Out of all the remakes or remasters that have come out recently, the one I’ve been looking forward to is Crisis Core.
I played the original on the PSP and really enjoyed it.
I went through the story pretty quickly.
Funnily enough a few months before Crisis Core Reunion was announced, I was looking to buy a 2nd hand PSP and the PSP version of the game.
I’d just finished FF7 again and wanted to give Crisis Core another go.
I’ve written this review a little while after Crisis Core was launched, as I’ve wanted to get some solid hours into the game before commenting.
At the time of writing this, I’ve been playing for around 25 hours.
I’m on Chapter 8 and about 62% of the side missions have been completed.
NOTE: If you’ve never played the original FF7, I would recommend playing that first.
Even though this game is a prequel, it does reveal some aspects of FF7 that could cause some confusion.
In terms of FF7 Remake, it’s not clear how the story of Crisis Core will be connected with it.
From what I’ve read it wont impact the remake at all and is in fact completely separate.
But we’ll see.
So is Crisis Core Reunion better than the original?
If you’ve never played it before, is it worth it?
Let’s get into this review of Crisis Core Reunion.
Story of Crisis Core Reunion
If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy 7 story, then you’ll enjoy the storyline of Crisis Core.
Its great for nostalgia but also perfect for filling in blanks from the FF7 Universe.
One thing I did notice with the story to Crisis Core is that its geared towards those that have played the original FF7.
Some things might not make sense or feel a little disjointed if you was to play this first.
Some bits of the story or character development is only seen as flashbacks later one, so this can cause a bit of confusion.
Its going to expand on the story that the original Final Fantasy 7 game brought to live. Meeting new characters but at the same time, learning more about those that we know and love (and hate).
One thing I can assure you, you’re going to experience so many emotions going through this game..
In FF7 OG you learn a little bit about Zack Fair and his relationship with Cloud.
In Crisis Core, we learn more about Zack and what led Cloud to Sector 7 and joining Avalanche.
Zack Fair is a young SOLDIER. Starting off as a 2nd Class SOLDIER, his dream to become a 1st and becoming a Hero.
We start the game during the war between Shinra and Wutai. Zack is mentored by Angeal, who just so happens to wield a well-known Buster Sword.
As well as his mentor, we meet other 1st’s such as Genesis and Sephiroth.
Events soon unfold that puts friendship, loyalty and honor under jeopardy.
Zack doesn’t have it easy, throughout the years he continues to question his loyalties but is driven by his SOLDIER honor.
Even when the company hurts those that he loves.
Unfortunately blind loyalty and the dream of becoming a Hero could end up hurting Zack.
As already mentioned we meet Sephiroth, but in Crisis Core we get to learn more about him. Why the once well-known and respected Hero of Midgar turns into the monster we meet in FF7 OG.
Missions, Missions and More Missions
Missions are side quests that you can complete in order to unlock new items, equipment, materia and even skills.
You can find these missions by speaking to specific people.
Some missions are also unlocked by completing other missions.
If you were to just do the main storyline, you’ll find that Crisis Core will take you around 15 hours.
By doing all side missions, this could easily jump to 50 hours.
In Crisis Core Reunion, there are a total of 300 missions. Yep you heard that right!
Missions are split into their own categories or mini stories.
You have 10 separate main categories, this is then split into sub categories and the you have individual missions within each of those sub categories.
Each mission has a star rating which indicates how difficult it is.
I would 100% recommend going through the missions as they’ll unlock a lot of key equipment.
Some of the higher level missions will reward you with end game equipment and materia.
Equipment that is needed if you want to get 100%
Each mission is a simple map that you have to navigate to find the boss.
Once you defeat the boss you get the reward.
Many of the missions have a certain amount of chests hidden and it’s well worth finding these chests.
With the missions, you can complete many of them early on. This can make you overpowered.
Depending on how you like to play the game, if you don’t want to be too overpowered, you may not want to complete them all too early.
I’d also recommend spacing them out, as it can be a bit of a grind to get all 300 missions done. In fact, missions have put a lot of people off as it is a grind and can be somewhat repetitive.
Unlike other Final Fantasy games, you only control one character and that’s Zack.
You’ll find yourself venturing through some of Midgar, the Shinra building and some other familiar places.
Crisis Core is a very linear game and you cannot really go off track other than to do the missions.
You’re also limited to what areas you can access at certain parts of the game.
In fact in later chapters, you’re restricted even more.
Crisis Core has no open world. Which is a shame.
It would have been pretty amazing to see all of the well-known places. I’d have love to see things like Gold Saucer.
Battles are somewhat random, although you can usually predict when they’ll happen.
This is much easier to predict during missions.
You’ll never enter a battle when walking in a corridor, battles only happen when you enter an open space like a room. So if you want to avoid fights you can walk around by staying against the edge.
When you enter a battle you’ll hear “Activating Combat Mode” and when it ends you’ll hear “Conflict Resolved”.
This will get very annoying over time, even more so if you’re spending time grinding out missions.
You have your main melee weapon which is your go to for dealing straight up damage.
Early game I found myself using my sword more than magic.
Although it depends on how you want to play the game. You could build your character in a way that magic is stronger.
Unlike other Final Fantasy games you don’t change your sword. \
You have the same sword until you unlock the Buster Sword later in the game.
I tend to use dodge a lot throughout the game, helping to get me out of the way of some hefty damage.
You can also use guard which reduces the damage you take. Early game, I never really used this. Although as I got onto the 9 and 10 star missions, I’d find myself using guard a lot more.
Combat is fairly easy in Crisis Core as everything has a weakness.
So you just need to equip the right equipment or Materia to counter.
There is a huge selection of equipment to choose from. Stat boosting gear but then equipment that helps to protect against certain statuses such as death.
This one is really useful.
As the game progresses and you start looking at end game gear, you want to go after those that break limits. For example the Brutal accessory will help to break the damage limit. This means that you’ll be able to do up to 99,999 damage instead of just 9,999.
Other equipment will allow you to break other limits such as HP limit.
Since Crisis Core is in the FF7 universe, we have access to Materia.
In chapter 3 we unlock a feature called Materia Fusion, which I found to be a nice little feature.
With this you basically combine materia to produce a new type of materia.
Its really interesting to find out what you can create with different combinations and how it can benefit you.
For example one of my strongest Materia is jump (basically jumps up and comes crashing down to cause area damage).
With Materia Fusion I’ve combined this with death so it also increases the chance of causing 1 hit kill.
If you want to max out your stats then Materia Fusion is the only way to do it.
The Digital Mind Wave is something that caused a little controversy with Crisis Core. Some people either loved it or hated it.
It’s basically a slot machine that spins during battle and different combinations will give different benefits.
As well as numbers spinning there are also faces of key characters you meet.
If you match all 3 of these then it activates their limit break.
This is great as it means you have access to a range of different limits.
Some cause massive damage such as Octaslash or Buffs such as healing wind.
As well as limits, the DMW also controls summoning. At times it will enter summon mode and when 3 faces of the same summon show it will activate that summon.
The summon you get can be influenced by equipping certain materia later in the game.
It’s the DMW that also helps to level up Zack by getting three 7’s.
In the original PSP version of Crisis Core it was much harder to get matches on the DMW.
This has been improved on Crisis Core Reunion.
Personally I like the DMW, it adds a new element to the game.
I’ve never really experienced any issues with leveling.
I’ve also found that the DMW can be a real lifesaver at times. Just as I’m about to die, I might get a healing wind or Bahamut might come and devastate the enemy.
One of the great things about Crisis Core is the replayability.
Once you finish it, you can then do New Game + which allows you to start again with all stats, equipment and Materia.
Even though Crisis Core is linear, there are alot of side missions and missables that you might not have gotten the first time round.
So being able to go back and redo it with all your gear is a big help.
Not only that but Crisis Core also has a hard mode…so if you’re up for the challenge!
When it comes to Final Fantasy games, the music is something that always goes well.
Crisis Core is no different, with music that really tugs on the emotions when it needs to.
New arrangements and compositions have been made and really expanded on what was already a great soundtrack with the original PSP version. I won’t mention any spoilers but the soundtrack to the ending…made my skin stand up it was so incredible.
Now something that did cause a bit of a split is the voice acting. On the positive side, almost all of the dialogue is voice acted.
This is a big plus and something I think adds to the whole feel of the game and is a great way of getting you connected to the characters.
The only negative is the voice of Zack.
This is different from the original and something about it just made it stand out and not blend as well as other character voices.
As soon as I heard Zack talk, it didn’t sound anything like the original.
Although as the game progressed, I soon forgot about it and got used to it.
What Could Be Better?
Crisis Core Reunion is a great game, there are a couple of things that I think could make it even better.
The first is the missions. I spent time during Chapter 4, Chapter 6 and Chapter 8 grinding the missions.
Oh my god, it sure felt like a tough grind.
Not because of the amount of them but really because they became a little repetitive.
If they could have been a bit more varied then it would have made a difference. Even adding a bit more of a story by adding more dialogue between other characters.
The other thing is the length of the game. You could quite easily finish it in 15 hours.
Crisis Core was released to fill in gaps for FF7, however it could have been expanded even more and made into a much more full length game.
Perhaps if it was a remake and not just a remaster, this might have been possible.
What I Loved?
- Filled in gaps from the original Final Fantasy 7 game
- Allowed me to connect more with Zack and get a bit of back story on other characters
- Materia fusion system was good and allowed for some great combinations
- DMW was unique and added a nice change
- Simple yet really fun gameplay
What I Didn’t Like?
- Game is too easy if you spend too much time to early clearing missions
- Not long enough
- Some things are easily missed
So overall Crisis Core is an excellent game, albeit a little short.
It’s certainly one of my favorite games of the end of 2022 and the start of 2023.
Even now, many hours into it i’m still loving it.
Soon I’ll be starting hard mode and spending even more hours trying to clear it and I know it’ll be one of those games I’ll play until I get 100% complete.
If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy 7 and you have yet to play this, I’d fully recommend getting it.
Played the PSP version and you’re on the fence? I’d recommend getting it.
Never played FF7 and thinking of getting this?
Play FF7 OG first and then get this so you dont ruin parts of the story.
Honestly there is no excuse not to play it!
Fill in those gaps of Final Fantasy 7 and get that bit of nostalgia.