Is it sad that I’ve been dying for the weekend so school won’t interfere with me writing this post?
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is the whole reason I wanted a PSP to begin with. Final Fantasy VII, like most people my age, was one of the very first RPGs I had ever played. It was the first introduction I got to the FF series and Square Enix (previously Squaresoft), and ever since then I have been hooked to the game series. I love these games the most out of all that I have gamed through because while the storylines were the only connecting thread (I AM GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD!), the colorful characters and variations on the same story made each so unique and addicting. I always love the great detail that Square has always put in their worlds that really make them so visually convincing. As I previously said, they really know how to throw the bells and whistles to make a game look attractive.
I always hate writing RPG reviews because they inevitably have some type of spoiler, so unless you have played the Final Fantasy VII game, please be warned you may encounter a spoiler or two. Even more important of a warning, I fangirl periodically. Sorry.
The game honestly is an over-glorified, interactive movie, but nonetheless I really enjoyed it.
It plays for the most part like the other games in the series. Run around as Zack and do a bunch of SOLDIER related tasks and missions.The battle system reminded me very much of Final Fantasy XII, where you could run around the enemy and plan your attacks and dodge with joystick-controlled movement, versus solely depending on how high your defense stats are.
(Image credit – CheatCC.com)
The Limit Break system was rather interesting. You get this thing called a DMV (Digital Mind Wave system), which resembles the slots found in the Golden Saucer in Final Fantasy VII. Numbers and characters are randomly selected by the DMV. If you get three of the same character faces selected, you will perform the Limit Break associated with that person. Initially, the character faces are blacked out until you encounter and meet that ally (or foe) in the game’s storyline. The numbers dictate how strong the attacks are. If you get two out of the three slots as the same number (despite different character faces), you will get a temporary stat bonus, such as Invincible, Critical (to perform critical hit attacks), No MP (unlimited magic use without MP penalty), ect.
(Image credit – Border House Blog.com)
I personally liked the DMV very much because it added the element of luck to the game, which made things a little more varied battle system wise. It always made it difficult for me to level-grind (you need to get 7-7-7 on the slots to increase a level). It also made going on the optional missions fun for me to do because the battle system wasn’t so monotonous.
Equipment was very limited and could only really help you defensively. I suppose this makes sense because the DMV is a very powerful, though random, offensive tool. Materia of course is still the source of magic and special abilities in this world. The materia levels up with certain DMV slot numbers as well. There is this cool system that you can fuse different types of materia (and later with items) for a whole variety of different magic and abilities to synthesize. Sadly, I didn’t explore this cool aspect of the game too much since I’m more of a hack and slash person versus magic using.
(Image credit – atma xplorer.com)
Graphics & Music
I am still baffled how amazing these portable system game graphics are. Despite the gorgeous graphics and environment renderings Square did, I didn’t really notice any long loading times. Here is a YouTube video of the intro scene (though it’s not even close to the quality found in the PSP game).
My second favorite part of this game is the music that was composed for the game. There are some very great tracks that I think really provided the mood for some of the most dramatic scenes in the game (including the 30+ minute ending) and some awesome rock songs that really made you want to fight some monsters! I can’t really explain it, so I’ll just let you sample some tracks here. “The Burdened” which plays in the Slums church (Aeris!) is my absolute favorite. It really represents the game in my opinion: a very bittersweet, yet absolutely beautiful and tender.
Storyline & Characters
Crisis Core: FFVII takes place 7 years before the events that take place in Final Fantasy VII. The game is basically a prequel and sets up how Cloud becomes the main protagonist, how Sephiroth becomes the main baddie later, and interestingly enough the origins of how Cloud got the Buster Sword and Aeris’s pink bow.What I enjoyed most is that the game’s main character is not Cloud; instead you follow Zack Fair, a Shinra SOLDIER who was mentioned in FFVII very briefly throughout the game.
(Image credit – Pinoy video gamer @ WordPress)
To be honest, I was really scared of playing this game because I was sick of Square putting so much attention to FFVII because they wanted to make some money off the giant fanbase. Then again, I’m really glad they did because Crisis Core to me was so satisfying as a hardcore FF fan. I absolutely love exploring backstories of side characters, and Zack has become one of my favorite FF characters of all time. They took what was just a modified polygon graphic of Cloud with black hair and slightly different spikes and gave Zack his own charm, dilemmas, and spirit in Crisis Core.
(Image credit – GamerQuarters.com)
[Fangirling begins] To me, Zack was way cooler than Cloud. He was very laid back, but always got the job done. He was dependable, very honorable, and loyal to those he cared about. He was funny and flirtatious, yet also inspiring to SOLDIERS in lower classes in him. Okay, I’m done fangirling for now, but as you can see, Zack was portrayed as a very likeable and convincingly real guy in this game to me. By the end of the game, all those who encounter him, come to admire what a great person he is.
(Image credit – GiantBomb.com)
And I love the interaction between him and Aeris. Truth be told, I was not a big Aeris fan. I thought she was very clingy and couldn’t understand why she was so love-struck by Cloud (not to mention I was totally rooting for Tifa to get together with her childhood friend, Cloud!). Then I saw the relationship Aeris built with Zack, and realized that she would fall in love with anyone who ever reminded her of him. Although Zack and Aeris only saw each other very few times in the game, those times were definitely memorable. For example, Zack is the reason why Aeris became the flower girl we know her today, and bought her that characteristic pink bow in her hair. And to a young girl who was stuck in the slums, alone and surrounded by poverty and sadness, it is no wonder she had grown attach to someone like Zack. It’s just so endearing watching their cut-scenes.
(Image credit – TheIceCave.org)
And fans don’t kill me, but I wasn’t that sad when Aeris died in Final Fantasy VII (apparently one of video games’ top shocking moments in history). I kinda got pissed my main healer was no longer available (lol coldhearted, no?) But after playing Crisis Core it did make me feel sad to know that Aeris dies in FFVII because Crisis Core gave me a chance to become more involved with her character and storyline.
I guess that is why it makes you so sad to play this game, too. Because you know that the main character you are playing as, Zack, is destined to die before the start of Final Fantasy VII (which is where Crisis Core ends). And to me if there was ever a reason to play this game, it would be for the ending of Crisis Core. Hell, look it up on YouTube if you have to because it is a great ending and a real tear-inducing scene of how Zack protects Cloud’s freedom. It is no wonder why Cloud wanted to be exactly why Zack; it’s because Zack was a true hero.
(Image credit – gamesweasel.com)
One another character side note: I really liked the way they showed that Sephiroth was kind of human and normal with friends that he cared about, too! He wasn’t always evil! And the addition of Angeal and Genesis was necessary and fitting for the story. While these two are not included in Crisis Core: Last Order (the anime film version of the Niebelhiem incident), I thought they were good characters for the game.
(Image credit – Final Fantasy Union.com)
Not to mention, Square as a bonus re-renders Final Fantasy VII introduction with sexy new graphics after the Crisis Core credits end.
(Image credit – Final Fantasy Wikia)
Final Fantasy VII fans : go play Crisis Core right now. It’s a short game and worth it if you have a PSP already. Dramatic and beautiful to look at. Definitely brings to life old fan favorites and gives you a new character to admire: Mr. Zack Fair.