If Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is your introduction to the world of Final Fantasy, let alone to the world of Final Fantasy 7, well, good luck. While it is a prequel that takes place before all the action of FF7, it still can feel intimidating in its dense history and reliance on prior knowledge of the world and its workings.
Crisis Core has always stood out among the FF7 Compilation because of its quality, a trait that not every sequel can boast. You can’t, and shouldn’t, be expected to notice every single little thing the game throws at you – but fear not, because we can help.
7/7 Mirrored Moments
Crisis Core is full of familiar moments to those who have played Final Fantasy 7. Whether that’s because Cloud takes part of Zack’s personality into himself, or because the creators wanted to sprinkle some sweet nostalgia in, we can’t say, but it’s there.
Of course, Crisis Core also has scenes that play out in FF7 itself – the Nibelheim incident, most notably. But in the smaller moments, we see the similarities, like how Aerith and Zack’s first meeting is almost identical to Cloud’s foray into that same flower bed in a church. It’s just all so familiar, yet so different.
6/7 Ifrit's Old Digs
Final Fantasy 8, frankly, doesn’t get enough love. It’s a wholly exciting game on its own – it just had the misfortune of following the smash hit that was FF7. Crisis Core is mainly concerned with expanding the story and scope of FF7, but this little reference to FF8 is still fun.
When you fight Ifrit, a classic summon of the series, you do so in a fiery, lava-filled cave. It shares much of its aesthetic with the Fire Cavern of FF8, located outside of Balamb Garden, where all kinds of fire elemental creatures can be fought. It’s a small reference – but if you’ve played FF8, you won’t miss it.
5/7 Opening Homage
Final Fantasy 7 has an iconic opening. It doesn’t matter which version you’re watching – whether the colorful and blocky FMV of the Playstation 1 or the exquisitely detailed re-interpretation of Remake, it never fails to hit. It’s not even that our nostalgia is coloring our perception – the first few seconds of FF7 show you an intricate, interesting world, and then drop you right into the action with your salty protagonist.
Crisis Core uses the same opening beats – a man with a sword on the roof of a train, Shinra’s headquarters looming over you and over Midgar itself. The sickly yet beautiful greenish glow pierces the sky. It’s how you remember it. That is, until you meet Zack and realize that you are in for a different experience. An opening that feels right that teases you with familiarity before pushing you into a fresh experience; we can’t ask for more.
4/7 Behemoth, Already?
If you’ve played a Final Fantasy game before, you’re likely familiar with this tough-as-nails creature. A kind of lion and canine chimera, with some horns and maybe a gravity-defying mane thrown in for aesthetics. It’s just that, usually, they aren’t the second enemy you fight in the whole game. So it feels kind of like a waste – not to mention confusing – to fight one this early.
Still, the creature always leaves an impression on us. Of course, we don’t envy Zack or any of the other Final Fantasy characters who are forced to deal with these monsters. But they don’t seem too bothered – the experience points must be worth it.
3/7 One Ticket To Loveless, Please
In Crisis Core, the character Genesis waxes poetic about an epic poem-turned-play called Loveless. It is all he can really think about, his core personality trait. However, his love for the play is so expansive that he models his behaviour and life around it.
It is an integral part of Crisis Core’s plot that, remembering that it stems from little more than a billboard in Sector 8 of Midgar shown in the opening of FF7, almost feels goofy. This whole plotline came to be because of what amounts to set decoration. Loveless was meant to set the atmosphere of Sector 8 – to show it as an upscale entertainment district, and now it has spun out into a whole narrative.
2/7 Can't Wait To Work With You
Do you know who Reeve Tuetsi is? He’s a guy who works at Shinra, and one of the first emails you receive in Crisis Core references his work as a city planner in Midgar. It doesn’t seem too important at that moment – he’s just another suit at Shinra’s beck and call, after all, so what does it matter that you get an email where he’s quoted?
Reeve isn’t the only character referenced by Crisis Core, of course. In the Nibelheim mansion, you can find a coffin that, presumably, holds the slumbering Vincent Valentine inside of it, which Zack has a shockingly muted reaction to. These characters will have considerable parts to play – but for now, they’re a footnote in Zack’s, and your, adventure.
1/7 Not Cissnei’s First Rodeo
A few characters in Crisis Core seem wholly new – notably, the additions of Angeal, Genesis and Cissnei as significant players. While Angeal doesn’t play much of a part in the broader world of FF7, save for his Buster Sword enduring the years, Genesis and Cissnei seem totally new. It’s just that they aren’t.
Genesis made his first appearance in a teaser at the end of Dirge of Cerberus, while the much-beloved Cissnei had her debut in the Japan-only mobile game, Before Crisis. Of course, many of us didn’t even know Before Crisis existed, and even fewer have actually played it. Still, if you’re up-to-date on the lore of FF7, their additions to the cast feel special. An easter egg, for you alone.
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