…but not for the reasons you think.
Final Fantasy VII Remake broke my heart, but not for the reasons you think. To be clear, I love Final Fantasy VII Remake, I gave it a glowing review. The graphics are astonishing, the voice acting is suburb and the subtitles, while far from perfect, work well enough for me. However, I have one major issue with the game; the camera makes me physically ill.
The game is beautiful, emotional, and a cinematic masterpiece that captures the charm of the original while inserting enough new, compelling content to keep modern audiences on the edge of their seat. The game deserves the high praise it has received. But it is nearly unplayable for me and many others who deal with migraines. According to the American Migraine Foundation, a migraine research foundation, more than one billion people are living with migraines worldwide.
I suffer from serious vestibular migraines and I get them almost daily. They cause dizziness, neck pain, ear pain, light sensitivity, and give me a feeling of motion sickness. There have been a few instances where games have made me feel ill after a few hours of play. Most notable are Far Cry 5 and the Dishonored series. Both of these are in first person and the camera moves in a jarring manner to illustrate the dynamic movement of the character you are playing. I might feel a little dizzy here and there but for the most part, unless it is a very bad day, I can play both of these games for a long extended period of time.
However, Final Fantasy VII Remake’s camera is very different from Dishonored or Far Cry. The game is in third person and while players control the camera there are many points where it reorients by itself as if it is fixed. When Cloud turns, the camera turns whether you touched it or not. When you go upstairs and then back down the camera zooms in only to quickly pan back out to show the entire area. The constant movement back and forth is incredibly disorienting for me.
Additionally, the camera struggles to keep up with Cloud and the rest of the party during the battle sequences but that is easier to forgive. My biggest issue with the game is the jumping back and forth between wide and narrow angles as Cloud traverses through the various slums, towns, and markets of Midgar.
The game offers a few options to attempt to alleviate the strain on my head but none of them seem to really fix the issue. And as great as options are, if it is unclear what they do, they don’t have many purposes. I have toggled with the camera settings multiple times but nothing seems to really change the issue. At this point, I cannot play Final Fantasy VII Remake for more than 45 minutes without needing to lie down in a dark room or worse, throw up.
Final Fantasy VII Remake comes leaps and bounds from previous entries in the series in regards to accessibility. The easy mode and classic mode are both viable options for disabled players who have similar symptoms as me. That being said, the lack of thought in regards to the camera design is frustrating. Considering disabled gamers, and in this case gamers with migraines, always makes a game better because it means more people can immerse themselves in one of the most unique mediums on the planet. All I want is to be able to play Final Fantasy VII Remake without debilitating pain. But until then, I will be relying on let’s plays.