Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion – Every Major Character, Ranked

How do you rank a cast like Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion's? Well. Fairly easily, really. You start with the ones you don't care for, moving on until you've reached the cream of the (Banora) crop. But what are the qualifiers? Crisis Core isn't exactly known for its subtlety. For better or worse, characters wear their hearts on their sleeve like Genesis wears fashionable attire.

But even in a script so… direct, individual personalities shine through. And if nothing else, some of these people are just ridiculously fashionable. We've narrowed down the list of the biggest who's-whos to a totally-even 11, and we just can't wait to share it with you.

There will be spoilers!

11/11 Hollander

With due apologies to the three or fewer diehard Hollander fans of the world, but this guy is just the definition of whatever. He's a scientist and a rival of Hojo's, but whereas Hojo has the mad scientist archetype down to a — forgive us — science, Hollander is just some dude.

That's not inherently a bad thing. Mundaneness in a world filled with melodramatics is fine. But not when the mundane is so meh. Hollander's spiteful, and we guess he sells it? But the spite just permeates, and we never see much else. His dedication to 'scientific progress' is there, but what else?

Plus, how in heck's name does he outrun Zack in Chapter Three? How? Yes, Zack keeps getting ambushed, but look at their sprinting speeds. They're identical. Is this guy some secret SOLDIER 1st Class? Or did he just low-key install Sonic-esque speed shoes and not tell anybody? In fact, you know what, that's the only interesting thing about Hollander, is that he runs faster than he should. Props.

10/11 Angeal Hewley

Okay, this one might actually offend some fans. Angeal, in our estimation, is not great. Or even good. Genesis gets a bad rap for his dialogue, and we totally get that, but Angeal is just as bad or worse. He's like a prototype for how most of Final Fantasy 13's cast regurgitates the same four or five 'keywords' in every sentence or something.

Honor and dreams. Honor and dreams. Dreams and honor. Dreams and honor. Dare we say it: Dreams honor and. You can splice these three words into anything, and it'll sound like an Angeal quote. That's a neat trick, but also remarkable evidence that he's kind of a walking trope. What makes him passable is, of course, his mentorship toward Zack and the mystery of his goals after leaving early on.

It works. But boy howdy, does the trademark 'Compilation of Final Fantasy 7' sub-series angst skyrocket later to comical-but-not-actually-funny levels.

9/11 Yuffie Kisaragi

Huzzah! We've exited the field of characters we just don't think are good, and entered the realm of Yuffie Kisaragi. Nine years old and full of spunk, prequel Yuffie is a menace. As Zack puts it, she can also turn on the waterworks (read: cry abruptly, as kids so often do) 'like a faucet.' And whereas that might sound irritating, and okay, maybe it is irritating, it's also hilarious, so let's let it slide.

Yuffie's only major downfall is that, apart from the beginning, she doesn't really factor into anything save for side missions. These side missions are suitably quirky, and the flavor helps alleviate Crisis Core's recurring issue with missions all taking place in the same set of just a few locations. The rewards are great, too. But it's just not enough for the kid to leave as lasting an impact as she could have.

8/11 Lazard Deusericus

We like Lazard. Especially in his high-definition makeover, he's got something of a blond Ignis thing going on, so he can probably cook. He was born in the Midgar Slums, too, so we bet he adores cooking. You know, you grow up with canned beans and whatever, and when you make it big like Lazard has, you have a deeper appreciation for roasted duck than other Shinra higher-ups.

Lazard's hidden distaste toward Shinra is his story arc's big twist, and it's a solid one. In a game that sometimes seems to paint Shinra almost too nicely as a company, the guy who gave Zack orders in the first few chapters ending up reminding us of their evil ways from a position of relative sympathy is a good surprise.

Plus, the Angeal copy Lazard becomes somehow manages to be more interesting than Angeal himself. Dang.

7/11 Tseng

Tseng's a strange case, isn't he? Not many Western players know this (although perhaps the game's inclusion in the upcoming mobile game Ever Crisis will help) but the Japan-only Before Crisis: Final Fantasy 7 not only intersects at many points with Crisis Core's plot, but the Turks in particular are much more fleshed-out if you're familiar with their dual roles in both titles.

So, where does that leave Tseng with regard to Crisis Core and only Crisis Core, as will no doubt be the case for most of us? He's cool, he's suave, he's great with a gun, he's nobler than he lets on. All good things. But he's also in possession of a more minimal role than would have been ideal, with several sequences that might have benefited with his appearance, especially in the back half of the game.

Still, the leader of the Turks (whose role is large enough relative to Reno and Rude that we're including him on our list and not them) is a memorable fellow worthy of our praise.

6/11 Aerith Gainsborough

The lass destined to become one of Final Fantasy 7's chief protagonists plays an important role in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion as well. Fans of the original FF7 know full well that Aerith's relationship with Zack Fair in her youth marks a major milestone in her life, and it's clear she still harbors feelings for him even well after sensing his death. Cloud's similarities to Zack are, after all, a large part of why she takes such a shine to him.

Flower-selling church-dwelling adolescent Aerith has an excellent dynamic with SOLDIER-status tower-dwelling adolescent Zack. Their scenes together are, in a word, charming. Who doesn't enjoy Aerith's burgeoning willful nature, especially with knowledge of how it manifests after Crisis Core has ended? We'd build a better wagon for this kind yet somewhat hard-headed sass queen any day.

5/11 Cloud Strife

Young Cloud falls in love with Zack, let's be real. Maybe it's platonic, maybe it's more than the writers let on, maybe it's more than the writers realize, but regardless it's adorable. It's wonderful to see the kid for as long as we do in Crisis Core, and his Reunion style is superb.

Ultimately, as good as he is, Cloud's 'just' a highly impressionable lad who wishes he was something more. That wish plays vividly into FF7, of course. Here, it's just cute. Still, Cloud is Cloud. Especially before the post-FF7 phase of Compilation, at which point Cloud is mope incarnate. We love Cloud, though he'd rank higher if he was around more. Not that it'd make sense if he were, but still!

4/11 Genesis Rhapsodos

Here is where we doubtless lose a bunch of readers. Surely, at least some of you were anticipating Crisis Core's leading villain to have come in dead last. It's no state secret his reception is mixed at best, especially in the West. (In Japan, the fact that he's modeled after and even voiced by rock star Gackt is a colossal point in his popularity favor.)

So, here's the thing. Yes, at least every other line Genesis ever spouts is from a fictional play called Loveless. Yes, he is angst personified. And yes, his constant holier-than-thou antics toward Zack make him eminently punchable. One could easily argue that, given he's whisked away rather than fully slain only to appear goofily at the end of Dirge of Cerberus with an arc left unresolved, there is basically nothing about this dude that works.

That's where our confession comes into play. We love that Genesis loves Loveless. We adore his angst; somehow, it feels different, more unique, than Angeal's run-of-the-mill recital. And hey, it's not his fault he's forced to survive Crisis Core's aftermath only to pop up like a silly billy for a single scene in a separate game.

We'll give you one thing, though. Yeah, like we said, totally punchable.

3/11 Cissnei

It's simple to categorize Cissnei as 'the other woman', the gal who isn't Aerith, so she doesn't romance Zack, but he sure does think about her a few times. (Insert joke here about his 'heightened emotions' mid-mission immediately after meeting her for the first time.) But to label the lass so dismissively would be a shame.

Cissnei is plenty of things Aerith is not, which helps to establish her as very much her own character, and for our money, a more interesting one within the confines of Crisis Core itself. Her professionalism makes her something of a consummate Turk, whilst her kindness and consideration help to remind us all that the Turks aren't necessarily a terrible organization to begin with. And she's a member of Zack's fan club. That's gold.

Come back to us in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, Cissnei. Tell us your real name.

2/11 Zack Fair

We chose a picture from Final Fantasy 7 Remake for the guy who is, in fact, Crisis Core's hero. We know. But it stands as a reminder that Zack's story is, somehow, not over yet. Whether by the Planet's antics, Sephiroth's, heck, maybe even Genesis', oh wouldn't that just tingle the fandom, some facet of him is alive and kicking. Or at least, hobbling.

But that's enough about that. We're talking Crisis Core here, and Zack is, as Angeal says in one of that guy's few good lines, a puppy. He's an adorable puppy. A lovable puppy who just doesn't get things until, near the end of his life, he starts to get them. But his heart is pure, his dreams are pure, he's purity incarnate, but with a sword that'll put down any wrongdoers.

Zack becomes Cloud's ideal image for a reason, and while the more complicated Mr. Strife is probably the more intriguing protagonist, the natural-20 charisma of Mr. Fair is aces.

Speaking of Cloud, where the heck is he on our list, right? We've decided to exclude him, not because he doesn't feature importantly, but because relative to the rest of this gang, he's something of a side character. A bigger deal than, say, Reno, and it's nifty to see him in his younger, impressionable self for a more lengthy ordeal, but still not a huge deal.

1/11 Sephiroth

The hero of a prequel is narrowly bested by the villain of its sequel. Crisis Core's Sephiroth has serious swag. We like him in both his English voice actors' iterations, albeit perhaps for different reasons; whereas George Newbern gave him a pleasant sarcastic streak, the newer fellow, Tyler Hoechlin, seems to match Sephiroth's introspective self rather well.

Crisis Core has a couple of climaxes, but the one we reckon most folks remember best involves the events of Nibelheim. It is, after all, the foundational chapter for many of the broader happenings in Final Fantasy 7. Here, Sephiroth continues to shine, with Reunion's lush graphics giving the famous scenes another lease on life.

We know it's old hat to say this, but that doesn't prevent it from being true: Sephiroth is cool. And while his coolest stuff is yet to come at this point in the timeline, he manages to imbue so many of his lines with the kind of foreshadowing befitting of a man who has not yet dreamed of Reunion.

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