There is no denying that Final Fantasy is one of the longest enduring RPG series ever. Created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, powerhouse developer/publisher Square Enix released its first title in 1987. It’s quite possible when Final Fantasy I came out, no one knew what kind of a monstrous golden goose they had created. From there, the series has branched out into 15 numbered titles, online and mobile apps, CGI animated movies and most recently, remakes. The number of units sold is up in the 170 million range, not counting the movies, anime, manga and novels.
It’s safe to say that there isn’t a gamer out there who hasn’t heard of Final Fantasy. Many of the games are considered some of the best ever made. And among those listed, Final Fantasy VII ranks as one of the highest. While the original game was not only massive, but also a breakthrough in technology. Many remember it for its enduring characters- Cloud, Tifa, Aerith and Sephiroth among others. In fact, the shocking death of Aerith is still one of the most heartbreaking in all of video game history.
The legacy of VII
Final Fantasy VII left its mark, but it didn’t stop with just its own game. There has always been a fascination about Cloud’s world, and the topics of eco-terrorism and mega corporations are still relevant today. That universe in particular, spun off into a beautiful CGI animated film- Avent of Children, and several other games spanning decades. Several of its characters have starred in other games including the Kingdom Hearts franchise. And in 2020, Final Fantasy VII got the remake treatment, with upgraded graphics, combat system and broken into multiple chapters, to finally tell the whole story.
Two fan favorites: Zack Fair and Vincent Valentine, received their own spin-offs during the original run. Zack’s story, Crisis Core, was a prologue to the events of FFVII. Dirge of Cerberus featured Vincent as the main character and took place years after FFVII. Since the first chapter of the remake dropped in 2020, fans to the series have been asking: when do we get remakes of those?
Announced at the 25th Final Fantasy VII anniversary celebration, the remaster Crisis Core– Final Fantasy VII- Reunion was among several titles teased. Now, we have just weeks to wait until its release on December 13, 2022. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from the remaster, what’s changed and what will stay the same. Here’s everything we know about Crisis Core- Final Fantasy VII- Reunion.
Take my heart and shove it
Final Fantasy has a habit of tugging, or just plain ripping, our hearts out. Each game, especially the newer entries into the series, have dealt with real life situations facing our very real world. We’ve already established what FFVII covers, and how it has devastated players for 25 years now. And I’m sure we are all looking forward to it again as the remake’s story continues. But Crisis Core was no less heartbreaking or vital.
Released for the PSP in 2007, Crisis Core OG served as backfill for the relationships between Cloud, Sephiroth, Aerith and Zack. The remaster will do the same, although there is word that this is not just a simple shot-for-shot remaster and will be a bigger part of the overall Final Fantasy VII Remake project.
Anyone who knows a little about Final Fantasy games also knows their stories are never simply told. Each one is complex in its nuances and timelines. Therefore, this EWKA will only include the basic storyline. A more in-depth guide will be published in the coming days.
The Fairest of them all
Crisis Core follows Zack Fair as the primary character. A young SOLDIER in the paramilitary working under Director Lazard, he and his mentor Angeal are sent to support the Shinra war effort. During the battle, Angeal goes missing. Zack is assigned to finding his friend and another high-ranking SOLDIER, Genesis. During his mission, he discovers the beginnings of his once comrades, as well as Sephiroth, who were all part of Project G.
Project G, started by scientist Hollander, who isn’t exactly all there, has used cells from Jenova and fused them with Angeal, Sephiroth and Genesis, as well as others, to create super soldiers. The cells have begun to mutate the SOLDIERS, giving them supernatural abilities, including wings.
While Angeal seeks answers in how to return to normal, Genesis and later Sephiroth, use their abilities for evil, death and destruction. In an effort to end the ongoing war and possible world ending, Zack, along with allies he has made along the way- Cloud, Aerith and Tsegn, take on some seriously bad guys. The ending leads directly into Final Fantasy VII, with consequences framing and rippling throughout the rest of the franchise.
If you have played any of the more recent titles, reaching back to FFXIII, you know a little something-something about the revamped combat system. Battles were now main character focused, instead of the more traditional “everyone gets their turn” gameplay of RPGs. In addition to controlling one character during combat and a versatile AI handling the rest of the party, combat was more free flow, action-adventure style. Final Fantasy VII took it a step further and allowed for the player to tag in other party members, allowing Cloud to recover health or trade out weapons.
From the bits of early play, it appears Crisis Core Reunion will employ most of the same ideas. Players will use Zack as the primary character in a free form combat system. This will still include summons, like Shiva and Ifrit, and spells. The slot machine is also apparent during battles. Unlike the original Crisis Core, it won’t stop the action, instead allowing the player the benefits of the rolls immediately. The gameplay itself is told in an open world format.
Another upgrade to combat is the dedicated attack button and hot-bar for spells and abilities. This takes the place of the menus used in the original and looks to make everything more immersive and smoother overall.
As with other titles in the Final Fantasy VII series, attack spells use materia that inflict different kinds of damage. Those who pre-order the digital version will receive the SOLDIER materia set, which will enable players to use Dark Fire, Thunder and Blizzard early on in game. These three inflict poison and silence ailments to opponent as well as their respective elements damage.
Beauty and the Beast
In addition to the updated combat system, the graphics have had a complete HD overhaul, with new 3D models. A fresh UI makes this game look amazing. Crisis Core on PSP was already stellar and groundbreaking for the time. Unfortunately, the cut scenes are almost direct ports and do look a bit less amazing. This may change before release.
Part of what makes Final Fantasy games so enjoyable is their voice work and soundtrack. Crisis Core Reunion is fully voiced in English and Japanese. And if you like the voices of FFVII Remake, you’re in luck! The incredible cast of Final Fantasy VII Remake are reprising their roles. An all newly arranged orchestration soundtrack accompanies Zack and his party along their journey.
My, what big gigs you have
Crisis Core Reunion is a robust game, with PlayStation putting the game at 40GB for PS4 and 20GB for PS5. Steam has it listed at 30GB needed for PC. And the Xbox store says 23GB are needed.
Players can choose from three editions- Standard, Digital Deluxe and Physical. As mentioned above, all digital pre-orders will get the SOLDIER materia set. The deluxe version of the game will also include the original mini soundtrack and “HEROES Past and Present: The Art of Crisis Core- Final Fantasy VII- Reunion” art book.
And as a special treat, the usually exclusive to Japan’s Collector’s Edition, Zack Fair action figure is available for pre-order through the Square Enix store.
There is bound to be more goodies as we get much closer to release. So, keep it here for updates. And look out for our coming “Newcomer’s guide to Final Fantasy VII” and retro review of the original PSP Crisis Core game.