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CRISIS CORE: FINAL FANTASY VII - REUNION REVIEW (STEAM DECK/PC)

''Those wings. I want them too''

 

Developed: TOSE

Published: Square-Enix

Genre: Role Playing

Release Date: Dec 13th,2022

Platforms: Nintendo Switch/PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox family

*Review copy provided to me by Square-Enix*



*THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*



Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is a remake of the classic PSP title of the same name and is developed by TOSE and published by Square-Enix. With the original title back in 2007 becoming an instant classic and ushering in iconic characters to the franchises lore, Square-Enix decided it was finally time after all these years, to bring it back to us once again. But was this a wise decision to bring it back? Did the Reunion at hand bring joy? or does it bring fear? only one way to find out, so lets go.


STORY:


Follow the story of Zack Fair, a young warrior admired by the boy destined to save the world, trusted by men renowned as heroes of legend, and loved by the girl who holds the fate of the planet in her hands. The tale of Zack's dreams and honor and the legacy that connects him to Cloud and the evens still to come, begins now.



 

GAMEPLAY:


Well this is a whirlwind of a doozy if I do say so myself. Being a long time Final Fantasy 7 fan in general, with the original title being genuinely one of my favorite games of all time, I've had the privilege of not only being able to give my thoughts on this franchise in previous videos I have made, but I have also gotten the opportunity to review Final Fantasy 7 Remake and its Yuffie add on, Intermission, via review copies. If that wasn't enough to make me fangirl out, Square-Enix then decides to put me in an early grave with a heart attack by providing me with an early access copy of Crisis Core Reunion as well. I, like most FF7 fans consider this the starting point of everything that eventually came to pass, such as the events of Cloud and company fighting against the forces of Shinra and their corruption, the destruction of the planet, the terror of Sephiroth, Geostigma, remnant mama's boys of Sephiroth, Weiss, Deep Ground, Project G, Degredation, Nero, and baby Yuffie punching air thinking she's tough. Well the Yuffie part isn't important, but the rest is vital. Now I say that Crisis Core is considered the beginning, but is it really? no, in fact, with as vast as the compilation of Final Fantasy 7 is, even before the days of Zack, Angeal, Genesis, Cloud and Tifa, we had Before Crisis. Crisis Core, Before Crisis, these subtitles and names are all starting to sound like what I'm going to be going through during my mid life crisis when I'm into my forties. But that's a topic for another mental break down day.


Now I can give the whole history lesson about The Turks and their leader Verdot, Elfe, the leader of Avalanche who's broken materia she wears on her arm, gives her the strength and power equal to another legendary character, Sephiroth, but at the cost of getting her own life energy drained, the strategic and strong Shears of Avalanche, or even delve further into the Wutai War and the conflicts from within Shinra with scientists Hollander and Hojo. Believe me, like Captain America, I can do this all day. But then I'd have to go into further detail about the role Vincent ultimately plays in the events of Dirge, Lucrecia being the birth mother of experiment we now know as Sephiroth, The Cetra, also known as The Ancients and the role they played in humanities mistakes in syphoning their thought to be cells that are used in experiments such as Project G that gave birth to Genesis, created Sephiroth and made Cloud, Zack, Angeal and other members of Soldier what they are today, which some call, living monsters,which also ended up being a falsehood by Shinra -- The events of ''The Calamity from the Sky'' that saw Jenova, an alien lifeform, crash onto earth thousands of years before our main heroes story takes place and its deadly infection getting sealed away by the Cetra themselves at the North Crater, only to be excavated by Shinra scientist Gast and used for the evils I just named with experimentation on humans to create super humans. Again, I could go on with this forever, and I haven't even go into discussion about Weiss and Nero and the secretive Deepground hidden at Mako Reactor Zero that made use of stagnant mako to further subject test subjects to brutal training. Maybe I'll make a huge hour or so long video in the future going over the entire history of the Final Fantasy 7 timeline because it's quite a doozy. However, we really should get to talking about Crisis Core shouldn't we? yeah, my bad guys.





Crisis Core Reunion is a near one to one remake of the 2007 title, but with numerous improvements for its gameplay and overall quality of life for us as the player. As briefly mentioned before Crisis Core puts you in the shoes of Second Class Soldier Zack Fair as you witness the events that shape the future through his own eyes. All of Zack's actions and the actions of his friends and enemies further having drastic future consequences and influence over characters like Cloud, The Turks, Sephiroth and even the mega corporation known as Shinra themselves. Cocky, brash, arrogant, heroic and even a bit clumsy, our wanna be hero in the making often offers you as a player an endearing experience. No matter what he does or says, you can't hate this guy, he's just too impressionable. Its like going to a dog pound and seeing a wide eyed puppy giving you the sad eyes, even when you leave, you're going to remember that puppy.. and same applies here. Only he wont woof at you or dance for dog treats, at least that were aware of anyways.. because Angeal does call him a ''Puppy'' so, maybe? nah no way... but maybe?. Either way, he's a pound puppy that you will grow to care for and root for the further you trudge through and push forward through the main narrative. We open the game with Zack and Angeal riding on thomas the tank engine mowing down Shinra soldiers, and if you've played the original Final Fantasy 7, you will notice similarities between Cloud and Zack's train entrances, only Zack's is way cooler with slow motion jumping through narrow spaces and overall more agile. Arriving at your destination, you begin your first mission and briefly take on waves of enemies, and it is here where you learn your basic battle mechanics that consist of A to dodge roll, RB to block, X to consistently do melee strikes and LB + your facial buttons to use equipped materia such as Fire, Thunder, Cure and even special attacks for extra melee damage to initiate at the end of a normal combo attack. I played on Steam Deck with an xbox controller so that's why buttons seem so weird. Simple right, though? Sorta. To test you out and make sure you have the basics down to a T, you go up against big ol fat boy Behemoth and it is here when a new mechanic for you is thrown into the mix and that is DMW. Not to be confused with DMV, obviously, because lord knows we ALL hate that place. It's as bad as being trapped in an elevator with Barret hearing him whine about protecting the planet for five hours. Chill bro.


So what is DMW exactly? well DMW stands for Digital Mind Wave and in short, its basically a slot machine that works off Zack's memories and when memories match up with 3 of the same memories in a row, a limit break will activate that relates to a memory he has that gives him motivation. For example his limit break could be in relation to Sephiroth that allows him to initiate Octoslash rush of sword slicing, fist punching fury when thinking of Angeal, full heal spell when thinking of Aerith or even going full on Call Of Duty and performing an airstrike on your enemies.. which is actually hilarious, especially when you do it to summons like Ifrit. Can't beat him with magic? screw it! NUKE HIM.. and that's how we get Destroyah from Godzilla made you guys, only with the Hell Fire of Ifrit. Yikes. Besides simply matching memories, numbers also play a key role in abilities you gain or rather buffs you obtain should numbers match up with each other. A few examples of this are 777 giving you invincibility for a short period, 444 making all your melee abilities cost zero AP for a limited time, 222 making all magic spells like elemental attacks or curing cost zero, etc. With 15 DMW's to learn and obtain and roughly 19 limit breaks on top of it, alongside unlocking summon mode that gives you the chance to summon beasts like Ifrit or silly chocobos that stomp the ground, leaving a big paw print like its jurassic park or something, it ultimately gives you something to work towards. Which we'll go into detail in just a bit as I'd like to dive into the story just a bit. Hopping back into the narrative, after beating Behemoth, you get over confident and get taken down by Maybeline glorious haired Sephiroth himself, what the heck man, don't tase me bro. Luckily for you, this was all just a VR simulation to train Zack, phew, Mr Victoria's secret would've whipped my booty pretty bad. From this point on, the casual story of the brother relationship between Zack and his mentor Angeal, takes a drastically different turn as you learn that stupid face Genesis has defected and turned traitor like a loser, head to Wutai to end the on going war, learn the history of DumbApples? wait what? Angeal, what the heck did you just call me!?, Oh you mean ACTUAL apples? welp good thing for you, boy I would've wrecked you -- assault Fort Tamblin and have a Wutai soldier tell you ''kill us, we will always go against Shinra if we draw breath'' - well if Zack won't do it, as he tells them no, then I for sure would, Zack isn't evil like that, but me? heck no, you wanna die bro? no problem.





While experiencing these story beats, the overall gameplay will remind you, this isn't a new game, built from the ground up for the first time and instead reminds you that yes, this is a remake or remaster of an actual PSP release from over ten years ago. This most is evident with some missions feeling a tad bit repetitive, such as running through narrow pathways, taking on wave after wave of repeating enemies, small and condensed dungeons and the dreadfully annoying lady that constantly yells at you ''ACTIVATING COMBAT MODE'' and ''CONFLICT RESOLVED''. Oh my god lady, just shut your trap, I heard you the first 100 times. I don't know who's worse, her or the lady in Sonic Adventure telling me the train is departing for the Mystic Ruins soon. No... NO.. don't do it... no, thank you. Luckily to get around some tedious gameplay, you're able to take part in side quests that you can undertake as you traverse Midgar across places such as Sector 8, like getting your wallet stolen and chasing after the damn runt who took it. Personally I wanted to push him down into the sewer for Pennywise to eat, but Aerith says no, so my hands were tied. In addition to the mapping of materia and other special attacks your facial button, you're also able to perform Materia Fusion, which entails you mixing and matching two materia together, or an item, to create a brand new materia to use based off your selections. Which means you can make an even stronger elemental materia or form new melee attacks to further bolster your attack combinations in battle, and the end result is giving you hours of unique customization options that makes each playthrough more unique than your last one. In between your main scenario missions and side questing, you may also purchase much needed items from the shop from save points that can give you an edge in combat and also be able to take part in extra missions for further rewards. But like I did to you before, we will get back to that in the Extra Stuff section because we have way more important stuff to talk about at this time.


After you get confronted by little baby Yuffie who thinks she's a great warrior of Wutai and play along with her little games as she excitedly believes she beat you in a fight.. while her hometown burns with dead bodies everywhere, you get to engage in battle against summon Ifrit that gets things REALLY heated up(I'm sorry), watch Sephiroth be a total bad ass and one shot deities, learn that just like Genesis, Angeal too has turned traitor and scream in disappointment ''You were supposed to defeat the traitors, not join them!'', go to Banora Village and learn that Genesis has pulled a Sasuke Uchiha and killed all the towns people, fail at a rocket slicing mini game and then get roasted to holy heck by Tseng for failing really really badly, take on the evil Bahamut that is summoned by Tim Burton meets Shakespeare man himself , Genesis, watch a village get raccoon citied and nuked to oblivion, get sidetracked in Shinra HQ exhibit room where you see all the cool stuff you're eventually going to steal later on in the original FF7, such as the Aerith rescue mission Truck and Airship and even Little Mac's bike from Mike Tyson's Punch Out. Well maybe not that exactly. The story in Crisis Core is very somber over all with the only real upbeat side of the game being the time you spend with Aerith in the slums and at her church. Zack and Aerith are absolutely adorable together, which makes knowing the things that are about to come to pass, even more gut wrenching at heart breaking knowing the inevitable. But holding in our dang ugly cry for now, you get to witness James Cameron's Skynet come true as Shinra's own robots attack its own facility, join up with Sephiroth to track down Angeal and Genesis, take in the flashback scene of Genesis, Angeal and Sephiroth when they were all best friends training together and thinking how tragic this all is. Why is it so tragic? well as of this time, they're all friends, burden free, but ultimately its these three individuals that end up turning the tide on the entire world for generations to come due to their actions. While their training fight is stunning, it leaves you with a feeling of sadness knowing everyone's fate and role they play going forward in the FF7 compilation and it makes you feel a bit of pitty and remorse for them as characters, even though they do not deeserve it. The tragic part of it all? is that none of it is their fault that they turned out this way. They had their fates sealed the moment they were created or experimented on via Project G and left with a life of being a ruthless killing machine or slowly dying to the side effect of the experiment called Degredation, that ultimately will kill you.


So you're probably thinking, cool story and all, but isn't there ANYTHING new in this title over the original? well yes and also no. While overall its the same story beats and even combat functions mostly the same, from a graphical standpoint, especially on PC and the Steam Deck, this title feels along the lines of something like FF7 Remake, and with its fresh coat of paint, can fool you into believing this is an entirely new game. You also have slight improvements to the combat with combat from the original feeling like a more methodical pace to it, whereas here in Reunion, it feels like its been sped up more with attacking and combat feeling vastly more smooth and WAY more responsive than the PSP counterpart did to me. Honestly it felt like literally zero input lag and every time something DID happen to mess up, 9 times out of 10 its human error. Which if you've been around long enough to know my gaming habits by now, you know I am VERY accident prone. As stated before, this game is a very emotional journey that has your feelings going from one minute you're angry at Genesis for turning on everyone, the next you're heartbroken for Zack after Angeal turn's his back on you as well, but just as you're getting sad, you begin to laugh and have spirits uplfited by the perky and sweet Aerith as you teach her how to become a scalper by growing flowers and selling them at a high price that would even make the The Merchant from Resident Evil 4 happy, and then if you're like me, make up your own scenarios in your head like when you're on the Highway and get lifted in the sky to fly to Shinra HQ by Angeal with his wings, which made me think of a romantic comedy as they soar away, flying high to the edge of the sky - or again, because I'm very very weird, laughing at my own jokes during Chapter 3 as I take a look inside the tank and see something I did not expect to see. Like I said, you're in for an emotional rollercoaster and just like me, if you've finished this title before or played FF7 original, you will be holding in your ugly cry for a very long time in this title.





 


EXTRA STUFF:


So you do not wish to do the story or just need a break from it? not a problem because in between your normal campaign missions, you will be able to take part in missions via save points that offer you new ways to earn rewards that range and vary between brand new materia, special equipment accessories and even new functions like Item fusion and summoning mode. These missions for the most part drop you off in a linear map and your goal is to run around slaying enemies until you defeat the designated target. This can take you anywhere from two minutes to ten minutes or more per mission you undertake, depending on the level of difficulty the mission is ranked and your own individual skill level. I wont lie, they aren't expansive or anything amazing, but some of them offer crucial items that are beneficial to you, so I advise you to partake in them whenever you have the opportunity. There's around 300 of them, so yeah... you will have plenty of time sunk into this one should you go for the 100%. Plus the mission where you end up making Yuffie cry is worth it in itself, what a freakin diva.





 

DISLIKES:


Contrary to what you've witnessed so far, this isn't a squeaky clean perfect Remake and or Remaster, oh how I wish. While I don't have anything game breaking to talk about or a rant to go into it like I did in my FF7 Remake review talking about The Whispers, I do have smaller gripes such as combat can get a tad bit tedious at times when you're moving from hallway to hallway fighting reused enemies for a span of ten minutes - that can get pretty dang tiresome at certain points in the game when story isn't moving forward. Other annoyances are missions where you're chasing after Hollander to the basement and it just goes on and on with him running 10-12 feet, stopping, you taking on 3-4 waves of enemies and repeating over and over and over again, very boring. During some missions like assault on Fort Tamblin, on PC and Steam Deck, I experienced slight stuttering and frame rate dips at times when too much actions would take place, but overall seems isolated to just a few missions and is not evident throughout the entire game, if I'm to be fair. Lastly, I want to mention the difficulty spike. Man oh man, the price of freedom for a balanced game is steep. Starting the game through the first 5 chapters roughly, the game ranges from an easy game to a title that is semi challenging, but as you make your way through the second half of the game, prepare to get slaughtered due to enemies having one shot death attacks to immediately kill you. I mean there's the new quality of life feature that let's you restart the fight after your death, but still, it's not enough to give the balancing a pass.





 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, Square-Enix shows us once again that they have set the bar for other companies with how you handle a remake of one of your classic and cherished titles. Again, its definitely not a perfect remake or remaster with issues of balancing, tedious combat at times, some annoying missions feeling like filler, slight framerate drops on PC etc. But with improved combat smoothness, new voice cast that delivers great performances, loveable and hate able characters, cute moments with Zack buying Aerith her iconic ribbon, plethora of side content to do that can keep you busy for hours with materia fusion and getting all DMW and Limit Breaks, engaging and intense boss fights that make you think on your toes and a tragic ending to a beautifully told story that will stick with you for years to come -- makes Crisis Core Reunion an absolute must play, not only for fans of Final Fantasy 7, but any RPG fan out there in general, you will NOT regret it. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW.