Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is at its best when it embraces its goofy side

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
(Image credit: Square Enix)

I think it's fair to say that Cloud Strife's hairdo is not easy to pull off. I've spent a lot of time in the Buster sword-wielding protagonist's shoes, and I've often found myself wondering how the iconic mop he sports seems to be totally unaffected by the rain. How does he get it to stand up in that feathery fashion? And what product does he use to keep it upright like that 24/7? However the style of it manages to defy the elements, it somehow just works for his character, and it's thanks to his locks that he has such a recognizable silhouette. It makes Cloud, well, Cloud. Even so, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth isn't scared to poke fun at his spiky mane whenever it gets the chance. In fact, in one very early scene, Tifa and Aerith compare his hairstyle to a Chocobo, and this set-piece perfectly illustrates what makes Square Enix's follow-up so memorable in my book. 

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is action-packed, sprawling, and nostalgic, but it's also incredibly goofy – and it's all the better because of it. While you're up to some serious business pursuing Sephiroth and dodging Shinra, some of the very best moments in Rebirth are entirely unserious. By putting a greater emphasis on party bonds between Cloud and the gang, the sequel to Final Fantasy 7 Remake treats us to a slate of humorous interactions and story beats. With playful minigames, self-aware jokes, and silly antics, the goofiest moments put a spotlight on one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole experience: the group dynamics of the loveable cast. 

 Warning: Some early spoilers ahead for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth  

Bonding moments 

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

(Image credit: Square Enix)

In many ways, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is all about party bonds. From the combat to the story and even the Odd Job side quests, everything ties together to help bring you closer to the characters you adventure with. I don't think I've ever cared about Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Barret, Red 13, and Yuffie as much as I do now, and the more lighthearted, goofier moments have played a large part in that. 

Swept up in your quest to find Sephiroth, Rebirth presents you with ample opportunities to spend more time with the characters. Be it using synergy skills or abilities in combat to develop a sense of camaraderie, or by completing Odd Jobs peppered throughout the world that certain characters take a particular interest in, there are also plenty of key story moments and minigames that shine a light on the group and their blossoming relationships. 

Adventure awaits

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth's protagonists all look out onto the open world

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth review: "Meaningful improvements make the step outside Midgar worth taking"

I've always loved party banter in games like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Baldur's Gate 3, and Rebirth has it in spades throughout the story. Poking fun at Cloud's hair is one thing, but there's also no shortage of zany antics that bring a huge smile to my face. If it's not Barret wearing a sailor outfit and clearly loving it, it's Aerith and Tifa ganging up on Cloud, or Red 13 opening a door on his hind legs. The original Final Fantasy 7 had a great sense of humor to begin with, and it's so great to see Rebirth not only embrace this, but really dial into it. While there's still lots here to tug at your heartstrings and fill you with nostalgia if you played the 1997 release, it's often when it's being silly and joyful that it shines brightest. 

Campy capers

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

(Image credit: Square Enix)

There's also something so playful about Rebirth. This is undoubtedly helped by the many minigames you can try out throughout the adventure, but some of the boss fights even channel a campy showiness that I absolutely love. One of my favorite battles, for example, stars Roche, the brash, teasing motorcycle-riding antagonist who first appeared in Remake. I was delighted to discover you get to once again fight him, and the way it plays out is practically theatrical. Roche takes center stage, with a spotlight shining on him before the battle commences - which is just him to T. Using his bike as a weapon, he recklessly veers towards you and swings it to and fro as he continues to bark out goading lines that almost always lean towards being outright flirtatious. 

It's over-the-top, entertaining, and just a bit silly, and it speaks right to the very spirit of the game that I enjoyed the most. This is still very much Final Fantasy 7 - with impressive modern recreations of locales plucked from the original and a cast so many know and love - but it also doesn't try to take itself too seriously and really celebrates its characters. Sure, Cloud's hair is a little out there and I certainly couldn't rock it in the same way he can, but I love that Square Enix's sequel not only knows it, but has fun with it. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth brought some goofy joy to my life, and I'm frankly thankful for it. 

Following the release of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, see what else we have to look forward to this year with our roundup of upcoming PS5 games

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.