Review by reno385
"A Great Addition to the FF7 Compilation"
After experiencing some of the other parts of the FF7 Compilation that thoroughly destroyed the image of our beloved FF7 in the name of "smart business", I started this game having VERY low expectations. I expected it to be full of fanservice and corny neo-JRPG elements that Square Enix is so notorious for. Some of these traits did show up but, I have to say, I am pleasently surprised at the overall experience. This game turned out to be a great buy.
Zack Fair, featured briefly in FF7, despite being rather crucial to the plot, had all of 5 minutes in the limelight. Crisis Core takes the liberty of expounding upon this, in addition to creating another whole storyline unique to this game. As such, it feels as though the storyline is somewhat jarring at points. Overall, it wasn't too bad. The story was pretty original, albeit nothing to write home about: it features Zack, whose goal is to stop a fellow SOLDIER, Genesis, who has gone renegade and is up to no good, taking with him a small army that will try to stop you at every chance they get. It becomes a personal matter when Angeal, his mentor to whom he is rather close, is dragged into it as well. It is up to Zack, with the help of the Turks and some characters you'll recognize from FF7, to put an end to the conspiracy.
On top of this, though the story is mediocre, the ending I must say is simply spectacular. If you've played FF7 you already know what happens, but it's done so well in this game. It was just a wonderful ending. If you have absolutely NO interest in this game at all, I implore you, at least watch the ending.
A bit disappointing here. There were a few well-rounded characters like Zack and Angeal. Most of the characters unique to Crisis Core, however, seemed a bit lacking. First off, people in high positions in Shinra don't get rejection very well; in fact, whenever someone is turned down from a promotion, the "in" thing to do is to leave the company and plan their revenge against it. Gets a little old after like the third time. But it all started with Genesis Rhapsodos. The stuff of nightmares.
I cannot stress how much I HATE Genesis. He is a very slow talker, which gets on my nerves. Not only that, but half the things that come out of his mouth is quotes from some stupid Shakespeare-esque play called LOVELESS. He repeats these same 10 or so lines over and over, devoting his disgusting, meager life to applying this dated play to EVERYTHING around him. It's not so bad at first, but when you're halfway through the game and he's rambling about the gift of the goddess and sacrifice at world's end for the 89th time, it gets a little old. It's like he doesn't even interact with other characters, he rarely talks to them directly in words of his own. What's even more maddening is the fact that everyone in the game seems to get what he's saying, when a lot of it is just gibberish that makes no sense. You can read between the lines and get the general idea of what he's saying through the lines but man oh man.... it gets old.
And it just so happens by chance that he meets with nearly every character that joins your party in FF7. As for these characters, most of them stayed true to the way they were supposed to be. Aeris, kind and flirtatious. Cloud, determined yet reserved and not too confident. Another interesting part about this game is that it gives a little more insight to some other FF7 characters, mostly Tseng and Sephiroth, who Zack works with on a regular basis. When you think about it, Sephiroth doesn't really get too much face time in FF7, and even when he does it's mostly "I will rule the planet BLA DEE BLA DEE FRICKIN BLA." In this game you interact with him some more, and it turns out he's really not that bad a guy.
Now this may be a little biased, so let me point something out first. There are two ways to play this game: Normal, and Hard. I haven't played it on Normal mode but I hear it's disappointingly easy. I don't like games that are easy, so I jumped in on Hard.
It was VERY frustrating. But, to me, it's those parts that you have to do over and over because you keep dying that makes a game great. FF7 was great of course, but that game is a breeze. If you want a challenge, try this out on Hard.
Materia makes a return in this game, featuring aspects of FF7's materia system such as the different types of materia, and trademark materia like Fire/Blizzard/Thunder, HP/MP plus, summons, etc. However, it goes deeper with a system called Materia Fusion. This is where you can combine two materia to possibly get a greater materia. For example, combining Fire and Poison will render Dark Fire, a tasty little spell that deals fire damage as well as a few status ailments. Materia can also hold stat increases (such as Quake materia with a +4 ATK bonus), which can be increased through Materia Fusion.
The battle system in Crisis Core is based on luck. It's a slot reel basically, and everything battle-related other than Materia and Items, such as limits and leveling up, depend on how the gods of Crisis Core are favoring your odds. It can be a bit annoying when these things are out of your hands, but the slots usually tend to be nice. Usually.
In addtion to the main storyline you also have stand-alone missions which are a random seek-and-destroy type of deal that can be done at any save point, so the mission pacing is entirely up to you. They can be rather mundane after awhile, as there more than two hundred missions that take place in maybe.... seven or eight different settings? The missions are by no means required, however you get some very valuable rewards that make the game easier and more fun, so they are highly recommended.
I give the sound a mediocre score because even though it features some great tracks, most of the regular gameplay music is crap. A lot of it is just bland and uninspired. I found myself playing this game with the sound off and just listening to a TV or radio in the background instead. It does have a lot of songs from FF7, redone more instrumentally and with better quality. These were the good tracks. The rehash of the FF7 boss music wasn't quite as good the original, but it was still good. There were a lot of great tracks spread thin throughout the game, and the credits were filled with them as well, but I wonder why with all these great tracks, the battle theme, Midgar slums theme, and other such recurring tracks were crap.
I usually don't like to play games more than once as I always get a nagging feeling that I could be doing something much better with my time, however upon beating this I was determined to take advantage of the new game+ feature, which allows you to retain everything except for key items and missions (that's right, you have to do them all over again.... it sucks).
Like I said, this is much better than that awful spinoff that Vincent got. If you loved FF7 and you're (like me) a sucker for the nostalgia factor, you'll like this game. It gives great insight to the years before the original masterpiece, FF7. Even if you haven't played FF7, hell go ahead and get this. It'll be somewhat of a different experience, but it makes no difference.
If not for the nostalgia and you just want to play a great game, check out Crisis Core.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/09, Updated 09/14/09
Game Release: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (US, 03/24/08)
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