Final Fantasy VII Remake Vs. Persona 5 Royal, Who Did it Better?

Does Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII Remake topple Atlus' update to Persona 5 or do the Phantom Thieves reign supreme over Cloud and his friends? Let's find out.

By Grayshadow, Posted 18 Apr 2020

(THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS HEAVY SPOILERS FOR FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE AND PERSONA 5. THIS IS YOUR FINAL AND ONLY WARNING)

Final Fantasy VII Remake and Persona 5 Royal provide updated experiences for some of the best RPGs ever made. Both offering extensive experiences that go beyond expectations and provide dense adventures full of heartfelt moments. Which is better though? Does Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII Remake topple Atlus' update to Persona 5 or do the Phantom Thieves overcome Cloud and his friends? Let's find out.

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Story

Persona 5 Royal stars the Protagonist known as Joker as he and several others infiltrate the Metaverse to steal treasures and change those with distorted hearts. With Joker and his friends taking on increasingly more influential foes as they change the hearts of a lot of powerful people. All while developing intense relationships with several characters to increase your chances of survival.

Persona 5 was already a heavy adventure but the updated Royal edition took things even further. With new characters such as Kasumi who provided new confidants for Joker to develop bonds. You still start off slow with the sexual predator and gym teacher Suguru Kamoshida who's entire section is one long tutorial before eventually taking on CEOs, and even more. With the Royal update adding a new Palace that requires a few more loops to unlock.

That's where Persona 5 Royal does fumble, with the player needing to build certain relationships to unlock a major portion of the game. Something that critical would be necessary information to the player but most will be oblivious to this unless researching the topic or by sheer luck.

Final Fantasy VII Remake has Cloud and friends essentially follow the same narrative as 1997 original but eventually evolving into its own game. With Cloud joining Avalanche to stop Shinra from draining the planet dry but eventually defying destiny itself.

Just like Persona 5 Royal Cloud and his allies are constantly tested with difficult challenges. Here the goals to said challenges are a bit more realistic considering the characters are highly trained warriors or possess incredible abilities. Which lesser the impact considering Persona 5's protagonists are just high schoolers.

Both stories have their strengths and weaknesses. Persona 5 Royal's original cast of antagonists still holds up because they're so well written. With realistic situations of abuse, control, and violence amplified the fact you're playing as high schoolers trying to accomplish the impossible. Final Fantasy VII Remake mostly has the player in controllable situations thanks to the skills of the party but still places you in dire situations that often leave the player expecting one thing to happen only for another thing to occur.  However, unlike Persona 5 Royal where there's little room for the player to have symphony for the antagonist, that's not the case in Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Yes. Shinra is a greedy corporation that wants nothing more than absolute control and infinite wealth. However, the people in the cooperation don't all think that way. Most are just people trying to survive and Final Fantasy VII Remake does a great job of conveying this. With soldiers disobeying orders to save civilians or their own people or Reeve, an executive at Shinra, and the Turks showcasing their annoyance those Shinra's killing of innocent people. In addition, to conveying how important Shinra is to the people in more ways than one. Highlighting how the progress made with Mako Energy has improved lives but at a heavy cost.

Persona 5 Royal does attempt this by showing how the people with distorted hearts treat those around them but it doesn't provide you any reason to symphonize with the villain, they're always terrible people. While it works in favor of the narrative it makes them less interesting than Shinra themselves. The best villains have layers to themselves but most of the antagonists in Persona 5 Royal are just plain evil.

What really gives Persona 5 Royal a leg up over Final Fantasy VII Remake is the optional story content. Final Fantasy VII Remake's side missions are usually single-serving missions with bland objectives that have you revisiting old areas. The sheer about of relationships, side missions, and optional stories linked to these people provide ample reasons to replay Persona 5 Royal. Romances linked to specific dialogue, stories that are only accessed with particular requirements, and the looming time limit constantly counting down has you weighing what people to spend time with. Final Fantasy VII Remake's narrative does have some outstanding optional situations, such as unique cutscenes with Tifa or Aerith depending on your choices but the sheer amount of optional relationships that are linked to strong personal stories in Persona 5 Royal dominates Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Winner Persona 5 Royal

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Visuals

This is a bit harder to compare and contrast. Both games offer distinct styles that complement the overall world. With Persona 5 Royal using the cartoonish cell-shaded visual design and Final Fantasy VII Remake being more realistic looking.

Persona 5 Royal does have an excellent art style that will age very well. This is especially true during the wacky moments when the characters act shocked, become angry, or get hurt. The varied color palate also ensures that the environments never look bland and always vibrate and colorful. The cutscenes have that anime look with absurdly clean characters and environments.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is highly detailed, especially the character models. Square Enix has a reputation for creating amazingly looking games and Final Fantasy VII Remake is lifelike. With the exception of the background, which is a single-image that removes the sense of distance and texture issues, everything is so highly developed. Particle effects, weapon designs, and so much more has such elaborate details that it makes sense why this game took so long to develop.

What the player prefers does play a major role in determining which is more appealing. Persona 5 Royal keeps things vivid and energetic throughout whereas Final Fantasy VII Remake continues to showcase its lifelike character models and incredible details. 

The coloration, beautiful lighting, and fantastically designed Palaces are incredible to look at. Where Final Fantasy VII Remake shines above Persona 5 is in the animation. Everything flows together in beautiful symphony whether its Cloud walking through destroyed streets or in a cutscene showcasing his first-class SOLDIER skills. The presentation of every scene is done with such unbelievable high-quality that even the best moments of Persona 5 Royal can't compete especially in-game. Many of the characters stand around using the same animation and walk in a rigid fashion, unlike Final Fantasy VII Remake's more fluid motions.

Winner Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Music

This is very challenging. The remixed soundtrack of Final Fantasy VII is exceptional. It's definitely appealing if you loved the original but it such a robust score that even newcomers will lose themselves in it. Whether it's "Those Who Fight Further" or the remix of "You Can Hear the Planet Cry". Each one of Final Fantasy VII Remake's scores correctly conveys the situation it's being played with.

Persona 5 Royal is the same. Whether its "River in the Desert" or the latest new song "Take Over". The soundtrack for both of these games are distinguished and complement the games they're in without a single track seeming out of place. All collectively amplifying the situation the player is in.

The musical scores for both games are simply amazing.

Tie

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Protagonist

What gives Final Fantasy VII Remake an edge over Persona 5 Royal is the protagonist. Joker is an empty shell, capable of anything. Like many blank slates such as Commander Shepard or the Hero of Albion Joker can do and accomplish anything and become anyone the player chooses. Whether you want him to enter a relationship with someone specific, become a paragon of hope, or a genuine ass that is all on the player to choose. Cloud doesn't have that power.

Cloud constantly keeps his distance from people and only shows his true self to select people. At the very beginning, we see this as Cloud remains cold among Avalance but instantly becomes more humble and social when interacting with Tifa. Showing more concern for her than anyone else. Eventually, Cloud's behavior changes as he develops closer bonds with Jessie, Biggs, Wedge, Barret, Aerith, and so on. Trusted them in combat and becoming incredibly distressed when something happens to them. Cloud breaks out of his shell. starts trusting more people, and decide to take on more serious tasks not for profit but to save those around him. Joker doesn't have that evolution, he just exists as an extension of the player who they can mold into whatever person they wish.

This makes Joker a less interesting character compared to Cloud. Joker doesn't evolve, it's through the relationships of others that Joker gains his personality. With more and more people depending on his to solve their problems and helping change for the better but never growing himself.

Winner Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Winner Final Fantasy VII Remake

Persona 5 Royal is outstanding. The fantastic story and multiple ways you can develop Joker have multiple reasons to continue playing even after the credits roll but the protagonist fails to create the same excitement as the supporting cast does. With Final Fantasy VII Remake providing a more interesting tale of Cloud's changes as he starts to break out of his original way of life and more to come in the future. Both are outstanding adventures that dedicate a good amount of time to fully experience but Final Fantasy VII Remake takes the win as the better RPG to play.

Adam Siddiqui,
Senior Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix
Genres: RPG
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2020-04-10

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