Final verdict: B-
Final playtime: 37 hours
Haha, that poor PSP. Just when you think the big bad bully Mr. DS has pushed him all the way to suicide, he just comes scraping along all like “Don’t cry for me, I can make it on my own!”
It’s like I said. The heart of a champion! Not even terrible design is gonna keep this little guy down! Crisis Core recently came out to give it a boost. Now, this being 2008, and Crisis Core being part of the FFVII compilation, it tries to take us on a nostalgic trip to an era when Final Fantasy did not suck miles of dick. Because you know what? I liked FFVII. That’s right. I’m not afraid to say it. It’s underrated. Maybe there was a time when it had a lot of fans, but now? Now you can’t throw a stone without hitting an FFVII hater. It’s ridiculous. Hating FFVII is like a g thang nowadays. But me? I’m a renegade. So I like FFVII.
But even with all my renegadery (…renegadery?) I still can’t say the FFVII compilation so far hasn’t been made out of suck. But at least Crisis Core is an RPG right? Square knows how to handle those. Or at least used to. I decided to give ’em the benefit of the doubt.
So how does Crisis Core stack up? Quite well, actually. In fact, I’d say it
39;s the only thing in the FFVII compilation that doesn’t suck. It’s one of the better games in the PSP’s lineup. It’s worth mentioning that Crisis Core is mad pretty. These FMVs might be better than anything on the Wii. They’re Advent Children quality. In fact, I’m pretty sure they just ripped the Sephiroth in flames scene right off of Advent Children. I guess if there’s one thing Square Enix is consistent in, it’s CG. But man, seriously, who would’ve thought 15 years ago with the Game Boy that we’d have a handheld with PS2 graphics? I certainly didn’t. Maybe because I was too busy saving Daisy’s ass in Mario Land.
It would’ve rocked if Crisis Core had turn-based combat like FFVII. But of course, SE’s weird fetish where they gotta come up with a retarded new battle system every game kicked in. But nah, the battle system isn’t really that bad. If you’ve got a shred of reason, you’re probably worried that real-time action battles won’t work too well on the PSP due to its… design flaws. And your worries wouldn’t be unfounded. After all, it’s pretty safe to say all of Sony’s quality assurance department was stoned out of their goddamn minds when they approved the PSP’s sorry excuse for D-Pad and analog stick. I can see them now… “FUCK YEAH this is the best handheld EVAR!” Then they’d probably proclaim that no one should be a cock to a stranger, ever. Then crawl underneath some table. Geez, seriously, companies need to do something about letting people toke it up in the office. They demote people for minor things like sex scandals but they let people get away with letting the PSP suck? I’m done with this world. Goodbye.
No, not really. I still have much to do in this world. Like being a cock to strangers. Where was I? Oh right. Sex scandals. I MEAN, Crisis Core. Yeah. That’s it. The battle system doesn’t actually suffer that much from the PSP’s inherent suckitude. Pressing the attack button makes your character run up to the enemy like in Star Ocean 3, so there’s no need to fumble TOO much with the analog nub. At first I thought it was slow and clunky and not much fun, but you really get used to it, and it actually gets better with time. That’s not to say it’s great or anything, but at least I don’t hate it. That counts for something. I have to mention the DMW though. It’s kind of cool, and kind of retarded at the same time. Basically it’s a slot machine that’s constantly rolling character portraits and numbers as you do battle. If 3 of the same character come up, you do a limit break. As for the numbers, certain combinations give you bonuses like level up for 777, or level up to equipped materia for two numbers that are the same. It’s kind of visually entertaining for a while, but also really fucking pointless, considering you don’t have any control over the slots, and all you do is watch and see where they stop. It’s also worth mentioning that the DMW also sometimes gives you little amusing cutscenes that show Zack’s interactions with various characters that didn’t make it into the game proper. As dumb as it sounds to stop the action for a cutscene, I can’t knock this. It’s actually kinda cool.
But no one cares about any of this gameplay stuff, right? Well you should, fucker, but I’ll let it slide this time. Anyway, of course the real hook to this game is the fact that it takes place seven years before FFVII. I’ll tell you right now, I fucking love Midgar. I find the usual fantasy dungeons and dragons setting to be boring and stale. But gritty industrial setting? That’s something I can get behind. The time during Midgar was probably my favorite place in FFVII. So of course, I liked being able to go around the city, the slums, and the Shinra building with updated graphics. Really, there’s a lot of references and throwbacks in this game to make FFVII fans happy. Small stuff like seeing the motorcycle Cloud uses in FFVII in the Shinra building. Or stuff like learning that Aerith’s “I’ll pay you with a date” trick originally came from Zack, as well as her ribbon. Or insignificant stuff like getting an SMS from Sephiroth. People who don’t care about FFVII will also not care about any of this. But for a fan it means something.
Then we’ve got the all important classic FFVII tunes. Great stuff like the Shinra Building theme or the original FFVII battle theme (which sadly you don’t get to hear too often). And of course, the all important returning characters which you get to see in their younger days. It’s pretty cool to see Sephiroth in his prime before he flipped out and started burning villages. He’s actually pretty friendly. Who woulda thought. We get some much needed heavy insight into Zack. He’s more upbeat than I imagined he’d be, but he’s very likable and has impossibly high charisma. I can’t blame everyone he runs into for liking him. Then we have our favorite wimp, Cloud, reaching unprecedented levels of failure in his youth. But the best part of all: hot illegal 15-year old Tifa in skimpy cowgirl outfit. Oh, underage Tifa. I would go to jail for you. I MEAN WHAT, NO, AMNESIA DUST! HA!
But yeah, the strong point of the story is clearly its connection to FFVII. By itself it’s decent, but definitely won’t be winning any awards. I also have to knock it for being hella short. The game tries to pad out the length by adding a fuckton of optional missions you can access from a save point, but frankly, there are just too fucking many of them and they’re too similar to each other. Almost every mission boils down to 1) go through place you’ve already been in, 2) find enemy, kill it. Once in a blue moon a mission omits the first step. These missions are maybe fine if you’re on a road trip and don’t have anything to do, but come on, at least try to make them a little bit more interesting! And hey, I can take a quite a few of these but this game goes overboard. Once I was up to 10 hours of playtime, only about one of those hours was the actual game. The rest was all missions.
Further, the game unlocks missions for you to do, but doesn’t tell you which ones it wants you to do and which ones it doesn’t, other than a vague indication of the difficulty. Ok sure, when enemies are hitting you for double your max HP, that’s probably some indication that you shouldn’t be doing that mission at the moment. But who would stop at a silly little obstacle like that? Not me, that’s for sure. The result? Once you get back into the main game, you’ll be one-shotting everything with your uber materia and grossly over leveled character for quite some time. And no one enjoys that. If you ask me, they should’ve only unlocked the missions that they want you to do so you don’t over-level rather than dumping more missions than is civilized onto your lap. I only did 75 missions until I got bored and was all like “You know what? Fuck me. I’ve got better things to do. Like being a cock to strangers.”
One last warning: Might want to keep yourself emotionally distant. Because this game can get all kinds of depressing. Seriously, you’re on the run from people trying to kill you left and right, plus you’ve got your comatose friend to carry around, you’re getting emails from friends worried about you, and all the while you know you’re not making it back and you’ll inevitably end up dead? I was depressed for like an entire day! Not cool.
Final Verdict: B-
Final Playtime: 37 hours (guess how much of that was missions)