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Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII Reunion- (Switch) Review

by Jordan Rudek - December 15, 2022, 11:00 am EST
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A faithful but fleeting Final Fantasy experience.

The "Reunion" subtitle is an especially apt one given Square Enix's history with Crisis Core and the current situation of the Final Fantasy VII universe. Those who longed to re-experience the once PSP-exclusive side game are now able to reunite with hero Zack and familiar FFVII characters like Aerith and Sephiroth. For anyone who never played the original Crisis Core, this modern remaster offers a chance to do so with the potential knowledge of the events of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Tempering the excitement of newcomers, though, it's important to keep in mind that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is based on a smaller, portable title, and its visual glow up might not compensate for repetitive gameplay and poorly-aged narrative trappings.

Across its 10 chapters, Crisis Core Reunion tells Zack's story as a member of SOLDIER and his responsibility for protecting the interests of Midgar mega corporation Shinra. Much of the narrative centers around the pursuit of Genesis, a former SOLDIER 1st class who defects and starts a war against Shinra. Eventually, more of the events originally seen in FFVII's flashbacks come to pass in Crisis Core's timeline, culminating with the beginning of Cloud's story. Ultimately, the main story can be seen in about 10 to 15 hours, but completing all of the extra missions will add many more hours to your playthrough.

However, what's frustrating about those side missions is that they end up consisting purely of more battles. Each one is essentially a tiny dungeon with a few treasure chests to pick up, some potential random encounters, and then a mandatory fight against a particular enemy or group. Some involve rematches with bosses like Ifrit, but in general you aren't often seeing something you haven't already. More than that, the game as a whole doesn't really provide much of an incentive to complete more than a fraction of these missions; on normal difficulty, you'll likely acquire all the materia, equipment, and stat growth you need from doing less than 20 percent of these missions, if that.

Working in Crisis Core's favor is its quick and fairly satisfying combat. Since so much of the content consists of random and scripted battles, I was glad to see that controlling Zack as he fights his way through scores of enemy soldiers and monsters is relatively easy. Your equipped materia link a spell or ability to one of six button combinations, and outside of your basic attack, your spells and physical moves are tied to their own MP and AP meters, respectively. You can use items at will, and Zack's dodge and parry moves help him to avoid damage. Should you fall in battle, a prompt allows you to restart from the beginning of the fight or even adjust your loadout before doing so.

As someone who didn't play the original game but who does have nostalgia for Final Fantasy VII as a whole, I found the way in which Crisis Core delivers its story to be somewhat lackluster. During each of the game's individual chapters, the events that take place land with more of a thud than having any real resonance. While Zack's charisma helps him stand out and makes him likable, characters like Angeal and Genesis, who serve as mentor and antagonist, respectively, feel more like window dressing than compelling foils for Zack. So often you'll find yourself walking for a mere few seconds before encountering the next cutscene, which makes the little player agency you have outside of combat feel vapid.

Without a doubt, the boss battles that close out each chapter are a major highlight for Crisis Core. What blunts their effectiveness is how easily you can render them toothless through just a pinch of materia fusion. Once I crafted a Blizzaga materia, much of the game became a breeze. It doesn't help that so many of the enemies you square off against are just copies of Genesis, divided into slightly different types.

When you consider its portable roots, Crisis Core Reunion, as a remaster, is actually quite impressive from an aesthetic point of view. It doesn't match the visuals of Final Fantasy VII Remake, but its release on multiple platforms means that many more players will be able to experience Zack's story and meet some familiar FFVII characters before they became heroes. The Switch version itself holds up quite well. It targets and largely maintains 30 frames-per-second with only the occasional stutter. When docked the target resolution appears to be 720p with handheld mode swapping over to about 540p. Both configurations make use of temporal anti-aliasing, which results in nice smooth edges, albeit with some artifacting on quick moving objects.

Evaluating any remaster is fraught with difficulty because a person's enjoyment of it is almost always tied to how much they connect with the original game. My connection to Crisis Core is only in my experience with the original Final Fantasy VII and then the more recent Remake and its Intergrade DLC. Make no mistake: I love the world and characters of Final Fantasy VII, but that's not enough to make Crisis Core Reunion an easy recommendation. Much of its gameplay is repetitive and its narrative only pays off in fits and starts. Those who want to see and do all that this Reunion remaster offers will find dozens of hours of content, but outside of its compelling protagonist, Crisis Core feels fairly hollow, and it should be judged in a 2022 context as a home console experience. As such, its appeal will be limited more to diehard fans than RPG players as a whole.


  • Attractive remaster of the original
  • Lots of side content
  • Solid Switch performance
  • Its portable roots don't transfer all that well to the home console
  • Lackluster story
  • Missions feel unnecessary

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Genre RPG
Developer Square Enix

Worldwide Releases

na: Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion
Release Dec 13, 2022
PublisherSquare Enix
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