VII reasons CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION is more than a remasterThis prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII has been revamped, with spectacular graphics, updated combat and more. Find out what makes this the definitive Zack experience.
Zack is back!
CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam in just a few short weeks - and there’s a lot to be excited about.
Originally released in 2007 in Japan for PlayStation Portable (and then in 2008 in North America and Europe), CRISIS CORE is a prequel to the original FINAL FANTASY VII that tells the story of Zack Fair - a SOLDIER operative with strong connections to many characters from that classic RPG. Sent on a mission to investigate missing Shinra personnel, Zack finds himself on a powerful journey that will test his skills and resolve in equal measure.
But CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION is so much more than a mere remaster of that beloved game. It’s been massively upgraded and improved across the board, to create something that feels fresh, modern and thrilling.
But how exactly has it changed, you may be wondering? To help answer the question, we’ve put together VII - um, we mean seven - reasons why this version of CRISIS CORE is the definitive experience.
1. The visuals have been drastically improved
The first thing you’ll probably notice about the latest version of CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– is that it’s quite the glow-up! To call the visuals improved would be a Midgar-sized understatement - almost every aspect of the game’s graphics has been completely reworked to make it look as beautiful as possible.
Above: The original CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII–
Above: CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION
Of course, the original game was also quite a looker for its time - the team achieved amazing things on the PSP hardware. It’s regarded as one of the most beautiful games on the platform - so much so that the team briefly considered whether they needed to change it at all.
According to Producer Mariko Sato: “We thought about bringing the game over to modern platforms without changing the visuals. However, we put the original on a large screen, and saw lots of elements that gave us pause - both technical and in terms of audience perceptions.”
Executive Producer Yoshinori Kitase adds: “After FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, fans expect so much more from the graphics!”
As a result, almost every single visual aspect of the game has been updated and improved - characters are more detailed and expressive, locations look more natural, and even the user interface has been refined to look closer in feel to that of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.
The result speaks for itself - this is one pretty game:
2. The battle system is faster and more fluid
A significant amount of work has also gone into updating the battle system to make it feel faster and more responsive. As Producer Sato herself says: “We did some serious fine tuning on this game!”
The original CRISIS CORE featured an action-based battle system, which let Zack attack enemies and choose attacks in real-time. It was (and still is) a lot of fun, but it’s also noticeably slower and more stop-start than many of today’s action RPGs.
As a result, many aspects of the battle system, from attack timing and animations to the camera, have been tweaked or reworked to make battles far smoother. It’s now a lot snappier to control, and Zack attacks with much greater fluidity.
However, while the team refined a lot, they still wanted the game to retain that distinctive CRISIS CORE flavor. The result is a remaster that takes many of the ideas of the original game, refines and polishes them, and presents them in their ultimate form.
The result is combat that feels dramatic, super-satisfying and very distinctive.
3. The DMW has been reworked
One of the most unique elements of the original CRISIS CORE is the ‘Digital Mind Wave’ (DMW) - and reworking this has been another area of intense focus for the team.
The DMW sits in the corner of the screen, and three slot wheels turn automatically during battle. When certain combinations of images and numbers come up, they’ll have different effects in battle. For example, getting ‘777 makes you invulnerable to attack for a short time, while ‘222’ cuts the cost of casting magic.
In the original CRISIS CORE, certain combinations would pause the action to show you the effect - dramatic, but also arguably pace-breaking. Now, things flow a lot better. For example, in instances where the DMW triggers a cutscene, you can also now skip them if you want to get right back into the fight.
Limit Breaks also work differently now. In the original CRISIS CORE, getting three characters’ would cause Zack to launch a powerful attack. In CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, you can now store that Limit Break to use at a time of your choosing within the fight.
All these changes mean battles move faster, you have more control over Zack’s actions... basically, it’s even more fun!
4. Summons are somehow even more awesome
What would the FINAL FANTASY VII series be without its Summons?
When the DMW lands on three identical Summon images, Zack can utilize series classic mainstays like Ifrit, Bahamut and Odin. These formidable entities attack with all the flair and force you’d expect from them - actually no, even more.
The Summon Animations have been completely reworked compared to the original CRISIS CORE. If you thought they were dramatic before, you ain’t seen nothing yet - their new attacks feel much more powerful, and better integrated with the world of the game.
5. Enemy attacks are more manageable
The story of CRISIS CORE puts Zack up against some powerful foes, including some of those afore-mentioned Summons. In the original CRISIS CORE, bosses would sometimes launch extremely damaging attacks - and not give you much warning to prepare before-hand.
These super-attacks are still in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, but a new mechanic has been added to give you a way to mitigate the damage.
When a boss is about to unleash a devastating assault, a new Ability Gauge appears on the screen. By attacking the enemy, you can reduce this gauge and the power of the attack. The lower you get it, the less damage it will do - and if you can reduce the bar to zero, the attack will be canceled entirely.
It’s a feature that changes your approach to boss battles, rewards skillful use of your own skills and magic… and gives poor Zack more of a fighting chance!
6. The whole game is fully voiced
In the original CRISIS CORE, certain important scenes had voice acting, but much of the dialogue throughout the rest of the game was presented with text alone. With CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, this is no longer the case!
Now, the entire game is fully voiced, from start to finish in English and Japanese. Every cutscene, side quest and incidental scene is brought to life by a talented cast of actors, making this dramatic story hit even harder than before!
7. The soundtrack has been newly arranged
For the original CRISIS CORE, composer Takeharu Ishimoto has created a wonderfully eclectic collection of music. This amazing soundtrack crosses genres and styles, incorporates many classic FINAL FANTASY VII themes, and introduces new ones that stick in the head… and the heart.
These tracks have been arranged for CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, bringing them new depth. What’s more, he has returned to create new arrangements for some pieces!
It’s another reason that the game sounds as good as it looks!
As you can see, all these improvements make CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION much more than a remaster - it’s an all-round better game in almost every aspect. Yet arguably its greatest element remains unchanged: Zack Fair himself.
The hero of CRISIS CORE’s big heart, loyalty, sense of humor and enthusiasm are every bit as endearing now as they were back in 2007. As Producer Sato says:
“He’s passionate and honest in all he does. He’s someone you’d really want around as a friend, a mentor or a junior colleague - the kind of person you’d feel proud to be like.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
You can reunite with Zack and this updated classic for yourselves from December 13, 2022, when CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam.
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