Very similar to protagonist Zack Truthful himself, the story of the self-proclaimed country-boy-turned-SOLDIER-First-Class will not be one shrouded in thriller. When you’ve engaged with Ultimate Fantasy VII or any of its varied spin-offs, prequels, remakes, or animated films, likelihood is you perceive the burden of his legacy–which is, coincidentally, solely rivaled by the burden of his sword. Nonetheless, should you’re on the lookout for the definitive strategy to expertise it, look no additional than Disaster Core: Ultimate Fantasy VII Reunion.
A remake of the 2007 PSP unique Disaster Core: Ultimate Fantasy VII, Disaster Core Reunion is a devoted retelling of Zack Truthful’s story with dramatic visible upgrades, full voice appearing, and a number of other quality-of-life modifications. Contemplating the sport was already heralded as a improbable prequel and among the best titles on PSP, it comes as little shock that this model is triumphant in making Disaster Core right into a modern-day must-play for Ultimate Fantasy VII followers. Not solely does Disaster Core Reunion port the as soon as pretty difficult-to-find sport to a number of new consoles, permitting for a better viewers to expertise the title, it transforms the sport from feeling like a smaller, handheld expertise into one thing that may proudly stand beside Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake as a worthy companion.
Disaster Core: Ultimate Fantasy VII Reunion follows Zack Truthful, a talented younger man who rapidly strikes up the rank of soldier–Shinra’s elite combating force–to stand beside different legendary heroes like Genesis, Angeal, and the later-notorious Sephiroth. Nonetheless, as soon as data concerning the assorted experiments Shinra carried out on these elite warriors begins to floor, the 4 colleagues rapidly discover themselves at odds with one another. Inevitably, these tensions set into movement the occasions of Ultimate Fantasy VII, together with Sephiroth’s flip towards insanity, the burning of Nibelheim, and Cloud’s involvement in the entire ordeal. Nonetheless, Disaster Core does not solely exist as a precursor to one thing greater, because it succeeds in weaving an attractive, intimate, and emotionally impactful narrative of its personal.
Lots of that is because of the sport’s protagonist. Whereas Ultimate Fantasy VII’s main man, Cloud Strife, tends to be soft-spoken and a bit moody, Zack is exuberant and terribly likeable. All through the sport, Zack’s mentor, Angeal, likens the fighter to a pet and affectionately teases him for his hyperactivity and eagerness. Nonetheless, when in comparison with the opposite SOLDIER members–like the stoic Angeal, darkish and poetic Genesis, and no-nonsense Sephiroth–Zack is a breath of contemporary air who’s extensively idolized throughout the SOLDIER program (significantly by Cloud) for his proficiency, zeal, and inspiring nature. Outdoors of Shinra, these qualities additionally endear him to our favourite flower lady, Aerith, who shares a short however highly effective love story with Zack, full with long-distance telephone calls and tender letters.
In Disaster Core Reunion, the emotional affect of all these occasions is amplified due to all the sport now having full voice appearing. Whereas some voices may take getting used to, as they differ from the unique Disaster Core’s performances, the brand new voice actors do a improbable job in making the story extra partaking than ever earlier than. This voice appearing additionally profoundly impacts how we view Sephiroth because the story progresses–Tyler Hoechlin’s efficiency makes him much more sympathetic as the reality about his start is slowly dropped at mild and his downward spiral turns into extra heartbreaking. On that word, I used to be delighted to listen to a number of of the sequence’ new voice actors lend their skills to the characters who seem in Disaster Core Reunion, together with Tifa, Aerith, Tseng, Reno, Impolite, and a number of other others. That is all part of Sq. Enix’s push to make Disaster Core extra cohesive with Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake, which it finally does with gusto.
This feat can be completed by how a lot care the staff put into visually upgrading Disaster Core. Each location is lush, intricate, and has been adjusted to extra intently resemble the world we see in Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake, which makes the sport’s journeys to Junon, Costa Del Sol, Nibelheim, Shinra Manor, and Gongaga–areas that we’re but to enterprise to within the remakes, however will see within the future–a bit surreal. In Disaster Core Reunion, we’re presumably getting our first take a look at simply what lies forward for us in Ultimate Fantasy VII Rebirth, which, should you’re a die-hard fan, makes the sport well-worth taking part in in itself. As somebody who has spent the previous couple of years craving to see what wandering all through Shinra Manor will really feel like, or how grand the streets of Junon may really feel as Cloud is tasked with parading down them, it was an emotional expertise to see even a much less graphically intensive glimpse at what’s on the horizon.
Disaster Core’s gameplay techniques stay intact, albeit streamlined and remapped in improbable methods. These not conversant in the gameplay will discover it to be uncommon however thrilling. Slightly than Ultimate Fantasy VII’s turn-based system, Disaster Core Reunion options fast-paced action-style fight. Whereas the sport’s simplistic hacking, slashing, and blocking is a enjoyable time by itself, with difficult enemies requiring quick reflexes and fast planning, Zack also can equip as much as six items of materia, which grant him spells and talents he can use in battle. Within the unique Disaster Core, biking via all these fight choices could possibly be daunting, as you had been compelled to make use of R1 and L1 to scroll via all of them, then hit X on which one you wished to make use of. In Disaster Core Reunion, this has been fully overhauled, as you now can maintain R1 and assign all these talents to numerous buttons to make fight much less irritating and extra environment friendly.
Disaster Core Reunion additionally improves one of many unique sport’s most notable options: the Digital Thoughts Wave. Additionally known as the DMW, it is a continuously spinning, slot machine-style fight enhancer that lurks within the higher left nook of your display throughout fight. The icons featured on the slots are characters and summons you meet all through the sport, with characters offering you with restrict breaks primarily based on Zack’s relationship to them, and summons granting you the power to, effectively, summon them. As your relationships with sure characters are altered, you change into kind of more likely to see them make an look within the DMW. In idea, it is an extremely unusual characteristic, as this slot machine is chargeable for permitting you to dish out your hardest-hitting strikes in addition to degree up. In execution, nevertheless, the DMW is extraordinarily enjoyable and satisfying, usually understanding pretty effectively for gamers whereas additionally introducing a component of randomness to battles that hold them contemporary.
Within the unique Disaster Core, this characteristic did earn some criticism for its “modulating part,” which might grind battles to a halt because the slots took up all the display. These phases not exist, although Disaster Core Reunion will nonetheless interrupt battles to point out temporary cutscenes when the slots land on sure characters. Contemplating the time we get with Zack is so temporary, I discovered these cutscenes not solely fascinating to observe, however wanted. As an extroverted one who is supremely dedicated to the individuals round him (simply check out what number of textual content messages the man will get), having this mechanic the place Zack’s relationships play a job on his psychological state–and subsequently the way in which he battles–is an excellent alternative that tells us loads about him with out including hours onto Disaster Core’s story. All these distinctive qualities create a tangible distinction in Ultimate Fantasy VII and Disaster Core’s gameplay, which drives simply how completely different Zack and Cloud really are.
Disaster Core additionally options materia fusion, which lets you take leveled up materia and mix it with different sorts to create new and extra highly effective spells and talents. Whereas grinding materia out in Ultimate Fantasy VII was arguably already enjoyable, the implementation of this fusion system makes it much more satisfying. Slightly than merely elevating how highly effective your Fira turns into, materia fusion means that you can create totally new spells all collectively, resembling combining stated Fira with Assault Tornado to create Fira Blade, a capability that inflicts magic injury whereas not utilizing MP. Moreover, you’ll be able to add objects throughout fusion that, when geared up on Zack, alter his stats. I spent a variety of time managing and fusing my materia whereas taking part in Disaster Core Reunion, and regardless of being somebody who does not essentially love crafting, I loved each minute of it.
Nonetheless, not all of Disaster Core Reunion’s grinds have aged fairly as effectively. For starters, the sport has far too many random battles. At instances, I discovered myself sprinting with Zack pressed up towards the sport’s partitions to keep away from being within the centralized areas that set off them. Moreover, Disaster Core Reunion has loads of facet missions. Contemplating the sport was initially created to exist on a handheld console, it’s comprehensible: Every of those missions final for a couple of minutes and could be preferrred to play via in case you have a couple of spare minutes whereas out and about. Faraway from that context when performed on a console, these missions aren’t as satisfying. And, contemplating how comparable they’re even when the background tales are barely completely different, they rapidly develop repetitive.
That being stated, Disaster Core Reunion is marketed as a direct remake, so it is sensible it is all there and I can not fault the studio for carrying over pre-existing content material an excessive amount of. Even so, the sport would have enormously benefited from discovering methods to make this content material extra worthwhile and fewer outdated in really feel. Actually the one characteristic I’d argue was woefully uncared for by the studio is the sport’s dialogue, which might come throughout as awkward and really “early 2000s JRPG” in really feel. That is exacerbated by simply how unbelievable the dialogue modifications and additions had been in Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake, which enhanced already-fantastic characters in addition to made the general story deeper and extra understandable. Whereas Disaster Core Reunion didn’t got down to increase or reimagine the identical manner Remake did, a couple of alterations–and much less awkward pauses from Aerith–would have gone a great distance.
Finally, should you go into Disaster Core Reunion anticipating a one-for-one remake of Disaster Core, quirks and all, you’ll not be the slightest bit upset. It’s a enormously improved model of an incredible sport, one that every one Ultimate Fantasy VII followers looking forward to extra story would profit from taking part in. When you should not anticipate any new content material or story revisions (honest apologies to all of you who had been hoping, I will admit I used to be too), you’ll be able to anticipate a robust ode to the kindest man you may ever meet and the legacy he handed on.