If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise, then you may have been anxiously waiting for the Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion Reviews to drop just like me. The game was pitched to us as a faithful remaster of Crisis Core, which is a spin-off that was originally released all the way back in 2007 for the PSP.
And upon first glance, one would even consider calling it a remake of sorts with how much the gameplay has improved, the visuals have been re-defined, and how there is the new addition of full-fledged voice acting on top of all that.
It just goes to show that Square Enix has spared no effort and left no stone unturned when re-building the game for a newer audience and console generation. Whether it’s the hardcore fans who adored the Original FFVII from the original PlayStation or the modern fans acquainted with the franchise via the excellent remake, Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion is a brilliant story to experience on its own, so let’s discuss that aspect first.
Story And Setting
The main story of Crisis Core takes place before the events of the original Final Fantasy VII, and the main protagonist and star of the journey is Zack Fair. He is an eccentric country boy who makes a name for himself by joining the elite ‘SOLDIER’ forces of Shinra in Midgar and moves up through the ranks bit by bit. Later on in the story, you will also run into a familiar face that we all know dearly of, Cloud Strife, who learns the ropes of the Soldier program under Zack’s guidance and becomes one of his strongest companions.
Zack is guided by his senior companions as well as his mentor, Angeal, and the two of them investigate reports of one of the top agents of the Soldier program, Genesis Rhapsodos, slipping under the radar and possibly going rogue. This brings about an internal conflict and struggle within the Shinra corporation regarding whom to trust.
Over the course of the story, we also learn of the dark secrets and mysterious lab experimentations of the Soldier program and how it inevitably brings causes corruption within the hearts of its victims, including the notorious Sephiroth, whose character is also fleshed out in the game.
However, throughout this entire unprecedented series of events, Zack Fair also finds himself meeting one of the most beloved characters in the series, Aerith Gainsborough, a young girl living in the slums who is extremely fond of flowers. The two slowly develop a charming romantical affair, one that still is remembered fondly by fans of the title.
But this whole ordeal of Zack comes to a halt later on in the game as he must choose to either stand against the people he once called his heroes, or suffer the consequences of being a traitor to his kind. The whole narrative is absolutely brilliant, and it showcases a character fighting against everything he has ever known to do what is right.
The story is splendidly re-vitalized here, and the voice acting is such a welcome new addition to the experience. It is difficult to explain how much life this breathes into all of these characters, and hearing the voice actors from the Final Fantasy VII Remake reprise their roles was something that caught me off guard in a very good way.
Zack is an insanely beloved character in the series, and compared to Cloud he is a lot more enthusiastic and zealous, even going as far as earning him the nickname “Zack the Puppy” by Angeal. And if you appreciate real storytelling, then Crisis Core Reunion will tug at your heartstrings.
The gameplay of Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion remains relatively true to the original, but thankfully adds a handful of much-needed quality-of-life improvements that make it a lot more accessible. The combat is your typical third-person hack-and-slash, but it is made unique thanks to the signature DMW system as well as the RPG elements from the Materia orbs.
First things first, the DMW system which is called Digital Mind Wave, is one of the core gameplay mechanics here, and mainly occurs during combat sections and other battles. It is seen in the upper left corner of the screen in the form of a slot machine.
The mechanic features characters that Zack meets throughout the story and uses them to dish out powerful attacks and abilities at random intervals. It also allows you to level him up throughout the campaign. The power of these abilities often comes down to how strong of a relationship Zack has formed with the characters he meets during the main storyline.
During the original game, this aspect was heavily criticized for being inconvenient since it would take up most of your display as well as distract you during combat. Thankfully Square Enix took that feedback to heart as you are no longer interrupted during sequences that much, aside from a few occasions such as cutscenes which may appear when you unleash special attacks or other moves.
It is a refreshing mechanic, to say the least, that works well in your favor and can even be a life-saver during critical circumstances such as boss fights.
The Materia system makes its presence felt as well, and it allows you to grant Zack powerful spells and abilities which can greatly aid him during combat. If you’re someone who’s played any of the Final Fantasy VII games, then you should be familiar with the Materia Orbs and how they function. But the main aspect that differentiates this game from its mainline titles is how you are able to combine Materia together via the Materia Fusion mechanic.
The Materia Fusion aspect allows you to combine your current Materia orbs to form newer ones which can come equipped with insanely strong spells such as Firaga. You can even experiment and discover new Materia recipes which will deal enormous damage to your foes, making grinding for new recipes fun and satisfying. Furthermore, I especially adored the improvement here where I could bind the Materia Spells to my face buttons on the controller rather than tirelessly scrolling through each one individually like in the original game.
The enemies that you fight throughout the linear campaign as you venture through maps are completely random, and these encounters are something that I didn’t find worthy of discussing, especially since everything else seemed to impress me so much more. There are even times when you may find yourself wanting to progress quickly to the next story moment but these randomly occurring battles may prove to be a thorn in your side.
Overall, the gameplay isn’t something that will impress the FFVII Remake fans, but the mechanics featured here such as the randomness from the Digital Mind Wave as well as the Materia Fusion can keep you invested for the entirety of the main storyline. The side missions are your typical fetch quests, and there are tons of them here in this game that can drag the experience down quite a bit and make it repetitive to complete all of them.
Visuals And Performance
The main highlight of the game for me personally is easily its visuals, as the character models, the lighting, and overall textures have all been significantly enhanced so that the graphics look more in line with the visuals of Final Fantasy VII Remake. The CGI cutscenes have received an overhaul too, upscaling them to target a coherent resolution and removing any instance where they seemed blurry.
It was incredibly endearing to see Zack and Aerith’s first encounter within Crisis Core Reunion’s remastered visuals. Compared to the original port of the PSP the difference is like night and day and, while some animations outside of the usual cutscenes may look stiff or unusual, you can’t help but smile at the sight of the game looking as beautiful as ever for modern consoles and PC.
In terms of performance, most GPUs should be able to handle the game pretty well as the requirements aren’t too demanding at all. However, on the console versions, especially the next-gen systems such as the PS5 and The Xbox Series X, you will be glad to know that the game will offer both a performance and quality mode. Feel free to adjust the settings on the PC version to your liking so you can target a stable 60FPS framerate.
The announcement of Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion at the anniversary event of FFVII was a surprise for sure, but more importantly, it was a joyous moment for anyone who played the original game all those years ago. It is reassuring to know that Square Enix fulfilled their promises with this title, and even if it is not exactly a 1:1 remaster of the original, all the new additions are more than worth it.
There are some minor hindrances such as the side missions and background details feeling dated, but any gamer who adores the FFVII universe will easily find themselves invested in the game for Zack’s poetic yet gut-wrenching journey. The memorable storytelling combined with the action gameplay offers such a complete package that it is one of the best-remastered titles to end the year with.
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Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Any fan who adores the FFVII universe will easily find themselves invested in Zack’s poetic yet gut-wrenching journey with Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion.
- Unforgettable Storytelling
- Intuitive Gameplay Mechanics
- Fantastic New Visuals
- Zack’s Iconic Last Stand
- Repetitive Side Missions
- Dull Action Combat