It’s been nearly two and a half years since Square Enix reinvented the story of the classic Final Fantasy VII from 1997’s JRPG, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the Japanese publisher has in store next. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth will give you those answers next winter, but for us to beat those answers until then, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is a welcome interim solution. The unforgettable PSP side story has been remastered on PS5 and PS4, and it promises to be yet another awkward, fun and entertaining adventure.
A very brief and action-packed demo introduces us to Zack as he makes his way through the first chapter of the game. It’s a combat system that looks familiar in some ways, but is completely different in others. Just like Final Fantasy VII Remake, there’s no role-playing here. You’ll throw your sword with the face buttons, then power your elemental powers through the button combinations. It won’t take long for fans of the remake of 2020 to keep up with the pace, but there are some key differences to note.
In the upper left corner, a kind of slot machine with numbers and images of characters is scrolled forever. It’s called a digital mind wave, and if it lands on specific numbers or matches the same character three times in a row, Materia will work, Zack can be tackled, or other attacks will improve. As a newcomer to Crisis Core, the feature was in dire need of a tutorial, but it doesn’t seem to be part of the first chapter of the game.
Therefore, we focused on using MP and AP during battles for survival. If the Digital Mind Wave system has released a positive boon for us, we are sure to use it as soon as the prompt appears on the screen. Several flashy and powerful attacks were obtained from the mechanic, though, so it seemed vital to progress. The tutorial was probably on the other side of the demo we played.
The first chapter makes you fight the usual monsters and soldiers you encounter in the Final Fantasy title, but there is also a battle against Ifrit. This is where the combat system introduces some complexity with weaknesses in mind and a choppy charging stage for enemies. At various moments throughout the battle, the game will alert you that the enemy is launching a powerful attack. If you deal enough damage during this stage, you will already weaken the attack. The more damage you do, the less you will get once the enemy is ready to unleash it. It’s a neat little feature that keeps you on your toes, allowing you to reduce the amount of HP you’re about to lose.
Graphically, Crisis Core can’t compete with Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PS5, but it still looks great for a remastered PSP title. Environments pop and sparkle, as do enemies. Matching the control scheme of the previous version of Square Enix, there are no unusual button prompts for an account or any embarrassing setup. As such, it looks like Crisis Core will transition seamlessly from Sony’s first handheld device to the big screen on December 13, 2022. As Square Enix cooks up its next twist on the Final Fantasy VII story, this seemingly loyal editor should please fans and newcomers to the game. Both.
Will you be playing Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion this December? Let us know in the comments below.