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== Nixon Computer ==
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GAME CLEAR No. 170 -- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion

video games game clear square enix final fantasy ps5 playstation psp

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion (2022, Multiplatform)

Remake of: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (2007, PSP)
Original Developer: Square Enix
Original Publisher: Square Enix
Remake Developer: Square Enix, Tose
Remake Publisher: Square Enix
Clear Version: PS5
Clear Platform: PS5
Clear Date: 6/2/24

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Why should I care?
A mixed bag of bad writing, breezy combat, and a lovable protagonist, Crisis Core perhaps isn’t quite required reading for Final Fantasy VII fans, but it’s a pleasant enough excuse to return to its alluring world.

He just ate my hair!

Man, I’ve played a lot of stupid games, but this may be one of the stupidest. Somehow, I still liked it a lot.

Crisis Core is a game whose original hype I recall. Those who, unlike me, had played Final Fantasy VII were pretty excited about it, and if memory serves, it was reasonably well received. I had a really tiny library of PSP games as a child, as its strong library was mostly composed of things that would not appeal to me until years later. This, too, was such a casualty.

Now that we’ve entered the Remake era of Final Fantasy VII, it makes perfect sense to milk one of the stronger components of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

But Reunion is no cheap cash-in. It’s an effortful work, featuring wholly remodeled environments and characters, overhauled combat, and rock-solid performance. Its plot and stage design are, to the best of my knowledge, unchanged, but you would otherwise be forgiven for not knowing this originated on the humble PlayStation Portable.

The plot and writing, though? Those guys give it away.

Crisis Core tells the story of Zack Fair, a member of megacorp Shinra’s private army called SOLDIER (lol). We care about him because he’s an old buddy of Cloud, the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII. He also pals around with Sephiroth, the antagonist of the original game. Some of the events of Crisis Core are alluded to in the original game, others are not. In any case, suffice it to say this Zack guy is important.

And he’s pretty likable. He’s a bit of a na├»ve puppy dog, but his cheerful demeanor and go-getter attitude make him easy to warm up to. Early in the game, you hack and slash foes as Zack is under the tutelage of his mentor Angeal. An old SOLDIER buddy of y’all’s named Genesis seems to have abandoned Shinra over some sort of grievance with them. Pursuing Genesis becomes the driving motivator of the game’s action, and it (surprise, surprise) reveals the greater threat Shinra poses to the world. All this creates a bit of a crisis of identity for Zack, a once-proud employee of Shinra, but honor-driven, he never falters.

And boy is he honor-driven. He reminds us that he must “protect his SOLDIER honor” every chance he gets. And that’s one of the ways this game feels mid-budget 2007 as hell. It’s just so fuckin’ corny! The dialog is atrocious, the voice acting is stilted, and Zack’s fight-for-my-friends attitude falls a bit flat when his friends are all goofy, monologuing wankers.

The saving grace is that it’s an easy cheesiness to lean into. Like, yeah, these anime boys all have silly motivations and their “I’m gonna kill everybody” Joker moment responses to their mistreatment by Shinra seems perhaps a bit much, but we wouldn’t have ourselves much of a game if they just went to therapy or whatever, right? And besides, the swordfighting itself is kinda fun. And when it’s not fun, it’s at least seldom difficult.

So anyway, writing quality aside, what happens is determined good boy Zack puts a stop to multiple angry swordsmen and then does the stuff he was shown doing in Final Fantasy VII before the credits roll. We find out a bit more about an important guy from the game and how things got where they were in the original. I reckon that’s what a prequel is supposed to do.

Did this game need to exist? Maybe not. But I, like so many people, just find something so damned compelling about the world of Final Fantasy VII. Even if I have to endure cringey writing to do it, I like running around Midgar and Nibelheim and all those places. I look forward to doing a hell of a lot of that in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, coming up next.