As gamers, the term remastered has been thrown around countless times. Square Enix is probably the biggest offender of using this word with re-releases of some of their most popular titles. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII was initially released on PSP in 2018 in the west and has been only available as a physical release ever since. With the release of Final Fantasy VII Remastered, fans could only speculate what a remastered version of Crisis Core would look like. Would they smooth the edges and up the resolution, which is the bare minimum of the remastered movement? No, instead, they pretty much remade the entire game to look similar to the recent Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Square Enix seems to be cautious with the usage of the word remastered. Given that they didn’t use it in the title of this release, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, I’d say they didn’t want fans to request this treatment for their future remastered releases. However, I would call this a remaster, since the story, missions, and dialogue up to chapter 3 have been identical to the PSP release. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, this is the best remaster I have played.
The limitation of the PSP includes the lack of additional shoulder buttons, which feel insanely natural on a modern controller. Accessing actions and Materia has been improved with the new HUD. You can launch attacks, dodge, and follow up with a Materia by holding down the L1 button and pressing the corresponding face or shoulder button. It works and feels smooth in execution.
As for graphics, I watched the opening and a few other story scenes side-by-side with the PSP release, and they played out exactly the same. However, the textures and character models look fantastic, similar to Final Fantasy VII Remake. However, I should say that this is still a PSP game, which means gimmicks and a mission structure may not exactly feel like a modern game. It works, but the small dungeons and various monster-hunting sections can remind you this game was once on limited hardware.
Regardless, I don’t think the story is held back from the gameplay. The main story missions can be experienced without doing most enemy hunting missions. You may have a more challenging time with limited actions and options, but the choice is yours, and I love that. I will say that the new English dub took a while to grow on me, but I’m liking it more and more with each chapter.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion sets a higher bar for remastered releases. It’s the same game that I remember, story and mission-wise, but its improved graphics and controls bring it to this modern era of gaming. I’d love to see this level of attention be given to other Square Enix remasters, but with the recent Final Fantasy VII remakes, I can see why they chose to go all in with this release. This story needs to be experienced, and I’m glad that Square Enix didn’t cut any corners.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC on December 13, 2022.
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