'Crisis Core Reunion' Is a Remaster That Feels Like a Full Remake — Our First Impressions

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author
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Oct. 7 2022, Published 1:24 p.m. ET

For fans of the highly-influential Final Fantasy VII, the world of Midgar has already shifted drastically. Following the substantially-different ending to the otherwise critically acclaimed Final Fantasy VII Remake, the stage is being set for Cloud Strife and his ragtag group of environment extremists to set off on a brand new adventure. But every journey has a beginning, which means that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is getting its own makeover.

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Originally released between 2007 and 2008 on the PSP, Crisis Core reveals the origins of Cloud's closest companion and decorated SOLDIER operative Zack Fair. It also focuses on the tragic backstory behind series antagonist Sephiroth and sets forward the overall story of Final Fantasy VII into motion.

Crisis Core is getting its own update with the release of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion. But is the game a remake or a remaster? We got our hands on a short demo, so here's our scoop.

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Is 'Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion' a remaster or a remake?

Distractify was recently able to get some hands-on time with Crisis Core Reunion in a 20-minute demo that offered a deep and extensive look into combat. Longtime fans of the series will remember the original's gameplay, in which your commands were all organized into a single line on your UI that you had to scroll through. The execution of your Limit Breaks was determined by the Digital Mind Wave, a spinning roulette that players couldn't control in terms of which attack you wanted to use.

For all intents and purposes, Crisis Core Reunion is meant to be a remaster of the original game that is updated and tuned for modern consoles. But the visuals, combat, and new voice cast bring so much new life to the game, that you could easily mistake it for a top-to-bottom remake.

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Combat feels more action-oriented, and Zack's basic attacks come out quickly and fluidly to create exhilarating combos. While items still appear on your main menu, your Magic and Attack techniques can now be relegated to different shortcuts thanks to an expanded control scheme. You can easily chain your basic attacks into other moves without disrupting the flow of your hack-and-slash combat.

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Speaking of disrupting the flow of combat, the original game's DMW was a point of contention for many players, having taken up the whole screen and interrupting combat to execute a move. Reunion's DMW not only doesn't take up the whole screen to show the roulette, but players now have the mid-combat option to execute a Limit Break with a simple button press. That means no more having to sit through the roulette while you're slicing up monsters.

In a July 2022 interview with GameSpot, the development team on Crisis Core Reunion stated that they wanted to make "something close to Final Fantasy VII Remake" in terms of adjusting combat. This demo makes it clear that the team at Square Enix truly made good on that promise in updating the game for modern gamers.

The game feels so much more than a simple remaster thanks to these updates. It may as well be a new game all on its own.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion comes out on all major gaming consoles on Dec. 13.

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