Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII User Review
Crisis Core (CC) follows the protagonist, Zack Fair, in his progression through the top ranks of SOLDIER, an elite military class of the highest world power known as Shinra Co., and the events that lead up to the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. CC gives tremendous details about Sephiroth, FFVII's antagonist, other First Class Soldiers Angeal and Genesis, Cloud, the Turks, and every Final Fantasy VII fan's beloved Aerith (or Aeris, as spelled in the original release of FFVII).
The storyline in this title will grab ahold of anyone, whether you're familiar with the story or not. Since it begins in relatively simple times, there really isn't any need for prior knowledge to get into this title. For long-time fans of the original title, the story will give you a fresh and revealing look at Cloud and Aerith and their relationships with Zack. You will get to know Sephiroth as a friend and ally before an enemy, and the way you view the Turks will change, for certain. I know that after I replayed FFVII after playing CC, the actions and dialogue of the Turks made a tremendous amount more sense to me once I had the hindsight given to me via CC. Needless to say, the storyline is perhaps the strongest of any story available on the PSP rivaled only by a number of games you could count on one hand.
The graphics are amazing for the PSP console. Cutscenes are detailed and breathtaking, and the in-game design is flawless and clean. The special effects will put you in the game, and you will forget you were only playing on a hand-held device. These visuals are hands down top-notch for the capability of the PSP.
Gameplay is a lot of fun, too. The battle system is a real-time battle that unravels on the map in front of you. When you reach a certain spot on a map, monsters will appear, and you'll merely draw your sword to start the battle. I found this to be a pleasant mix of quasi-random encounter mixed with real-time battles. You have the ability to equip a variety of armor and materia, all of which affect your abilities in battle. You can dodge attacks, block, attack, use magic, use items, and run around freely. This is a great FF title for people who don't typically like RPG's to try.
A further aspect of the materia involves the customization of materia. There is a neat little system for combining two different materia's in hopes of creating a brand new and rare materia. In fact, many types of materia are only obtainable by combining two that are already in your possession. This increases the number of possibilities and you will find yourself trying new combination right up until the end of the game.
A very welcome aspect is the difficulty setting. First play through was too easy? Toughen it up to hard for an extremely challenging go at the variety of missions.
Which actually brings me to what is probably the only real negative aspect of this game... The missions. While they are a good way of obtaining rare items, leveling up, or taking a break from the sometimes heavy storyline, they are incredibly repetitive. Incredibly. Repetitive. It repeats itself an incredible amount. The amount to which it repeats itself is incredible.
Seriously though, there are well over 100 different missions, most of which are pretty much the same. Find the bad guy you gotta kill, and kill him. Or find a treasure... which involves killing a particular bad guy. At any rate, although this will generally prevent most people from ever completing most missions, it's really the only negative aspect of the gameplay. The positive side to the missions is that they offer a good option for folks on the move who only have 5-10 minutes to play at a time.
The music in this game has a mix of new and old, although mostly new. And, as is true to FF style, it's all good and moving music. I appreciated it very much since it actually contributes to the mood well, as opposed to being a style that just makes sense to some people.
Voice acting in this title is superb. Zack is a great charismatic character that everyone loves. If you know the story of FFVII, your heart will desperately ache at a variety of moments due to the inevitability that lie ahead. With such a great cast of characters, you will be pulled even further into the story than you may have been originally. The ending is spectacular on it's own. In fact, if you are not going to play this title, youtube Crisis Core's ending. Remind yourself it's a PSP title, and you'll be blown away.
The control is simple and fluid. Battles are easy to grasp, and the menu screen is straightforward and easy to use. Any complexity in this game is simplified through the controls. No complaints.
Replay value is pretty good! The missions are a plenty, although repetitive, and after the game's defeat, there is a much more difficult setting that allows you to keep all your items and equips from the first playthrough. You're guaranteed a large number of hours, and you definitely get bang for your buck for this title.
In the end, this game is a must-have for all PSP owners, RPG fan or not. If you're a die-hard FF fan or even just a fan of the FFVII title, you already own this. If you don't, then shame on you. If you're afraid of this title because you're not really into FF's, or perhaps you liked them prior to the PS1 days, I still believe you will like this game. It isn't turn based, and you only have one character, but it's specifically made to be an action-RPG. And it does a fantastic job doing so. You will be hard-pressed to find many quality games like this on the PSP.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.