Crisis Core Review

I have been waiting for this game for some time, 11 years to be exact! The original final fantasy VII came out in 1997. It was simply amazing and probably the best game on the play station if not one of the best games ever. The story for the original FFVII was somewhat confusing. There were areas that were not explained fully. Crisis core is a prequel to the original game. It ends where FFVII begins and it answers most of what fans have been asking for the last 10 years!

Story – The plot is very good. You play as Zack who is a second class soldier for an organization known as Shinra. Shinra are using the natural energy from the earth and using it for electricity. They are quite influential and powerful and so have an army to protect their assets. The army is known as SOLDIER. Zack is an elite member of this army. He is second to the 1st class members Angeal (his mentor and friend) , Genesis and the SOLDIER legend and hero Sepiroth (later the main antagonist in FFVII). In this story Genesis goes missing and Zack and the two 1st class members go looking for him. This leads on to themes such as betrayal, love, revenge and a bit more love!

Characters – Along with the four people I have mentioned you are going to come across some familiar faces from the FFVII game. Cloud Strife features later in the game as a low level member of SOLDIER. Fans of the series will know Cloud as the main protagonist from the other game and its movie companion. Cloud is possibly one of the most beloved characters in video game history. Its great to see him an unconfident newbie! You will also come across Aries (now renamed Arith in favour of the Japanese version of the game). She plays Zacks love interest. Don’t worry the whole love theme is subtle but the game basically shows it is a powerful emotion when shaping a person! Tifa also features here and there as does Yuffie. Both good guys from the original game. I was upset not too see more people but I guess they were not needed.

Game play – Lots to talk about here. This is not your typical RPG. It is an action – RPG. Normally a Role-playing game uses turn based strategy for battles. This is where you don’t actually fight someone but you choose your characters next move then watch as it automatically takes place. Here however you control Zack in the battles. Fights occur randomly as you walk through the game. When a battle happens enemies appear and the area in which you can move is limited. At first fights are rather limited as you can either slash them with your sword or you can perform low level magic spells. You can also use items such as life restoring potions during a battle. You have a health bar displaying how much life you have. Then you have a magic bar which shows how many more spells you can do. Then you have an AP bar which is a gauge that decreases every time you evade an attack. New to this game is the roulette limit break. Limit breaks are very powerful moves. Here there is a casino like wheel in the top corner that constantly spins. If you match 2 pictures on this screen you move to the limit break screen. Here the wheel will spin again and you must match al 3 pictures to get the corresponding limit break to the pictures. This is also how summons work, where you summon a powerful beast to help you. It sounds confusing but it works well and can be very helpful.

Graphics- As with all Final fantasy games of recent years there are many cut scenes. There are two types in this game. One where the in game graphics are used and one where CGI graphics are used. The CGI scenes are movie quality and you will be impressed. They are simply stunning and are directed amazingly! The in game scenes are good but if you are used to the realistic graphics of a PS3 then you may be slightly disappointed. Remember however that this is a handheld console! I myself found the graphics of both varieties to be very satisfying and allowed easy playing and watching.

Music – I honestly don’t need to talk much about the music. It is amazing. The original game was well known for its fantastic music and many albums have been released for it. Here the original music has been slightly remixed in some cases but generally stayed faithful. The great thing is that the music is fully orchestrated. The composer Nobuo Uematsu is highly respected in the video game industry.

Difficulty and longevity – Fans of the series won’t be disappointed. The game is a challenge you cannot simply breeze through it. It took me 20 hours to complete and even that wasn’t 100%. There are many missions in the game which you do not need to do to complete the game. It is here where the bulk of the life of the game is. The missions can also be outstandingly difficult! You are rewarded nicely for completing them however.

Unfortunately I think you have to play the original game to fully understand and enjoy this game. If you haven’t then you should as its simply fantastic. Here however is a decent prequel that gives fans exactly what they wanted. Personally I think Square enix (the makers) should have spent more time remaking the original game with next generation graphics. They could have easily integrated this game into that remake!

I picked up this game for 20 at GAME. That was a week after it came out which is a very very good price! Im sure it will go down soon so keep your eyes peeled!