Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion review – A faithful and emotional remaster
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion remasters the original PSP title for modern consoles while remaining faithful to the original experience. A mixture of updated graphics and mechanics makes it a joy to dive back into, even in a post-Final Fantasy 7 Remake world.
Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core was originally released for the PSP in the fall of 2007. The game came after Vincent Valentine’s PS2 cult classic Dirge of Cerberus and took players on one of the most emotional journeys the series had seen yet. Stepping into the shoes of Zack Fair, players learn about the origins of the iconic Buster Sword, Sephiroth’s rise as one of gaming’s greatest antagonists, and SOLDIER’s difficult application process.
Crisis Core Reunion returns to Zack’s story, updating the visuals, mechanics, and cutscenes for modern audiences. While there are a few graphical bumps that came with overhauling the original title, Crisis Core Reunion is a faithful and sensitive update to a timeless story, and the improvements add even more depth to an already emotional journey.
Please note that we’ve done our absolute best to keep this review spoiler-free.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion – Key Details
- Developer: Square Enix
- Price: $49.99 across platforms
- Release Date: December 13, 2022
- Platforms: PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion Trainer
New graphics transform the story
One of the most notable aspects of Crisis Core Reunion is the completely remastered character models and location designs. The fuzzy, blocky models and hazy textures of the 2007 PSP era have been replaced with crisp and identifiable visuals. This is especially noticeable when exploring environments like Wutai or the 7th Sector Slums. Trees, grass, and buildings pop and aid both navigation and narrative immersion.
Additionally, Crisis Core Reunion has updated settings that allow for gameplay at 120 FPS on PC, Xbox X/S, and PlayStation 5. While general gameplay and character models are beautiful and move fluidly through the updated environments, the remastered cutscenes can appear clunky and rigid. This is especially noticeable when characters attempt to emote during dialogue.
However, by lowering the FPS to 30, and the graphics quality to medium, there was a sizeable difference in the stiffness of the models. Lowering these settings also helps with motion sickness, as the high settings can create a dizzying effect when changing camera angles in playable spaces.
Crisis Core Reunion streamlines combat
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion has also overhauled the combat and movement mechanics of the original title. Iconic aspects like the DMW (Digital Mind Wave) system featuring buffs and Limit Breaks have received updates to run more smoothly – and are easier to understand. Additionally, menus both in and out of combat have been updated, making it easy and intuitive to use a potion or open Zack’s equipment.
Combat has also seen improvements, with health bars more clearly displayed above enemies, and the camera angle zoomed in more closely behind Zack to aid in both landing attacks and evading hits.
However, fans playing on PC should note that at this time, it may be better to use a Bluetooth controller, Steam Deck, or mobile phone controller with Steam Link over mouse and keyboard controls. Currently, the PC port is a bit clunky and requires players to use several different keys across the board when in battle. This is far less intuitive than the excellent controller mechanics, and may impact overall enjoyment while exploring and battling around Midgar.
Difficulty updates are inviting to new players
Crisis Core Reunion makes an important set of updates to the original title’s combat difficulty levels. A combination of more balanced enemy encounters, adjusted difficulty settings, and user-friendly controls can make things easier for both new and returning players
However, for those who have played the PSP addition of Crisis Core, it may be a good idea to select the “Hard” difficulty setting when starting a new game. The patterns of most bosses and enemies have remained unchanged, and this in combination with the balancing of the combat system can make important fights less challenging.
A fully voiced narrative adds depth to the story
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is now fully voice-acted and has a new English cast bringing life to each character. In the original, only the cinematic cutscenes were voiced, but now players can hear Zack’s quippy dialogue with Kunsel or listen to Angeal grumble about Zack’s enthusiasm while outside of cutscenes.
This decision to add additional voice acting to Crisis Core Reunion is one that greatly improves the story, and makes it much more engaging. However, for those who played the original, or who are familiar with the 2000’s voice cast for the FF7 games, the transition can be difficult when playing in English. However, the original Japanese voice cast did reprise their roles, returning to flesh out the many beloved characters.
Personally, it was delightful to turn on the Japanese voice option and hear Zack tackling challenges with all his sass and bravado translated into new dialogue. The additions are a real treat and make replaying fresh and exciting.
The Verdict – 4/5
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is an emotional barrage of nostalgic gameplay and updated enjoyment. The tenderly overhauled cutscenes and improved combat mechanics make diving into Zack’s story a true treat for both new and long-time FF7 fans.
While some graphical updates aren’t completely smoothed out, every aspect of the game is sensitive to the original content while bringing it up to speed for modern consoles. I have always wanted to play this game as if it were new again, and this remake granted that wish.
Dexerto was provided with a PC Steam Code for the purpose of this review