taking place in the same world. It can feel like you’re having to commit to something much longer than a single game, but should you want to dive in, here’s a guide on where to start.

Persona 5/Royal

After Joker defends a woman from being abused by a drunken man on the street, he is falsely charged with assault and put on probation, resulting in expulsion from his school. Joker is sent to Tokyo to stay with his family friend Sojiro Sakura and attend Shujin Academy during his year-long probation. After his arrival, he is drawn into the Velvet Room, where Igor warns him that he must “rehabilitate” to avoid forthcoming ruin, and grants him access to a supernatural mobile app that leads Joker into the Metaverse and the Palace of the school’s abusive volleyball coach Suguru Kamoshida. Joker meets Morgana, who informs him of the ability to change wicked people’s hearts by stealing their “Treasure”, the emotional root of their behaviour, from the Palaces ruled by their Shadow selves. 

What a great game Persona 5 is. I’m currently playing through Persona 3, but as soon as I’m done I will be jumping straight into Persona 5 Royal. I adored Persona 5 vanilla, chalking up a 92 hour playthrough, it was one of those games that I was afraid to finish because I was enjoying it so much. Persona 5 keeps to the formula, with our characters all being teenagers in high school while still expanding and freshening up tons of the features that make Persona what it is.

 The confidant system feels better than ever, allowing you to get closer to the characters that are constantly surrounding you. I promise, you will end up enjoying the content outside of the palaces more than exploring them. Persona 5 has this perfect balance of combat and social links. After finishing up a palace and getting set up to drop the calling card, you’ll want to spend time outside of combat and growing your attributes and relationships. Then, when you’ve been socialising a ton and you’re thinking to yourself “I could really do with some more combat now” BOOM the plot moves forward and has you setting out into the next palace or journeying into Mementos. On the topic of confidants and social links, there comes the romantic relationships. Persona 5 is filled with fantastic characters, and when it comes to choosing the best girl…It was one of the toughest decisions of my life.

The combat is also turn-based with that classic Persona-esque flare added to it. I really enjoy a lot about the system, from the “1 More!” when landing an attack the enemy is weak to or going for a “Hold-up” on a downed enemy and gaining a new power. Moving around in the palaces feels awesome as well with the added ability to sneak around and hide behind objects throughout the maps, then going for the preemptive strive on enemy shadows to secure an advantage in battle. 

If you’re thinking about giving Persona 5 a go, pick up Royal. It has new characters and, somehow, even more story content than the original along with new all-out-attack animations and more.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII follows the story of mercenary Cloud Strife, who is hired by the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE, led by Barret Wallace, to help fight the mega-corporation Shinra Electric Power Company, who attempts to drain the planet’s lifeblood as an energy source to further their profits. Apathetic to the cause, Cloud initially fights for personal gain, and for the promise he made to childhood friend Tifa Lockhart. Cloud eventually joins forces with many others to save the planet, which is threatened by Shinra and Cloud’s nemesis Sephiroth, and discovers a reason to fight for a cause other than his own.

We all saw this one coming right? Final Fantasy VII is still a phenomenal game in it’s own right and that still holds up today. Final Fantasy VII is my favourite game of all time, and I say that while having no nostalgia for it. My first time playing was after being told by a couple friends to give it a shot back in 2014 and I have played the game 3 times since.

I think that the story is great, albeit a bit confusing at times, and I think the characters are some of the very best in video games. Cloud is this character who thinks he’s cool, but really he’s just confused and awkward. Barret is a really big presence who believes that regardless of what happens as part of AVALANCHE, he must always remain strong and conjure strength in his allies to relieve the doubt they may feel. Tifa is wonderful isn’t she? Tifa is Cloud’s childhood friend and she is what keeps him on the, somewhat, straight and narrow. Tifa brings perspective into the actions of AVALANCHE, making us view events from more than just the “Shinra is evil” side. And Aerith is this quirky flower girl who wants to spread the joy of living with anyone she meets, all while having a tragic past and important heritage. I could talk about these characters all day, but I’ll hold myself back.

FFVII uses the Active Time Battle system, in which the party member’s action is input with a command in a menu once their ATB gauge fills, with up to three playable characters in a party, who can have various weapons, armor, accessories and materia. Materia is a great system that’s exclusive to FFVII, where you can slot your equipment with these materia in order to gain access to spells, passive abilities, summons and so on. Materia can have drawbacks however, some may lower a characters MP pool and some may increase a characters HP, so there is this fun element to balancing out materia across your characters, rather than just loading everything into one character.

If you really can’t stand the wait, FFVII will give you some answers while also making you understand why people were so shocked at the end of the Remake. Regardless, this game is wonderful, go play it.

That about does it for the games I would suggest while suffering from FFVIIR blues. I hope this helps and just remember that we’re all suffering together. Patience, friends. 

As always, thanks for reading!

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Conor Evans
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