While Roche may have felt like a joke or goofy character in Final Fantasy VII Remake, FFVII Rebirth amps up his importance in a great way.
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FFVII Rebirth Makes Roche Feel More Important

Roche ended up being something of a weird figure in Final Fantasy VII Remake, as he was more of an antagonistic weirdo who popped up as a self-proclaimed Rival for Cloud in the main game and a silly Fort Condor opponent for Yuffie, but FFVII Rebirth changes all that. With this latest installment, his existence offers a chance at critical insight into Shinra and SOLDIER, coupled with a more even-handed depiction.

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Editor’s Note: There will be spoilers for Roche in Final Fantasy VII Remake and FFVII Rebirth below.

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Roche was 100% over the top. Minutes after meeting Cloud, he’s proclaiming him his friend and rival. It’s to the point of obsession. He’s flamboyant. He’s violent. When Reno met Cloud in FFVII Remake, he claimed Cloud was “weird enough to be one.” We honestly didn’t get many examples of SOLDIERs until the supplemental Crisis Core: FFVII, so it was honestly somewhat welcome? It shows the mindset of someone who could end up in the program, especially after going through such things. 

Honestly, I really liked him at his debut. Not just because it added a Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima style relationship to the game. It made for the opportunities for some fun fights. So I was absolutely excited to know Roche would be back again in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, but I did not expect for Square Enix to absolutely expound upon the character and make him a more viable addition to the FFVII Remake trilogy with his appearance. 

We first meet Roche in Junon. When Shinra gets tipped off to the presence of Cloud, Aerith, Tifa, Barret, and Red XIII down below, he’s the one to show up down below. He’s as boisterous as ever! He’s enthusiastic! But at the same time, his character is further defined. Rather than doing exactly what Shinra says and dragging them in, he wants that one-on-one fight with Cloud. It’s about getting to test his skills against a truly worthy opponent.

From there, we see him in the military parade above for Rufus Shinra and, well, we see how well his kind of abilities are received by others. Regardless of how well the player does, the Midgar Mobile Unit he heads up gets the Award for Outstanding Performance. And at that point, his personality and behavior really lends itself to hamming it up. I mean, he actually “signs” the camera screen. But at the same time, it’s good natured.

As Cloud remains in disguise with Midgar’s Seventh Infantry to throw off Shinra and get through, we encounter Roche once more. That’s the first of two fights and honestly, it’s fun! I appreciated the fact that his riding skills come into play, and the fact that you need to pressure him and target his weakness to get him down from riding the walls really adds a sense of strategy to an early game encounter that could have been more boring. 

It’s also during this fight, both the events before and after, that we see how genuine Roche is. His personality is infectious. All the other Shinra soldiers are there watching, waiting for that match between him and Cloud. They love him. Roche even sincerely says, “The mobile unit would have loved to have you.” He knows what Cloud was doing with his infiltration plan and the Seventh, but he respects him both for not holding back in the fight and being so good to the people in “his unit.” He even gives a Speed Demon keychain accessory of himself, which is both adorable and handy.

But it is Roche’s downfall and final depictions in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, and the FFVII Remake trilogy, that I think are most valuable here. Roche ends up in Hojo’s hands, voluntarily going under his needle and knife. Though, given his depiction when in the chair and the fact that this normally passionate man’s response to Hojo is such an emotionless “No, Professor,” it is debatable how much he knew going in and how willing he was. 

Because Roche’s ultimate fate is to show exactly how easily someone can go from a healthy, vital, passionate, and powerful SOLDIER into one of these robed men that is a shell of himself and at the point of degradation. One of his last conscious acts is to seek out one last fight with Cloud, the person he respected and felt was his equal. He meets him at Nibelheim, going against orders to do so, for one last match. We see at that point how fractured he’s getting to be. The way he wields his sword like Sephiroth does Masamune. The facial expressions. The fact that he seems to know how wrong things are. His physical appearance seeming not quite what it was. 

Roche becomes a warning in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, a living example of what happens to those Shinra touches in FFVII and the new remake trilogy. One of his final conscious lines is, “There’s no escaping… the degradation… my… friend…” We see the physical pain he’s enduring. The way his hair is turning. How the other Robed Men converge on him. How he rises up as one of them. The fact that he’s one of the few of these unfortunate souls to make it to the Temple of the Ancients is this supreme example of foreboding and foreshadowing.

It is one of those moments where it feels like we really see everything pay off. Roche goes from this supplemental character for some silly encounters and boss fights to becoming a perfect example of what Shinra is capable of and what could be waiting for anyone unfortunate enough to be a test subject. Roche ended up being a well-executed character, and the pay off for his storyline in Final Fantasy VII Remake and FFVII Rebirth 

Final Fantasy Remake is available on the PS4, PS5, and PC, and FFVII Rebirth is available on the PS5. The Rebirth exclusivity arrangement ends on May 29, 2024.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.