Disaster Core – Ultimate Fantasy VII – Reunion evaluate: polished story filler that is a missed alternative after FF7 Remake

When Disaster Core: Ultimate Fantasy VII first got here out in 2007 as a part of Sq. Enix’s considerably indulgent (and merely so-so) FF7 Compilation venture, it was meant to fill within the backstory of one of many essential recreation’s most mysterious and spoilerific character twists. Specifically that FF7 hero and perpetual mopey boy Cloud Strife wasn’t fairly who he thought he was, and that he really owes lots of his life (actually and figuratively) to the peppy, squat-loving ShinRa go-getter Zack Truthful. (And in case you’re mad about me spoiling that 25-year-old story beat, wait till you see what they’ve performed with FF7 Remake).

It is with FF7 Remake in thoughts, although, that lots of you’ll most likely be questioning the place this swanky new remaster of FF7’s PSP prequel matches into the more and more up for grabs timeline of Squeenix’s ongoing Remake trilogy. And simply as the unique Disaster Core was nearly unattainable to speak about with out getting into main spoiler territory for the primary recreation of Ultimate Fantasy VII, so it goes for Disaster Core – Ultimate Fantasy VII – Reunion. For the spoiler-averse, I am going to say this. When you do not already know the backstory of Zack and his relationship with arch mega villain Sephiroth, this can be a completely advantageous motion recreation that is acquired lots of welcome polish for a 15-year previous PSP title, however might be nonetheless finest skilled via a complete YouTube retrospective versus forking out £40 / $50 for it. For everybody else on the market, although, let’s get into it.

Watch this trailer and inform me you did not additionally spit out your morning cup of tea over it.

Or fairly, is there even something to get into? Alas, in case you have been hoping for some form of rationalization about FF7 Remake’s canon-breaking ending, you will be upset right here. As a prequel, Reunion would have been the right alternative to seed lots of the concepts later explored in FF7 Remake, however that is very a lot a simple remaster of the PSP unique. No noodly ending rewrites, nothing.

In some ways, it exhibits exceptional restraint on artistic director Tetsuya Nomura’s half (who’s additionally the primary instigator behind your entire FF7 Remake trilogy), though on condition that Disaster Core’s essential villain nonetheless spends 99% of his display time quoting unhealthy poetry at you whereas gesticulating with a big, purple apple in his hand, perhaps that is not saying a lot. It is potential, after all, that that is intentional. In any case, simply as FF7 Remake form of requires you to have performed the unique FF7 to understand how they’ve meddled with its seemingly immutable lore, you may argue that Disaster Core is now the skeleton key that unlocks them each, not simply in the way it units up very important plot factors for the latter phases of vanilla FF7, but in addition how they’re then twisted and morphed within the remaining moments of Remake.

Genesis holds out a purple apple in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion
I wasn’t kidding in regards to the huge purple “Alas, poor Yorick” apple…

The top outcome, nevertheless, is finally the identical. Even now, there’s little cause to hunt out Disaster Core Reunion until you are actually in it for the Sephiroth ‘was really as soon as a great man’ fan service. I by no means performed Disaster Core on the PSP, however I’ve absorbed sufficient FF7 nonsense through the years to know who its key gamers are and the way they hook up with its overarching story. Really enjoying Disaster Core did nothing to vary or enhance my opinion of those characters, and until FF7 Rebirth is happening a wild tangent one way or the other, I am undecided there’s a lot profit in attending to know the remainder of its supporting forged who (for apparent causes) do not make it previous the top credit.

Credit score the place credit score is due, no less than. That is fairly the good-looking glow-up from its PSP unique, and if it weren’t for the inflexible, linear hall design of its unique maps, its artwork path and visible design would really feel very a lot of a bit with FF7 Remake. The newly rearranged soundtrack by Takehiru Ishimoto can be one other welcome addition, and Sq. Enix have even gone to the difficulty of re-recording all of its dialogue with the now present voice forged to essentially make it really feel like its a part of the identical universe.

Sephiroth looks at Genesis in an underground lab in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion

Angeal stands dramatically against an industrial landscape, a single wing extended, in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII  - Reunion

…nor its mildly horrible dialogue.

Sadly, they didn’t prolong the identical courtesy to enhancing that script, therefore why emo poetry boy Genesis nonetheless comes throughout as a overwrought caricature of a villain fairly than any actual risk. Its extreme use of cutscenes and flashbacks to ship its apparently vital backstory additionally will get in the way in which of it attempting to be a great recreation lots of the time, too. You possibly can barely take three steps towards an goal marker earlier than being thrown into yet one more cutscene – though I am absolutely keen to confess that this perhaps feels much more exasperated in 2022 given the compact measurement of its PSP-hampered maps.

An enemy that looks like it's stepped straight out of Kingdom Hearts in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion.
This man is a few Kingdom Hearts-level nonsense design…

Do not get me flawed. Ultimate Fantasy video games have confirmed repeatedly that excellent issues can occur in exceedingly fairly corridors (X, XIII, heck, even FF7 Remake) if the encircling fight is sweet sufficient to carry your curiosity via all of it, however sadly Disaster Core does not fairly handle even this. Its real-time fight is an fascinating curio, for certain, with lots of its quirks and chaotic vitality ruled by a continuously spinning roulette wheel within the high left nook. In equity, I might really like to see this method crop up once more within the Ultimate Fantasy sequence sooner or later, as the way in which it could set off varied stat buffs and restrict break skills relying on what mixture of numbers and character portraits it lands on is infinitely extra fascinating to me than the hybrid real-time / turn-based fight seen in FF7 Remake.

Zack jumps in the air alongside a chocobo, preparing to stamp down on the ground in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion.
Dropkicking enemies alongside an enormous Chocobo is the one redeeming function of Disaster Core’s fight.

When the correct numbers scale back the price of magic assaults to zero, for instance, you already know it is time to whale in your Firas and Thundagas like there is not any tomorrow. Equally, you may also acquire transient spells of invincibility or boosted magic defences, and if Zack’s feeling significantly pumped a few character he is simply met – say, Aerith or Sephiroth – their character-themed restrict breaks usually tend to come up within the wheel’s rotation. It is precisely this type of spontaneous havoc that may breathe new life into age-old JRPGs, however its over reliance on low-cost as chips objects to replenish your magic and motion level bars (versus being performed via the fight itself) means it’s totally straightforward to use, resulting in repetitive magic spamming and ether bottle chugging that successfully robs it of all its improvisational brilliance.

There’s additionally the marginally interminable slog of getting to battle the identical enemies over and over in Disaster Core Reunion. It isn’t even for the standard color palette swap causes both. The whole plot revolves round Genesis (and finally Zack’s bestie mentor Angeal) making clones of himself to wreak their deluded havoc upon the world. There are some sincere to goodness monsters thrown in there as nicely, however holy chocobo warks, it certain does get tiresome by the top of its 12-hour storyline, by no means thoughts the bloated, maze-like aspect missions on provide that may internet you extra highly effective objects and materia. In reality, you do not actually have to interact with these aspect missions to finish Disaster Core. I dabbled in a handful of them to get a few vital summons materia, however shortly misplaced any urge for food for pursuing them additional. They may be prettier corridors than they have been 15 years previous, however their repetitive, copy-paste layouts and warren-like designs are nonetheless a recipe for some prime mid-00s grind.

Zack fights Wutai baddies in an orchard in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion.

Zack fights a large metal scorpion in an industrial setting in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion.

Zack fights robots on a highway in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion.

So sure, whereas there are some bits of Disaster Core value salvaging for a contemporary, overdue tune-up, Sq. Enix and co-developers Tose Co Ltd merely do not go far sufficient in bringing this updated for a post-Remake viewers. Some might discover the easy nature of this remaster fairly comforting after Nomura successfully ripped up the rulebook with Remake, however personally, I might fairly one thing new and daring than a recreation that merely retreads previous floor once more. And in Disaster Core’s case, its very previous floor, its key story beats having been repeated, regurgitated and repurposed so many occasions through the years that each man and their moogle now is aware of what Zack’s deal is with out having spent a single minute enjoying his precise prequel. And in case you do not, save your self the difficulty and watch a TLDR retrospective on YouTube (I can advocate a great one). You may get all the good thing about what Disaster Core means to the broader FF7verse with out the ache of truly having to sit down via all like its button-mashing fight, turgid aspect missions and naff, Shakespearean apple boy speeches. Does run fantastically on Steam Deck, although, I am going to give it that.