Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII has been a video game gem tucked away to PSP exclusivity. Created to tell the story of SOLDIER member Zack Fair, this was the must-play title for any fan. I don’t think anyone imagined we’d actually receive a Final Fantasy VII Remake. Still, it was only natural for those new to the series to understand exactly who these characters are, and for that to happen, they’d need to be able to play Crisis Core. Luckily, Square Enix doesn’t want to keep anyone in the dark from experiencing this story with the release of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, a 1:1 remake that boasts numerous improvements.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion stars Zack Fair. The name might sound familiar to those who have played FF VII, but he exists mainly in the background of the narrative. He plays a much more significant role in the motivations of Cloud and even influences the Turks along with connections to some of Shinra’s elite, such as Sephiroth. To put it lightly, Zack is one of the most remarkable characters from the series that you may not have known about. He’s also arrogant, impulsive, heroic, and impressionable. When we meet him during his SOLDIER training, his teenage tone and choice of words show his age, which is a new direction for the updated English voice-over.
On a mission to take down a Wutai fortress, his mentor, Angeal, allows him to take on the structure alone. Following these events, it’s discovered that an ex-SOLDIER named Genesis has learned how to create copies of himself and fights back against Shinra. This triggers a string of events involving Sephiroth, Angeal, and even the director Lazard, with Zack in the middle of it all, forced to put all the pieces together. It’s ultimately a story of honor and where your honor leads you. Unfortunately, nothing is as simple as choosing a side, and Zack must face these consequences at every turn.
The story is the highlight of this adventure. I believe the developers knew this since the game like to take control away from the player on almost every screen. As a result, you might walk a couple of steps before entering another story scene, which does become irritating if you’re just trying to play. Luckily, this is mitigated by the optional missions, but more on that later.
Regarding the new English voice-over, a few hesitant parties were confused about the change. However, these voices are now in line with the characters from Final Fantasy VII Remake. It took me a while to get used to, but following some events in the story, I figured out why they made these choices. In addition, the audio mixing of this release is much better than before, which enhances some of the more impactful moments. If that’s not something you’re into, you could use the Japanese voice-over option to hear Gackt as Genesis.
The gameplay will remind you that this was initially a PSP release. Small dungeons, reused enemies, and repetitive missions. That’s not to say Square Enix didn’t do their best to remedy this with optional side-quests, mini-games, and additional options. The side-quests are found throughout Midgar, with the explorable areas stretching across Sector 8. To my knowledge, there isn’t a fast travel option, but given that these areas are so small, you won’t have trouble getting from the only place to the next. The extent of the optional side-quests varies, including talking to NPCs and conducting some investigations. It’s a nice break from the story missions, and the game will remind you when you’re at the point of no return to wrap up any unfinished objects.
When it comes to combat, a simple melee combo is tied to a single button press. Players have access to an AP and MP bar to utilize extended melee attacks and magic, which are combined with L1 and the associated Materia. Each combat action is tied to Materia, and this game has a lot of it. With the addition of Materia Fusion, you can form almost too many different combinations of attacks. From elemental melee attacks to throwing Gil at an enemy, you can sink a lot of time into creating new actions. Still, if you take advantage of this system, you can easily break the game with buff Materia that has no end, but I’ll leave that to the guides.
There are shops, but they require you to complete missions to unlock them. Missions can be accessed from a Save Point and require you to defeat a monster. After selecting a mission, you’ll be transferred to a dungeon to find the target and defeat it. Those who have played before will remember that you can hug the walls and avoid almost all the encounters, and that hasn’t changed here. One new option is to restart a fight if you die, which is an excellent addition, given that some of these enemies have Death attacks that can wipe you out in a single hit.
Let’s talk about that weird roulette wheel spinning during each fight. In short, you spend 10 SP to turn the wheel, this is all done automatically, but eventually, you’ll get a good spin that matches character faces and numbers. Of course, depending on your relationship with the character, this can happen more often, even further if you have special Materia to up the ods.
When you match the characters, you’re allowed to utilize a Limit Break, which is the same for Summons. Each character’s attack is unique, but you can also get a spin that grants you unlimited MP or AP for a limited time or “Breaks” your gauges to give you more HP, MP, or AP than your cap. Further, SP is used to fuse Materia, which can limit how strong you make your loadout.
As for the remastered effort, graphically, this is an entirely new game. It looks similar to Final Fantasy VII Remake. Still, you’ll often be reminded you’re playing an older game when you are playing some randomly slicing missiles or trying to get through a stealth mission, which you never do again. These moments might take you out of the modern experience, but the improvements made to the combat will keep you invested as it’s exceptionally smooth and responsive. An added Buster Sword stance executes a hard-hitting attack and increases Zack’s ability to wield the Buster Sword.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is a brilliant example of what a Remaster should be. It’s the same game I remember, but the updated graphics, controls, and combat make it so much more. You might feel fatigued with the respective mission structure, but there’s so much for new and old fans to enjoy in this release, and I’m happy that it received the level of attention it deserves. This is a must-play game for any who truly wishes to understand the incredible narrative of Final Fantasy VII and what makes it so great.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.