FFVII is regarded by many as the best RPG of all-time and even as the best game of all-time.The main reason for that is FFVII's characters/story.
FFVII Crisis Core is a prequel to FFVII that is set 7 years before FFVII and shows what the world was like and what Shinra were up to back then and shows the past of some of the famous FFVII characters such as Cloud,Aerith,Sephiroth in a lot of depth,and Yuffie,Tifa come into the story at some point.
You'll be surprised at how differently Cloud and Sephiroth are portrayed in Crisis Core,compared to how they're portayed in FFVII.People who haven't played Crisis Core will probably think Cloud is an ''emotionless guy with no personality'' and they'll think Sephiroth is an ''evil and vengeful character'' but Crisis Core explains why Cloud and Sephiroth became the people they are in FFVII.Even though Cloud and Sephiroth are portrayed as very different people in Crisis Core,it's not simply to make them different people for the sake of it,because the way they're both portrayed in Crisis Core relate to the story in FFVII in a very important way.It's the same for Aerith.In Crisis Core,Aerith seems more cheerful and talkative where as in FFVII it seemed as if Aerith was a bit quiet and despite the fact she smiles a lot it seemed to me she was really sad inside.After playing Crisis Core,I have a better understanding of why Aerith acts the way she does in FFVII.Crisis Core will also show the relationship Aerith had with her first boyfriend before Cloud...
her first boyfriend Zach,who looks very similar to Cloud,except he has black hair.Crisis Core shows how much Aerith really did love Zach and after the game's heart breaking ending,I can see why Aerith is depressed in FFVII.
END OF SPOILERS
The main character in the game is named 'Zach'.He was a member of Shinra's military and eventually rose to the rank of SOLDIER.Zach has a very important relationship with Aerith and Cloud and is largely responsible for Cloud becoming the character he is in FFVII and for many important story moments with Aerith in FFVII.Zach is a likable character,because he's funny,goofy but tough and he tries to do his job the best he can while trying to be with his girlfriend as much as he can.Even when he is away doing important military operations he'll be thinking about his girlfriend.
The new characters include,Angeal,Genesis,Cissnei,Lazard,Dr. Hollander.They all play an important role in the story and can be involved in some very emotional story events or be part of big story revelations.
Basically,the main story is about how Shinra are at war against a nation named 'Wutai'.Zach,Angeal,Genesis and Sephiroth are members of Shinra's military and they'll discover secrets about Shinra which changes each individual's destiny in different ways.Whether it is getting revenge on Shinra,taking over the world,saving the world or how Zach really wants to be with the woman he loves but he is away from her for years on missions for Shinra.In the end,you'll be trying to save the world and you'll be trying to help Zach be with the woman he loves.
The story for this game has certain moments I'll never forget,especially in relation to the love story and the way the romance between Zach and his girlfriend builds after they work together to help each other through some depressing times(I don't want to say what exactly because it would be a spoiler)and the ending for the game is so emotional and heartbreaking it literally caused me heartbreak.
I enjoyed the battle system a lot.The battle system is in real time and is somewhat like hack n slash and you literally can spam healing magic to heal Zach quickly or you can spam attack spells very quickly.The catch is enemies attack you very quickly too and can bring your health down quickly,but that's what makes this battle system so exciting and fun.In fact,I'll go as far as saying I enjoyed Crisis Core's battle system more than the battle system for any other FF game I've played,and I've played FFIV,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X,XII,XIII.You can dodge enemy attacks by running away from their attacks and you can block their attacks.
Zach is the only character you can use and you won't have any party members join you in battle for the entire game.
A unique and entertaining feature the battle system uses is what's called the 'Digital Mind Wave' or DMW.It's like a slot machine that's constantly on in the background and certain icons allow limit breaks,summons,massive healing,leveling up of materia/character levels to be done.In fact,limit breaks,summoning,leveling up are only done using the DMW system.It might sound off-putting at first,but for the most part,this system works great.There is many different types of limit breaks Zach can do,so Zach has a great chance of rolling up the slots for a limit break.Summoning happens less often though.You can roll up slots that give you big HP/MP increases and you'll roll them up constantly,and no matter what your max HP is,you can easily find yourself with 9999 HP.
However,the leveling up system is a bit annoying because I think the slot machine makes Zach level up randomly(you'll level up when the slot machine rolls up 777).I've heard the leveling up is not random and the game hides it's experience points counter towards that shows how close you're from leveling up,but there has been times I've leveled up multiple times very quickly and other times I went a long time without leveling up,even though I was fighting the same enemies.But the limit breaks,summoning,HP/MP boosts are done at random.
The environments are a bit small and don't offer anywhere near as much exploration as many of the other FF games.But at least the environments look good and some of the environments are in the places you've visited in FFVII,which brings back happy memories.
You can do MANY sidequests that can add lots of extra playing time to the game,which takes around 20 hours to beat if you stick to beating the main story.Some of the sidequests,which are referred to as 'missions' can be attempted at any save point by simply selecting which mission you want to attempt and you'll automatically be taken to the area where the mission is(which saves you a lot of time on travel).The missions reward you with rarer items and materia and have sidestories.
Some of the sidequests can be attempted after you discover them yourself by walking around certain environments and talking to people.
In fact,you can learn about much of the game's backstory and information about the game's world and about Shinra by reading emails that are sent to Zach,which are accessible anytime through the game's menu.
The game's graphics have great atmosphere,whether you're inside the polluted city of Midgar which has city sectors built on top of one another to give a confined and claustrophobic feeling,or in the beautiful,tropical Costa Del Sol(which has beautiful blue ocean water),as well as in other tropical areas and you'll see the quaint little country town of Nibelheim and other quaint little towns,on top of snowy mountains or in Wutai where there's Asian style buildings.
The CGI scenes make the characters have lifelike skin tone/hair/clothing and look very beautiful and incredible for a PSP game.The CGI's are also very cinematic/artistic and make the emotional story elements even more heart felt to the point you almost want to cry because it's like watching real people.
For it's time the PSP brought lifelike cinematics in a way that no other handheld console could and for it's time the cinematics for FFVII CC were beautiful and artistic.
The cinematics for limit breaks and summons are beautifully/creatively done.Such as seeing helicopters shooting guns/rockets at your target or Zach spectacular,powerful attacks or scenes in the church beside Aerith's flowers when Zach is using a healing limit break.
The music is incredible and makes you feel the delicate/emotional/love story moments even more,to the extent I felt pain in my heart during the sad love story moments.
The character voices give the characters more personality.Especially Aerith and Cloud.Hearing Sephiroth's voice in Crisis Core before Sephiroth became evil shows a saner and more compassionate side to Sephiroth.
Overall,the game is an incredible experience and I think it's worth buying a PSP just to play Crisis Core.
The score I give Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core is 9.75 out of 10.