Crisis Core: Final Fantasy Reunion Review – Remaster First Class
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is an ambitious attempt to port a game meant for handhelds to a larger screen. It’s a remaster that’s a remake in and of itself, and it acts as a prologue to Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s difficult to appreciate the improved visuals if you haven’t played the original, but even the gameplay has been tweaked to bring the remaster up to modern standards.
Zack Fair, one of the most appealing characters in the Final Fantasy series, stars in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion. I won’t go into detail about why he is so essential to Cloud, but this game effectively sets up Zack’s story for Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is why he has so many fans. To be honest, Zack is a well-crafted character that begins with a goofy personality and the goal of becoming a Soldier First Class, but as the story progresses, his personality evolves as well.
When Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII was released for the PSP, it was essentially a fan’s wet dream come true. It was an ambitious RPG for a handheld, featuring high-quality cinematics and a lot of action. There were enough cutscenes in this game to form a movie, and as a follow-up to Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, it was a pleasure to see them in the game. However, before this current release, it has been stuck on the PSP for more than a decade. To make matters worse, there was no digital release of the game, making it tough to get.
The combat in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is drastically altered. The initial release was caught in a transitional period between real-time battle and turn-based action. Reunion tries to modernize by making every action now happen in real-time, with no waiting in between. This means it’s closer to Final Fantasy VII Remake combat today, and the game plays fantastically as a result.
I like the original Crisis Core and recall finishing it in a week on a PSP. It was a lot of fun back then, but playing it again, it’s evident that the game was developed with handheld constraints in mind. There is no true open world in this game; the maps are pretty linear, and the level design is essentially a combination of random battles and light exploration. It is mostly a story-driven game with gameplay interspersed, which is not a terrible thing if you are a fan of Final Fantasy VII. Many fan-favorite characters return, including some surprise cameos as well as the finest villain to ever grace a video game, Sephiroth.
The level design is a major flaw in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, although this would have required a total overhaul of the game, similar to the Remake, thus it’s reasonable that no substantial adjustments were done. The game is designed as a mission-focused story, with the player able to complete not only the main story objectives but also optional side missions that yield bonus items such as materia. It is entirely up to the player to complete them, however, some of the rewards, such as a Summon, are rather good.
A DMV (Digital Mind Wave) mechanic powers the combat in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion. It is essentially a slot machine with characters as well as numbers that end up in the slots. This begins running as soon as a battle begins and never stops. This DMV system is responsible for the ending transitioning into one of the most memorable final fights in the series’ history, at least for me. So, I think, a job well done. DMV may provide a wide range of benefits, from stat-based bonuses like no MP or AP use to Summons and Limit Breaks. While Summons must be obtained beforehand, their use in the game is unpredictable due to their reliance on the DMV system. The same can be said about Limit Breaks, which occur when a certain character photo is lined up in the slots.
These Summons and Limit Breaks have been improved as part of the Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion upgrade. They now have some very nice animations for them that seem far superior to the initial release. However, much like every other animation that plays in combat, they can become tedious quickly, but thankfully, they can be skipped.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is, in my view, one of the greatest remasters published by Square Enix to date, and I am not exaggerating. It’s essentially a cross between a remake and a remaster. The visuals and combat have been redone to the point that it feels like an entirely other game, yet the gameplay and level design have been kept. Finally, after being confined to a single platform for more than a decade, it’s great to see this gem of a game reaching a wider audience.
The technical presentation of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion also amazed me. You could believe this is an old game, and a portable one at that, but it doesn’t appear to be. On the PS5, the game runs at an astounding 60 frames per second and in 4K resolution, and it looks very clear and clean. Some of the cutscenes look odd at times, especially due to the lighting, but overall, it’s a visually appealing game with some amazing graphic style.
I would strongly suggest Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion to everyone interested in an action RPG in general, not just JRPG fans. If you like Final Fantasy VII Remake and want to try something different, don’t pass up this prequel. After playing this game, I’m sure you’ll prefer Zack Fair over Cloud.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy Reunion Game Information
- Price: $49.99
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher