Microsoft vs. Nintendo vs. Sony

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FFVII Crisis Core Impressions and Review

Set seven years prior to the events of the first FINAL FANTASY VII, the Shinra Company is rapidly increasing its influence through its monopoly on mako energy and military might. With the burgeoning city of Midgar as its base and symbol of prosperity, Shinra is on the verge of establishing absolute dominance over the world.

Well If you have played Final Fantasy 7 then the prequel Crisis Core has many of the same characters from FF7 universe and will be familiar to veterans. Anyways, Crisis Core is an action RPG where battles take place in real-time. In this installment you play as Zack Cloud's friend in SOLDIER and learn about Shinra and the developments that lead to the beginning of Final Fantasy VII.

The battle system uses a new system called DMW, or Digital Mind Wave. This three-reeled slot system is constantly spinning and dictates a number of things: when you perform Limit Breaks, when you summon, when you level up and even when your materia is leveled up. All is decided through various match-ups of numbers and portraits which show up on the reels. This system definitely takes some time to get used to, but I thought it was fantastically implemented and made even the most mundane battles interesting.

Also, the amount of leveling you can do, both with Zack's stats and his materia via Materia Fusion, is absurdly impressive. Once again, dedicated players have the option of completely dominating in battle by using the system to their advantage. It's always great to see such potential in an RPG.

Battle Activation is one of the few complaints I have with Crisis Core. The battles begin when Zack moves into certain areas or hot spots, which is just fine when you're moving in a continuous direction. Unfortunately, you'll often glance to the side and see a treasure chest right after battle. Running just a few steps over and then coming back will often re-activate a nearby battle, which is aggravating if you're in a hurry.

My final complaints are less serious but still notable. The load times for entering and exiting cutscenes can be a bit on the long side, but they're within a tolerable range. What I found truly puzzling was the player's inability to skip cutscenes. Even the long ones. You can pause at any time which is helpful if you're interrupted while playing, but there's no way to skip past something. This can be a particular annoyance when you die right after a long series of scenes and are forced to watch them over.

Overall, Crisis Core is a great game. It's fun even with some complaints put to the side. In addition to God of War Chains of Olympus this is a great game to add to your PSP library. The game will take about 20 hrs. or about 30-50 hrs. if you do all side missions in game 300 in total.

Pros: Graphics are the best I've seen on PSP
CG cinematics are Square-Enix at its finest

Cons: dialogue is not that great
missions are nice extra but tedious and repetitive in locations visited
leveling and limits are not controlled

Final Score: 8/10

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