Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Review: Melodrama At Its Finest

Posted: 02/06/2013 in Video Game Reviews
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By Keith Crandell

The main cast of Final Fantasy VII. Unfortunately, none of the cooler characters make an appearance until later in the game, and it’s hardly more than a cameo at that point.

The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII continues with perhaps the least loved installment, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. Breaking from the standard RPG formula of Final Fantasy VII, Dirge of Cerberus is actually a third person shooter starring the mysterious Vincent Valentine, an optional character from the original game, and his mission to stop Deepground, an organization hell bent on creating as much chaos as possible to destroy the planet. It’s actually a pretty solid shooter at that, but it isn’t particularly awesome, unless you love melodrama. Dirge of Cerberus is one of the darkest entries in the Final Fantasy series. Literally the darkest, with a dark story, overtones, and a dark picture on the TV screen.

Taking the Final Fantasy series and spinning it into a third person shooter is a bizarre concept. But like many of the other directions the series has gone (such as a rhythm music game, a one-on-one fighter, or an MMO) this one works. Well, sort of. While Dirge of Cerberus may be a technically solid shooter, it is by no means a great one. Aiming is either too quick or too slow, despite being able to adjust it in the option menu, some interactions in the environment are annoying because they have to be lined up properly, and the overall system is a bit..sluggish. Vincent is by no means as nimble or acrobatic as the trailers or cutscenes would indicate, but there’s still a feeling of accomplishment derived from taking out a squad of enemy soldiers, or defeating a difficult boss.

This is actually the first boss battle in the game, against a heavily armored helicopter. Vincent’s journey will see him fighting classic Final Fantasy monsters, as well as heavily armored enemies, new villains, and much more.

The actual RPG mechanics of the game, however, work quite well. At the end of each chapter, the experienced gained from defeating enemies and completing side objectives (the sidequests of the game), and from special bonuses, can be used to level up Vincent’s stats, or, more importantly, converted into Gil in order to fund the best part of the game, gun customization.

Dirge of Cerberus’s weapon customization is nearly unparalleled in any RPG. There are three standard gun frames that can be found through the game (standard pistol, machine gun, and a rifle), as well as a few hidden gun frames to find along the way. Now for the interesting part; literally every single aspect of the guns can be customized. There are three different barrels, which can be upgraded along branching paths. Want a gun that can shoot lightning bolts, snipe enemies from a hundred feet away, but still be able to shoot quickly enough to take care of a large group of enemies at close range? That’s just a taste of what the guns in Dirge of Cerberus can do. My personal favorite is the standard pistol, which can deal high amounts of damage, and be able to take out anything within 10 yards in a single hit. The gun customization is absurdly fun, and extremely rewarding. If you don’t believe me about just how diverse and deep the system can be, check this out: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Gun_Customization .

The graphics are good for their time, but don’t look so great anymore. With the exception of two songs by Gackt towards the end of the game, the music forgettable, but fits the tone of the levels quite well. The game’s ending really throws into question what Square Enix has planned next for the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, so we’ll have to wait and see if they ever come back to it.

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Wrap Up:

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII is arguably the weakest entry in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, but I thoroughly enjoy it. Other than Advent Children, I’ve spent the most time with this installment of the series. It’s solid, but not great.

+Gun customization

+Music fits the tone well

+Vincent is a badass

-Actual gameplay is stiff

-Ending throws into question future plans

-Too much Yuffie and Cait Sith

Score: 7/10

Keith Crandell Jr. is a Political Science major at Slippery Rock University, and believes that comedy can be found in just about anything. His favorite Playstation 3 game is Super Stardust HD, and he has 30 Platinum Trophies (much to the disappointment of his mother). Follow his insanity on Twitter @kmcrandelljr and continue to read his reviews at www.thosereviewguys.wordpress.com so he can do more awesome things like this!

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