Review by LegendofLegaia
A Perfect Idea Wasted, But Still Somewhat Done Nicely
Square Enix's Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII is a prequel to their game Final Fantasy VII that follows the story of SOLDIER 1st Class Zack, a character that's very important to Final Fantasy VII's story, but we don't get to learn much about him.
On paper, this sounds like a great idea. Final Fantasy VII, being one of the most popular games ever made, still gets a large amount of attention to this day, so the idea of being able to learn about a character we barely see in the game while revisiting areas in Final Fantasy VII with updated graphics sounds like a great idea. However, when it came to creating that idea into a game, plenty of flaws were created that Square Enix could have fixed, but seemed to be too busy with making the graphics look pretty. I've found good and bad things about this game, but unfortunately, I've found more bad qualities about this game than good ones.
Graphics - Not only does this game have beautiful CGI cutscenes you'd see in a normal, modern Final Fantasy game, but the normal graphics seen during regular gameplay a pretty good, too.
Music - There were some good remixes of music from the original Final Fantasy VII game like the boss battle theme, but it also had some pretty good tracks of it's own like The Price of Freedom and The Burdened. The rest of the music was okay to pretty good.
Zack - Okay, this is going to sound really weird, but I really liked Zack's character. Instead of the usual incredibly serious and/or always depressed main character seen in most RPGs, Zack is a very light hearted, friendly, and cool character. He's pretty much the exact opposite of Cloud.
Gameplay - The gameplay, at first glance, seems promising. Instead of the usual "stand in a line and wait your turn to attack" kind of gameplay, the game plays more like a Zelda game, seeing as how you can run around freely and avoid enemy attacks. You can also use materia for spells, special attacks, boosting stats, etc. and you have a couple of different slots for armor. Most people compare the gameplay in this game to the gameplay in Kingdom Hearts games, but I found it much more similar to Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic. Now, the gameplay would have been great if it wasn't for a couple of HUGE flaws. One flaw I found was the constant mindless button mashing. If the enemies in a fight are easy, all you have to do is keep attacking them with your sword. If the enemies in a fight are hard, all you usually have to do is spam a spell, especially firaga if there's a lot of enemies, and run away whenever you're about to be attacked. Another flaw I found with the gameplay was the materia. Not only is the maximum number of materia you can equip less than a double digit, but whenever you use a spell or do a special attack, Zack takes a couple of seconds to charge up before he uses the spell or does the attack you want him to do. This gives whatever Zack is fighting a chance to attack him, not only canceling whatever he was about to do, but it can also keep attacking him, which leads to the next problem. Unlike in Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic where you can attack however you want without being interrupted (except for a couple of exceptions), you get knocked back or even knocked down for a couple of seconds if an enemy attacks you and, unlike in a Zelda game where Link would blink red if he got hit and he'd be invincible for a couple of seconds to get back up and fight again, you can still take damage while you're knocked back or knocked down, allowing the enemy to attack you again... And again... And again... Until you're killed before you get the chance to dodge and use a healing item or one of the cure spells (and even if you do dodge to heal, you might get attacked by a different enemy before you're given the chance due to the fact that Zack needs to take a couple of seconds to cast a spell). You can also knock most enemies back when you attack them, but again, this allows just nonstop button mashing, which isn't really a good thing either. Another huge problem with this game is it's missions. These missions are a nightmare for anyone who considers themselves a completionist. There are about a couple hundred of these and pretty much all of them are the same: find and kill the monster(s) that you can see before battling it. It's funny how the description of a mission can vary from simply telling you the annoying truth of what you have to do to telling you that you're looking for some kind of item that, of course, can only be obtained by doing the same thing as the "kill this monster(s)" missions. These missions aren't that bad if you're only using them to level up and if you only want to do missions that actually end with talking to another character like the Treasure Princess missions, so I can't be too annoyed with them, but they should have really done something about these missions because they're really nothing but a HUGE amount of filler to make the game seem longer. Easily the worst thing about this game is how you level up. Now, the way this works to an average person is that the DMW, which is basically just a slot machine, will let you level up once all three pictures of the number seven under them. Of course, in actuality, the DMW is even more annoying when it comes to leveling up. Instead of receiving level ups randomly, you actually have to gain a certain amount experience, which the player isn't allowed to look at, before the DMW can randomly decide when it's time for you to level up.
Story - Okay, I had a hard time understanding ANYTHING that was going on. The story in this game really confuses me to no end. The game starts out with SOLDIER 2nd Class Zack training with his friend SOLDIER 1st Class Angeal. Angeal recommends Shinra to make Zack a SOLDIER 1st Class. Eventually, Angeal and another SOLDIER 1st Class by the name of Genesis run off. Why? Well, from what I could gather, Genesis takes the play LOVELESS way too seriously and Angeal thinks he's a monster because he has an angel wing. Confused yet? It gets better. Apparently, they're also going through a degradation process where... I guess they're aging incredibly fast... I don't understand it. Anyway, Genesis ends up seeking help from Dr. Hollander, who performed some bad experiments behind Shinra's back. As to why they're going through this degradation process now instead of before... I really can't answer that one.
Inconsistencies compared to Final Fantasy VII - These aren't that big of a deal, but they're noticeable to anyone that played Final Fantasy VII before this game. These inconsistencies consist of little things like the wrong placement of certain objects (the park in the slums is an example of this) to the complete redecoration of the Shinra mansion basement. These inconsistencies can be slightly annoying, but they aren't a huge problem with this game.
Crisis Core has great graphics and a pretty good soundtrack, but that doesn't save it from it's majorly flawed gameplay and it's confusing story. This is a game that held a lot of promise with it's idea of following a character from Final Fantasy VII who's incredibly important to the story, but isn't really seen that much. Unfortunately, this game isn't that satisfying, which is really sad considering that it could have been a pretty good game if Square Enix bothered to fix some of the flaws with the gameplay.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (US, 03/24/08)
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