Crisis Core –Final Fantasy VII- Review: “My honor, my dreams…they’re yours now.”

Posted: 02/26/2013 in Video Game Reviews
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By Keith Crandell

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The main cast of Crisis Core. From left to right: Genesis, Angeal, Zack Fair, Sephiroth, Tseng, and Cloud Strife

Several years before Cloud Strife rode atop a train to commit unspeakable acts of terrorism, he was a wimpy little Shinra military grunt, and aspired to be strong enough to join SOLDIER, an elite military group. While he never actually made it into SOLDIER, his good friend Zack Fair did, SOLDIER First Class, in fact. Crisis Core –Final Fantasy VII- is Zack’s story, spanning the seven years leading up to Final Fantasy VII. The impact Zack has on Cloud is profound, and it’s great to see what actually happens to the man in this tragic story.

Crisis Core takes the Compilation back to its roots. It focuses on the Shinra Company and the problems it has caused, but Crisis Core also draws general conflict for the protagonists back to a smaller scale. Zack doesn’t aspire to save the world. He simply wants to be seen as a hero, to do his job, and to protect his friends. This focus on Zack’s daily life and key interactions with the main three characters Sephiroth, Angeal, and Genesis, fellow SOLDIER members, and the return to Final Fantasy VII’s humor are a great change of pace for the series. The full world of Final Fantasy VII, now re-imagined for full 3D exploration looks great, and has an atmosphere of a real world, with people that have real problems.

Crisis Core is set on the PSP, and looks great. Some of the CGI scenes come straight from Advent Children, and look stellar. The normal interactions and bodily expressions seem almost realistic, and the voice acting is great across the board. The music is significantly different from the rest of the series due to the abundance of electric guitar based songs, but has several moving themes that resonate in much of the soundtrack. The biggest flaw with the game comes from its camera work. It’s stubborn to begin with just navigating the world, but especially in battle.

Crisis Core’s battle system is closer to its cousin Kingdom Hearts in the sense that it’s an open 3D combat ring, with multiple enemies attacking at once. Zack has a standard attack, block, and dodge function, as well as access to all consumable items. He also has a wide variety of magic abilities due to the game’s Materia system, one of the more interesting customizable points in the game. But the single most interesting addition to the game is the Digital Mind Wave (DMV), the Limit Break system of Crisis Core. Three wheels spin constantly and can either cause a Limit Break, an attack with summons, or level up Zack or one of his Materia. This is also an extremely aggravating addition; the game has a hidden experience counter, meaning that Zack will level up seemingly randomly, meaning that level grinding is nearly a waste of time, seeing as the player can play for hours and not level up once (which has happened to me multiple times).

Battles against summons are difficult, but well worth the effort.

Zack’s adventure is fairly straightforward, the main story anyway. You can’t replay chapters (other than a New Game+ option) but to fix that there is a Mission Mode, which sends Zack on missions around the world. These generally consist of going to a recycled area, looking for treasure and defeating the level’s end boss. These are perfect for the PSP since it’s designed to be an on the go, five minutes here or there platform that the system was designed for. These missions are fun if you enjoy looking for treasure, but aren’t required for completing the main story.

Crisis Core contains 300 missions that unlock as the player progresses through the story or completes optional objectives.

Wrap Up

Crisis Core is arguable the best addition to the Compilation, if only for the backstory to Final Fantasy VII. With solid gameplay, likeable characters (Zack is my favorite character, EVER) and the world of Final Fantasy VII come to life in full 3D, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who enjoyed the original but dislikes this installment.

+One of the most tragic stories ever

+Fun battle system

+Provides an incredible amount of backstory to the events of Final Fantasy VII

-Missions are repetitive

-The camera can be extremely frustrating to work with

-The DMW system is hit or miss in terms of usefulness

Score: 8/10

Zack’s death provides one of the most tragic and emotional moments in the series.

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 Flower, and he has 33 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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