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Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion preview: much-needed modernization

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is a remaster of the classic PSP title, making it a game much more worthy of the Final Fantasy VII name

Remember Final Fantasy VII? Didn’t you think that was such a cool game? Crisis Core certainly seems to think so, and is desperate to remind you of it at every opportunity. This remake of the previously PSP-exclusive title is here to tide us over until the second part of the Final Fantasy VII remake arrives, and it wants to fill you with all the nostalgia you can handle.

Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion Zack and Sephiroth crossing blades

CC: FF7 Reunion sees Zack cross blades with Sephiroth

We’re here to see Zack Fair’s story, the man who was sort of Cloud’s member, and don’t worry, Sephiroth and the rest of Shinra are here too. As you’d expect, there’s been a huge visual upgrade from the PSP original, and all of the voice acting has been redone. There’s been a fair few refinements to the combat system too, making it feel like a proper modern action game.

Its handheld roots are still baked in though, and not always in a good way. Side missions are handed out with reckless abandon, and they’re always fairly short and uninteresting, making the repeating maps and combat system drag in longer play sessions.

Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion, fighting robots

The DMV can change the pace of battle in CC: FF7 Reunion

The Digital Mind Wave (DMW) system is what drives the combat, drawing on your emotions and bonds with other characters. This will give you spins on a slot machine that will give you buffs, heals, and special moves – or it might summon Ifrit to attack you and make your life miserable. It adds an extra layer to an otherwise simplistic combat system, making you think on the fly and change your playstyle depending on what bonuses you’re getting.

It has a slight feeling of untapped potential though. Partly because you can sometimes get unlucky and be given absolutely nothing, but also because you need to spin triple seven in order to level up. This has a decent chance of happening on an after-battle bonus spin, but it often feels like you’re being held back unnecessarily.

Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Zack and Cloud

CC: FF7 Reunion explores the relationship between Zack and Cloud

It’s all held together by the improved visuals and camera though, keeping the pace engaging and enjoyable. Cutscenes are where this truly shines. There was heavy criticism of the original game’s cutscenes for being a bit too cheesy, and that has been addressed here. The cheese isn’t entirely gone, but the antagonists feel more menacing, and most scenes land a lot better than they used to.

With the Final Fantasy VII saga under a bigger spotlight than it ever was before, this remaster makes Crisis Core feel like a more accepted part of the canonical story, rather than a cash grab churned out for the handheld market. If you’re a Final Fantasy VII fan who didn’t enjoy Crisis Core the first time around or skipped it entirely, it’s worth taking a look at this new and improved version.

If you want something to keep you busy until launch day, try something from our selection of the best PC games.