Wow. I’m still not tired of using that specific greeting the girls use from Final Fantasy VII Remake. I know the game has been out for more than a month now and most gamers have moved on to other games by now. However, I’m still playing Final Fantasy VII Remake and I’m at my second playthrough. I decided to make several different choices from my first time through Midgar. I took the stairs instead of the elevator in Shinra tower and I elected to have Tifa wear the “sporty” outfit instead of the mature dress. I don’t think I will ever pick the “exotic” dress because it’s just a kimono. I still prefer the “mature” outfit because, hey, it suits Tifa and the dress is nice on her!
Although I did make some rather different choices between my current playthroughs, there is one specific thing I just couldn’t in good conscience alter from them. Well, there is actually another because I will always go through all the side quests in every chapter so I will indubitably get Aerith’s best dress in the end, fireworks and all. I have no choice in the matter and it’s all Square Enix’s fault for making me want to get the most out of their game. That’s another story altogether, by the way.
Anyway, there is another specific option I will undoubtedly always do until I do find the willpower to make the conscious choice of doing this. For now, I will always go and check if Tifa is alright after we get dropped into the sewers because, for me, Tifa is the best pick and not Aerith.
I actually don’t know if I’m in the minority or the majority on this matter. I do feel making Cloud picking between either Tifa or Aerith is one of the most difficult choices in video game history. Both of them have really endearing qualities I like and they are both worthy of being “best girl” for Cloud in Final Fantasy VII Remake. In the end, however, Tifa just edged out Aerith by a whisker.
Before I explain my reasoning as to why Tifa is just ever so slightly better than Aerith for Cloud, I will have to give the mandatory SPOILER warning now. I will have to go through some of the events of the current game as well as the original PlayStation game which was released way, way back. You have been warned!
Now, going into my first playthrough of Final Fantasy VII Remake, I was almost positive I would pick Aerith over Tifa. Any gamer worth their salt should know about Aerith’s fate in the original game. She’s supposed to die at the hands of Sephiroth and Cloud, more than ever, will want revenge on him. So, to me, it only makes sense that Aerith should be more than just a compatriot or friend. Aerith has to be Cloud’s main love interest to make his wanting to take down Sephiroth much more warranted and her death all the more heartbreaking.
The folks at Square Enix also did a fantabolous job of making Aerith super likable. I have seen other versions of her in games like the Kingdom Hearts series as well as the Advent Children movie. In those entries, Aerith comes off as more of an innocent and goddess-like being. Almost as if she’s pure goodness… which I didn’t like. However, the Aerith I saw from the Final Fantasy VII Remake trailers gave me a much better version. She sounded more like a real person with likes and fears. She sounded bubbly and more outgoing and, in general, more like a human being, a far cry from the ethereal version we got before.
Aerith was more fleshed out and I did fall in love with the character. The walk through the rooftops was super fun and, while it was basically one long walkabout simulator where nothing really happens, the entire scenario made me feel more of a connection with Aerith as I got to see more of what made her her. She was flirty, witty, spunky, playful and just plain charming, yet with a happy go lucky attitude masking something tragic. I also got to see how likable when we got to the Sector 5 trainyard and slums. The people around her would go and ask how Aerith was doing and asking her for assistance, showing us how willing she is to help others without really thinking. This really added a whole lot to the character and almost made me decide she was “best girl” in the game.
Another thing that nearly swayed me was her voice. It’s just so darned cute and perky! It really suits her personality and I got to hand it to Square Enix for hiring her voice actress, Briana White. Hiring her, a fledging voice actress for your big budgeted Remake for Final Fantasy VII was a big risk but a stroke of genius at the same time as her voice is just perfect for Aerith! In all honesty, I enjoyed Briana’s performance more than Tifa’s voice actress. No offense intended by that’s just the way I feel.
Even with all of this, I still could not turn my back on Tifa and my resolve to make her “best girl” in my first playthrough. Why is that? Mostly because it just felt right for Cloud to come to that conclusion himself.
Tifa is also a fantastic character. Everyone in the Sector 7 slums likes her and more than just a couple of males who live there find her attractive. I guess it’s not hard to see why as her character model is, well, rather buxom, to say the least. Normally, that would be a turn-off for me but, for some reason, it didn’t really affect me as it’s never really highlighted. I guess her outfit, a white tank top showing off her midriff, suspenders and a pleated leather mini skirt, is rather revealing. However, it always seemed like she was meant to be more than just eye candy. It looked like something she was simply comfortable in the outfit. After all, it is a sporty look and it does look like an outfit she can move in freely.
However, the thing that really drew me to Tifa was her strength. That’s both her outward strength in fighting as well as her inner, emotional strength. I really do like how she’s the lightning fast brawler of the group. She’s goes in and, while she doesn’t hit super hard, Tifa is able to get in countless of punches and kicks in quick succession. She quickly became my main go-to character during battles as it’s so fun to fight using her! Pairing her with Deadly Dodge and Parry materia makes her a dodging machine. Piling on the speed boosts so she can always activate the top level of Unbridled Strength is just so satisfying! Oh, and don’t forget to put in some Luck materia to just pile on the critical hits! If you know what you’re doing, Tifa is an absolute beast!
Tifa is super strong in combat but what really got me was her inner strength as she comes off as a very complex character, probably the most in Final Fantasy VII Remake. She is indeed part of Avalanche, the group who wants to shut down all the mako reactors of Midgar. However, she doesn’t really want to go so far as to bomb the places as she realizes it will cause a lot of damage to the city as well as unnecessary casualties.
Unlike the other Avalanche members or even Cloud, Tifa doesn’t differentiate people because of their allegiances. During the second bombing run when they’re found out in the train, she’s more concerned about the other passengers and even leads one of the Shinra middle managers, someone she’s supposed to hate, to safety in another train before she joins the fight. To her, every innocent life needs to be protected. This leads her to be torn inside as, while she knows the mako reactors have to be disabled, she’s still against how they’re going about it. This is a lot of depth for someone who a lot think is supposed to be just a sexy gal!
Another reason why Tifa is “best girl” in my eyes is, as I said, she seems to be “best girl” in Cloud’s eyes, in my playthroughs, at least. There are so many instances when you see Cloud being flirty with Tifa, either intentionally or unintentionally, which is different with Aerith as the flower girl is more flirty towards the merc and not the other way around. I always feel Cloud is more protective and friendly towards Tifa than Aerith and there are so many scenes where you can see that throughout the game.
The most pertinent scene that sticks out in my mind is actually when Cloud is reunited with Tifa at Seventh Heaven. He gives her the flower Aerith gave him after Tifa comments she hasn’t seen a real one in ages. It might not seem like much but I caught the hidden meaning behind it. Aerith says that the yellow flower is something that lovers give one another when they’re reunited. Well, what does Cloud immediately do when he sees Tifa? He gives her the same flower that lovers give each other! So, if Cloud thinks Tifa and he are lovers, who am I do deny this?
It does seem to make sense for Cloud to feel this way as he and Tifa grew up in the same town and, even then, they seemed to have a special relationship between them. This spanned even when they were children, with Tifa wanting to get Cloud’s attention despite already being super popular and surrounded by other boys! So, if Cloud, and even probably Tifa, believes that Tifa is “best girl,” who am I to deny them?
There is a strong argument to be made for Aerith and Cloud to be a couple but, from what I’ve seen throughout my playthroughs, Tifa just seems like the better choice. Like I said, right now, Tifa is “best girl” in my eyes and it will take an enormous amount of willpower for me to make the move to see what a Aerith “best girl” scenario will look like.
Maybe during my next playthrough?
Who is “best girl” in your opinion? Tifa or Aerith? Let me know and your reasoning below in the comments section!