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'Crisis Core Reunion' holds up to the original

Square Enix

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series of role-playing games, and perhaps most of all, 1997’s Final Fantasy VII. (Heck, I named my daughter after one of the characters from the game.) There have been a number of spinoffs, some of them terrible, and one that was only ever released on Japanese flip phones.

The best of them was 2007’s Crisis Core. The game was only available on Sony’s PlayStation Portable, and was a prequel that revolved around a character who was only briefly seen in a flashback in the original game. The character, Zach Fair, was a mentor to Final Fantasy VII’s main character. But in Crisis Core, Zach is the trainee, serving under the original game’s antagonist, Sephiroth.

This is the game that got me to buy a PSP, and it was well suited to the console. The gameplay is divided into small chunks that are perfect for the kind of sporadic play that makes handheld games easy to play. The story is moderately poetic and nonsensical in the charming way that some Japanese RPGs can be, and the game’s antagonist is voiced by and modeled after Japanese pop mega-star Gackt. Because why not?

Well, possibly as a result of Gackt’s likeness being in the game, Crisis Core was stuck only on the PSP for a long time. And even after 2020’s Final Fantasy VII Remake came along and made Crisis Core’s story required reading, it was essentially unavailable. Thankfully, the game has finally been updated and ported to all modern consoles. Crisis Core Reunion has beautiful new graphics, all-new voice acting, and updated combat, so the game more easily fits in with Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

The sequel to that remake, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, should be showing up late in 2023. Until then, I’ll have Zach’s slightly weird story to hold me over.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.