Chapter 8: The Spoilers
As the title of this section says, this section is full of spoilers for FF7R, covering every bit of the game after Chapter 14. If you do not want this game spoiled for you, skip to the conclusion.
We are going to do this section backwards, starting from the very end and moving our way back from there. Is this the best way to tell a story, no. Is this the best way to talk about this game’s ending, absolutely.
The Sephiroth from FF7R maybe the weakest final boss in Final Fantasy history.
There is no emotional connection to the character that makes the fight interesting, there has been little to no build up to him suddenly just being the final boss, and his boss fight is extremely easy and boring. Sure, he is seen throughout the game through small little flashbacks, but gives the player no reason to be opposed to him, besides being slightly cocky. Players without a previous knowledge of the FF7 world would have no clue what why this silver haired guy just showed up and why it is important that they defeat him. Aerith just stands at the edge of a highway and is like “Sephiroth is a bad guy” mixed in with some stereotypical Tetsuya Nomura mumbo jumbo.
Setting Sephiroth as the final boss will also create a problem for the story moving forward. Now that the player has beaten him once, the threat of Sephiroth is completely eliminated, making it impossible to create a compelling and interesting struggle between the characters and the enemy. Great villains should be built up throughout a story until the third act, encountered as little as possible, and only interacting in ways that show the villains strength, thus making it feel like a much more monumental task to overcome them in the end. Sephiroth has already sacrificed that in this title.
This becomes even more confusing when in the build up to the finale of the game, there are these shady, hooded characters that can make themselves look just like Sephiroth. These “Sephiroths” do things to the player and his team that would make exacting revenge on him make sense, until it is revealed that those were just some guy (It may also have been a Hojo experiment, which would have weird and stupid plot ramifications, but it is immediately glossed over, so who knows). Sephiroth just does not have any reason to be in this game, and especially has no reason to be the final boss.
This is especially true when the major story boss before him is Rufus Shinra, son of the recently murdered president of the board. His boss fight maybe a bit easy and boring, but his personality and fighting style are extremely interesting, making me curious how the character is built up in the future installments. A confident warrior who uses his guns to propel himself straight at a former SOLDIER first class is exactly the villain that this title needed (see Roche).
Plus Rufus Shinra’s motives are clear: avenge his father, take over Shinra corporation, build everything with his own vision in mind. Sure, he is absent for 95% of the plot and game, but as we have learned, that seems to be to his benefit, keeping him from falling victim to the lazy script writers and overexposure that everything else falls victim to.
Speaking of bad writing, let’s talk about the Whispers involvement in the finale of the game. The characters find themselves in the Whisper’s domain, fighting off against extremely powerful Whispers, one of which is assumed to be controlling all of the other Whispers. Is this directly stated? No. Is this at all well explained? Even more so no.
Fans have assumed that this was the Whispers’ leader, assuming that by destroying it, the player is destroying all of the other Whispers, but is that stated in the game? No.
This enemy, although visually appealing and ten times harder then the actual final boss, also fails to feel like a fitting final boss, instead feeling rushed and lacking a connection to the player. Why destroy the universe’s way of making the plot happen? Is there a legitimate reasoning behind doing that? No.
It really begs the question as to why build up any characters like Roche, or Rufus Shinra, or Hojo, or Heidegger up as villains, when you are just going to ignore them? Is this a game for newcomers and series’ veterans alike like Square Enix claims, or is it a title for grizzled FF7 fans who have countless hours put into the original title?
Oh but the villains are not the only characters that suffer in the later segments of the game.
Character deaths are extremely cheap in this title: Wedge suffers two fake deaths, Biggs has a fake death, while Jessie’s death is treated like no big deal. Barret gets stabbed by Sephiroth, for it to be revealed that it was actually a Whisper that was stabbed, thus keeping Barret alive, and the Sephiroth that killed him was not even the real Sephiroth. The idea of death, which is a vital and important part of any video game, let alone an RPG that has the player spending significant time with the characters, is treated as nothing more then a plot device used for a quick emotional response on stream.