Title: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion.
Release date: December 13th, 2022.
Console (player on): PlayStation 5.
Console (also available on): PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One/Xbox Series s/X.
Play Time: 35 Hours.
Developer: Square Enix.
Publisher: Square Enix.
Director(s): Hajime Tabata.
Writer(s): Kazushige Nojima.
Composer(s): Takeharu Ishimoto.
Voice Actor(s): Caleb Pierce, Tyler Hoechlin, Briana White, Cody Christian, Vic Chao, Britt Baron, and many more!
My Overall Rating:
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original PS2 game Final Fantasy VII, Square Enix announced the release, in collaboration with Tose, of a remaster of a beloved PlayStation Portable game that will be called Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion. With high-definition graphics and newly-developed 3D models, as well as the addition of a newly-arranged soundtrack and a complete revamp of the voice acting crew now originally conceived for this new game, this remaster draws upon the previously released remake Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s battle system to give gamers the chance to play or replay this quintessential prequel. As fans await the release of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, this latest game revisits the crucial lore behind a story that’s impossible to see coming about loyalty, dreams, and heroes.
What is Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion about? Set seven years before the events that took place in Final Fantasy VII, the story follows Zack Fair, an impulsive, kind-hearted, and enthusiastic SOLDIER who strives to become a 1st class SOLDIER like his mentor and friend Angeal Hewley. On a mission in Wutai in the midst of the Shinra war effort, Angeal is suddenly missing from action, sending Zack and Sephiroth on a search and rescue mission. Soon, their hunt leads them to tie this mystery to the disappeared SOLDIER member Genesis as secrets start to unravel and send these heroes down a spiral of madness implicating mind-boggling experimental scientific projects with tragic repercussions.
Fans of the original PSP game will rejoice in this nostalgic remaster, successfully capitalizing on sentimentality to recapture the mythologized adventures of Zack Fair in his dream to become a hero. Although the story is not an exemplary work of in-depth characterization, as most of the cast introduced in this familiar Final Fantasy VII world are unidimensional with relatively weak dialogues, making it rather difficult to properly connect with their emotional and physical plight, there’s still an overlaying sense of wonder and fantasized heroism sought by the tale that makes this journey acquire its recognized epicness. With an overwhelming amount of cutscenes, effortlessly outnumbering the opportunities for actual gameplay in the main story, it can quickly feel like the purpose of the game lies in exposition rather than actual immersion. Nevertheless, Zack’s story allows him to reflect on the definition of being a monster, the unselfish actions that make one a hero, and the importance of embracing your dreams and protecting your honour.
Retaining the essence of the original PSP game, this remaster does a tremendous job of bringing into play convenient quality-of-life gameplay mechanics. Outside of combat, players get to control Zack as he wanders around short linear paths, often always guided by an A-to-B objective while, occasionally, making a detour to pick up items hidden in boxes along the way. Once you enter a real-time combat mode, up against original creatures and enemies from this beloved Final Fantasy universe, players control Zack in his battle stance and can either use his casual sword attacks to deal damage or use materia he has equipped to deliver devastating special attacks, magic spells, or healing abilities. As players progress through the game, materia fusion and utilizing the right abilities based on strengths and weaknesses will be inevitable to survive certain encounters. An original and automatic slot machine-style gameplay mechanic in the top left corner of the screen, known as DMW, also adds a quirky, silly, or absolutely devastating and epic limit breaker that can often easily change the game in players’ favour.
Although the familiarity of the story and the gameplay makes for a nostalgic experience, there’s no denying the incredibly repetitive gameplay at the heart of this game. Probably much more appropriate on a hand-held console back in the day, it does reduce the gameplay to its core mechanics, especially when things can get quite easy very quickly. Not to mention that the game contains a side feature concerning an important amount of missions of increasing difficulty, that eventually unlocks a very difficult bonus side boss known as Minerva. These missions are incredibly redundant in structure and lack any form of entertainment or originality. This side feature, however, is very addictive and will instantly please completionists, like myself, who enjoy ticking off squares where ticking is necessary. However, the main story, especially through its memorable cutscenes filled with epic action sequences, makes for a quintessential piece in the larger Final Fantasy VII puzzle. Although it is a big missed opportunity to revisit the story and change things up for the upcoming part in this reboot, this remains a fun Final Fantasy installment to pick up.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is a nostalgic remaster that successfully recaptures Zack Fair’s journey to becoming a hero yet suffers from a repetitive and cutscene-full gaming experience.