- Hug The Walls To Ditch The Stalls
- Skip The DMW Drip
- Orange Is The New Blue
- No Shame To Mini-Games
- Missions: Impossible
- Don't Frown At Phoenix Down
- The Fusion Solution
- Magic Is Magical
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is one of those remasters that will likely be played by newcomers and returning veterans in equal measure. The original Crisis Core, after all, came out for PlayStation Portable — a modestly successful handheld in the West, perhaps, but hardly a big enough deal for every Final Fantasy aficionado to have given the game a try.
But even those who are back for a second trip with plucky hero Zack Fair may find enough has been tweaked with Reunion's gameplay to warrant a glance at our tips. So sit back, pretend you're Zack reading a company tutorial email, and ahead we go.
Hug The Walls To Ditch The Stalls
While it's typically not as big a deal on main quests, you may find that certain missions — those 300 (!) gradually-unlocked optional stages — are putting a real drain on you. Ordinary encounters pile up, after all. Maybe you're running low on Potions, Ethers, or Somas. Maybe you're just plain dying. Whatever the case, there's a way around it.
Quite literally, in fact. By hugging the walls, you can bypass most regular fights. Keeping Zack brushing up against the perimeter of the many corridor-like zones in Crisis Core's missions prevents the game to register that you've stepped into a spawn point. You can tell where spawn points are because the relatively narrow landscape opens up to accommodate battling.
You'll want to fight at least sometimes, or else Zack won't level up often and neither will his Materia. But, especially in missions (which are infinitely replayable), there's not much point in tackling every last one of them. Or even half of them, really.
Skip The DMW Drip
See that triangle button prompt at the bottom-right of the screen? That's your best friend. Or rather, whatever button is marked for you on your console or PC of choice is your best friend. You're going to want to skip things, we promise.
Specifically, Zack's Limit Breaks. Watching them the first time is fun. Watching them the tenth is not. Limit Breaks involve fairly lengthy, flashy sequences that can seriously hamper the flow of combat. So do summons. Summoned monsters with prolonged animations isn't exactly new to the Final Fantasy series, and their epic nature makes them a spectacle. But you'll be happier witnessing that spectacle only sometimes.
Orange Is The New Blue
When you're about to trigger an interaction with an NPC, there are two colors that will appear once you're within range to do so: orange and blue. If it's blue, you'll receive flavor text about the world and story, which is great and all, but hardly mandatory. If the picture is orange, on the other hand, some form of new content unlocks through the conversation.
Be on the lookout for these characters throughout your playthrough of Crisis Core. Note that they'll often appear as marked places of interest on your map as well, especially when you're touring Sector 8 and eventually Sector 5. So, get in the habit of checking your map often during non-story downtime.
No Shame To Mini-Games
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion may be a linear affair in many ways, but it's not without its fun diversions. Some of these, like the missile-slicing mini-game in Chapter Two that's featured in our pic here, occur naturally as part of the story. Engaging with others will be entirely up to your discretion.
For the record, we heartily recommend engaging with every mini-game, and aiming to do your best in each. While the missile-slicing tidbit isn't repeatable (short of reloading a save, of course) several of them are. Aiming for whatever their individual equivalent of a 'high score' is should be a priority. The rewards for doing well are typically worth your effort.
Some missions will unlock at set periods of time within the main story. Some are tied to other variables. The majority, however, simply unlock upon completion of another. This feedback loop — a mission opens another mission, which in turn opens another — is something you'll be quite familiar with before long.
Don't be discouraged if you hit bumps in the road that force you to come back to one later. Actually, we dare say this will happen, guaranteed. Keep an eye on the number of stars attached to each. This is a gauge of the overall difficulty. But even then, depending on your Materia setup and similar factors, you may find that some missions with a lower star count are tripping you more than supposedly harder fare.
Leave these comparably hardcore affairs for further on, periodically checking in again to see if you're up to snuff.
Don't Frown At Phoenix Down
We know what some Final Fantasy fans are thinking. "If there's only one playable character, what's the point in Phoenix Downs?" For the uninitiated, using Phoenix Downs in battle in most Final Fantasy games resurrects a character from being incapacitated. So, how do they work when you don't have anybody else left to access them once Zack's brought down?
Phoenix Downs in your inventory are automatically accessed if Zack is defeated, restoring him from the brink with full HP, MP, and AP. This makes them so good, they're pretty much game-breaking. Hence, until a very late-game optional super-boss, they will be extremely scarce.
There's a woman downstairs in the Shinra Building, though. Go talk to her whenever you can between missions and main quests. She'll hook you up with one Phoenix Down, free of charge. She won't always be there, but when she is, she might just be one of Zack's low-key best friends.
The Fusion Solution
The ability to fuse two Materia into a new one becomes available for players around the start of Crisis Core's third chapter. Do not underestimate this value proposition. Whenever you gain new Materia, consult the Materia Fusion system and see if you can fuse it for something even better.
Zack's stats can be elevated to a truly incredible degree this way, even before you eventually gain the chance to add an item into the mix. At that point, the sky's the limit. If you fiddle around enough, tapping into higher-level Materia and previewing the results, you can continually enhance Materia with stat boosts applied. The difference in the early game between, say, ordinary Magic strength and Magic boosted by 20-something is huge.
Toward the end, and surely in the hardest missions, Materia Fusion be comes vital. Bringing Zack's HP hundreds of percent higher than its default, for instance will make the difference between survival and game over against some attacks.
Magic Is Magical
Don't get us wrong. AP-based attacks are great. Regular strikes are good for raising their power, and sometimes they're simply the best way to go against weaker foes. But spells in Crisis Core are better than most are in many other Final Fantasy titles.
Magic is mighty. Early access to something like Fira or Blizzara can hold enemies at bay. (Fun tip: Fire spells are good for multi-target coverage, which is why their actual damage is somewhat low relative to Thunder and especially Ice). The -aga' spells, Quake, and so forth are that much niftier, and curative stuff is just as handy to have around. Barrier and MBarrier can mitigate otherwise-deadly blows against you, too.
Try to boost Zack's Magic stat with accessories, and consider focusing on doing so with Materia Fusion as well. Along similar lines, MP Plus Materia is excellent once its boosts are impressive enough. There's a reason spells don't come cheap.
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