Crisis Core Remaster Now Seems Coherent With Final Fantasy 7 Remake Trilogy

Although I hate to admit it, as a Final Fantasy fan, I never got around to playing Crisis Core on its original PSP version because I never owned that particular handheld. I suspect, however, that I’m not alone, which is why it’s such a relief that Square Enix now offers the game on virtually every platform currently available.

I recently got my hands on a demo of this long-titled remaster – Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion – and I’m excited to dive right in when it releases in December.

Questions remain about what impact Crisis Core will have on the upcoming second part (Rebirth) of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trilogy, but what’s immediately apparent from its remaster is how it’s now clearly positioned as a side story to Remake.


Menus and fonts have been updated to match Remake, ensuring consistency across the plethora of Final Fantasy 7 games to come – something that was clearly intentional when I previously spoke with creative director Tetsuya Nomura and the development team. Playing Crisis Core now feels like the same remake experience, with a lot of care put into this remaster.

The updated character models and effects are a huge step up from the PSP original, and on PlayStation 5 they work flawlessly and look beautiful. Granted, the sometimes stiff animations in the cutscenes belie that PSP core, but it’s proof of the remaster’s authenticity to the original. The combat-embedded FMVs, however, are noticeably blurry.

The similarities to Remake also extend to combat, although that game of course came first. It’s an action RPG with a balance of standard attacks, special attacks, and magic abilities as you lock on enemies and flank them for critical hits from behind. Basic sword attacks are grouped into combos, while magic and special attacks are assigned to hotkeys for instant use. Everything plays out like a modern game, not a 2008 re-release. In the menus you can equip gear, armor, and accessories to give the edge in battle, all presented almost identically to Remake.

The twist comes from the Digital Mind Wave (DMW) roulette system. As this spins around the top left corner of the screen, it randomly results in enhanced status effects and, best of all, powerful limit breaks that play out like mini cutscenes and can be cast whenever you need it. These look particularly flashy in a very lively way, punctuating the rhythm of the fights.

The UI is also in line with Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

Playing the demo multiple times also showed DMW’s impact in combat. This culminated in a tense battle against the Summon Ifrit that tests dodging, blocking and using magic, but some runs were noticeably easier, coincidentally, as the slots have landed in my favor and those flashy moves got even flashier. It is this system that will ensure that the battles always remain dynamic.

The system is also tied to the relationships between main character Zack Fair and his mentors. In the demo, Zack meets Sephiroth for the first time and – being the fanboy he meets with his idol – it intensifies his emotions, allowing different moves to appear on the spinner.

The biggest boon for Final Fantasy players – especially those of us new to Crisis Core, or perhaps those who have only recently played Remake – is seeing the world of Midgar and its characters under a new angle.

Zack Fair close-up in Crisis Core

Zack is a likeable protagonist and outwits Cloud.

The demo included a mission at the start of the game, which takes Zack to Wutai in the midst of a war between that nation and the Shinra Corporation. It’s an area that’s only visited briefly in the original Final Fantasy 7 (and not seen at all in Remake, alongside references in its Intergrade DLC), but in Crisis Core it’s apparently much more fleshed out.

I even got to see a young Yuffie before she became the adorable thief we all know. In a cute scene between her and Zack, her iconic choppy animations and racing from the original game are reused in a fun snap. Crisis Core also provides more backstory on the villainous Sephiroth, here a war hero, while Zack is a naïve but sympathetic protagonist who frequently stumbles and doesn’t know his own strength very well.

Beyond fan service, Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion seems like a confident outing for the full-fledged series that now, more than ever, will fit seamlessly into the Final Fantasy 7 artwork. play more of Zack’s story, which might prove to be required reading for Remake fans.

Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is set to release on December 13 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Steam).