Absolutely beautiful cut scenes, a captivating story with average but often repetitive gameplay!
TITLE: CRISIS CORE: FINAL FANTASY VII (クライシス コア -ファイナルファンタジ)
COMPANY: SQUARE ENIX
ESRB RATING: T for TEEN. Blood, mild language, mild suggestive themes and violence
THE STORY CONTINUES WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…
Welcome to the next video game inspired by the “Final Fantasy VII” series.
Taking a short break from the other “Square Enix” hit game “The World Ends with You” for the Nintendo DS, I immediately shifted gears to a game that I have been wanting to play and put some time into.
From the point of watching the beautiful cut scenes from the introduction, which are just as beautiful for CGI animation for those of us who watched “Advent Children”, I was as giddy as a “Final Fantasy” fanboy to see how things began and getting to know more about SOLDIER (the group that FF VII protagonist Cloud was a member of).
The story of “CRISIS CORE” takes place seven years prior to the events of “Final Fantasy VII”.
The Shinra Company is rapidly increasing its influence through its monopoly on mako energy and military might and establishing its dominance over the world.
SOLDIER is a group of skilled combat operatives within Shinra and those strong enough become SOLDIER 1st Class.
The main storyline focuses on the character Zack. A SOLDIER 2nd Class who dreams of becoming a hero and is under the guidance of 1st Class mentor, Angeal.
The group are dispatched for an operation in Wutai and the search is under for SOLDIER 1st Class Genesis. Also searching for Genesis is the SOLDIER 1st Class hero, Sephiroth. But all is not what it seems to be for SOLDIER as Zack is discovering.
One of the biggest criticisms against this game is that people call it more of an interactive movie. Unlike other “Final Fantasy” RPG’s, you control Zack and without really having to do any major legwork, you can access missions to various areas and take on monsters and Wutai.
Through these battles, you can grind to build your stats and on the battle screen, similar to a slot machine, when you get a certain combination of matches or non-matches, will either trigger an awesome offensive attack, a level up and more.
Grinding (which means fighting over and over again to level up stats) is done a lot during the game so far, which I have been taking on missions (while on a major mission) in hope to build my character and so far, so good
The main controls features you controlling Zack via your left stick, while the right trigger (which is used a lot) is for cycling through weapons, materia or using items on the fly while battling or during a resting time post-battle.
This is where things became a bit repetitive for me, as I am grinding through mission after mission, it seems the same over and over, hitting the enemy with my sword, dodging, repelling enemy attacks and cycling to the items to use a potion.
Granted, this is earlier on in the game and things are sure to get better as I progress more into the game but so far, I’m enjoying the game because of it’s storyline and cut scenes but the actual combat did become a bit repetitive for me.
Graphic wise, cut scenes are awesome, overall graphics are ok. There’s not exactly hardcore background visuals. When you fight, usually inside some building or outdoor setting but nothing that made me think “wow!”
The sound is very cool and I’ve been playing this game with headphones and when I first heard the “Final Fantasy” song after completing a mission play through, made me smile. And the overall music of the game has been pretty cool so far. Especially the overall sound… Very nice for a PSP game. As for dialogue, it’s English dubbed, so no Japanese voice acting.
Ahh, the J!-Factor. Heard no pop songs but the J!-Factor goes to the hair. Zack, Genesis and Cloud have cool hair! The character designs and the clothing for “Final Fantasy VII” is just too cool and overall very trendy and stylish.
There are two types of “Final Fantasy” fans. Those who play it because they love the cut scenes and storyline and those who play it because they like the gameplay mechanics.
I’m with the former. With each “Final Fantasy” game release, I feel that I just adjust with each game and truthfully, I don’t remember afterwards to the point of conversing with “Final Fantasy” fans of how this game had a better way of doing this and doing that.
What I do remember the most is the experience and the storyline.
“Final Fantasy VII” had me interested and just pissed me off at how it ended and it always surprised me when I watched or read game polls of a favorite of fans for their favorite “Final Fantasy” game and I always would ask “what about FF IV”? Heck, I enjoyed “Final Fantasy VIII” way more than “Final Fantasy VII” and enjoyed “FFX” even moreso.
But with the release of “Advent Children”, “Dirge of Cerebus” and even “Crisis Core”, my enjoyment of “Final Fantasy VII” has somewhat been appealing to me again.
With “CRISIS CORE”, you really start to see how things come together as a prequel to the main series and so far, the storyline has been captivating.
The gameplay experience, more tedious and repetitive of just grinding, blocking or evading attacks, using potions, fusing materia, etc. But yet, I keep playing because I want to know why Sephiroth became what he is. What happened to Zack and how Cloud fits into the picture.
So, possibly there is bias towards me enjoying the “Final Fantasy” series a lot and yeah, it seems like an interactive movie but I’m just really digging the storyline so far and any “Final Fantasy VII” will enjoy the storyline but for those who want deep gameplay, unfortunately this may not be that kind of game for you.
UPDATE: I have since beaten “Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core” and wow! What a story! I really enjoy the game and in some way, as the game progressed to its final moments, the game had a more deeper impact on me than earlier on. Now, some people may not like the game since it’s like an interactive movie and for those with a Blu-ray player can watch some of these cut scenes on the Advent Children BD release. But still, if you are a “Final Fantasy VII” fan, this game is worth picking up!
+ Very cool storyline so far…
+ Awesome cut scenes
+ Importance to those who follow “Final Fantasy VII”
+ Not much random encounters. It’s there but not too bad.
+ Easy to pick up and learn. Seems complicated but its not.
+ With materia fusing and other technical additions to bring up stats, definitely cool for those who like to mess around with things like that.
– Gameplay is average at best, gets repetitive especially grinding but this may mean a lot to those who value gameplay experience over storyline experience.
– Grinding. For those not familiar with grinding for an RPG game may not know that replaying missions over and over can build a characters level and stats but for those who hate the thought of grinding for hours may be tedious to then.
– No option to select Japanese voice acting.