Review by MattDavidson

Reviewed: 09/15/06

A truely chaotic ride!

At long last, the day of redemption is finally upon us. Final Fantasy VII fans have been clamoring for quite some time for Square-Enix to release a follow-up to the 1997 hit, and it's finally upon us. Now I know that a lot of people aren't going to agree with my views, however that's the way things go. I've chosen to review Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus as it's own game, and not to compare it to the original Final Fantasy VII. So let's get started.

Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus takes place three years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, and one year after Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The planet is just starting to heal after the Meteor strike and Reunion, and life seems to be going back to normal. However it is not long before the silence is broken, and all hell breaks loose. In many cities across the planet, mass disappearances have occurred, transforming bustling cities into ghost towns overnight. Strange creatures are appearing, and some people even claim to have seen lights in the windows of Shinra manner. The stage is set for one of the most action-packed games yet in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series yet!

I was very impressed by the visual aspects of this game, from the use of over-saturated blues and reds, to the general detail that went into each character. This is definitely the time for the PS2 to shine, as it reaches the end of it's life. The is however a bit of slowdown, but nothing that ever interferes with gameplay. The cg cinemas that sparsely populate the game are of the came calibre of visual supremacy that was seen in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

The stirring orchestral soundtrack greatly underlines every scene and plot point. The boss battle themes especially stand out. And then there's Gackt. He did two tracks for this game, LONGING and REDEMPTION. I wont spoil the game by mentioning where these two tracks are, but let's just say it was helluva-cool enough to make me drop my controller. The sound effects are standard action-gaming fare, and they get the job done. As for voice acting, it's spot-on, with the cast of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children coming back for more.

Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus is at it's heart a standard third-person shooter, however it throws the usual Final Fantasy experience point system into the mix. As Vincent gains levels, his stats go up accordingly. For those who like new toys however, they can forego the experience boost at the end of each level and choose instead to receive the exp as a cash bonus to spend on items and weapon upgrades. Speaking of weapon upgrades, there are multiple frames, barrels and accessories available to upgrade Vincent's gun with. I won't go into detail, as the game can explain it more efficiently than I can.

Deep Ground. The late president of Shinra was building a massive army of supersoldiers, deep under the city of Midgar. When meteor fell, all contact between the surface and deep ground was lost, effectively cutting them off from the world for three years. Now Deep Ground has broken free, and they're out for vengeance. They plan to wipe the planet clean of life, and somehow Vincent Valentine factors into their plans.

There's not a lot to be said about the controls, except that they're tight and responsive. They're standard third-person style, with the left stick moving and the right stick aiming. I didn't try the keyboard/mouse controls, as sadly my high-end Logitech G7/G15 combo are incompatible with the PS2

This is really where the game shines. Though short, you will want to replay it multiple times to collect all of the capsules hidden in the levels, so that you can unlock the numerous bonuses. Also available after completing the main game is a set of bonus missions, all of which provide a greater challenge than the main game itself.

So in conclusion, I would like to say that Dirge of Cerberus perfectly wraps up Vincent's storyline, and proves to be quite entertaining in the process. Definitely one for the collection.

Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus receives a full 10/10!

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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