Should I Buy? – Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII

Now even a lot of non-gamers know of the mind-numbingly popular Final Fantasy series by reputation, and Final Fantasy VII has often been said to be the best of them. Personally I think IX & VI are better, but that’s not something to get into here. What I will say is the FFVII is a classic that was first released on the Playstation 1 and introduced a lot of westerners to the series, myself included.

Despite being such a beloved game, Square didn’t cash in on its popularity for a long time. Then, instead of the epic sequel or up-to-date remake that many of the fans had wanted Square introduced the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, a bunch of titles set in the Final Fantasy VII world, dedicated to teaching us more about the characters of the original.

This was received with some mixed opinions. Most people thought Dirge of Cerberus was terrible, Advent Children regularly divides fans on the novellas and game Before Crisis haven’t even been released outside of Japan. Often agreed to be the best thing to come out of the Compilation is Crisis Core, a prequel focused on the life of Zack Fair. Zack only showed up in a couple of flashbacks in the original game despite actually being quite integral to the game’s plot. By the way this is a PSP exclusive, I’d hate you to read this whole piece and get really excited only to find out you can’t play the game.

In this game we learn that Sephiroth wasn’t the only incredibly powerful member of SOLDIER, the evil megacorp ShinRa’s elite military division back in the day. He had two friends, and fellow SOLDIER 1st members Angeal Hewley, your mentor, and Genesis Rhapsodos.

After your first proper mission though Genesis goes evil and takes half of SOLDIER with him. You, as Zack then spend most of the game fighting Genesis’ army, slowly becoming more important as the other 1st Class members become less reliable until you’re just about as integral as you can get.

Unlike the original, you only play as Zack instead of with a group of characters and the battles are action-RPG style instead of a straight JRPG. This works by giving you a simple attack combo with one button, then selecting a spell or ability from a list with the shoulder buttons to cast. This is a perfectly functional system that lets you use some of the range of spells that were in the original but sometimes trying to cycle through to your cure spell while running to safety can be frustrating.

I would likewise describe the battles as functional. The system on hand does what it needs to do, but even in the most important or difficult of battles it never really gets exciting. Though I must point out that the AI opponents can work together in very clever ways like aiming an attack for where you’ll be when you avoid the attack of another enemy.

Another thing is that all your uber moves like Limits Breaks and summons and even your level ups are handled by a spinning roulette in the top corner. Apparently it’s actually an incredibly complicated mathematical system and not blind chance, but that doesn’t stop me feeling that I’m mercy to the whims of the Random Number God.

The story is always held to be one of the most important parts of a Final Fantasy game, often because they’re of such a high standard.  In this is the villain, Genesis, never feels threatening or even like he has an understandable motive, or at least one that’s properly in synch with his actions. But the story of Zack’s maturation and developing connections with characters from the original is a much better told and ultimately more important than that of the game’s ineffectual villain.

As a side to the story, we also get to see what Sephiroth, the original game’s famous villain, was before he went bad and he has some really sweet moments of warmth with Zack.

Other than the linear but enjoyable story the only thing this game offers is the optional missions. Despite whatever justification they give for them, they always boil down to running through one of the same six or so areas until you find the ‘boss’ encounter or, rarely, standing in the same area and fighting down a boss or waves of enemies. Some of them give great rewards, but after you surgically remove all the Summon materia and the like by looking up the rewards online the only reason left to do them are to get strong enough to challenge the other  missions. If you do them all you do get to challenge the game’s superboss, but that’s a lot of work for a challenge most gamers couldn’t and wouldn’t take.

Despite un-thrilling battles, repetitive side missions and a terrible antagonist this is definitely a game worth playing. It’s a must for all FFVII fans, and if you’re not it can be a good entry point. You can enjoy this as a stand alone story without too much bother and if it grips you hard enough you can now download FFVII from the PSN Store to your PS3.

Price: £8 (CEX)


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Willow Wood
    Jun 29, 2011 @ 16:11:52

    When I saw the title of this post, I already knew the answer: Duh!

    I personally wouldn’t say Genesis is an awful villain. I think you’ve missed the point of his character. He wasn’t so much meant to be a villain as Sephiroth is in the original. Instead, his malicious intent is not directed at Zack but at ShinRa and his parents. His conflict is with himself and the search for a reason to live – what is the point of life? Why should he be made to feel inferior because his genes didn’t turn out like Sephiroth’s? He’s also not an open person and hates direct conversation with anyone who is not Angeal or Sephiroth, but I digress. Overall point: true, Genesis is not badass and terrifying – that’s Sephiroth’s job and let’s face it, no one can replace Seph – his purpose is to instigate questions about ShinRa, life and religion.

    As for the battle system, I agree. It’s easy to and sleek to handle but scrolling for your cure materia can be annoying; and I have never understood how the slot-machine works. XD

    The side missions, however, are you kidding? They are incredibly addictive! I spend hours playing through those, which is rare for me. I’m all about the story line and tend to ignore side-quests. But the mission folders have me distracted for chucks at a time. Plus, it’s a convenient way to level up rather than running around and hoping for a random-battle-encounter. Well, personally. >_> <_<

    Anyways, would you like an editor? I noticed a few spelling/punctuation mistakes. But that's only if you're picky with blog posts. They weren't detrimental to the post. If you would though, go to the 'user' section on your desktop and add me as editor. ^_^

    –Willow out.


    • jackcalico
      Jun 29, 2011 @ 16:19:03

      I can understand Genesis’ motivations, but they don’t suit the role he’s given in the game. It’s like his backstory and the game’s plot were written by separate teams. Sometimes his impact on the plot does allow the characters to be better explored, or yes themes like religion but whenever he’s present he doesn’t affect the story. And no, I’m not kidding. I often played a bunch because I wanted to keep playing the game, but they are the same thing over and over. I’m glad the game has them, they add a lot to the game’s value but they’re not as varied as they could be. And well, you are the Editing Queen, I’ll add you. Several times I’ve had to update an entry because I noticed a typo.

      Perhaps we should have a more in depth discussion about Genesis at another time. Though with some service other than Twitter, so we’re not constantly worrying about character limits and gutting out inboxes.


  2. Trackback: Final Fantasy VII: One Winged Angel y Wallpapers « ESTO TE VA A GUSTAR

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