Just beat the game. Clocked in about 69 hours cuz I was scrounging around for all the extra stuff so I think my next playthrough on hard will be quicker since I'll be playing just to play. The story for the most part is amazing. The sense of scale, the sense of pacing, and scene direction are all top tier. The character interactions for the most part are all handled really well and make for a very charming cast of characters. Cloud especially deserves praise because my god, I was so deftly afraid that they were gonna screw him up and go the KH/Advent Children route but after having played through the Remake he is bursting with nuance and a great sense of underlying depth in place of the shallow emo stuff I've seen him be dragged down with for so long. So I'm glad one of my favorite characters in gaming was done justice. Music was great and I found myself really enjoying the new tracks like "Ignition Flame" as well. As for the new stuff added to the story, no doubt courtesy of Nomura, I don't really know how to feel about it but at the least I'm interested in seeing how things develop. It entirely changes up what this Remake is by nature but at the same time I don't think it dishonors the original either. I'll just leave it at that in regards to those elements of the Remake.
Gameplay wise, the bosses were all great. They had a lot of intricate little details within their battles and each one had little gimmicks you could uncover and exploit to get one over on the bosses. They all felt like true events within the story and I loved the visual story telling they worked so hard to create within each major battle as the environment would slowly be destroyed as the fights continued onward. I think the combat gamelay while having issues and things I personally didn't like was overall a pretty solid affair but I'd still like to see some improvements made upon it in the next part. Namely, I'd really like to see a better camera and lock-on system along with a dedicated jump button of some sort.
The lock-on never tracked anything and was very temperamental imo even after changing the settings for it so that it was no longer tied to the camera stick. When I lock-on I expect the camera to actually be following the enemy that I'm locked onto. Camera, especially in tight spaces, would get really wonky a lot of the times and I thought it was super annoying always having to stop and readjust to gain my bearings amidst the clusterfucks caused by that issue. The auto jump also just isn't reliable like 80% of the time so I'd like to be able to freely control that function or at least to remedy it I think the characters should be able to snap onto enemies more aggressively in the air if you're doing a combo while up there like in Kingdom Hearts instead of just floating in space and hitting air as the enemy floats 3 feet to the right thus rendering your whole combo useless.
Overall though while I thought the combat was kinda basic and repetitive for most of the game I think some of the later optional fights do a good job of making you strategize more so that's a good thing. I won't hold it against this game though because tbh whether anyone wants to admit or not most of the FF series is piss easy and repetitive in gameplay up until the optional stuff at the end so it's just standard affairs at this point. Anyways I think the good far outweighs the bad for me in this case and I'm personally interested in seeing where this goes even though I'm not sure if the changes are entirely good or bad at this point. Kinda neutral on it tbh.
I'm gonna give this game a solid 8.5.