Final Fantasy 7 Remake has blown us all away, for better or for worse. Whichever side you fell on some of the biggest changes, it’s fair to say it was a brave reimagining that no-one quite expected.
One of the most notable deviations to the original was the Honey Bee Inn section of Chapter 9. This was altogether optional in the original, where Cloud could enter one of two rooms – either a strange encounter with his repressed psyche and ending with an NPC called Mukki on top of him in bed (!), or the “Group Room”, where Mukki this time appears with a full posse of bodybuilders to essentially force Cloud into a bathtub with them all.
It’s not surprising these outrageous scenes were condemned to the chopping board, but what we got instead was also a little surprising. Now, Cloud is welcomed on stage by new character Andrea Rhodea and challenged to show off his best moves. Cloud brought the house down, earning a gorgeous makeover and subsequently a place in Don Corneo’s bedroom.
It was perhaps a tad out of character to see Cloud oblige, and “work it” in front of such a huge crowd, but I’ll be honest – I loved it. We never found out where Cloud learnt how to throw such impressive shapes, but in a game where we fought a giant, killing house in the very same chapter, we’ll let bygones be bygones.
The mini-game itself was fun, if a little easy, and the accompanying dance scene reminded me of Persona’s Dancing spin-offs in the best way possible (the Honeybee Inn song ‘Stand Up’ also gave me major Persona 4 vibes).
So I’m going to come out and say it – I think Square Enix should give us a non-canon Final Fantasy 7 Rhythm spin-off.
Yes, we’ve got Theatrhythm Final Fantasy which, over two games, has claimed over a hundred hours of my life, but it’s time to crank it up a notch. I’m talking remixes, costumes, dance-offs and dance collaborations following a similar style to what we saw in the Honey Bee Inn.
The minigame within Final Fantasy 7 Remake was simplistic enough, perhaps most resembling a dumbed-down Hatsune Miku title as the press points moved around the screen regularly. I’d like to see this remain, but with far more notes (29 to hit in 2 minutes 20 seconds is too few) and some more actual rhythm.
The notes moving around the screen to keep you on your toes is fine with me, but sometimes it was a little difficult to see what was required, as the dancers got in the way. Since the notes were mostly pretty slow, it was still possible to react and hit them in the nick of time. However, in Final Fantasy 7: Buster Groove (working title), this will become frustrating on the harder difficulties and it’ll be more enjoyable if the general route of the note was clearer, earlier, to allow for speedier and more satisfying rhythm.
“True beauty is an expression of the heart. A thing without shame, to which notions of gender don’t apply” – Andrea Rhodea
Each stage should have a song set in one of Final Fantasy 7’s many famous locations, with a designated dancer and a choice of guest dancers who turn up to bust a groove for a short spell, like the ‘fever’ sections within the Persona dancing games. Certain, more difficult stages, would instead be a dance-off against an antagonist, where you can access some special moves like in Guitar Hero’s battles to turn the tide in your favour.
Of course, costumes can be changed and Cloud, Tifa and Aerith will all have access to their Wall Market dresses. Cloud’s Shinra outfit as worn in Junon can be set, and Barret’s ‘giant marshmallow’ sailor suit will most certainly be a favourite for his stages. Vincent can don a suit and Cid has an astronaut costume in his wardrobe if you so choose to select them.
I felt Theatrhythm’s RPG elements were too shallow, and made no real difference to the gameplay. Rather than dipping their toe into this idea again, I think Square Enix are best ignoring levels, items and such altogether in favour of simple dance!
Whilst the dancing setup is a natural fit for Persona’s music, Final Fantasy 7’s soundtrack doesn’t feature anywhere near as much vocal performance. This is far from fatal to the idea – if Nintendo can release a dancemat game from Mario music, which I definitely didn’t buy and spend hours on, then Square Enix can make Final Fantasy 7’s amazing soundtrack work, using dance remixes of both original and Remake versions.
Not all tracks will need such treatment. I can definitely envisage energetic dancing to the original riffs of the amazing boss music, Those Who Fight Further, or the brilliant JENOVA. Aerith’s theme brings a slower, classical tone to proceedings, with a heartbreakingly beautiful slow dance from the Ancient herself, featuring a small cameo from Cloud (unfortunately, Zack’s appearance is DLC).
As for the stages and settings of Final Fantasy 7: Limit Breakdance (working title II), there is no shortage of atmospheric locations. Red XIII will throw shapes atop Cosmo Canyon (feat. Bugenhagen), Tifa will definitely dance-off against Scarlet at the end of the Sister ray, and even Sephiroth will show everyone how it’s done at the planet’s core, to One Winged Angel remix.
Yuffie will get her theme reimagined for a dance battle against Godo in Wutai’s famous pagoda, whilst Cid’ll dazzle the crew of the Highway (to Highwind Takes to the Skies of course). As a climax, the whole party will band together, taking it in turns to boogie to a few bars each of a Main Theme/Let The Battles Begin!/Judgement Day/Birth of a God medley, Cloud’s best moves finally coming out to save the planet and prompt the victory fanfare.
Do I really think this will all happen? Honestly, no. At best, the Gold Saucer will likely contain some variation of the mini-game as a consolation prize.
But if it did, I’d like to assure Square Enix now they have at least one pre-order ready and eager to be placed.
Am I just crazy, or is there anyone else out there who feels the same way about a Final Fantasy 7 Rhythm game?
Read my Final Fantasy 7 Remake review here.