Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth may have the best version of gaming’s most beloved flashback – final hands-on preview

There are few individual sequences in video game history that are as famed – and as important – as Final Fantasy 7’s ‘Nibelheim Flashback’. When you think about what this sequence accomplishes, it’s pretty heady. It sets up the stakes of FF7’s genre-defining narrative, solidifies an all-time iconic villain, has some incredible technological execution (for the time), and also creates one of the most enduring single images in gaming history. Basically, it’s important.

That makes Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s task of rebuilding the scene for the modern age difficult. But it’s made more complicated still by the fact ‘The Nibelheim Incident’ has been done more than once – and honestly, always pretty well.

There’s the original Final Fantasy 7 (1997), then there’s anime Last Order (2005), and beloved spin-off Crisis Core (2007). All have slightly different versions of the events, each slightly unique, each another layer to the story even as they lightly contradict each other. Then there’s other variations – an alternate angle on events featured in Japan-only mobile game Before Crisis (2004), and it’s also recently appeared in Ever Crisis (2023). This is well-trodden ground.

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