Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thoughts: Crisis Core

One of my co-workers let me borrow his PSP, so that I could play Square Enix's new Crisis Core.

For those of you under a rock, Crisis Core is a prequel to Final Fantasy 7, focusing on Cloud's hero and Aerith's beau, Zack.

Most people who played Final Fantasy 7 would agree that the flashback scene about Nibelheim burning down is vague, as is the details of Cloud's history with Shinra and SOLDIER. Crisis Core seeks to clarify a lot of the misunderstandings surrounding the incident.

It does so, marvelously. It's fun, it's beautiful, it's a great game.

The most interesting mechanic is something called the DMW - a two-part slots wheel featuring the game's major characters and random numbers. In battle, it can grant you buffs if a one or more 7's pop up. If the two outside wheels land on the same character, though, you have a chance for a character-specific limit break, a level, levelling materia, or all of the above.

Perhaps most important, though, is that this wheel is influenced by Zack's emotions. If he has a memorable moment with the Turk, Cissnei, there's a bigger chance of her Limit Break coming up. Sometimes, before a character's Limit Break, you'll be shown a memory of the character that you didn't experience in-game. These could be enlightening, or simply for comic relief, but they work.

Especially since the backstory of FF7 can be so rich, when the writers don't get too distracted by Hojo's random experiments being whiny (if not powerful) annoyances.

If I had to choose between playing Crisis Core and watching Advent Children, I'd choose Crisis Core.

P.S.: Sephiroth didn't kill Aerith, Jenova did.

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