“Embrace your dreams. And, whatever happens, protect your honor as SOLDIER.” These words are perhaps the most formative part of Cloud’s personality in Final Fantasy VII, and the Remake as well. Spoken to him by Zack at the end of the original Crisis Core, the story of this first-class SOLDIER was unjustly locked to the PSP for generations. Unlike some other media surrounding the original game, Crisis Core adds a ton of important context to the entire story of Cloud, and looks to be even more important moving forward in the new trilogy based on a massive change revealed at the conclusion of Remake.
Thankfully, you won’t have to dig out or buy a dusty old PSP to check out this amazing title since Square Enix revealed that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, a full remake of the game, is on its way to your modern system. This game is the perfect thing to hold you over until Final Fantasy VII Rebirth arrives sometime in late 2023 or early 2024, but don’t expect it to be exactly like those games. If you never played the PSP original, here’s everything you need to know about Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion will be arriving, in Square Enix’s own words, “this winter.” That could basically be anytime from late October 2022 to February or March 2023 depending on how loose their definition of winter is. We expect this release window to shrink down to a specific date before long, however, so keep checking back for updates.
Unlike the original Crisis Core, or even Remake and Rebirth, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion will not be exclusive to a single platform. In fact, this may be the Final Fantasy game launching on the most platforms of any title. You can pick it up for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC when it launches.
The announcement trailer for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion was shown off during a jam-packed anniversary event for the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII. While there were some leaks, this was still a major surprise for most.
The trailer opens with the most iconic and memorable moment of the game, which is the setup for the final mission of the original. Zack stands off against an army of Shinra soldiers exclaiming that “the price of freedom is steep.” It isn’t vital, but we did notice that Zack’s lines have all been re-recorded with the new actor who played him in Remake for consistency.
Cutting to a mission, Zack is attacked at the train station in Midgar, and we get a look at the game in action for a bit before being reintroduced to Genesis, the villain of the game, who has gone missing. We also meet Angeal, Zack’s mentor and original owner of the Buster Sword. Zack and Sephiroth also speak about Genesis, who we also see. Another fun fact, Genesis is modeled after Japanese rock star and actor Gackt, who also voices the character in the Japanese dub. It was never confirmed, but often suspected, that the reason Crisis Core could never be ported before was because of legal rights concerning Gackt’s likeness.
Later on we see Zack and Aerith’s first meeting in the Sector 5 church, plus hear Zack’s dream to become a hero. When we cut back to the first shot, Zack draws his sword and delivers the line, “Embrace your dreams. And, whatever happens, protect your honor as SOLDIER!” before charging into battle.
While you could obviously go and spoil yourself on the entire plot of Crisis Core, here’s a more sensitive overview of the events. However, bear in mind that we already know the conclusion of the game will be changed, if it is meant to line up with Remake like we suspect, so there could very well be other story changes as well. We also know that, unlike the original, the entire game will feature voice acting now.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is set seven years before the events of Final Fantasy VII and focuses on Zack Fair, a candidate for Shinra’s SOLDIER program that Sephiroth is still a part of at this time. This is during the war between Shinra and Wutai hinted at in Final Fantasy VII and Remake, but Zack’s main charge is to hunt down Genesis, another first-class SOLDIER like Sephiroth, who has defected from Shinra and is creating clones of himself to attack Shinra. Along the way he will also meet a certain spiky-haired infantryman named Cloud whom he will bond with on a mission to Nibelheim.
The gameplay shown off for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion looks very much in line with how the original played, though with some modern updates such as character and camera controls. If you’ve never played the original, some aspects of the game likely look rather confusing. Here’s a simple breakdown of what to expect.
This is an action RPG, so movement and attacks will all be happening in real time, just like Remake. You have basic sword combos, a shortcut menu to use your abilities and Materia, dodge rolls, blocks and, most notably, the Digital Mind Wave.
Called the DMW for short, this is the roulette-looking set of icons on the upper right of the screen. This is the closest thing to Limit Breaks from Final Fantasy VII, but obviously functions quite differently and can result in many different outcomes. Each of the three slots spin until they stop on a character portrait along with a number, the combination of which determines what you get. It costs 10 SP (SOLDIER Points) to spin. The left portrait stops first, followed by the far right. If the two portraits match, a Limit Verge begins and pauses the action for the final spin. Sometimes this triggers a flashback related to whichever character portrait has been matched, but finally the center reel will stop. If all three match, Zack will restore his HP, MP, and AP, possibly going above his current caps for those stats. He will also unlock a Limit Break to use during that battle.
If the two first spins don’t match, then the center reel will stop like normal, followed by the numbers. Without matching portraits, the bonus you get is completely determined by the numbers, which can be a number of things such as temporary invincibility, all critical attacks, no MP cost for the rest of battle, and so on.
There is also a deep emotion system tied to the DMW, which changes based on story and character relationships, but that is better left discovered as you play.
Because the original was a portable title, the game follows a mission-based structure. Zack will take on smaller missions in various locations, alongside the main story missions obviously, where you can level up, earn money, items, and Materia. Now that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion will be on consoles, this might feel a little out of place, but if the loading times are short enough, or non-existent, it won’t be too jarring.
No question about it, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is all single player all day. The original didn’t have it, and this one won’t either.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is still in a nebulous release window of winter, but that season isn’t too far off. Once we get details of the final release date and the pre-order situation is explained, we’ll lay it all out here for you.