Over the last few months, I’ve talked about Crisis Core quite a bit. We got to preview it back in October, and then I got to talk about my early hours with the game about a week ago. I’ve said a lot about my concerns with Crisis Core and how it would hold up over the length of the full game.
So instead of going into the systems, and nitty-gritty details of a game that came out in 2007, I’d like to touch on one major point. Is Crisis Core worth returning to in 2022 and beyond?
Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion Review | To Become A Hero
The answer is complicated because, ultimately, I don’t think it is. If you’re someone who has not experienced the story before and are looking for something to hold you over until Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches next year, then this is something to chew on, but it never transcends to anything greater. It’s a pretty straightforward remaster with some seriously overhauled visuals in key areas and quality-of-life touches to the combat.
Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion makes the game playable to a more modern audience. Having it readily available is great for those looking to relive a staple of their childhood, but I don’t think Crisis Core’s story holds up. Especially with the Reunion moniker attached. The project wants to be both a return to the beloved classic and something to be touted to the new Remake fans, and it becomes muddied in the back and forth.
Scenes are short and stilted, the dialogue feels swift and doesn’t carry much weight, and ultimately I think the game’s payoffs are rarely earned. Crisis Core’s PSP bones are still here. You spend the majority of the game navigating narrow corridors with random encounters. Moving between story beats like a roller coaster attraction. The game moves briskly and seldom gives characters like Angeal and Genesis room to grow outside their single archetypes.
As a protagonist, Zack Fair is equal parts lovable and goofy. He’s the driving force and heart behind the game. By the end of my time with Crisis Core, Zack grew on me quite a bit, and seeing the conclusion of the game left me with many mixed emotions I won’t go into here.
While I don’t think Crisis Core’s story is compelling to a new fan of the series, there’s plenty to love if you’ve played the original or have a fondness for the characters. They’ve never looked better. Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion oscillates between old remastered PSP cutscenes that look excellent and newer rendered models for the main cast. The rest of the game’s graphics will vary depending on the area. Again, the PSP bones are still very much here.
While given some much-needed love and attention, the combat is still fairly simple. I found myself using the same five or six abilities throughout my time with the game. Rarely being challenged to switch it up. I never came across an enemy that completely sidetracked my single-minded strategy. Maybe that’s on me.
Crisis Core’s PSP skeleton shows the most in the side missions available through the save points. These missions will unlock new material, items, and gear to equip. Each mission focuses on one of a handful of areas tasking the players with killing enemies. It’s the most significant holdover from the PSP version aside from the constant “Activating Combat Sequence” dialogue that plays before every fight.
If you’re deep in the well of Final Fantasy VII and are just looking for more of that universe, there’s plenty here. The beginning of the Project G program, the origins of Sephiroth, and plenty of new mysteries on the periphery. However, if you’re a casual fan or someone with a passing interest, I don’t think there is much here outside of some really great moments with Aerith.
Aerith and Zack are the reason to play this game. The moments shared, character conversations, and sweet looks made everything a little brighter. I constantly found their phone conversations to be a highlight of the game. Watching these two interact warmed my cold little heart.
The world and characters of Final Fantasy VII are iconic, and any chance to see more of them, especially at an earlier point in their life, I’ll take everything I can get.
So when I think about if Crisis Core is worth returning to in 2022, I feel mixed. On the one hand, I do believe there are moments of brilliance in this game, the small moments when the game isn’t looking, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow in many areas.
Crisis Core wears its heart on its sleeve, and I can’t fault it for that. The game is earnest in its writing, delivery, and direction. It’s goofy, weird, and at times infuriating. An apparent relic of the mid-2000s, and there’s something special in its simplicity.
I enjoyed my time with the game but felt like I walked away with very little to chew on. The work done to bring this game to life is tremendous. Reworked music, visuals, and combat make it the definitive way to experience Crisis Core. Do you need to experience Crisis Core? Your mileage may vary.
- Aerith and Zack Interactions
- Small Character Moments
- The best way to experience Crisis Core
- PSP Bones are still there
- Inconsistency in visual design
- Story moments rarely feel earned
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PS5.