Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion: we tried it! How much has it changed?

These are definitely intriguing times for Final Fantasy VII fans. The recent news regarding the sequel to the remake directed by Tetsuya Nomura, here ours Final Fantasy VII Rebirth previewsuggest important changes in the main plot of the timeless classic for PS One, to the point that the remake of the story of Cloud could represent in all respects an additional piece of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII rather than a simple remastered.

Without going further into discussions related to the mythology of the work, it is sufficient to remember how much the figure of Zack over time proved to be nothing short of central to the lore of the seventh final fantasy. To the point that the SOLDIER so tied to the good Cloud, in 2007, received a beloved prequel for PSP: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, whose events are crucial to fully understand the background of Cloud’s adventure, is about to return to a fully restored version bearing the subtitle “Reunion”, and according to the updates from the Tokyo Game Show will be available starting from December 13, 2022. Simultaneously with the Japanese event we flew to London, at the Square Enix Plays, to play a demo of Crisis Core – Final Fantasy 7: Reunion, and here’s how it went.

The return of the SOLDIER

For those who need to refresh their memory, the story of Crisis Core is set 7 years before the events of the main game and stars Zack, a spirited second-class SOLDIER who dreams of becoming a hero. Under the leadership of the mighty warrior Angeal, Zack conducts assignments on behalf of the Shinra, who intends to exploit the Mako – the precious lifeblood that feeds the planet – as an energy resource.

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Precisely because of its contradictory industrial, war and expansionist aims, at the time of Crisis Core the Shinra is in open war with the nation of Wutai, whose inhabitants intend instead to preserve the purity and safety of mother earth. During the missions of him alongside Angeal and the legendary warrior Sephiroth, the protagonist finds himself involved in a series of vicissitudes that will mark him forever, indissolubly tying his destiny to that of the taciturn Cloud Strife, several years later. We will not go further into the plot so as not to spoil the surprise for those who have never played the 2007 title, but who will surely have made the acquaintance of Zack during the enigmatic finale of the Remake.

In this regard, we are convinced that Crisis Core Reunion will play a fundamental role within the compilation, and the reason lies precisely in the operation that will take us straight to FF7 Rebirth: so that the players fully understand how the destiny of certain protagonists. can change significantly compared to the classic of ’97, on the other hand, it is necessary that they know and retrace it thoroughly the original adventures of Zackso as to be shocked and intrigued by the role that the SOLDIER could play in the next episode of the Remake trilogy.

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Recalling the statements of sensei Nomura, who had revealed to our microphones the intention of wanting to leave the plot of the Crisis Core characters as “intact” as possible (for all the details, read our exclusive interview with the Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion team), since the opening titles we have had the impression that the narrative of the game is substantially identical to the original. We followed, in the daring opening, the young and exuberant Zack as he made his way through Sector 8, vanquishing Shinra soldiers behind whose robes Wutai spies are hiding, we faced a ferocious Behemot and finally we even faced Sephiroth, only to lose ruinously and be recalled by the mentor Angeal: we were only in a training simulation, after which the duty does not take too long to call Lazard, leader of the SOLDIER faction, summons the two assassins to involve them together with Sephiroth in a delicate infiltration mission in Wutai.

For Zack, who has been away from the battlefield for a long time, the opportunity is a tempting one to prove his worth, so he hurries up to the land of the ninja together with his two superiors: the assignment ends, however, with a twist. , as it turns out that the enemies annihilated bear the face of the deserter SOLDIER Genesis. As if the clones weren’t enough, to complicate the situation is added the disappearance of Angeal, who may have betrayed Shinra in turn.

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The feeling, in short, is that Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion can prove to be extremely attentive to the philology of the original game, replicating events and staging with great fidelity. It seemed to us an already very different treatment, for example, from the prologue of FF7 Remake: if Cloud’s first steps alongside the Avalanche rebels turned out to be almost identical – script in hand – to the incipit of the classic, already in the following minutes the looming shadow of Sephiroth on the protagonist’s mind suggested an evident desire for rewriting.

Old but new gameplay

The same production philosophy also seems to concern the playful dough of Reunion, which at first contact seemed to us a slightly more fluid and spectacular version of the original Crisis Core. For this chapter Square Enix renounces the hybrid gameplay between action and Active Time Battle proposed in the Remake for return to the 2007 action frame. And therefore, Zack can certainly throw slashes with his broadsword in unlimited quantities, but also the use of Materia and special attacks they are devoid of the limitations imposed by the ATB: only MPs are required to cast spells, while AP points must be consumed to score special hits.

Always respecting the classic trappings of movement, Zack can also assume the canonical parry position to reduce the opponent’s damage, as well as making precious dodges to evade the most deadly dangers. The modernization work of the development team, in this sense, is quite minimal: the combat system is undoubtedly more fluid, and in general it seemed to us that the animations during the fights have significantly improved. But the glance on this front did not seem exciting: the reactivity of the protagonist in passing from a dodge to a parade, for example, proved to be still rather woody, and in general it seems clear to us that the production curation of Crisis Core Reunion is nowhere near comparable to that of the Remake. What we are left with is, however, an improved and more spectacular feeling than the original, despite the gameplay not diverging one iota from its predecessor. Again, for example, the mechanics of the Digital Mind Wave it is central to turning the clashes in your favor: the DMW is a constantly moving indicator placed in the upper left part of the screen. In this bar, iconic numbers and iconic faces of FF7 constantly rotate in a sequence reminiscent of a real slot machine: periodically, depending on the result obtained, Zack’s memories linked to the characters he interacted with. they can trigger particular upgrades such as unlimited MP or stat boosts.

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Sometimes it is even possible to activate a Limit Break, which is chained through a truly spectacular Super. Nothing, in Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion, therefore seems to have changed compared to 2007, except for the graphics. Square Enix, on this front, has worked to create a rather direct continuity with the visual frame of the Remake, starting from the game interface and the menus, completely identical to the 2020 title. the graphics of this new Crisis Core undoubtedly echo that of the Remake: they are the polygonal models, in particular, to have undergone the most notable transformation.

The faces of the protagonists, including a series of spectacular details such as hair and dresses, are now much more meticulous. However, we find ourselves confirming the impressions expressed in ours Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion preview with regard to the scenarios, which graphically appear much poorer. On this front, however, we reserve a more detailed analysis in the final review phase, since for now our gaze has rested only on a small portion of Midgarda few corridors of the Shinra and some ravines of Wutai.

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However, it seems only right to underline that, on the basis of what we have seen, the development carried out on environmental textures seems far inferior to the actors on screen. In general, as expected, this Crisis Core restoration work does not reach the same production values ​​as FF7 Remake, which would explain the reasons why Nomura and his staff decided to consider this “soft remake” a remastered rather than a real makeover. Despite the perplexities expressed, however, the definitive impression is that with Reunion the fans could live a much more fulfilling and complete experience than that of 2007.

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Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion: we tried it! How much has it changed?

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