Monday, October 27, 2008

Final Fantasy 7: Dirge of Cerberus for the Playstation 2





Final Fantasy 7 seems to be the only thing that Square Enix is thinking about these days. They are always coming up with some way to make fill in the already long and overcooked story. They have made sequels, prequels, prequels to prequels, and etc. It's getting boring. Though one game of the Final Fantasy 7 universe did catch my eye. It was the sequel to the FF7 movie, which was a sequel to the FF7 game. It’s called Final Fantasy 7: Dirge of Cerberus. So, is it worth being a sequel or is it just milking off the success of the game?

The story takes place a year after the movie, which takes place two years after the original game. The main hero in this game is the emo Vincent Valentine while he is just relaxing in his town as a festival is going on. Sadly, however, an evil organization ruins the event and starts kidnapping people and killing others. Of course, Vincent somehow gets pulled into the situation, and it is up to him to save the people and take down the evil organization. I have always been curious as to why the main hero in a game always takes up the job of being the main hero instead of just sitting down in his chair and eating chips. I know the game wouldn’t go anywhere, but it just puzzles me sometimes.

The game play is in the form of a third person shooter game, kind of like Gungrave, where you control Vincent and attack with his awesome 3-barreled gun. You can use punches and kicks, but since you are Vincent, why would you want to use any other weapon besides your gun? You can also pick up a limit breaker item and turn into one of two forms of demonic Vincent, and kick some butt for a minute or so, unless you cancel it. One of the best features of the game is the customization of your gun. You have three guns of which you can turn them into a normal pistol, a rifle, and a machine gun. It’s very fun since I prefer to use the rifle not only as a way to snipe enemies off roofs, but as a close range shot gun-like weapon, which is much more effective. During some parts of the game, you control the ever-lovable Cait Seith in a sneaking around-like mission. At the end of each level, you get points so that you can level Vincent up, or parts of his guns, or even turn them into cash so you can buy more stuff.

The overall charm comes from who it’s a spin off of, a Final Fantasy game, since it’s long and kind of boring, but it does a really good job at branching out its characters while you play the game. This kind of style reminds me of the anime Dot Hack Sign where it’s focused on branching out the characters. The graphics are good, but they won’t impress you like Shadow of the Colossus’s graphics. The pre-rendered cut scenes are also really impressive, as they look like they were right out of the FF7 movie. The voice acting is also what you would expect from the movie. It’s nice to see all the voice actors from the movie come back for their roles in the game no matter how small their cameo is. One of my favorite aspects is the theme song for the game. It is done by one of my favorite Japanese bands of all time, Gackt. Fans of anime or of Japan shows might recognize his music or his acting in areas like Kamen Rider Decade, New Fist of the North Star, Moon Child, and etc. If you are a fan of his, you will maybe know where you have seen him or heard his band’s music.

Let’s just sit down now and find the bad parts of the game. Let’s start off with the whole design of the game. Before getting released here in America, it had some changes so it could be more appealing to the American player. While this was a good idea, it was also one of its biggest downfalls. They didn’t restart from scratch, and instead just customized the Japanese version with the added editions for the American Market. One of those examples is the double jump, which is handy, but it still prevented us from getting to plat forms easier. The new additions like that feels like it was made to be like Devil May Cry or the upcoming Bayonetta. The enemy variety is also very lacking, since there aren’t that many enemy varieties. In the Final Fantasy universe, there are multiple monsters and enemies that they could have easily added. Sadly, they didn’t, and they give us only the enemy soldiers and the occasional giant bug and lizard men. The camera is kind of awkward since it’s just stuck in one area, and that just doesn’t suit Vincent or this game. I say, they should have just restarted from the bottom, and then reworked it. Or they could have just easily not release it here in America if it wasn’t doing well in the Japanese market.

All and all, it’s a fun game, but I would say they could have done better. This is why I think it’s time for them to put away Final Fantasy 7 for awhile, and get to work on making Final Fantasy, well, Final Fantasy, with no real-time action and stuff that was in Final Fantasy 12. Make it turn-based and fun. Though not an instant buy, I would say it’s a perfect rental game. If you are a fan of the Final Fantasy 7 universe, then I say buy it. It’s been awhile since it first came out, and you can tell it’s finally starting to age. Let’s hope they put it away for good, some time in the future.

This game gets a 7 out of 10.

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