Over the years, Square Enix has released quite a few titles that have become classics, but few are as legendary as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. One of the few prequels to what may be the most popular entry in the Final Fantasy series created as part of a Final Fantasy VII compilation project, the game starring Zack Fair has been stuck on PSP since its release, severely limiting its reach, as a console first. Portable from Sony, it was not one of the most popular gaming systems released by the Japanese company. As such, many players will experience Zack’s story for the first time with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – Reunion, a remaster/remaster of the PSP-exclusive role-playing game that updates visuals and gameplay while leaving the original story intact.
Having played the original PSP version, I envy all those who will experience Zack’s emotional story for the first time with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – Reunion, as I feel they will get the definitive version of the game. While the improved visuals, which include new character models for the main characters, a better camera, and reworked locations to make Reunion’s aesthetics better match those of Final Fantasy VII Remake, are most welcome, it’s the game improvements that really take the cake, because Finally makes the game fun.
The Crisis Core: The gameplay in Final Fantasy VII was very intense. Being a mobile game, it was much smaller in scope than the original Final Fantasy VII or other contemporary Japanese role-playing games, and the combat system was very average, with an odd mix of action and menu-based features that didn’t work as well as the system featured in Kingdom Hearts series, resulting in a game that just didn’t feel good to play. The story basically carried over the entire experience, which was a shame, as the combat system had some potential and potential that was finally realized in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – Reunion with some optional tweaks intended to make the combat system feel more like an action combat system than the original hybrid the stranger. There is still a slight delay at the start of battle with the infamous ‘fight mode’, but it is much shorter, Zack controls in a much smoother way, and is now able to unleash combo attacks together, magical and special attack skills, which can be assigned to 6 different buttons thanks to The new shortcut system, the dreaded DMW, and the slot machine-like system that gives random Zack buffs and access to Limit Breaks, has been redesigned to be less intrusive, and no longer breaks the flow of work. While the combat system is still simple and doesn’t quite reach the quality of Final Fantasy VII Remake, these tweaks make it much better than the original.
The visual improvements and combat tweaks introduced by Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – Reunion are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improvements in the new version of the game. The interface has been completely overhauled to be in line with Final Fantasy VII Remake, making managing Zack’s abilities and equipment a lot less of a hassle. The soundtrack has also been rearranged by original composer Ishimoto Takeharu, and it sounds pretty good for the most part, as does the new English dub, with characters that appear in Final Fantasy VII Remake reprising their roles, creating a welcome sense of continuity. Those who played the original several times will have a hard time adjusting to the new voice actors, but for the first three chapters of the game, the new voice actors give solid performances, though the writing wasn’t particularly inspired. Since Reunion features the same story as the original, as above, it should come as no surprise to those who played the original game that Zack’s adventure takes a while to kick off.
My first five hours or so with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – Reunion was a blast, and I can’t wait to dive deeper into the game to see how Zack’s emotional story feels with all the improvements. If the quality of the game stays the same for the rest of the adventure, I feel like Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – Reunion will be one of Square Enix’s best in the past few years.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – Reunion launches December 13th on PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.