I will write about Final Fantasy at any given opportunity. This game series changed my life and probably directed me into the career I’m in now. In fact, I remember my first FF foray like it was yesterday… My older brother got Final Fantasy 9 for Christmas one year, we excitedly popped it into the PS1, the gorgeous opening cutscene started, the Tantalus theater ship flew across the sky, and we couldn’t imagine anything looking better. From there we went back to play 7 and 8, and these are some of the most cherished memories of my childhood.
Now, despite 9 being my first FF, 7 is my absolute favorite. I play through the original once or twice a year, my best friend and I shared a PSP to play Crisis Core on the school playground huddled together under a hoodie to block out the sun, I took the week off work to play the Remake, and received the platinum trophy not long after. I’ve beaten Ruby and Emerald Weapon, cried over certain characters’ deaths, and rode my gold chocobo to pick up Knights of the Round.
I know that was a long preamble, but I feel you need to know my background in case a certain wave of nostalgia or bias comes across in this review. However, I’m going to give you my honest opinion in this Final Fantasy Ever Crisis review.
So… What is Final Fantasy Ever Crisis? Well, in the most basic of descriptions, it’s a mobile-exclusive free-to-play gacha RPG that covers the entire FF7 compilation. On launch, this includes The First Soldier – a story set 18 years before the events of Final Fantasy 7 and includes a young Sephiroth, Crisis Core – the story of Zack Fair, a soldier who hopes to become First Class, and the OG FF7. Square Enix has also confirmed Before Crisis, Dirge of Cerberus, and Advent Children will arrive in the future.
The current version doesn’t feature the full stories, but you can expect to receive a new chapter every month. So far, each arc deviates ever so slightly from what you may remember from the originals. As an example, Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie from OG 7 tasked me with taking down some baddies and I got to bond with them a little more outside of the normal hustle and bustle of blowing up a reactor.
The beginning of Crisis Core does this too, but in a less fun way. It tossed me into some pretty surface-level combat scenarios that could easily be skipped or added in later so I could hurry up and enjoy the story. Outside of these deviations, they seem pretty faithful to the source material, and the chapters are split up into such palatable little chunks that I would call this the best way to experience the compilation for those of you with massive game backlogs and little time to sink into a 25-year-old, 40-hour RPG.
As for the gameplay itself, it verges into visual novel territory at points, with a lot of the running around done for you. There are small segments and side quests that allow you to wander about, but most of the main story traversal is done for you. The main meat of the game is its combat. Ever Crisis uses the active time battle (ATB) system, which allows you to swap between characters and time how you use skills to lower the enemy’s health and knock down any shields they may put up.
I think this combat is a good middle ground for fans of both the Remake and OG FF7, with it being simple to start but taking some work to truly master. As someone who loves turn-based games, I can’t say this is right up my alley, but I can see myself warming up to it. Another thing worth noting is that like many other gacha games, if you don’t like the battle mechanics you can turn on auto-combat so the game takes care of it for you. When it comes to taking on harder enemies, you need to equip better weapons that give you stronger skills and boost your stats if you hope to stand a chance… This is where the gacha element comes in.
In FFEC, all of the story content is free, which I think is amazing, as I expected to have to pay for chapters after getting hooked. Instead, you must use a slew of different currencies to roll for weapons for each character (check out our Final Fantasy Ever Crisis tier list for my thoughts on the best ones). On top of that, each weapon can come in different rarities, and you need certain materials to level them up. Now, I’m aware most gacha games throw currency at new players like there’s no tomorrow, but so far I’ve not had to spend any money while still getting all the weapons I want and taking down enemies with ease.
I have no doubt that as the difficulty ramps up it will become harder to level up my items and the stream of currency will slow, but at the moment I believe anyone who just wants to enjoy the story should be able to make it through without spending a cent. There’s also a co-op combat mode that allows you to team up with other players to take on tough enemies. I can see this mode being dominated by pay-to-winners at some point in the future, but my five-star Murasame and I are feeling pretty good right now.
I play a lot of gacha games in my spare time, so I may have a different opinion on how predatory they are compared to a AAA console gamer, but if I’m able to get 40+ hours out of a free-to-play game I generally don’t mind tossing them a dollar or two to pick up some extra goodies and show appreciation for the devs hard work. If things start to get dire, I’ll be sure to let you know.
Finally, I’m going to go over how the game performs. I have played on both my iPad Pro (2nd Generation) and my Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 and think I may prefer playing the game on a smaller screen. My iPad stretches things out a little and it’s a bit muddier than on my phone, however, the performance seems pretty similar on both devices with slight framerate drops happening during particularly taxing cutscenes.
So, do I like Final Fantasy Ever Crisis and did it meet my expectations? Absolutely! The gacha mechanics seem fairly unintrusive, the mix between an illustrative anime style during loading screens, the chibi character models, and 3D combat segments are absolutely lovely, and the quickfire story segments mean I can pick up and play the game whenever I need an FF fix. You have nothing to lose by trying out this free-to-play game, and I highly recommend it to any fan of the series or any Remake-only fans who want to get a taste of the original.
As the game grows and progresses, my opinion may change on how predatory the gacha mechanics are, and I’ll be sure to let you know if they do, but the current state of the game has me hooked and I will sink many more hours in to complete dailies and level up my weapons. For more content like this check out our Final Fantasy Ever Crisis codes and Final Fantasy Ever Crisis chocobo expedition guide.
Final Fantasy Ever Crisis review
An intriguing new take on a Final Fantasy 7 remake, Ever Crisis has a whimsical art style, new insight into beloved characters, and a delightful soundtrack. It’s a must-play for any fan of the series. Oh boy, I just really love Final Fantasy.