Experiencing one of the vital essential elements of the lauded Last Fantasy 7 saga has been harder than it must be in the previous few years. Till just lately, taking part in the unique Disaster Core: Last Fantasy 7, which got here out 15 years in the past, required the long-since discontinued PlayStation Transportable. In case you didn’t have already got it, you’d doubtless need to pay round $250 to expertise one sport. Fortunately, we now have Disaster Core: Last Fantasy 7 Reunion, the definitive — and accessible — manner of experiencing the prequel to one of the vital revered video games of all time, and its thrilling trendy remake.
Disaster Core: Last Fantasy 7 Reunion isn’t a full remake — no less than, not in the best way 2020’s formidable Last Fantasy 7 Remake was. It additionally isn’t a easy remaster. As an alternative, it’s someplace in between — an enthralling reimagining that confidently portrays Disaster Core on trendy phrases, flaws and all, and asks you to come back alongside for the experience. Is that experience good, or something that measures as much as Last Fantasy 7 Remake and even the unique Last Fantasy 7? In no way. Is it value taking? Completely. Particularly now, as these characters head in fascinating instructions within the upcoming Last Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
The story of Disaster Core follows not the long-lasting Cloud Strife however Zack Truthful, an outgoing man who’s as able to doling out a uniquely warmhearted kindness as he’s of decimating no matter targets the company Shinra assigns to him. He turns into a rising star among the many ranks of the paramilitary group referred to as SOLDIER, falls in love, and earns the boldness to brush off his pessimistic boss. In different phrases, he’s in his prime. It’s onerous to not be instantly enamored by his boundless optimism and overeager nature. However these goals turn out to be difficult as he finds himself entangled in an internet of mysteries when his mentor, Angeal, immediately disappears. Zack is tasked with discovering him and Genesis, a first-class SOLDIER member who has abandoned the group and is, crucially, a recognized buddy of the warfare hero Sephiroth.
It’s a narrative with loads of jargon, nevertheless it’s straightforward to observe, particularly when you overlook a number of the writing’s imperfections. Genesis is an irritating major antagonist who can’t cease quoting traces from a fictional play he’s obsessive about; some character motivations are flimsy; many quiet and emotional moments aren’t given sufficient room to breathe. Nonetheless, it’s a touching story about id, the frayed bonds between buddies as they irrevocably change, and the legacies we depart behind. By the tip, it lands all of the emotional beats essential to make the ending one of the vital memorable within the Last Fantasy sequence.
In an aesthetic sense, Disaster Core: Last Fantasy 7 Reunion is gorgeous. Typically, the visible modifications are sufficient to make you neglect you’re taking part in by way of 15-year-old content material. The outdated visuals by no means captured how the solar’s rays kiss the leaves of a Banora White tree, for example, or the raise of Aerith’s eyebrows conveying her uncertainty at a time when she was youthful, extra naive, and falling in love. And whereas some new cutscenes are sharpened to the purpose of being grainy, the general heightened stage of element ends in a Disaster Core that’s altogether extra expressive than the unique.
The unique Disaster Core is notable for its peculiar fight system, and it’s been refined to stream extra easily in 2022. As was the case within the unique, materia — the objects that help you use magic and execute fight strikes — are linked to sure spells and skills, and help you mess around with completely different builds. For instance, you’ll be able to go for a low-AP construct that depends solely on materia that makes use of AP. (This makes the sport harder, nevertheless it’s admittedly straightforward on Regular mode, and a few gamers might want extra of a problem.) Or, you’ll be able to go for a high-magic, high-MP construct and forged spells to take advantage of enemy weaknesses to your coronary heart’s content material. Whilst you solely play as one character, you’ll be able to bend the principles a good quantity.
The fight’s central mechanic, the Digital Thoughts Wave, weaves narrative and gameplay to offer snippets of characterization alongside restrict breaks, standing buffs, and even stage will increase for Zack or his materia. It’s a bit just like the convoluted Last Fantasy 8 junction system in that it’s inelegant and extra difficult than it must be, however refreshing in its unconventionality. Last Fantasy 7 Reunion additionally provides a brand new combo system, and a window of time when you’ll be able to disrupt an enemy’s strongest assault. Lastly, there’s a brand new shortcut menu on your materia. These modifications could sound minor, however they rework a battle system I used to be as soon as ambivalent about into an absolute blast.
It’s very important that Disaster Core is definitely enjoyable to play, since you spend a lot of the sport combating, and the intuitive enhancements assist the pacing immeasurably between vital story beats. Facet missions — which unlock new materia and tools — play out precisely as they did within the unique: You enter an remoted space, kill some monsters, and get your rewards. However because of the mechanical enhancements, these detours aren’t endeavors you’ll dread; as a substitute, you’ll doubtless end up doing simply yet one more earlier than returning to the primary story. Whenever you do, you’ll be laden with rewards that may appear nearly too good for the quantity of labor you place in.
Disaster Core: Last Fantasy 7 Reunion is a brief and candy affair, coming in at about 12 hours. Nonetheless, it is important to the canon of Last Fantasy 7, particularly when taking the surprising ending of Last Fantasy 7 Remake into consideration. It’s a worthwhile journey to absorb 2022, even when only for Zack alone — as a contemporary alternative to get to know the person who has deeply formed Cloud, Aerith, and most of the saga’s iconic characters. Disaster Core: Last Fantasy 7 Reunion was by no means going to be as impactful because the incredible Last Fantasy 7 Remake, however as we inch nearer to Last Fantasy 7 Rebirth, it’s effectively definitely worth the foray — particularly now that so many tough edges have been smoothed over.
Disaster Core: Last Fantasy 7 Reunion will likely be launched on Dec, 13 on Nintendo Change, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Home windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Sequence X. The sport was reviewed on PC utilizing a pre-release obtain code offered by Sq. Enix. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media could earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. You will discover further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.