Completion time: 11:35:45
With so many remasters out these these days in gaming, we were bound to run into one that, even with the best intentions, doesn’t translate properly as it could have. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is such a case. With so many aspects of the game clashing with the platforms it was put on, I’m completely befuddled as to why Square Enix went ahead and ordered a remaster of this Sony PSP title, and not a full on remake.
The one standout winner with Crisis Core Reunion is the gameplay. From what little I played of the original PSP title, I vaguely remember how delayed and stilted combat felt. With this remaster, it’s more akin to Final Fantasy VII Remake, but a bit more active. Combat was seriously one of the only highlights in my time with this game.
Unfortunately, most everything else was either a complete fail, or a relic of the past that was so obtuse, that it’s baffling that it wasn’t adjusted somehow. Save points literally anywhere you turned was an artifact of its time. Having one cutscene end, walking literally three steps and entering another cutscene was borderline asinine – just lop off the middle and go from one cutscene to the next so the player isn’t taken out of the experience constantly. Visually Crisis Core Reunion is serviceable, with character models that look fine, though backgrounds looking lightly detailed.
I can’t forget about the incompetent “mini-games” that pop up for a cup of coffee and leave literally zero positive impressions. The fact that you can fail the godawful stealth mission like 5-6 times and automatically pass it (though you lose the chests you can loot, but all of those items were inconsequential to my journey anyway), it’s just baffling. That robot sniping portion was just as ludicrous – it was like going from playing Super Mario Bros. 3, to playing Call of Duty. It’s such a jarring shift and does nothing but frustrate and linger for way too long. Oh, having one chapter of the ten available chapters be 80% dedicated to busy work in finding materials to build a damn flower wagon was borderline cruel and unusual punishment, especially when Aerith comes off as an ungrateful ditz at its conclusion.
Also, and this will likely anger a lot of people – Zack did nothing for me. I can’t see why this is such a beloved figure in the franchise. Maybe the ending was a part of that reason? But even still, he was a complete dork, not really in an endearing way, but he also wasn’t a worthless character either.
Probably the biggest blow to the entire experience is the lack of any real challenge. My death counter ended at 6 yes, but here’s the thing – one death was on the second to last boss on a complete fluke. The other five? Higher star side missions which the end encounter one shot me. There was no actual challenge involved in the latter, just inflated enemy damage. Everything else was a joke difficulty wise. On top of that, I really didn’t even mess with many of the mechanics and options available to me, like Materia Fusion. Hell I had mostly the same accessories equipped through my journey.
The only other truly impactful part of Crisis Core Reunion was the ending. An emotionally charged final 15 minutes or so that is going to more or less stick with me for the rest of my life. Naturally I won’t expand into spoilers with you all, but it came *that close* to getting me choked up. It ranks up there close to the likes of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Suikoden and Mass Effect 3 as emotional closing moments to a video game that have left a permanent mark on me.
I truly feel that making Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion into a remaster and not a full-bore remake like Final Fantasy VII Remake, was a complete disservice. Had this been a remake, we could have likely seen something absolutely magical, making Crisis Core Remake infinitely better than its first release, just like how Final Fantasy VII Remake was infinitely better than its source material. Sadly though, what we were given was a relic of the past that has most of its aspects aging as well as spoiled milk. The overall experience is average at best, with excellent combat and an ending that will stand the test of time as one of the most memorable and vulnerable I’ve ever witnessed, marred with mechanics taken and not adjusted from a game released on a handheld unit 15+ years ago that just drags everything down.