Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is a really good remaster. We've played through the game's first three chapters on PS5 for the purposes of this preview, and we're confident in saying that Square Enix has done a fantastic job of bringing the PSP title up to speed. Character models and environmental assets are a massive step up, and performance is buttery smooth at 60 frames per second. Basically, the whole thing's been elevated to a near Final Fantasy VII Remake level of presentation — and that's impressive.
But for all of its graphical upgrades, Crisis Core can't hide its unspeakably awkward dialogue direction. If you're totally new to this spinoff action RPG, you need to understand that Crisis Core was always an especially goofy game — and you could argue that it's even more noticeable now that the characters look so much more 'realistic'.
To be blunt, much of the title's writing is absolutely terrible, and the plot (so far) remains completely unchanged from how it was in the original release. The storytelling borders on utterly nonsensical at times, and again, it's always been like this. Returning players will know what's in store, but even then, we found ourselves struggling to comprehend just how bad some of the character interactions are. Granted, it's been over ten years since we played the original, but with Reunion boasting rerecorded voice acting, a bit of a rewrite could have gone a long way. Crisis Core makes Remake look like Shakespeare.
But you know, there is something quite endearing about just how overdramatic and ridiculous Crisis Core can be. Protagonist Zack Fair is emblematic of this: he's a total goofball and exactly the kind of person you wouldn't expect to be an elite military operative, but his outgoing demeanour quickly grows on you. If you can just sit back and accept that Crisis Core is incredibly dumb, you can certainly enjoy it.
And, to be fair, Reunion is by far the best way to play this angsty Final Fantasy VII spinoff. Not content with being an impressive remaster, Reunion straddles the remake line with a much improved combat system. Battles will make up most of your playtime, and we've thoroughly enjoyed the early encounters thanks to silky controls, meaty combos, and welcome updates on the original game's most questionable mechanics.
Indeed, boss enemies can no longer simply interrupt the fight and unleash a devastating super attack on Zack, thank god. Instead, tougher foes now have a stagger bar that can be broken as they charge their ability, while Zack's dodge roll is way more generous in terms of speed and invincibility frames — at least, if we're remembering correctly. In short, Reunion feels a lot more like a real action game, and not some weird command-based hybrid that was far too clunky for its own good. A massive step forward considering how prevalent fights are throughout the experience.
We're getting whiffs of the excellent Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age from Zack Fair's return, and that's high praise. As something of a companion piece to the new Final Fantasy VII Remake saga, it appears to be a top notch remaster, complete with some extremely welcome gameplay tweaks. Our only concern is that Crisis Core newcomers won't be able to get past the title's still shockingly awkward writing and character interactions — many of which have aged like a fine yoghurt.
Are you a Crisis Core fan? Are you looking forward to Reunion's release on the 13th December? Keep an eye out for our full review coming soon, and polish up that Buster Sword in the comments section below.