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Climbing 59 flights of stairs in Final Fantasy VII Remake is actual GOTY material

Legit one of the best game scenes I've ever witnessed

There is a moment toward the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake where you arguably have to make one of the most important choices in the entire game. Do you take the lift to go and save your friend Aerith on the top floor of the Shinra building, or do you take the stairs? I think I'd probably die if I had to climb 59 flights of stairs in one go, but trust me, friends, the stairs are the way to go, because this is legit one of the best game scenes you'll ever witness in your entire life.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about what you actually do during this five-odd minute climb. You are literally just going round and round a seemingly never-ending staircase. But the genius of this scene is in the music, the dialogue and Tifa absolutely legging it up this Everestian feat while you and Barret chug along behind.

It starts out like any other scene in Final Fantasy VII Remake. You think, sure, I'll just knock in R3 and breeze up this beast no problem. As Barret whines about not taking the lift, Cloud makes an offhand comment about 'pacing yourself' and you begin, jogging up those stairs like it's nothing.

But then Tifa streams past you, seemingly taking these stairs two, three at a time. You press R3 in again a little bit harder, but no. Cloud's actually getting slower and slower the higher he goes. Barret shouts down from below for you to wait up, panting audibly from three floors down, so you take a breather, thinking that might refresh your seemingly invisible stamina bar.

But Tifa keeps going, three, four floors ahead of you now, while you and Barret limp up these stairs in absolute agony, your chests heaving, your legs moving like lead. You notice the music's warping, too, stretching and distorting like a wonky vinyl record. It messes with your sense of reality, your entire perception of time and space. How long have you been climbing these stairs? Have you actually gone through some kind of wormhole and ended up on the infinite staircase of Super Mario 64?

All these thoughts and more cross your mind as you stagger on. But then the impossible happens. Barret is now somehow in front of you, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Not when Tifa and her legs of steel are already five floors ahead of you. You're the one that made this call to climb these stairs. You can't let Barret show you up now.

So you hug the inner stairwell, employing every last tactic you've gleaned from years of racing games to find the fastest route to the top. The floor numbers next to your health bars in the bottom corner slowly tick up as the music becomes looser and looser, you can hear Tifa shouting down something inaudible from some unknown floor above you. Barret's heaving back comes into view. You can do it, just a few more flights to go now, you're so close to the finishing line.

You overtake Barret, muttering about how he won't be in any fit shape to do any fighting after this, but you know full well that you're on the verge of collapse as well. One wrong move, one nudge to close to the wall and you'll become a laughing stock. You've just got to hold it together for these last few floors. And finally...

10 / 10, Bestest Best, GOTY. Thank you and goodnight.

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Katharine Castle avatar

Katharine Castle


Katharine is RPS' editor-in-chief, which means she's now to blame for all this. After joining the team in 2017, she spent four years in the RPS hardware mines. Now she leads the RPS editorial team and plays pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She's very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests, but also loves strategy and turn-based tactics games and will never say no to a good Metroidvania.