Review by Sephir0th56

"Square-Enix's third-person shooter proves fun, but not perfect."

Many people will claim that Square-Enix is abusing the Final Fantasy VII fan base, by shooting out spin-offs and movies. Although this game is a spin-off, and it is a third person shooter, rather than a good ol' RPG, Dirge of Cerberus proves fun, but not stellar.

Story - 10/10
The story takes place three years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, and after the events of Advent Children as well. During a celebration in the city of Kalm, the city is attacked by unknown soldiers and many people are taken away. Vincent Valentine, a character with a somewhat unexplained, but interesting back story in Final Fantasy VII, takes over the screen and jumps in to save as many people as he can. Dirge of Cerberus goes into detail about Vincent's past, as he attempts to save the people of the world... but this time, without the help of Cloud.

Gameplay - 7/10
In Dirge of Cerberus you play as Vincent Valentine, a gunslinger with a claw to back him up. Over the course of the game, you get a few different guns, one for sniping, one automatic, and his pistol, the Cerberus. With a good sum of money, you can upgrade your guns at the jukebox, which is where you buy, sell, and modify things. Yeah, a jukebox. With upgrades, the guns get more powerful, or more accurate, helping you get through the game. Battle is pretty simple... run around, and shoot people up, maybe even pulling the claw out for melee. You can also use magic from your equpped materia and even go into Chaos form as a limit break. One problem with the gameplay is the clunkiness of running during battle, while trying to flip through and use items at the same time. A few times did I use the wrong item, or die because of the item because of the awkwardness of the items. I suppose you could just go into the menu by pressing triangle, but that won't do you much good if you're on Hard mode like me, because the enemies can still hit you while you're in the menu.There area lot of cutscenes, which slows the game down a little, but nothing to worry about because they're all beautifully done and all have good story to go along with it.

Graphics - 9.5/10
The graphics in this game are beautiful, from the FMVs, to cut scenes, to normal play. Cutscene graphics are some of the best seen on PS2, with very smooth graphics and nice animation. Battle animation isn't that special, really, because magic doesn't treat you with some eye candy, but I guess if you're in the heat of a gun slinging war, you don't really have time for eye candy.

Sound - 7/10
The sound isn't exactly phenomenal in this game, but it does get the job done. The voice acting is great, with a dark, mysterious voice for Vincent, and well tuned voices for others as well. Battle music isn't very memorable, and is lacking the normal Final Fantasy victory music. Boss music isn't any more intense or loud than normal battle music. The theme song is great, plain and simple. The sound does fit the part of the dungeons and such, but it doesn't go above and beyond like we know Final Fantasies to.

Duration - 6/10
This game is not long. At all. You can maybe finish the game in 10 to 15 hours, with a lot of that time being cut scene.
However, after you beat the game, there are many more missions to do, which greatly adds to the playtime.
The replay value isn't extremely high either, because enemy actions get too predictable and the game feels the same every time.

Although the graphics and story are great parts of the game, a third person shooter should also be more focused on gameplay. The gameplay is a bit lacking, but I can't say Dirge of Cerberus is not a fun game to play, because it definetly is.
The story alone is enough to make any Final Fantasy VII fan stay around, but that doesn't prevent this from being a slightly flawed game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/17/06

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