A truely remarkable experience.
First of all, I would like to say that this is one of the most amazing games I have ever played on a handheld. A gripping storyline, involving characters, and intense gameplay are just a few things that keep you playing this game until the very end.
Players will take on the role of Zack Fair, a first class member of SOLDIER.
The story takes place approximatley 5 years before the events of Final Fantasy VII, and the main focus of the plot is Zack's memories and discovering the truth about the events that take place in the Shinra corporation. There's a new cast of characters along with the old, making for a very entertaining story. Among the new cast are: Genensis Rhapsodos (The game's main antagonist), a new member of the Turks: "Cissnei", Angeal Hewley (Zack's mentor), and proffesor Hollander.
Among this new cast are some familiar faces: From the Turks we have: Reno, Rude, and Tseng, and the other characters include: The charming Aerith, Cloud, Yuffie, and everyone's favorite bad guy: Sephiroth. Zack's interaction with these characters show a very deep and involving storyline. The game's story starts off with the Wutai War and first class SOLDIER Genesis has gone missing. From there, players will take on the role of Zack through every twist and turn this game has to offer. I can't say too much without revealing key points in the story, only playing the game can do it justice.
The story shows what an amazing soldier Zack really was, and makes him a character players can really get behind. Throughout the course of the story, players will see how Zack faces crucial moments in his life, interact with others, and mature greatly.
[i]From a scene where Sephiroth talks about his memory of Angeal and Genesis.[/i]
This game is a true thrillride, as the story will lead the player on an emotional roller-coaster.
As one would expect from a Square-Enix game, the grapics are stunningly beautiful. Every character model shows perfect animation, giving the player a visual experience of very human-like characters. Every detail is shown vividly on these characters: from the belt buckles on Sephiroth's outfit to the engravings on the Buster Sword each and every little thing will leave you astonished at the fact that this is a handheld game.
The graphics are not witout fault, however. The games enviroments leave a little left to be desired. Most of the time they are very surreal, and still beautiful, but some times they can be a little bland, and too linear. This can be be seen in Midgar (The game's main town) and in the game's side-missions. Most of the time as you run around on these side missions, you are more than likely to run into the same walls and corridors over and over again. This makes things look a little repetive, and makes the player feel as though they have been in only one room.
The game's CG cutscenes however, are a completely different story. They explode onto the PSP screen with intense lighting, animation, and show a visual experience like no other. This can definitely be seen in the three-way battle cutscene. From the scowl on Angeal's face to the folds on Genesis's trenchcoat, no detail is left behind.
The game's characters show amazing detail, but the enviroments need a little work.
Crisis Core features an awesome soundtrack, which is made to sound a lot better with headphones on. The music is reminiscent of the original Final Fantasy VII, yet refreshing and new at the same time. With a remixed soundtrack of the original and some very new tunes thrown in, the player will not be disappointed. The music catches the mood perfectly with each and every scene, adding an extra layer of realism to the game. From the adrenaline-fueled battles to the angsty talk among the characters, the player is thrown into the world of Crisis Core even further. The battle music changes depending on which area you are in, which keeps the game fresh. The music adds tension each and every battle, and gives the player an adrenaline rush.
When the game has one if it's more cinematic moments, the player is greeted to sounds that follow the characters' emotions perfectly. The theme song to Crisis Core, called "Why", is sung by a famous Japanese singer named "ayaka". The song catches the feel Zack's journey very well.
The voice acting in Crisis Core is great, and the voice actors add an extra layer of depth to the characters of Zack's story. Their emotions are shown in every scene, and gives the player a cast of memorable characters. With an amazing and flawless soundtrack, on top of some great voice acting, give the player a song that they won't want out of their head. If anyone was worried about Genesis, Zack, Aerith, Sephiroth, or any of the other voice actors, don't worry, they've actually been done remarkablely well and are lip synced perfectly. Wow? Yes indeed.
The gameplay of Crisis Core is what really sells this game. Strolling around the world map is quite simple, and the world of Crisis Core has many side quests to keep the player entertained. Pressing circle will let the player interact with the environment (when prompted, it will tell the player that they can press circle at the bottom of the screen), pressing square opens up your map which gives the player details of the area they are currently in, the d-pad and analog stick control Zack's movement, the L and R buttons move the camera left and right, and finally, the triangle button lets you access the in-game menu.
While in the menu, the player can do numerous things. Access items, equip Materia and accessories, view Materia and the D.M.W., combine materia (later in the game), view mail (Zack will receive mail periodically) and shop, which lets the player buy items, Materia, and accessories. The game lets you save when you stand on a save point, which are located throughout the game. When you stand on a save point, you can save the game by pressing circle and you will be able to access the Missions section of the menu.
The player can gain access to magic/skills/abilities in this game with Materia. Materia is equipable in the main menu, and can grant anything from stats boosts and skills, to magic spells.
Types of Materia:
[img]http://jaryth.net/CC/Materia/images/type_magic.gif[/img] = Attack magic such as: Fire/Blizzard/Thunder
[img]http://jaryth.net/CC/Materia/images/type_heal.gif[/img] = Heal magic such as: Cure/Esuna
[img]http://jaryth.net/CC/Materia/images/type_shield.gif[/img] = Shield magic such as: Protect/Shell
[img]http://jaryth.net/CC/Materia/images/type_skill.gif[/img] = Battle skills that consume AP
[img]http://jaryth.net/CC/Materia/images/type_skill2.gif[/img] = Other skills such as "Steal"
[img]http://jaryth.net/CC/Materia/images/type_augment.gif[/img] = Stat augmentation that either increases your stats by a set value or percentage
[img]http://jaryth.net/CC/Materia/images/type_ability.gif[/img] = Grants you a special ability in battle, such as "Scan"
Battle is akin to the "Kingdom Hearts" series, in which the player takes the role of the main character in a live action battle with access to a battle menu. The battles in Crisis Core are random encounters, which happen as you run around dungeons and the like. When a battle starts, the camera is becomes fixed, and the L and R buttons let you cycle through the game's battle menu. Square makes Zack do a dodge roll, triangle makes Zack block incoming attacks, and X resets the battle menu back to the "Attack" command, while the analog stick and d-pad move Zack around on the battle field. Hitting circle selects the command that you have highlighted. You can choose from "Attack" (which when hit repeatedly, let's the player do a combo), "Items" and any of the magic and skill materia that you currently have equipped. (Ability and stat-boosting Materia is not displayed in the battle menu.)
The battle system is pretty is east to grasp, once the player gets the hang of it. Like most RPG's players are forced to monopolize on their enemies weaknesses, such as: attacking with the opposite element of the enemy, hitting the enemy from behind, etc.
[i]Zack Fair in battle[/i]
One thing that keeps the battle system exciting is the D.M.W., which stands for "Digital Mind Wave". During battle the DMW on the top left runs by itself, with no input from the player. The player can't make it stop. As the DMW is going, it slowly uses up SP. The DMW consists of numbers one through seven and the faces of people close to Zack. The reels go from left to right and correspond to Zack's HP (Health Points), MP (Magic Points), and AP (Ability Points). While the DmW is spinning, the player can get these bonuses:
The numbers on the DMW will have the following effects and are temporary during battle:
(" = any number)
77" - Unlimited AP/MP
7"7 - Immune to physical damage
"77 - Immune to magical damage
7"" - Unlimited AP
"7" - Unlimited MP
""7 - "Endure" status (no recoil from being attacked)
777 - (Invincible status - immune to all damge)
666 - (Critical status - every hit is a critical hit)
555 - Immune to physical damage
444 - Unlimited AP
333 - Immune to magical damage
222 - Unlimited MP
111 - (Invincible status - Immune to all damage)
D.M.W in action:
If the two faces on the left and right match up, the DMW will enter "Modulating phase", and from there, if all three slots match up with the same face, Zack will perform a Limit Break move. Each limit break depends on the face that matched up. For example: Matching up three Aerith faces doubles Zack's HP and makes him invincible for a short period of time, While matching up three Angeal faces makes Zack do a special move where he attacks all enemies. If three faces match up that are blank, Zack will just do a high damage attack.
The numbers move independently of the faces during the modulating phase, and help Zack level up. Example:
Getting 777 will make Zack level up, and numbers one through six correspond to the materia you have in those slots. So getting two ones levels up the materia in the 1st slot, and getting three ones levels up the materia in the 1st slot by two levels.
The DMW also has summon spells, which happen the same way Zack perform limit breaks. The summons are obtained from missions and side-quests.
The gameplay isn't perfect however, and has it's flaws. Battles are quite easy in the beginning to the middle of game, and can become a little much at times. All in all though, they battles are still quite entertaining.
In conclusion, the intense gameplay that gives the player one amazing experience, but the battles can become repetitive. Alas though, with an Engaging storyline, memorable characters, intense action, you will have you playing this game for hours on end. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is an experience you will never forget.
-Cheska and Zmoney