Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Introduces Card Game and Social Mechanics

One final hand. Another try at mastering Queen’s Blood, a card game in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. With the game release looming in a few weeks, my preview time seems to have been spent mostly understanding the nuances of this card game, incorporated fairly early in the game, a task I enjoyed. This inclination seems to bode well for the overall gameplay, indicating a more extensive and affluent universe being crafted in the sequel compared to the quite linear universe in the remake. The characters finally leaving Midgar instills hope for a more open-world experience. Shifting locales, and consequently richer imagery, also contribute to enhancing the Rebirth experience. The game now extends beyond urban landscapes, to more natural and verdant settings, especially once one moves past the satellite city of Kalm in the second chapter.

The first chapter, doubling as a tutorial, is a throwback to Nibelheim, shedding light on the backstories of protagonist Cloud and antagonist Sephiroth. The chapter brings forth some long-standing unresolved issues regarding Cloud and his unclear memories of Nibelheim. The narrative raises expectations of major plot twists that could impact both old and new fans of the game.

Talking about the new card game, Queen’s Blood is an evolution of Triple Triad, Tetra Master, and the odd pinball-type game in Final Fantasy XV. The challenge lies in monopolizing the board and securing the top score on three rows with your unique set of cards, each having distinct layouts of tiles and intermittent special effects. It may be slightly complex to explain, but offers a gamified experience that is fun and tempting.

Staying away from your card tables and venturing beyond Kalm, you have the freedom to go exploring. The game is loaded with intriguing activities including treasure hunts, combating unique monsters, collecting resources, mastering different weapons skills, taming, and racing chocobos, fast-travel spots, getting engaged in virtual battles, unlocking spells with Chad, and much more. Even getting to your destinations is interrupted by intriguing and occasionally demanding battles, made easier by a new feature in Rebirth – an enemy detection radar helps prevent battles when you are not in the mood for one.

Introducing a new dynamic in this edition is the team bonds that impact movesets and stats. These show up in dialogue choices and side quests, adding a social element found in many JRPGs. Developing these bonds augments a separate skill tree that improvements character stats and even triggers new synergy attacks. The intensity of these bonds may influence the storyline as well.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is set to launch on PS5 on February 29, 2024.