- CPU: AMD A8-7600 / Intel® Core™ i3-3210
- RAM: 8 GB
- OS: Windows® 10 / Windows® 11 64-bit
- VIDEO CARD: AMD Radeon™ RX 460 / NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 750 Ti
- PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
- VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
- SOUND CARD: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
- FREE DISK SPACE: 30 GB
- DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 2048 MB
- CPU: AMD Ryzen™ 3 1200 / Intel® Core™ i5-6500
- RAM: 8 GB
- OS: Windows® 10 / Windows® 11 64-bit
- VIDEO CARD: AMD Radeon™ RX 5500 XT / NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 (VRAM 3GB)
- PIXEL SHADER: 5.1
- VERTEX SHADER: 5.1
- SOUND CARD: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
- FREE DISK SPACE: 30 GB
- DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 3072 MB
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation Portable. First released in 2007, the game is a prequel to the 1997 video game Final Fantasy VII and is a part of the metaseries Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, which includes other products related to the original game.
The game primarily focuses on Zack Fair, a young member of the paramilitary organization SOLDIER, who is assigned to look for the missing SOLDIER Genesis Rhapsodos. As he searches for Genesis, Zack discovers Genesis’ origin, Project G, and how it is related to two other high-ranking SOLDIERs, Sephiroth and Angeal Hewley. The game’s storyline takes the player from the war between the megacorporation Shinra and the people of Wutai to the events in Nibelheim, ending just before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII.
The game was directed by Hajime Tabata, with Tetsuya Nomura serving as character designer. Before development, the Square Enix staff initially planned to make a PlayStation Portable port of the mobile phone game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, but after discussion, they decided to create a new game. The plot is based on a scenario Kazushige Nojima had in mind when working on Final Fantasy VII.
Crisis Core enjoyed strong sales, selling over two million units worldwide. Critical reception was generally positive. A remaster of the game, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, was released on December 13, 2022. Its storyline will also be recreated in the mobile game Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis.
Crisis Core is an action role-playing game in which the player controls Zack Fair. The player moves Zack through and between open areas, allowing him to talk with non-player characters, interact with the environment, and engage monsters in battle. At save points, the player may opt to take one of the available side missions, and if so, Zack is moved to a special area to complete the mission, which usually involves defeating one or more monsters. If the mission is successfully completed, the player is rewarded with beneficial items, and often new missions become available. Whether the player is successful in the side mission or not, upon completion, Zack is returned to the save point in the main game.
Crisis Core uses a real-time combat system in which the player can move Zack around, initiate attacks, special abilities and spells, use items, and block or dodge attacks. Zack’s abilities in battle are set by what materia he currently has equipped. Up to six Materia can be equipped at any one time, which can impart special attacks, magic spells, or passive bonuses such as health increases or the ability to display the statistics of the current foe in combat. Materia is gained throughout the game through exploration, as rewards from side missions, as spoils of battle, or from shops. Materia can be fused together to make more powerful versions with improved bonuses; for example, fusing an attack Materia with an elemental magic Materia can create a new attack skill Materia that inflicts elemental magic damage in addition to physical damage. Special items collected in the game can also be used in Materia fusion to further increase the Materia’s power.
Crisis Core uses a slot machine-like mechanic to affect the combat system. The “Digital Mind Wave” (DMW) features two sets of three spinning wheels; one set with numbers one through seven, and another with pictures of characters that Zack befriends during the game. The DMW automatically spins as long as Zack has at least 10 “Soldier Points”, which are awarded to the player by defeating foes. If the DMW stops with the same three pictures lined up, Zack will then perform an appropriate Limit Break attack that can greatly harm an enemy or significantly heal Zack. Additionally, in this case, if the number slots give two or more of the same number, the Materia in that slot will power up. Should the numbers line up as “777”, Zack will gain an experience level, increasing his health, soldier points, and ability points. Leveling up is based on luck and is somewhat random, no longer determined by experience points. If there is no match in the pictures, matching numbers on the slots will grant temporary bonuses, such as limited invincibility or zero-cost use of skills and abilities. The chance of matching pictures is tied to the current Limit level, which is raised by taking damage in battle and reduced upon successful battles, and after certain storyline events. After collecting certain items in the game, the pictures on the DMW may also randomly change to summonable creatures, which have more destructive and beneficial Limit Breaks should the pictures match up.
Following completion of the game, the player will obtain a New Game Plus option. The North American and European releases of Crisis Core also have an added difficulty mode, which increases the power and health of enemies.
Crisis Core begins seven years before the events of Final Fantasy VII, and many characters from that game and other related works appear. However, the primary characters in the game are from either SOLDIER (the private army of Shinra), or from their elite branch of operatives, the Turks.
The main protagonist is Zack Fair, a young and friendly SOLDIER. His mentor and friend is Angeal Hewley, a 1st class SOLDIER who is also friends with fellow SOLDIER members Sephiroth and Genesis, who ultimately becomes the game’s primary antagonist. The SOLDIER operatives work under Director Lazard, the illegitimate son of President Shinra. Zack is also friends with the Turks, particularly their leader Tseng, and one of their female operatives, Cissnei. During the course of the game, Zack encounters and befriends Aerith, a young woman tending flowers from a ruined church in the Midgar slums. He also befriends Cloud, a Shinra infantryman.
SOLDIER’s Zack Fair and his stern but kind mentor Angeal Hewley are dispatched to Wutai to support the Shinra war effort. However, during the fighting, Angeal disappears. Zack is appointed to find both him and another missing SOLDIER, Genesis Rhapsodos. Zack, accompanied by Tseng, learns that Genesis and Angeal deserted Shinra. Zack and Sephiroth are assigned to kill them. With help from Dr. Hollander, a scientist with a vendetta against Shinra, Genesis creates an army of clones to attack Shinra headquarters. After the forces are defeated, Zack and Sephiroth track down Hollander’s secret laboratory. They learn Hollander used both Genesis and Angeal as part of “Project G”, an attempt to create supersoldiers infused with the extraterrestrial lifeform Jenova’s cells. Sephiroth faces off against Genesis, while Zack pursues Hollander. However Angeal, intent on keeping Hollander alive so he can be returned to normal, prevents Zack from killing the doctor. He knocks Zack into the slums of Midgar.
Zack recovers, finding Aerith tending to him. After spending some time together, Zack returns to SOLDIER headquarters, now under attack by Genesis. Zack re-allies with Angeal, who has developed doubts about his and Genesis’ actions. As Angeal, Zack and Sephiroth protect the headquarters, Angeal confronts Genesis before both disappear. Zack is subsequently ordered to investigate Modeoheim, where Genesis has been spotted. En route, Zack meets Shinra infantryman Cloud, and they become friends. Near Modeoheim, Zack encounters and defeats Genesis, who appears to commit suicide by throwing himself into the depths of a reactor. Zack travels on to Modeoheim, finding both Angeal and Hollander. Tired of the fighting and his gradual degradation, Angeal summons and fuses with his own clones (which resemble canines). He mutates into a monster, forcing Zack to kill him. Before dying, Angeal gives Zack his Buster Sword, telling him to protect his honor.
Whilst Shinra continues the pursuit of Hollander, Genesis re-emerges producing clones. Some of them appeared in Midgar, forcing Zack to return to protect Aerith. Leaving her with an Angeal clone that protects her, Zack travels with Sephiroth and Cloud to investigate a Mako reactor near Nibelheim. Confronting Genesis at the reactor, Sephiroth learns that he is also an experiment, implanted with Jenova’s cells before birth. Genesis explains that his body is degrading, and he needs Sephiroth’s cells to survive, but Sephiroth refuses. Overcome with the recent revelations regarding his past, Sephiroth locks himself in Nibelheim Mansion. He sets Nibelheim ablaze a week later, going to the Mako reactor to take Jenova’s body, wrongfully believing her to be his mother. When Zack fails to stop him, Cloud throws Sephiroth into the Lifestream below the reactor. Zack awakens, finding that Shinra covered-up the Nibelheim incident. Zack also discovers that both he and Cloud have become part of Professor Hojo’s experiments on Jenova cells and Mako exposure. However, Zack is able to escape, taking a catatonic Cloud with him. They immediately become high priority targets for Shinra. While fleeing, Zack learns that Genesis and Hollander are still trying to stabilize Genesis’ mutation, and their plan to use Cloud’s cells (since he is the only one with Sephiroth’s genes).
Hollander tries to get to Cloud, but is killed by Zack. Zack then finds Director Lazard who, now mutated into a humanoid Angeal clone, has turned against Shinra. Lazard directs Zack to the remains of Banora to find Genesis, where he defeats Genesis. Upon returning, he discovers Shinra has located them and killed Lazard. The Angeal clone that was left guarding Aerith arrives, but is also killed. Zack discovers a note he had carried from Aerith, learning he and Cloud were subjected to Hojo’s experiments for four years. As Cloud slowly begins dying of Mako poisoning, he and Zack are hunted by the Turks. Zack convinces them to look the other way, carrying Cloud towards Midgar. Genesis’ body is collected by two soldiers: Nero the Sable and Weiss the Immaculate of Deepground.
Shinra pursue Zack and Cloud, catching up with them just outside Midgar. Tseng and the Turks attempt to rescue Zack against Shinra’s wishes, but are too late. Leaving the still semi-conscious Cloud hidden away, Zack fights off an enormous number of Shinra troops, but is fatally wounded. Cloud manages to crawl to Zack’s body after Shinra leaves. Zack, in his dying breath, bequeaths the Buster Sword to Cloud, as Angeal had done to him. Cloud begins stumbling towards Midgar. Zack is welcomed into the Lifestream by Angeal and wonders if he has become a hero. The epilogue recreates the opening scenes of Final Fantasy VII, as Cloud claims to be a former SOLDIER.
The idea of Crisis Core originated when Hajime Tabata was chosen as director for an upcoming Final Fantasy title for the PlayStation Portable. After discussing with Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase, Tabata decided that the game should be another installment in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, feeling that the pressure of producing a game from a popular series would motivate both the staff and himself. The original idea was to make a PlayStation Portable port of Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, as it had been released for mobile phones and the staff wanted to expand it. However, after deciding Zack was going to be the protagonist of the new game, the idea of a Before Crisis port was canceled.
Kitase wanted to make sure the game exceeded fans’ expectations, so he made sure that rather than making it a “tribute” to Final Fantasy VII, it shared important links with other titles from Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Similarly, Tabata explained that he and the staff were very wary throughout the production of altering the “fans’ perception of Final Fantasy VII’s iconic characters.” For example, one of the main background events from Final Fantasy VII, Nibelheim’s destruction, had been changed somewhat in the OVA Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, and due to negative fan reaction to these change, the game staff decided not to make any major changes in Crisis Core. However, they also operated on the principal that this game dealt with those characters’ “younger days,” so that new elements could be added without changing the characters too much.
One of the primary reasons Zack was chosen as the protagonist was because his fate was predetermined. Kitase stated that Zack’s story had “been cooking for 10 years” as, despite being a minor character in Final Fantasy VII, Nomura had already developed conceptual artwork, and Kazushige Nojima had already worked out a story. The game was originally meant to have more scenes depicting Zack and Cloud’s flight to Midgar, so as to expand on their friendship and unrealized plans, but these scenes were removed due to UMD limitations, and so the staff focused more on Zack’s background as a formidable warrior. The addition of the character of Genesis to the story came about after discussions between producer Hideki Imaizumi and the character’s Japanese voice actor, Gackt, as Imaizumi had been impressed with the characters’ brief appearance in the secret ending to Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, and felt there was great room to expand the character. Sephiroth’s role was specifically written to give him a “much more human side.” The game’s logo represents various main characters; the blue sky symbolizes Zack; the white feather symbolizes Angeal; and the water symbolizes Aerith.
Crisis Core was first envisioned as an action game, but because almost all of the staff had more experience designing RPGs, they decided to modify it, making battles more similar to the ones found in standard RPGs. However, they also added more action orientated elements to the battles, resulting in the game becoming more of an action RPG than a traditional RPG. The Materia system was designed so that players could choose between “RPG-oriented enhancements” and “action-oriented enhancements,” as well as to help with the game’s balance. Additionally, the Digital Mind Wave system (DMW) was added to give gameplay an element of luck, as well as to prevent combat feeling repetitive. Nomura and Kitase wanted to include this in the game because of their enthusiasm for pachinko machines.
The game was first announced at the 2004 E3, prior to the release of the PlayStation Portable. Its first trailer consisted of clips from Last Order. In an interview for Famitsu, Nomura stated that a playable demo of the game would be ready by the end of 2006. However, there was no mention of whether the demo would be openly available to PSP owners. By May 2005, Nomura announced that he had designed the concept art for the game, with the gameplay set to be “interesting” and “previously unseen.” In May 2007, both Nomura and Tabata revealed that the game was 90% complete, and that completing its story mode and all side quests would take about 100 hours of gameplay. A playable demo was made available at Jump Festa ’06.
In June 2022, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Final Fantasy VII, it was announced that a remaster, entitled Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, would be released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Co-developed with Tose, whom previously collaborated with Square Enix for World of Final Fantasy (2016), the graphics have been converted to HD, including new 3D models for all elements. The game will also include a newly-arranged soundtrack and full voice acting for all dialogue. While much of the story will remain the same from the original version, Reunion is part of the larger Final Fantasy VII Remake project, being considered a prequel to the three-part remake series, and will help familiarize players to Zack’s story ahead of his appearance in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Reunion also features an updated combat system that is a combination of the original battle system and “something close” to the one featured in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Many characters are voiced by their English dubbed voice actors from Final Fantasy VII Remake, including Zack Fair (Caleb Pierce), Sephiroth (Tyler Hoechlin), Aerith Gainsborough (Briana White), Cloud Strife (Cody Christian), Tseng (Vic Chao), and Tifa Lockhart (Britt Baron), with additional characters and voice actors including Angeal Hewley (Bill Millsap), Genesis (Shaun Conde), Cissnei (Kayli Mills), Lazard (Francis Ausley), Hollander (Jason Marnocha), and Yuffie Kisaragi (Brandilyn Cheah). Reunion was released on December 13, 2022.
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