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Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
PlayStation Portable
Love Reviewed: 3/30/08

Final Fantasy VII opened the RPG genre's floodgates, as far as the world outside Japan is concerned, largely because of its impactful storyline. How fitting that it should receive a whole compilation of spinoffs and such, the crown jewel of which is Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, a prequel starring Zack.

Crisis Core is the perfect, happy medium of innovation/originality and old throwbacks. Plenty of references to the FFVII story we all know and love are there, but there's also a lot of great original content in terms of story, character development, battle, and music. One of the new things is how the fighting works. Instead of being turn-based like FFVII, this is an action RPG. Like FFVII, magic and special commands are done by using equipped materia. But there's a new element: the Digital Mind Wave (DMW). It's basically a slot machine of awesome. It's always spinning and frequently granting random effects during battle, but sometimes it'll go into "Modulating Phase," when it's likely that a special attack will be performed, and/or Zack or his equipped materia will gain a level. Some icons can only be added to the DMW by doing special sidequests, which is great, and adds some replay value.

Screen Shot
New characters.

Taking on SOLDIER missions is possible at any save point. These are side quests which offer treasure of all kinds, an enriched story experience, and more time with the fun battle system. One can take on missions at pretty much any time, since save points are plentiful, and their difficulty level is noted, so players won't run into unexpected troubles. Getting 100% will take a long time, which is great, because I never wanted this game to end.

The story is just great, and the light it sheds on Zack's tale is just amazing. A true unsung hero of VII, we get to see his history, and how he's far more connected to Cloud and the story in general than we previously thought. It's also an incredible experience to see him grow as a character over the course of the game. And to see more of Sephiroth's backstory with Shinra--just amazing, and nostalgia-inducing at times. He's like, one of the most popular villains ever; how often to we get a game that delivers more (awesome) backstory and detail about a bad guy from a 10-year-old game? Once in a Crisis Core, that's how often.

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Intricately woven plot.

Nostalgia is only heightened by the crazy-excellent feelings evoked by walking around in the FFVII environments and seeing how they look in upgraded PSP-quality visuals. Those alone make the game worth a look for anyone who loved Final Fantasy VII, which is like, millions of people.

Crisis Core takes one of the best and most loved games of all time and fleshes it out even more with its epic storytelling and strong reminders of everything that made the original so memorable. It's a must-play.

-Heath Love

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Enjoyable
Story Incredible
Graphics Best ever
Sound/Music So touching
Replay Value Absolutely
The Verdict: I just wish there were more!