Although I hate to admit it as a Final Fantasy fan, I never played Crisis Core on its original PSP release as I never owned that particular handheld. I suspect, however, that I''m not alone, and it''s so a relief that Square Enix is now bringing the game to virtually every current platform available.
A demo of this long-titled remaster - Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion - was recently completed, and I''m awaiting it to dive in quickly this December.
The impact Crisis Core will have on the next second part (Rebirth) of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trilogy, yet what''s immediately clear from its remaster is how it''s now clearly positioned as a side story to Remake.
Menus and fonts have been updated to match Remake, ensuring the entire plethora of future Final Fantasy 7 games is coherent - something that was clearly intentional when I previously spoke with creative director Tetsuya Nomura and the development team. Playing Crisis Core now feels like a part of the same Remake experience, with plenty of attention taken over this remaster.
Updated character models and effects are a major boost from the PSP original and, on PlayStation 5, it looks silky smooth and stunning. However, the sometimes stiff scenes in cutscenes are somewhat similar to the PSP core, but that''s just proof of the original''s authenticity. FMVs integrated in combat, however, are evidently blurry.
The similarities to Remake extend to combat, although this game developed its first. It''s an action-RPG that includes standard sword attacks, but special attacks and powerful abilities. Each tool, from the menus, is individually integrated into combos, while magic and special attacks are assigned to shortcuts for immediate use. Everything is presented almost identically to Remake.
The roulette digital mind wave (DMW) system is able to spin in the top right corner of the screen, which automatically results in enhanced status effects and, better still, powerful limit breaks that play out as mini cutscenes and can be initiated whenever you need them. These look particularly flashy in a very anime sort of manner, indicating the rhythm of combat.
DMW''s impact in combat sparked in a turbulent battle against the summon Ifrit, which puts dodging, blocking, and magic to the test, but some runs were somewhat easier by chance, as the slots landed in my favor, and those flashier moves became even more flashier. This is how we will make fights continue.
Zack Fair is a leader in Zack Fair''s partnership with his mentors for the first time, and as a fanboy he is meeting his idol, it boosts his desire to express his gratitude, permutating different moves on the roulette.
The greatest success for Final Fantasy players - particularly those who have not played Remake before - is seeing Midgar and its characters from a different perspective.
The demo included a mission at the start of the game, which takes Zack to Wutai in the midst of a war between the nations and the Shinra Corporation. It''s an area that has only fleetingly visited in Final Fantasy 7 (and isn''t seen at all in Remake, as are references in the Intergrade DLC), but in Crisis Core, it''s presumably far more fleshed out.
I got to see a young Yuffie before she becomes a famous thief we all know as. In a cute scene between her and Zack, her iconic agitated animations and run from the original game are re-used in a fun nod. Crisis Core also provides further backstory on the villainous Sephiroth, here a war hero, while Zack is a naive but adept protagonist who often stumbles and doesn''t quite know his own strength.
Beyond fanservice, Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion appears to be a confident comeback for the series in its own right, which now, more than ever, will be integrated into the Final Fantasy 7 series. I can''t wait to play more of Zack''s story, which may be required reading for Remake fans.
The Final Fantasy 7 Reunion, which is expected to be released on 13th December, on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Steam).