In the Game: PSP Classic “Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII” Remastered For the Modern Era

Remasters and remakes are everywhere. Whether it’s a movie or a video game, remakes and remasters seem to populate every space they can exist. Sometimes they’re great. Like feeling the embrace of a friend you haven’t seen in 10 years. Someone without whom your life has been noticeably worse without and seeing them again makes you feel like things are the way they should be. Other times they are the polar opposite. People you haven’t seen in 10 years for good reason. Things got so much better after they left. Every moment without them meant your life was doing pretty good. Sometimes you’ve never even played the original. It’s like seeing someone at a party that you’ve heard tons of cool things about. That person walks right up to you and says “HEY LET’S SPEND 30 HOURS TOGETHER” and you just do it. THAT was Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII to me. I have never played the original PSP release, but it made me feel like I was playing a PSP game on my TV which was a very welcome thing. Everything about Crisis Core made me feel nostalgia for my childhood days.

I am no stranger to the world of Final Fantasy VII. I missed this game when I was a kid because I was 11 and couldn’t buy shiny new games unless it was my birthday or something. Besides, I was too busy playing Guitar Hero 2 to give a shit about anything else. I was also way more interested in Kingdom Hearts in my youth. I went into Crisis Core mostly blind. I’m familiar with most of the FFVII stuff, but outside of that I was in the dark. Crisis Core: FFVII follows Zack. Zack is the original holder of the iconic Buster Sword. Zack’s story is what leads into the beloved story of Final Fantasy VII. Zack is also hilarious at times. He is an over the top personality with some really cheesy voice acting that makes me smile. He’s a fun protagonist to spend time with. Like Zack, the entire cast is voice recorded which is a terrific addition. Each of the characters are filled with personality and there is so much meme potential in the dialogue. They clearly had a fun time writing this game because it oozes mid 2000s ridiculousness. Most of the Final Fantasy games have pretty convoluted stories, and this one is no different. Convoluted it may be, it’s also a total blast to follow along.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII handles its combat in a slew of interesting ways. Least interesting is the basic button mashing. You can often just mash one button and do alright for yourself. Something that keeps it from being monotonous is the limit break system. The way it is handled in Crisis Core is similar to a slot machine. Familiar faces scroll randomly and land in different patterns. If they match up in certain ways you get buffs and additional moves you can pull off. It adds an extra layer to the battle system to keep it from getting stale. You also have a myriad of spells and abilities you can pull off. With upgrades they get stronger as you progress through the game. The combat feels like it has weight to it and is very satisfying to play.

The battle music is awesome as well. Final Fantasy having great music shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. Though this game was originally made on a smaller scale budget, it was clear the love and passion for the source material was there in 2007 and is still there in 2022.

The folks at Square Enix also went out of their way to make Crisis Core look waaaaay better. It’s a remaster, not a remake. The graphics may look eons better than they used to, but it’s not going to be the best looking game you’ve ever played. Like I said, it feels like a PSP game. But it feels like a PSP game made in 2022. It feels very much of its time, but looks and plays a little more like games we’re used to now. I went back and looked at some old videos and images of the original release and it really is night and day. Not much of a comparison in the looks department, this is a massive improvement. Playing this makes me wish Square would remaster KH1 and KH2. I am a huge fan of that era of Square’s catalogue and the work that went into this shows they could make a killing remastering their classics.

If you’re a die-hard FFVII fan you’ve probably already bought this game. You’ve got a couple of ways at looking at this game if you’re on the fence. If you’re looking for the same calibre of quality that you’d find in the FFVII Remake then you could skip this. If you’re interested in a simpler and more streamlined experience and are curious about FFVII lore and backstory then this is an absolute no-brainer.

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