When Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII first came out on the PlayStation Portable, it was something special. It was right in the midst of a Compilation of FFVII explosion. We’d already seen more of the Turks in Before Crisis, Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus explained what happened after the main game. Last Order teased more of Zack Fair, but we hadn’t had a proper introduction. Crisis Core remedied that and gave people an incredible PSP experience in the process, and now the Switch version of Crisis Core FFVII Reunion does the same.
First, it is important to note that Crisis Core FFVII Reunion runs incredibly well on the Switch. It’s a smooth experience with no hiccups. It is at 30 fps, and I haven’t noticed any lag while playing in Handheld mode. It’s in 720p, but still looks quite striking on the system. It is especially crisp on the Switch OLED I use. It’s a great fit. Even with the control scheme. Sometimes, I notice a bit of fatigue or frustration with the Switch itself if I need to get really active with a game, due to the Joycon button sizes. (For example, it sometimes happened with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes or Splatoon 3.) But I’m always comfortable when playing Crisis Core.
However, it bringing back PSP memories isn’t just about playing the game on a similarly-shaped handheld again. Rather, it’s about the way it all feels when you’re doing so. There’s the ambiance surrounding it all. Since its launch, the Switch and its library often felt like another chance to do what Sony wanted to with the PSP and Vita. There’s an RPG-heavy library. We have staples from hallmark JRPG series, like Persona, Tales, and Final Fantasy. Seeing Crisis Core, a game previously known for being essentially kept in a walled-off garden for years, everywhere and here is like getting a second chance for it to have its handheld moment.
Crisis Core is also a reminder of compromises developers needed to make back when the PSP was in its prime. Due to limitations, you couldn’t feature larger scale environments and maps. We could see how this turned out for Monster Hunter titles, with their limited locations for specific hunts, and in other games. But with Crisis Core FFVII Reunion on the Switch, we also see how well Square Enix handled it at the time. Yes, missions are divided up into chunks. This is especially noticeable in the smaller side quests Zack can take. But the execution of the story-based segments endeavors to keep these distinctions less blatant. It worked then, and it continues to now.
It also means that it, like other games from its era on the PSP, were perfectly suited for that portable experience. This, in turn, means it lends it better to a handheld device. (Be that a Switch or a Steam Deck.) The 300 Missions Zack can take tend to be mostly brief experiences. Taking five minutes to go through one is perfect on a handheld. But again, the execution of the missions means it is equally fine for longer sittings. Or, perhaps, if you find yourself in a loop of preparing Materia for fusion or going through the motions in the M1-1-6: 1000 Shinra Troops mission to build up Buster Sword proficiency, it is good for that sort of mindless grind.
But really, I guess it all comes down to sentimentality. I adored Crisis Core: FFVII on the PSP, and I love getting to relive the memories of playing it for the first time by going through it again on the Switch. Especially since it handles so well on it. It’s a delightful way to bolster a general RPG catalog, as well as offer more comprehensive Final Fantasy coverage for fans of the series.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is available on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. The original game appeared on the PSP.
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