Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Shows Square Enix Learned From Its Open-World Negligence

Get ready for a rich and fulfilling yet manageable and refreshing world.

Story Highlights

  • Square Enix’s weak open-world formula in Final Fantasy 15 and Forspoken left a lot to be desired.
  • Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is here, and it’s a near-perfect open world free of all the prior flaws.
  • With meaningful and realistic objectives, it neither overwhelms you nor leaves you with nothing to do.

Today, let’s discuss open-world games. Why is this genre generally so appealing? If you ask me, it’s because of its limitless potential. Open-world games never bind you to a set of rules. They provide you with a playground, evoking a sense of control over the game’s world. Sparking the adventurer in everyone, the genre encourages you to witness everything this massive landscape has to offer.

That’s all appreciated, but it also has to make sure the player is neither bored nor burnt out. And that’s a momentous task that’s easier said than done. Many weak and uninspiring open-world formulas exist, like Square Enix’s Forspoken and FF 15. However, speaking of Square Enix, it seems that’s all in the past, as the latest Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth features an open world second to none.

  • About the Author: Hanzala Iftikhar has spent 170+ hours on Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth which makes him highly trustable!

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Final Fantasy 15 And Forspoken — Square Enix’s Fumbled Open Worlds

Before Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, let’s just say some of the recent Square Enix open worlds have been less than desirable. Take a look at Final Fantasy 15. FF 13’s criticism over the linear structure caused Square Enix to opt for a full-blown open world. Another reason was its release timeframe. Open World was practically the talk of the town in those times.

All these colliding factors gave rise to Final Fantasy 15. Before I say anything else, note that it was not necessarily a bad game; I genuinely enjoyed it. But I can’t say the same about its open world. The game broke free of linearity, true, but it mistook what a true open world meant.

FFXV is a poor game with near-perfect presentation.
byu/DynamoJonesJr inpatientgamers

Vast barren fields, repetitive objectives, uninspiring landmarks, and the overall emptiness of anything meaningful, from quests to exploration incentives. All this contributed to a weak world.

Plus, uneven storytelling made these open-world flaws a lot more apparent. It’s such a shame, considering Final Fantasy 15 featured a beloved cast, interesting concepts, and an otherwise beautiful world. This failure was so great that it negated this “switch” to the open world. The series hasn’t been open-world since.

Final Fantasy 15 had a beautiful world, despite the unengaging design
Final Fantasy 15 had a beautiful world, despite the unengaging design

However, it seems the lesson Square Enix drew from this failure was simply “Final Fantasy won’t work as an open world” and went ahead with Forspoken. Let’s just say that this game was the disappointment of the year for me. There’s so much wrong here that the extremely dull, uninspiring, and utterly empty world was just a part of the much bigger mess that was Forspoken.

Forspoken’s world feels really bland and generic.
byu/Situation-Dismal inForspoken

Square Enix’s Latest Open World Gets Everything Right

Despite a weak open world, Final Fantasy 15 was still an enjoyable adventure and a well-received game. However, Forspoken was nothing but a failure, big enough for Square Enix to close the developer studio and reconsider everything about its open-world formula.

The result has just been revealed to us: Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. And I think it’s safe to say that it’s everything I ever wanted in an open-world game. Final Fantasy 7 Remake project already had an interesting plot, and I’ve already expressed in detail just how much Rebirth improves combat. And now, it looks like it features a perfect open world, too.

FF7 Rebirth is reminding me why I fell in love with the franchise
byu/MiitomoNightcore inFinalFantasy

It not only features a deceptively large world, but it’s filled to the brim with interesting objectives, exploration landmarks, enemy encounters, and a ton of collectible points. It’s the full package of keeping you hooked, and proof Square Enix improved dramatically after Final Fantasy 15.

This part of the story involved exploring the vast planet beyond Midgar, and the world design is a very accurate reflection of this objective.

Not only is it a beautiful world, but the moment you step foot into the wild, you’re greeted by a world that always has something new for you to try. I was amazed by just how diverse every objective felt, and never once was I bored or found myself with nothing meaningful to do in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.

Rebirth brilliantly divides its massive world into bite-sized chunks
Rebirth brilliantly divides its massive world into bite-sized chunks

Despite The Massive Scale, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Never Overwhelms

An open-world game is enjoyable as long as it provides you the freedom to explore genuinely interesting stuff. But, what happens when it showers you with more and more as you progress, creating inevitable repetition, and you never really reach the end until you’re completely burnt out and don’t even want to go anywhere near it?

That is another way of shooting yourself in the foot. And this is something you’ll see all too frequently in Ubisoft’s formulaic worlds. However, I’m genuinely glad to say that Rebirth never suffers from an overload and cluttering of the map in any way. It’s a massive world with too much to do for sure, and you’ll be sinking hundreds of hours to get that sweet Platinum. But trust me, it will never overwhelm you.

XD look at this shitty Ubisoft open world game with all these generic map icons
byu/german_leopard inGamingcirclejerk

Why’s that? The first thing is how the game breaks its vast world into smaller patches and then sequentially and smoothly flows it all in a very manageable way. You never have more than one discrete region to explore with a realistic end in sight. The storytelling complements this brilliantly. While you explore one such region, you’ll always be craving for more, and then the game does indeed give you more later, fueling the excitement.

Oh, and rest assured, Rebirth will never force you to go through any repetitive backtracking or walking to a point you’ve already explored. Every point of interest on the map, either small or large, can be quickly fast-traveled to after it’s unlocked. This means the world keeps you hooked with its versatile objectives, not long walks back and forth.

There's no shortage of convenient fast travel points
There’s no shortage of convenient fast travel points

I’ve Yet To Progress The Story In Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth 

When you’re so engrossed in an open world that you forget the story mode exists, that is when you know a game has triumphed in world design. This is a major achievement for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, and Square Enix in general. From “I just can’t find anything interesting here” to “Story? Oh I forgot about that part,” the developer has presented radical development in its open-world implementation.

The story's fantastic no doubt, but the fun open world takes the cake for me
The story’s fantastic no doubt, but the fun open world takes the cake for me

What’s more, the story in this game is extremely engaging too. It’s not like the narrative is bad, the open world is just that engaging. You can’t help but get lost in appreciating the planet you’re supposed to save, strengthening your resolve. With a brilliant story, meaningful side quests, minigames that are just loads of fun, and a supreme open world, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth deserves every single word of praise.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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