Review by Xenozelda22
"A Nice Breath of Fresh Air"
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is the breath of fresh air that many Final Fantasy fans have longed for. Held before the events of Final Fantasy VII, you experience everything through SOLDIER member, Zack Fair's perspective. With breathtaking graphics, a touching story, and unique battle system elements, Crisis Core is sure to take you on a nice short, but invigorating ride.
The gameplay in Crisis Core is different from the usual Final Fantasy game. Instead of having a group of three or four members, you battle only as Zack. The depth of the battle system makes everything come together rather well, though. The battles are all real-time and are action oriented with RPG elements. When in battle, you have your options to attack, defend, roll, use items, and equipped materia. These options are displayed and selected in a similar fashion to Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy XII. Accessories can be equipped to help boost your stats. As already mentioned, you can also equip materia, which are stones that enable different qualities such as magic, stat boosts, and special attacks. Materia can be leveled up and fused to create even better materia, which is extremely helpful if you play in hard mode.
There is also a feature called the DMW reel, which spins in a similar sense to a slot machine. You can cast summons and special limit breaks when the DMW stops on three of the same character during Modulation Phase. You also level up and gain temporary status boosts through the DMW. For example, during Modulation Phase, getting three 7's will allow you to level up. You also level up your materia through the DMW by getting pairs. One thing to note is that luck is an influential factor in the DMW, but the game internally records your experience points as well. The battle system may take some time to get used to, but it will eventually grow on you.
The story in Crisis Core takes place before Final Fantasy VII. On its own, it isn't as deep as some Final Fantasy games, but it lures you in deep enough. It greatly impacts the overall Final Fantasy VII compilation experience. The continuity of the story in Crisis Core FFVII and Final Fantasy VII is right on key as well. The character development surrounding the main character is done superbly well, which adds to the impact of the story. Because of the stories' short length, the ability to further expand on its greatness is cut short.
You experience life as a SOLDIER member at Shinra through Zack's eyes. Zack Fair is a 2nd class SOLDIER member with the hopes of being promoted and becoming a hero. With guidance from Angeal, SOLDIER 1st Class, and other members, Zack strives for his goals and takes on certain missions. Unexpected events start to unravel during Zack's time in SOLDIER, though...
The graphics are done remarkably well, especially for a portable game. Facial expressions are well displayed. Character designs are splendid. The details of the environment couldn't be much more stunning. One minor change that I would have liked would be Zack's facial details in the FMV looking more like the non-FMV scenes.
The sound is clear and crisp. I thought the voice acting was well done also. From the gentle moments to the action packed battles, the music is very stimulating. Crisis Core's music suits the events, characters, and atmosphere well. It is even enjoyable to listen to outside of playtime. All in all, there really isn't anything lacking as far as graphics and sound are concerned.
Play Time/Replayability 8/10
The play time for Crisis Core FFVII's main plot isn't that long. The story alone may be around 10-15 hours. There are a great amount of missions you can do throughout the game, though. Including all of the missions and side events, the play time can be closer to 40 hours. The missions, which are optional, may become a bit repetitious after a while.
With the options of playing in Normal and Hard mode, replayability feels encouraged. Whether to refresh the mind of what happens in the story or to add your own restrictions and challenges, this game definitely has some replay value.
Final Recommendation (Final Score 8.25/10)
Overall, this game is an honorable contribution to the Final Fantasy VII Compilation and is well qualified as a Final Fantasy title. The story is well done and fits into the Final Fantasy VII world just perfectly. The graphics, music, and sound are all what you would hope to expect from a great game. Although the battle system's DMW is a bit different, it can grow to be quite enjoyable. This game is a definite must for any extreme fan of Final Fantasy VII. Even if you aren't a big fan of Final Fantasy VII, this game is worth trying out.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/08/08
Game Release: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (US, 03/24/08)
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