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The Final Fantasy VII Beginners Guide (Before Rebirth)

So you’re interested in picking up Final Fantasy VII Rebirth but took one look at all the games, spin-offs and a movie and have no idea where to start. Understandably, the Final Fantasy VII universe is a rather complex one on the surface but not impossible to understand. That’s why we’re here to help you today with this beginners guide to all the media available in the expansive Final Fantasy VII world outlined by Square Enix.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the compilation of Final Fantasy VII and give you clear-cut answers about where to start as well as where to continue your adventure in the series. For people just starting out Final Fantasy VII, we hope this will give you an idea about all the content you may need to play leading up to the latest entry, Rebirth.

The Story of Final Fantasy VII

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To give you a basic outline of Final Fantasy VII‘s story, the plot follows protagonist Cloud Strife, a former SOLDIER turned mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist insurgent group called Avalanche led by Barret, Tifa and other members, to combat a mega-corporation called Shinra. Avalanche believes Shinra is responsible for draining the planet dry of Mako, the life energy of the world, for its own nefarious purposes.

The story begins in the industrial city of Midgar where Avalanche launches their attack against Shinra. However, the plot escalates when the group discovers that something more malevolent is happening involving Sephiroth, a former comrade of Cloud’s in SOLDIER who is planning a devastating event, and Aerith, a flower girl who might have a deep connection to the planet. The group must then journey across the world to stop Sephiroth and figure out a prophetic mystery.

What is The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII?

First and foremost, you’re going to hear “The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII” tossed around if you’re new to the series. Essentially, this is just the name given to the collective works of all Final Fantasy VII-related content that you can find, play and watch. Don’t confuse it for a singular piece of media as it’s just a blanket term for everything we’ll go over below.

Start With – Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Final Fantasy VII Voice Mod PC

If you want to begin your Final Fantasy VII journey, you’re probably going to start at the beginning with the original Final Fantasy VII. Thankfully, the game has been remastered for almost every modern console and PC, so it’s widely available (and usually at a very good price).

We highly recommend starting here as the original game is a complete package that tells the whole story from beginning to end. Due to certain story changes made in Remake and Rebirth (as those aren’t exactly faithful 1:1 remakes), it would help a lot if you had some knowledge of the original game going into those. You can technically start with Remake but some plot elements and important context won’t make sense.

Next – Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion

Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion Trophy List

After completing the original Final Fantasy VII, your next step is to play the prequel, Crisis Core. We recommend picking up the remastered Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion as it faithfully recreates the original PSP game with better visuals and UI, plus it’s widely available on most consoles and PC.

Crisis Core gives a lot of backstory to Zack Fair, an important figure in the game’s world, as well as Cloud Strife to an extent. It also helps you contextualise the plot of the original game and explore Sephiroth’s motivations. Thanks to Remake and Rebirth‘s altered story, it’s recommended that you play Crisis Core first if you don’t wish to get confused by the events that unfold in those games.

Next Watch – Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Edition

Final Fantasy VII Remake Advent Children Rebirth

In 2005, Square Enix created a direct sequel to the original Final Fantasy VII in the form of a CG-animated movie called Advent Children. You’ll want to seek out the Complete Edition of Advent Children as it adds an extra half-hour to the movie’s story.

Essentially, the movie concludes the original timeline of Final Fantasy VII. I won’t go into too much detail about the plot or characters to save you some spoilers, though this is worth watching to give you some closure to the story. It might also tie into Remake and Rebirth (nudge nudge).

Next – Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

You can now begin your journey into Final Fantasy VII Remake. In this case, we recommend playing the Intergrade package as it bundles the full base game with a DLC that introduces a new character, Yuffie, to the remake saga. Note that this version is only available on PS5.

By now, you’ll probably realise that Remake plays by its own rules. Despite what you’ve heard, this isn’t a 1:1 remake of the original game which is why we recommended starting with that instead. However, it is possible to start with Remake but again, you’ll probably understand the story fine but miss some crucial context and important plot elements that will confuse you in the later sections of the game.

Other Spin-Offs/Side Games

As for the rest, you don’t really need to play the other spin-offs and side games unless you really want to dig deep into the universe. Otherwise, you’ll be okay with just playing the above titles to understand the gist of the story before Rebirth. Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of the non-essential games available:

  • Dirge of Cerberus: A spin-off of the original game that solely focuses on Vincent Valentine as the protagonist. It’s a decent action game meant for die-hard Vincent fans, though you’ll likely be turned away by its dated design and clunky gameplay.
  • The First Soldier: A free-to-play battle royale mobile game released in 2021. It doesn’t feature any story that adds to the universe, so don’t worry about giving this one a look. As of 2023, it’s also been shut down.
  • Ever Crisis: A series of episodic titles released for mobile phones in 2023. It mostly retells the story of the Final Fantasy VII compilation with newly added material and improved visuals, though it’s nothing significant.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is now available for PS5.

Editor-in-Chief of Nexus Hub, writer at GLITCHED. Former writer at The Gaming Report and All Otaku Online. RPG addict that has wonderful nightmares of Bloodborne 2.

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