Review by PaladinCrusader

"Square Enix has done it again!"

The Final Fantasy franchise is responsible for having the most amazing RPGs ever to exist. While their gameplay doesn't really differ from one another, each new game always promises a fresh storyline, beautiful graphics, and unique soundtrack. Seeing that Crisis Core was a big hit when it came to the PSP, I decided to try it out. Not surprisingly, Square Enix has once again hit the jackpot.

The first thing that caught my eye was the game's design. It was beautiful, smooth, and tremendous. Right when I saw the opening, I was stunned by the smooth CGI pictures and marvelous scenario. I instantly realized that whoever designed this game must have slaved for many hours just to make the cutscenes alone. The features of every character are smooth while their movements are extremely realistic. It's a very hard thing to believe that the PSP can support such work.

While the cutscenes look very nice, the design in the actual game doesn't fall short. Attacks look really cool while every possible skill and magic is creatively drawn. There isn't any noticeable lag no matter how much actions are taken within each battle, thus giving a big plus to the game's fun. In terms of graphics, Crisis Core excels above any PSP game I ever saw.

Unlike the picturesque graphics, the gameplay is not without its flaws. While entertaining and addictive, the battles tend to get repetitive. There are tons of enemies and levels within this game, but they usually offer the same challenges for many levels. After a while, the dungeons and levels of Crisis Core may look boring to players, as they are too identical to one another.

Anyone who already played the sequel of this game in PSX will certainly know how to play Crisis Core. You basically move your main character around the map while trying to accomplish your goals. If your character ‘touches' an enemy, the game will transport you to a battlefield where the engagement begins. In Crisis Core, battles take place in a real-time fashion. This means that you're able to move around the battlefield freely while trying to eliminate the opposing force. After you're victorious, the game transports you back into the map.

Despite the fact that the battles sound really simple, there are actually a few problems. A major noticeable flaw is that the battles tend to become ‘button-mashing'. This means that around 75% of the battles you'll probably face involves nothing more than mashing the attack button furiously. It's true that there are a lot of skills and magic in Crisis Core, but you'll soon find out that most of them pale in comparison to your normal attacks.

There are lots of extra missions within the game, each having different kinds of enemies and rewards. Although none of these optional quests are story-related, you may find them useful for training whenever you're stuck in the story. These missions also greatly contribute towards the game's length.

Even with tons of missions at the game's disposal, they all have an identical flaw that is worth mentioning. About all the optional missions in Crisis Core have the same goal, which is to defeat a certain monster. Rather than doing this, I wished Square Enix assigned different goals for the missions in order to avoid the game being too repetitive. Even so, I still had quite a lot fun doing them.

As far as the gameplay goes, the story can simply be described as the most awesome part of Crisis Core. Probably the most prized element of the game, the plot in Crisis Core is full of happiness, action, love, and sadness. Upon finishing the game, anyone can find it obvious that Crisis Core has the potential to become a well-written novel.

The story starts as a group called the Wutai has jacked a train in the city of Midgar. Shinra, the main military force of Midgar, has been assigned to stop the train at all cost. To achieve this, they sent SOLDIERs, men who are technologically enhanced to handle any hostile situation. The two SOLDIERs who are assigned to this mission, Zack and Angeal, managed to complete their missions by stopping the train. Even if the mission was a success, Zack began to notice the truth that will slowly change his course of journey forever.

As Zack, the main hero of the game, you must undertake a mission to find out the true intentions of Shinra. While traversing dangerous quests and treacherous missions, you'll also meet plenty of other characters to interact with. Honestly speaking, Crisis Core has probably the deepest character development I ever encountered in any video game.

The scenes of a good plot must also be filled with good music. In the soundtrack department, Crisis Core excels in many ways. Every tune has been composed beautifully, thus making the story even more alive. Fast-paced guitars are played when a battle is progressing while the melody of lively harps fill the air when a peaceful scene is taking place. Without a doubt, Crisis Core is flawless in terms of soundtrack.

The length of Crisis Core is decided by the player's will. If they would gladly play all the optional missions that have been provided, the game can last them for a very long time. On the other hand, players who only wish to go through the main story will find a meaningless purchase.

My final conclusion is that Crisis Core is a top-notch game. It's a purchase that RPG fans will never regret. If you are looking for a game that will fill you PSP's library with something marvelous, then look no further. Crisis Core is definitely one of the best game Sony's handheld console can offer.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/29/09

Game Release: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (US, 03/24/08)

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