The hardest part of playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake is growing attached to the characters who passed away in the original game. I assumed this would be the case with (SPOILER), but I wasn’t ready for the members of Avalanche, as they stole the show away from Cloud and his friends, becoming my favorite characters of 2020.
Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie only had a small role in Final Fantasy 7, but they left a big impression on the fans. Biggs and Wedge were goofballs throughout the start of the game, while Jessie was a demure proto-love interest for Cloud, before that role was taken by Aerith and Tifa. The lighthearted moments with this crew quickly evaporate, when Cloud is separated from the party, and doesn’t rejoin them until their death. The player watches the last stand of Avalanche, as they try to stop the Sector 7 Plate from collapsing. Cloud and his friends manage to escape, but the other three members of AVALANCHE are crushed when the plate falls. There was a novella that followed Aerith through the Lifestream, which revealed that the members of Avalanche are trapped in limbo following the events of the game, due to their guilt regarding their participation in bombing missions. Luckily, this novella is considered non-canon, so it can easily be ignored.
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The initial trailer for Final Fantasy 7 Remake shown at E3 2015 might have been my hypest moment ever for a reveal. The gameplay trailer that followed a few months later is a close second, and part of that thrill was seeing Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie reborn on modern systems. This hype came with sadness, as it meant reliving their demise all over again. I had to wait five years to realize that it wouldn’t play out that way.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake added a little too much, in my opinion, which I brought up in my review of the game. The problem was that some of the new content felt like filler, and it dragged the whole experience down. To me, the best new additions to the game involved Avalanche. The side mission involving the visit to Jessie’s family and the raid on the Shinra base were highlights and a stark contrast to some of the copy/paste dungeons that were used to pad out the runtime.
What really stuck with me were the changes made to the characters. Jessie went from being a wallflower who made bombs, to a headstrong flirt who takes no crap. The game also explores her feelings of guilt regarding the creation of the bombs used during the reactor missions, which was something barely touched on in the original game. Biggs is far more calculating and smart, helping to form Avalanche’s battle plans. He also develops a far closer friendship with Cloud than in the original game. Wedge was the butt of a bunch of fat jokes, but he was also the heart and soul of the group and turned out to be far more important to the plot than anyone realized. All three had their backstories expanded, and they felt like a much bigger part of the story than they did before.
A good portion of Final Fantasy 7 Remake was spent with these characters, and their side-adventures were some of the best moments of the game. Hanging out with Avalanche is one of the main ways in which the remake improved upon the original game, and it’s hard to go back and see them in their original form in Final Fantasy 7.
When deciding the best characters of 2020, it was a close call between the members of Avalanche and the playable characters in Yakuza: Like A Dragon. In the end, I had to give it to Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie. The changes made to the members of Avalanche turned them into real people, and it’s possible that all three of them were spared their original fate. Biggs survives the events of the game, Wedge’s fate is left ambiguous, and the director has hinted that Jessie will return in later entries. Final Fantasy 7 Remake is going in a new direction with its story, and seeing Avalanche reform and take on Sephiroth together might be one of the most exciting things we can see by the time the series ends. I remember watching Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie die when I first played Final Fantasy 7 in ’98, and now, all of these years later, I get to see them live.
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Scott has been writing for The Gamer since it launched in 2017 and also regularly contributes to Screen Rant. He has previously written gaming articles for websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, and TopTenz. He has been gaming since the days of the ZX Spectrum, when it used to take 40 minutes to load a game from a tape cassette player to a black and white TV set.
Scott thinks Chrono Trigger is the best video game of all time, followed closely by Final Fantasy Tactics and Baldur’s Gate 2. He pretends that sorcerer is his favorite Dungeons & Dragons class in public but he secretly loves bards.
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