Final Fantasy VII Reunion has plenty to offer as a remaster

As the presenters go, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is one carefully considered example. To make a title originally designed for the PSP feel at home on current-gen hardware, Square Enix didn’t just give a high-res facelift; It has been greatly updated in visuals, sound, and even some game mechanics.

The result is sort of a halfway house between the flashy production values ​​of Final Fantasy VII Remake and the compact ambitions of a 2007 game. For the most part, it makes for an acceptable compromise, though some remnants of the original translate better than others in jump-start gameplay. manual.

For the uninitiated, Crisis Core serves as a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, following the adventures of Zack Fair, a character who only appears briefly in flashback in the main game. As a member of Shinra Corp’s elite military unit, SOLDIER, Zack’s fortunes are intertwined with those of Cloud and Sephiroth, the next hero and villain.

However, Crisis Core is an action game with more light RPG elements than a full RPG, with Zack charging into battle single-handedly cutting through monsters and baddies with his massive sword.

Crisis Core – Final Fantasy VII – Reunion | Release date trailer

Reunion didn’t change any of that, but first impressions definitely masked that this was a PSP game. The main character models, for example, have been replaced with new models that can pass for their Remake counterparts if you stare, and you’ll notice that the menus and tutorial tips have the same styles as the 2020 game.

Combat has also been developed and immediately became more dynamic. The camera zooms in on the action now fully controllable, as Zack transforms as if charged with extra power himself, and lands blade combinations with fervor and ferocity.

There are modifications to the systems as well. The bread and butter of Zack’s fighting style is a responsive, yet fuss-free dodge repetition style. You can trigger any of the six equipped materials – from spells like fire or cure, to deadly special techniques – by holding L1 and clicking the dedicated face or right shoulder button.

Another clever new twist comes in as bigger enemies prepare to unleash their most devastating attacks. Where before you had to take a hit, you can now damage your opponent while they charge to reduce or completely cancel their attack power.

These new decorations support the bedrock of customization options, which let you outfit Zack in countless ways. Deciding which materials to bring into battle among the many things you collect over the course of the game, along with which accessories to equip, can make all the difference when facing stubborn bosses.

Or if you’re feeling weak, maybe it’s time to fuse some materials together to create higher-level versions and new alternatives. Either way, there’s plenty to play with, and the material system’s repurposing from turn-based party battles to fast-paced action remains one of Crisis Core’s great successes.

“The main character models have been replaced with new ones that can pass for their Remake counterparts if you stare, and you’ll notice that the menus and tutorial tips have the same styles as the 2020 game.”

However, only sometimes do you really need to strategize, since the majority of fights are almost over before they even begin. Dodging and slashing will help you achieve victory more often, especially since many enemies telegraph attack, giving you time to circle around and get away as they fail to keep up.

Some have a bit of intelligence, but it doesn’t matter when you meet the same species over and over again and know the spells and techniques that destroy them efficiently. In fact, according to the story, some of the enemies are literally clones. “Too many copies,” Zach commented at one point. so far.

The repetition in combat is especially evident when it comes to side missions, of which there are a few hundred or so. It’s convenient at least, as you can immediately drop in and out of it from any save point, even when you’re in the middle of a chapter, to boost your level and equipment. But each one only contains a few battles against monsters already fought, and wading through more than three or four in a row is a tedious process.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion has a lot to offer as a setter

Here the limitations of a re-optimizer, even a good one, become apparent. Because, of course, under all the improvements, Reunion is still a game designed specifically for the PSP. So while these tasks were once ideal for short sessions, where you’d be stopping a handful between other engagements, a more focused session in front of a console presents it as a pretty grinding process.

The game’s locations are similarly affected by the transformation, as Crisis Core crushes the world of Final Fantasy VII and breaks it into handy bite-sized chunks that look fragile when zoomed in on a large screen.

The main missions are a matter of stopping, with very light exploration around small maps, and pointless distractions outside of combat that fail to create much sense of place (one sequence where you track down the kid who stole your wallet is infinitely tiring). Meanwhile, the city of Midgar, which you return to between missions, is reduced to a handful of sparsely populated streets.

Unfortunately, the resampler didn’t do anything about the quality of the English text, which was never Crisis Core’s strong point and remains largely unchanged here. There are still conversations that barely make sense, as if you’ve stepped a line between responses, and some very clumsy phrasing.

“It’s still a game Reunion designed specifically for the PSP. So while these tasks were once ideal for short sessions… a more focused session in front of the console presents it as largely a grind.”

Square Enix has had trouble re-scoring lines with new actors, including some in the remake, but it doesn’t matter much when they’re hampered by the old dialogue and speech patterns that should fit the original animation.

Finally, and perhaps controversially, we’re still not convinced that the narrative in Crisis Core really adds that much value to Final Fantasy VII as a story. It doesn’t help that Zack is an annoyingly cocky hero without a lot of depth in his motivations.

But also, the tweaked plot, which aligns with flashback scenes in the main game, does little to make characters like Erith and Sephiroth more interesting, while the addition of fellow elite soldiers Genesis and Angel twists the already told tale. “There is no story that isn’t worth hearing,” says Angel. Can. But perhaps there was no need to tell some stories.

Then again, we’ll take any excuse to return to Medgar and its surrounding areas, as they are so rich in art design and tradition. And whether you’re fiddling with material settings, reliving iconic moments from an alternate perspective, or immersing yourself in great music, Reunion is bound to command attention. Plus, the quality of the remaster can’t be sniffed at, adding flavor to a decent snack between larger servings of Final Fantasy VII.