Final Fantasy VII features some of the most beloved characters in video game history, and a key part of that has always been the dynamic love triangle of Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith. For decades, fans have had differing opinions on who is best for Cloud, but the spinoff crisis core, released for the first time on PSP in 2007, puts an end to this debate in a rather eloquent way. The prequel’s story focuses on the budding romance between Zack Fair and Aerith, and Crisis team meeting makes this relationship more heartwarming — and heartbreaking — than ever before. As a warning, there will be spoilers ahead for crisis core.
It is likely that many fans are not very familiar with crisis core, as the game never saw a release outside of the PSP, and never even saw a digital release. This prequel begins seven years before the events of Final Fantasy 7and next PRIVATE 2nd Class Zack Fair.
Who would you rather date: Cloud or Zack? Let us know!
It turns out that Zack is a character of vital importance to the overall narrative of Final Fantasy 7, and halfway through the game he falls through the roof of a church and is woken up by Aerith, which probably sounds familiar. Zack is immediately in love with her. As a reward for saving him, he promises a date together.
the original Final Fantasy 7 had vague references to Aerith’s former boyfriend who was in SOLDIER, but crisis core quickly makes the case for the ship “Zerith” as one of the best romances in the entire franchise.
This first “date” between the two is filled with extremely cute scenes, as Zack buys Aerith her signature pink ribbon, works with her to stop a pickpocket, and talks to townspeople who comment “what a cute couple they are.” “. It basically feels like the video game equivalent of a cute encounter, but their relationship becomes so much more complex in the hours that follow.
Aerith becomes Zack’s only source of comfort from all the terrible things he’s been going through. As his faith in Shinra crumbles, he feels like the foundations of his entire life are crumbling as well. Aerith is the one constant he can rely on. Some excellent writings in crisis core creates a scintillating chemistry between the two, and it’s a pleasure to watch their dynamic grow and change, especially in this remastered version of the game.
A particularly poignant scene takes place after Zack loses a comrade in battle and breaks down in tears in the church. Without words, Aerith simply throws her arms around Zack, and the two sit there in quiet silence.
These two characters are people bound by their destiny with separate obligations and destinies. No matter how genuine their relationship is, these two are star-crossed lovers for sure. There’s another side to all of this too, of course, given how close Cloud and Aerith are years after. crisis core.
Zack’s relationship with Aerith doesn’t negate any feelings Aerith might have had for Cloud per se, but rather gives it a new dimension. Aerith initially sees a lot of Zack in Cloud, where the initial attraction comes from, but the events of Final Fantasy VII Remake show that the two are already growing to understand each other on a more personal level.
Because crisis core is a prequel, we know Zack is going to be killed by Shinra, but the game’s absolutely stunning ending puts a heartbreaking arc to Zack and Aerith’s romance.
After waking up in the Shinra Mansion and escaping, Zack finally learns that he slept for four years, and during that time Aerith sent him 89 letters. Zack rushes to Midgar to find Aerith, but a legion of Shinra troops stand in his way.
The final battle of crisis core is a brilliant moment where all the game mechanics come together to support the narrative. As Zack hacks into dozens of Shinra soldiers, the DMW slot system begins to crumble and people important to Zack, like Cissnei and Sephiroth, disappear from his mind. In the end, the only remaining figure in the DMW is Aerith, as she is the only thing Zack’s mind and emotions can focus on. As the gunshots continue to riddle Zack’s body, the DMW gets completely stuck on Aerith’s image and the screen fades to black.
The Final Fantasy franchise has no shortage of complex romances, but Aerith and Zack remain one of the most charming. During the dozen hours of crisis core playtime, you really feel like these two are perfect for each other. Chemistry aside, their personalities just synergize so well. That’s what makes crisis coreZack’s story is so heartbreaking, and what makes Zack’s potential return in Final Fantasy VII Revival so enticing.
Subscribe to Inverse Daily for more stories about games, science and entertainment you won’t find anywhere else.