When Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII first got here out in 2007 as a part of Square Enix’s considerably indulgent (and merely so-so) FF7 Compilation venture, it was meant to fill within the backstory of one of many predominant game’s most mysterious and spoilerific character twists. Namely that FF7 hero and perpetual mopey boy Cloud Strife wasn’t fairly who he thought he was, and that he truly owes a number of his life (actually and figuratively) to the peppy, squat-loving ShinRa go-getter Zack Fair. (And for those who’re mad about me spoiling that 25-year-old story beat, wait till you see what they’ve completed with FF7 Remake).
It’s with FF7 Remake in thoughts, although, that a lot of you’ll in all probability be questioning the place this swanky new remaster of FF7’s PSP prequel matches into the more and more up for grabs timeline of Squeenix’s ongoing Remake trilogy. And simply as the unique Crisis Core was nearly not possible to speak about with out getting into main spoiler territory for the principle game of Final Fantasy VII, so it goes for Crisis Core – Final Fantasy VII – Reunion. For the spoiler-averse, I’ll say this. If you do not already know the backstory of Zack and his relationship with arch mega villain Sephiroth, it is a completely wonderful motion game that is acquired a number of welcome polish for a 15-year previous PSP title, however might be nonetheless greatest skilled by means of a complete YouTube retrospective versus forking out £40 / $50 for it. For everybody else on the market, although, let’s get into it.
Or moderately, is there even something to get into? Alas, for those who had been hoping for some type of rationalization about FF7 Remake’s canon-breaking ending, you will be dissatisfied right here. As a prequel, Reunion would have been the proper alternative to seed most of the concepts later explored in FF7 Remake, however that is very a lot an easy remaster of the PSP unique. No noodly ending rewrites, nothing.
In some ways, it exhibits outstanding restraint on artistic director Tetsuya Nomura’s half (who’s additionally the principle instigator behind the complete FF7 Remake trilogy), though on condition that Crisis Core’s predominant villain nonetheless spends 99% of his display time quoting dangerous poetry at you whereas gesticulating with a big, purple apple in his hand, possibly that is not saying a lot. It’s potential, in fact, that that is intentional. After all, simply as FF7 Remake type of requires you to have performed the unique FF7 to understand how they’ve meddled with its seemingly immutable lore, you can argue that Crisis Core is now the skeleton key that unlocks them each, not simply in the way it units up important plot factors for the latter levels of vanilla FF7, but additionally how they’re then twisted and morphed within the remaining moments of Remake.
The finish consequence, nevertheless, is finally the identical. Even now, there’s little cause to hunt out Crisis Core Reunion except you are actually in it for the Sephiroth ‘was truly as soon as a great man’ fan service. I by no means performed Crisis Core on the PSP, however I’ve absorbed sufficient FF7 nonsense over time to know who its key gamers are and the way they hook up with its overarching story. Actually taking part in Crisis Core did nothing to alter or enhance my opinion of those characters, and except FF7 Rebirth is occurring a wild tangent someway, I’m unsure there’s a lot profit in attending to know the remainder of its supporting forged who (for apparent causes) do not make it previous the top credit.
Credit the place credit score is due, not less than. This is kind of the good-looking glow-up from its PSP unique, and if it weren’t for the inflexible, linear hall design of its unique maps, its artwork path and visible design would really feel very a lot of a bit with FF7 Remake. The newly rearranged soundtrack by Takehiru Ishimoto can be one other welcome addition, and Square Enix have even gone to the difficulty of re-recording all of its dialogue with the now present voice forged to essentially make it really feel like its a part of the identical universe.
Sadly, they didn’t prolong the identical courtesy to modifying that script, therefore why emo poetry boy Genesis nonetheless comes throughout as a overwrought caricature of a villain moderately than any actual risk. Its extreme use of cutscenes and flashbacks to ship its apparently important backstory additionally will get in the way in which of it making an attempt to be a great game a number of the time, too. You can barely take three steps towards an goal marker earlier than being thrown into yet one more cutscene – though I’m totally keen to confess that this possibly feels much more exasperated in 2022 given the compact measurement of its PSP-hampered maps.
Don’t get me mistaken. Final Fantasy games have confirmed repeatedly that superb issues can occur in exceedingly fairly corridors (X, XIII, heck, even FF7 Remake) if the encircling fight is sweet sufficient to carry your curiosity by means of all of it, however sadly Crisis Core does not fairly handle even this. Its real-time fight is an fascinating curio, for positive, with a lot of its quirks and chaotic vitality ruled by a continually spinning roulette wheel within the prime left nook. In equity, I’d truly like to see this method crop up once more within the Final Fantasy sequence in some unspecified time in the future, as the way in which it will possibly set off numerous stat buffs and restrict break talents relying on what mixture of numbers and character portraits it lands on is infinitely extra fascinating to me than the hybrid real-time / turn-based fight seen in FF7 Remake.
When the appropriate numbers scale back the price of magic assaults to zero, for instance, you realize it is time to whale in your Firas and Thundagas like there is not any tomorrow. Similarly, it’s also possible to achieve transient spells of invincibility or boosted magic defences, and if Zack’s feeling significantly pumped a couple of character he is simply met – say, Aerith or Sephiroth – their character-themed restrict breaks usually tend to come up within the wheel’s rotation. It’s precisely this sort of spontaneous havoc that may breathe new life into age-old JRPGs, however its over reliance on low cost as chips gadgets to replenish your magic and motion level bars (versus being completed by means of the fight itself) means it is very straightforward to use, resulting in repetitive magic spamming and ether bottle chugging that successfully robs it of all its improvisational brilliance.
There’s additionally the marginally interminable slog of getting to combat the identical enemies time and again in Crisis Core Reunion. It’s not even for the same old color palette swap causes both. The complete plot revolves round Genesis (and finally Zack’s bestie mentor Angeal) making clones of himself to wreak their deluded havoc upon the world. There are some trustworthy to goodness monsters thrown in there as properly, however holy chocobo warks, it positive does get tiresome by the top of its 12-hour storyline, by no means thoughts the bloated, maze-like aspect missions on provide that may internet you extra highly effective gadgets and materia. In fact, you do not actually have to have interaction with these aspect missions to finish Crisis Core. I dabbled in a handful of them to get a few important summons materia, however shortly misplaced any urge for food for pursuing them additional. They is perhaps prettier corridors than they had been 15 years previous, however their repetitive, copy-paste layouts and warren-like designs are nonetheless a recipe for some prime mid-00s grind.
So sure, whereas there are some bits of Crisis Core value salvaging for a contemporary, overdue tune-up, Square Enix and co-developers Tose Co Ltd merely do not go far sufficient in bringing this updated for a post-Remake viewers. Some might discover the simple nature of this remaster moderately comforting after Nomura successfully ripped up the rulebook with Remake, however personally, I’d moderately one thing new and daring than a game that merely retreads previous floor once more. And in Crisis Core’s case, its very previous floor, its key story beats having been repeated, regurgitated and repurposed so many instances over time that each man and their moogle now is aware of what Zack’s deal is with out having spent a single minute taking part in his precise prequel. And for those who do not, save your self the difficulty and watch a TLDR retrospective on YouTube (I can suggest a good one). You’ll get all the advantage of what Crisis Core means to the broader FF7verse with out the ache of truly having to take a seat by means of all like its button-mashing fight, turgid aspect missions and naff, Shakespearean apple boy speeches. Does run superbly on Steam Deck, although, I’ll give it that.