Final Fantasy VII Reunion, a set-up as colorful as it is irregular

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I liked going back to Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, despite the fact that this version has made it more difficult for me than I expected. I say this because as a remaster, remake, or mere update, it seemed to me a work that delivers a little cohesive, irregular and lacking in balance video game, in which all the efforts seem dedicated, mainly, to improving the aesthetic facet of its proposal. Perhaps, for this reason, if one goes to the screenshots of the title, it can be difficult to classify what is done here as a lazy result. But when the start button is pressed (allow me the poetic license) it is uncovered a laziness, typical of the remaster, that seemed to want to be hidden by the visual muscle that the game exhibits.

If we look at the nature of the product at hand, it can be said that the barrier that separates the remake from the remaster seems, at times, somewhat diffuse. However, its relevance is such that it even tends to influence the price of that title that has set out to rescue an old glory from the past. It is understood, from the outset, that the remake involves a greater job than the remaster. The remake is supposed to refound the basic principles of the video game that it rescues; He is credited with the responsibility of adapting the mechanics, dynamics and structures of the original work to current times, as well as its graphic section. Hence, a greater job is attributed to it and, to the remaster, a lower sale price is required (some sticks Nintendo has taken in this sense). It is a simple equation: the less work, the lower the costs and, therefore, the lower the final sale price should be.

But of course, someone could appeal to that of “if something works, why change it”and he would be right. There are many examples of products that are halfway between the remaster and the remake, precisely, out of respect for touching what -at the time- was already exposed in a successful way, what continues to be functional today. I think of Shadow of the Colossus, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD or Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139. Titles that improve the technical aspect (affecting the original aesthetic) and tinker just enough when it comes to updating the playable proposal. On the other side of the scale we would find proposals that have become obsolete, either due to the new design possibilities that technological progress opens up, or due to the popular abandonment of certain game structures. Resident Evil has a lot to say here, as it has had a little (or a lot) of everything.

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The fact is that, in effect, there are plenty of examples in which not everything works today, and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Remake is one of them. In fact, I think it is a title that, when played on its original system (PSP) generates less friction, is less shocking and looks more coherent, despite the fact that it may be more difficult to digest. Why am I saying this? Well, because when you turn on a PSP you are fully aware that you are going to face a title from another era, and our brain, our patience and our swallows prepare for it; However, when it comes to remasters or remakes, it could be said that it depends on each case. What I’m going to, with all this, is that In Crisis Core there was a lot to adapt beyond its graphic sectionand all this has been neglected in pursuit of an aesthetic universe that aims to look at what is proposed by FFVII Remake, something that it achieves only in combat and in static frames.

In the purely aestheticReunion is a notable facelift, a remarkable set-up that, without the fanfare typical of large productions, situates the Crisis Core in acceptable standards for the current scenario. The problem is that everything else does not accompany. The animations of the video sequences are a drama —which is accentuated by the higher definition that their models and settings display— and the CGI sequences work at a resolution that is compromised on a full HD TV (I don’t like them). I want to imagine in a 4K). But the worst of all comes from the hand of its playable structure.

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Due to the demands of its original platform, Crisis Core is articulated as a video game of constant loads, of small spaces sectioned in an unnatural way to represent the illusion of larger scenarios. This leads to chapters divided into contained maps in which the interruptions are constant; A few seconds of browsing are enough for the title to present us with a loading screen that leads to the next section. To which we must add that the vast majority of the dialogues between relevant characters use sequences generated with the game engine, and their quantity is overwhelming. Even when approaching the NPCs, or interacting with the objects on the stage, I have been invaded by the feeling of being before a title that unnecessarily (and constantly) slows down the pace of the game —The presentation of the texts is excessively slow, and it does not give the option to auto-complete, not even the conversations that we have already had or the messages linked to objects that have already been inspected.

Too heavy a ballast that fails to compensate Crisis Core’s best asset: its combat system. In fact, I understand that in relation to his combat (in particular, identity and functional) everything has not been turned upside down. Although, curiously, there are some subtle modifications that help improve and polish the original proposal. But in essence, the system remains the same. The combat of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion revolves around the OMD, a system based on the typical triple wheel of slot machines that provides a most interesting component of randomness. The rolls are made automatically, throwing different combinations every few seconds. Based on these, Zack can receive buffs (or even buffs) that affect his passive abilities, fill his life, magic, or rush bars, or allow him to perform Limit attacks. All this based on the characters present on each of the roulette wheels, characters that will vary as we progress through the adventure. In this way, roulette works as a diegetization of Zack’s memories, who come to him in the middle of the battle to recall scenes from the past that influence their way of facing the challenges of the present. An original and daring combat system that, yes, fully shines in difficult mode. Normally, the general lack of challenge has made me, more often than desired, fall into the machacabutonismo typical of a combat system that, in melee, is somewhat limited.

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But then why the hell is this guy saying he’s enjoying coming back to Crisis Core? —you will think—, why should one consider spending 30 or 40 more hours in this universe? Well, because, despite everything, I came here dragged by some charismatic characters and a fictional universe (the kind that make you commune with treadmills), and because while you stick it, it’s not so bad. What I mean is that if you played Final Fantasy VII Remakeyou liked it, and you have Crisis Core pending (something that will happen to more than one), here you will find a generous place of expansion for that universe. Well, Reunion updates a game that narrates the story of Zack (capital to understand Cloud), the evolution of Shinra and the rise of Sephiroth. And that has been more than enough to make me want to spend more time with Aeris, the Turks and company.

The biggest problem of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is that pretends to look like a remake while working like a remaster. Yes, the graphic update is notorious and worth mentioning, but it also reveals the rest of the sections of a review that has gone easy. The difficult thing would have been to reformulate the structure of the game, significantly modify its scenarios and try to update its navigability. But this was not that project, because this is not Final Fantasy VII Remake, but a minor product through which to monetize its commercial inertia and, as such, has put all its effort into updating its most superficial facet, ignoring other aspects that would have made a difference.

Therefore, for having ignored everything that could be improved, everything that (because it is not functional today) would have served to update the original proposal, I can only say that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion has made it more difficult for me than I expected and, despite this, I have enjoyed meeting Zack again.