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Crisis Core blog part 1

By Phil | September 19, 2007 at 1:10 pm

It’s been a long time coming.

Little about Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII passed the collective lips of Square Enix for over a year after its initial 2004 announcement, leading some to question the game’s existance. Much like it was with Final Fantasy III DS, however, those calls of “vaporeware!” were rebuked when those sparse, one-sentence trickles of information eventually turned into torrents of details and screenshots.

Nearly three years after it was announced, September 13 saw the release of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII to eager Japanese Square Enix fanpersons. And while RPG Land’s own Ryan Mance wasn’t among the hundreds who lined up outside of video game retailers to score a copy, he now holds the game in his syrupy Canadian hands, and has decided to tell you about his journey through the game via a series of stream-of-consciousness-style blog posts, culminating with a full import review after he completes the game.

Naturally, these posts will be filled with spoilers. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, stay the hell away. You have been warned.

So without further ado, Ryan, take it away.

I’ve managed to get through the first hour and a bit of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and I thought I’d share a bit of the experience with you all. I’ve gone in with almost no knowledge of the game, its story, and how it will play, so bare in mind that I haven’t seen a single trailer for this game. That means all my experiences are fresh.

  • Nice little intro credits sequence before the title screen. Same music as the beginning of Final Fantasy VII, but with new cinematics of Zack running on top of a train and a montage of character shots. It’s some Turks, Sephiroth, and Aeris, as well as someone I’ve never seen before. The CG is all in the same style as Advent Children. Not my style, but should make some of you happy. If you hit Start during the opening video, the New Game/Load Game option is overlayed on top of the video. Nice touch.
  • The game’s actual opening video is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy VII, right down to the train pulling into a station. I’ve noticed that Zack is spelled Zax in Japanese, which is a little bit amusing. His voice is absolutely ridiculous and doesn’t fit him.
  • Went into my first battle, a 1-on-8 against some enemy soldiers, knowing nothing about the battle system. Can’t figure out how to target, or how to do much else besides run around and slash at things. I win, though, and with minimal damage. Can’t figure out the slot machine that appears at the top-left of the screen.
  • Already at a boss? Battling feels much more fluid in 1-on-1 situations. You block with Triangle, attack with Circle, and select your type of move (attack, one of four spells, or items) with L and R. I seem to be way overpowered, doing damage in the several hundreds already, and I have all the -aga spells. Running around the boss and attacking from behind is pretty fun, though, but battling feels like a bit of a button masher.
  • Interesting cutscene. Met my first Final Fantasy VII character in Sephiroth, but the whole situation was a training session. I’m running around somewhere in the Shinra headquarters now. Camera can be controlled with L and R, though it also follows you around. If you run into a corner it gets a little confused, so it’s definitely not perfect. Pressing Square brings up a fairly detailed map with icons of the area you’re in.
  • The main menu is clean and simple. There’s an equip option that allows you to equip four Materia and two accessories, a Mail menu where you can check mail (a bit like Xenosaga, only you get a lot of mail throughout the story relating to various events and tutorials). Interestingly, Zack’s name is in English here, and it’s spelled Zack, not the Zax they were having me believe before. The coolest option is Shop – yes, you can shop for items from the main menu. Very slick.
  • Missions, or at least ones in the battle simulator, are loaded up from the Mission option in the main menu when you’re at a save point. There’s only one available right now, and it was pretty easy.
  • Time for a real mission. We’re headed to Wutai! The music thus far has been half new sounds and half Final Fantasy VII remixes, so about what was expected. I’m fighting ninjas, but they’re super easy. They kind of just stand there and take it, rather than attacking themselves.
  • The first area had a bunch of scripted battles, but I’m somewhere where they’re random now. I’ve fought nothing but ninjas and these purple monsters that seem to be fighting alongside the Wutai residents. Still not a challenge. Enemies don’t appear on the map, instead they come at you out of nowhere as you’re running around a field. There’s no battle cutscenes, though, it’s all done on the same map you’re moving on. Targeting enemies is done by walking up to them, it seems. Kind of lame. Still haven’t figured out the slot machine system, but when everything lines up the same I get power up bonuses and level up Materia. I’m leveling up mid-battle.
  • Here’s Final Fantasy VII character number two: Yuffie. She comes up to my pecs. I can now safely say there’s lots of Final Fantasy VII in Crisis Core.
  • The boss battle here was actually a challenge, meaning I had to heal a couple times, and the enemies actually attacked me. This is a new concept.
  • Whoa, fighting a summon monster (Ifrit). This guy is doing a ton more damage to me than expected, and his special move is in full CG. That was a very cool battle.
  • The game seems to run fairly smooth during action sequences, but the frame rate is a little iffy during some of the cutscenes – and there are a lot of cutscenes. Zack’s voice is still annoying.
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