Monday, January 19, 2009

Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, or PSP Redemption!

Last year at some point I put up a good sized post talking about my disappointment with Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus. As a whole I have not been as impressed with VII as I have been other chapters in the Final Fantasy series. I have explained various reasons why in past posts to the point that to do so here would feel like beating a dead horse.
I have to say that FFVII: Crisis Core shattered all my expectations. DoC felt like Square Enix was milking the teat of the success of the original VII. While the game certainly did expand the background of Vincent Valentine and the world of VII as a whole, I was still taken aback at the shortness of the game and the lack of depth. Crisis Core is NOTHING like that.
Square Enix again decided to break from the standard turn based RPG style that it has perfected in the FF series. This time though the system is still a call back to the original style with the action turned up and the turns removed. Each battle scene you can pull of attacks, cast magic, or use items as fast as your fingers can scroll with the L and R buttons on the top of the PSP and slam down your thumb to select with the X. While this might make the game sound like it belongs more in the action category than an RPG, for me at least it did not feel false as a Final Fantasy series game (like the shooting action of say Dirge of Cerberus).Initially the new menu system put me in mind of the gambit system of Final Fantasy XII.Most likely had Crisis Core involved controlling more than SOLDIER Zack then gambits (or something like them) would have been required to make the game playable. As it stands I give it a 10 of 10 for gameplay, graphics, sound, and overall playability.
Which brings me to the things I care most about in my games: Story! Dirge of Cerberus did have it in limited doses and that redeemed the game from being a total loss. With Crisis Core one of my main concerns was spending 40 hours piloting a character that was a knock off Cloud (or Cloud then was a knock off Zack). I won't spoil the plot (because everyone should play this game) but by the end of the game the similarities (the ones we weren't already aware of from VII, Last Order, and Advent Children) are explained in great detail. I even like Cloud a little bit better now than I did before. Over all I prefer the Zack character any day of the week, but at least now I don't feel like Cloud is a pathetic knock off loser without cause.
Whats more Sephiroth is fleshed out a bit more. I tended to laugh at him because he seems uber effeminate to be such a bad ass. That is a very common trait with Final Fantasy bad guys though (Kefka, Kuja, and Genesis for example).By the time the big S departs the storyline I didn't feel he was near as cheesy as I used to.
Overall Crisis Core is a very worthwhile play through. Even for those of us who know the broad strokes of what was going to happen (that would be most all Final Fantasy VII fans) the game still has plenty up its sleeve to make it worth the time.
For the record I am well aware that this is no where near a new release. I tend to write about games as I play them. For example my PS3 shelf is currently holding Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Devil May Cry 4. They may or may not get blog time depending on how I feel about them. Don't expect that for at least a week or two. Amy and I are working our way through Super Mario Galaxy. So far I have found it a lot of fun. Granted Mario gets a lot of slack on my love for his series. That statement made me realize how behind I am on my gaming. I still haven't played Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess yet. Now that I have a Wii that will be fixed as soon as possible. So many games, so little time!
One last note about Crisis Core. I started the game Friday before last. I have been playing every free moment I have had ever since.Everyone who knows I am back in WoW is thoroughly frustrated that I haven't had any play time. While that is in some part due to Crisis Core, I have also been dealing with the impending arrival of my things from Germany. They arrive at 9 am tomorrow morning.(That is 6 hours from now OMG!) I spent the day today moving stuff to storage (two truckloads and a trailer full of stuff), helping get my Mom's place prepared, and finally painted my living room before trying to get some rest. I enjoyed Crisis Core so much that I spent two hours finishing the game and then immediately hopped on here to write about it! That to me says the game is well worth playing. Hell I can even admit I will probably replay it through with a strategy guide just to grab the things I missed on my first time round. The game selection for the PSP has not been great, but between Crisis Core, God of War: Chains of Olympus, the Sega Genesis Collection, and the Capcom Remixed games I have never had any major buyers remorse.

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