Review by zappafan8
Another Mediocre Game That Would Have Been An Awesome Movie
So the big question seems to be: "should I buy a PSP for Crisis Core or not?"
Short answer is no. If you are on the fence about purchasing a PSP and are looking for some good games, by all means get one and pick up CC. Just don't expect that this game alone will carry the PSP for too long, so be sure to pick up some other games as well. CC is targeted mainly towards the fans of FFVII. Some background knowledge of the story is assumed
I don't want to say too much because it might spoil the plot for those who are unfamiliar with what happens in the overall story, or have forgotten like myself. If you have played through FFVII then you should know what to expect. If you are completely new to the series though, be prepared to be say "huh?" a lot.
You play as Zack Fair, friend and mentor of Cloud from FFVII. The game takes place long before the start of FFVII and gives some background info, but not too much. Zack is introduced to us as a young adult with an overly arrogant attitude. He is towards the bottom of the food chain in the special ops group known as SOLDIER, which is popularized by famous fighters such as the classic Sephiroth. The story takes place over many years and Zack's attitude and relationship with all the characters changes as time goes by. Many characters from FFVII make appearances throughout the game as well as some new ones. If you have played, or plan on playing through FFVII, the story in CC helps to fill in a lot of gaps from the original game and in the movie FFVII: Advent Children.
The PSP is capable of putting out some sweet looking graphics and CC is one of those games...sort of. There are 3 different "sets" of graphics in the game done most likely for space restrictions of the UMD.
The first being basic, the bare minimum, usually when fighting or running around doing quests this will be the main "set". Character's mouths don't move and their animations are good but lacking compared to the other "sets". Fairly typical PSP graphics. "Set" number 2 is a little more advanced. Mouths move, animations are a bit better, hair bounces around when moving, etc... This is mainly done for the story telling aspects of the game when there is much dialog.
The third "set" is used a little more than a handful of times. These are the same, or close to, graphic style and quality from Advent Children or the upcoming FFXIII. It is truly gorgeous and is a shame that there are not more of these.
The classic soundtracks and effects from the original FFVII are here and sound wonderful. There are some new compositions that are also good but are not the same quality as the originals. Voice acting is top notch though some of the lines are a bit corny. Only reason I marked this down was due to the repetitiveness of the music and somewhat cheesy dialog. After hearing the same songs over and over, it gets more than a little annoying.
The main problem I had with gameplay was that it was too easy on the Normal difficulty. You get items and Materia just as you did in FFVII, but there is only one character in your party and it seems like the developers forgot that. You will get waaaaay more than enough equipment and Materia to last you through the game and it actually becomes a nuisance. After a while, I just gave up equipping myself with new items because going into the menu and comparing everything took too long.
CC is not a turn based RPG like in previous FF games, but still has "random" battles that you can actually avoid if you figure out how. But basically you just run around mashing the X button to attack stuff in real time. I would actually go out on a limb and call this more of an action RPG rather than a straight up RPG.
You can use your equipped Materia (magic) by using the shoulder buttons to switch between them and using items like Health Potions are done the same way, which all actually works out pretty well. This is done in real time, so don't expect to formulate a complicated strategy, just smash the X button and you'll do fine.
Summoning great beasts like Ifrit or Odin and leveling up is done much differently too. There is a small "slot machine" at the top of the screen that will activate and spin 3 slots. When 3 of the same characters from the game are matched, you can do a special move (aka Limit Break) based off of the character. This is all done at random however, and can get quite frustrating when finishing off the last monster in a fight and right before the last swing hits it, the slot machine activates and a special move is done that is not needed at all. Leveling up is done in the same fashion, but is not entirely random. There seems to be a hidden counter within the game that keeps track of your experience points.
Not much else to do once you beat the game. You can start a New Game+ which keeps your items but there is no real point. It took me a little over 22 hours to beat the game while doing about 35% of the side missions. Only reason I would play it again would be to watch the sweet cinematic graphics during the story.
Final Score: 7.5 - 8
While the story, sound, and graphics are really great, the gameplay falls short. I would recommend starting at the harder difficulty if you can get the feel for it early on in the game. If you're a die-hard fan of the FFVII series then go buy this game up. If you know a little bit about it and can remember most everything from the series or if you already own a PSP and don't have anything else better to play, then rent it. If you are totally new I would recommend picking up FFVII first or even watch the retrospective from Advent Children first, just so you aren't totally confused.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (US, 03/24/08)
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