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 Apr 07, 2008 - 08:58 AM - by Michael
* Crisis Core First Impressions

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Mobile gaming (GBA/etc)
So over the weekend, I started playing Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core. Lots of hype surrounding this one... first "big" FF7 storyline title (rather than the side story Dirge of Cerberus), finally meet this "Zack" guy who Sephiroth kills in flashbacks during FF7, etc...

Right now, the game's sitting at 86% aggregate on Gamerankings. To my impression, this is just "Square Effect" - all the big print mags love Squaresoft, high-rank the game just because Final Fantasy is in the title... and let's face it, they're more than a little blind to the downsides.

My problems?
  • You can do "missions" from within missions. Seriously, you can plop down in the middle of a storyline mission, touch a save point, and do "missions" all over the globe.
  • "Missions" consist of tiny sections of other maps; bring up the mission map and you can see that while there's a huge map available, you're only allowed to travel a tiny portion (marked with "do not pass" lines) for your "mission."
  • Time-wasting is encouraged. You're supposed to do your storyline missions "right away", but true to Square's form, you're also supposed to run around town, talk to everyone, do the "side missions" from the save point till you're blue in the face... the last time I saw storyline avoidance this blatant was Final Fantasy X-2, which was horrid beyond horrid.
  • Cutscenes, cutscenes, cutscenes... when you're not doing little 4-5 minute "side missions", you're sitting through 5-minute cutscenes broken up by maybe 2-3 minutes of gameplay each. Worse yet, half the cutscenes have audio, and the other half are just you push-buttoning through dialogue with no audio attached.
  • Ok... the battle mode is at once interesting and pointless. Yes, I know they're trying to hide the PSP's limitations,but confining the player to a "free moving" roped-off circle while enemies beat on you isn't the way to do it. The combat system hurts this way, really; it's basically button mashing, with the occasional tap to engage healing materia.

    Overall, I just can't (so far) get into this one. They're doing a nice job of trying to explain where Sephiroth went nuts in the storyline, but they're not doing a great job of pulling me into the story. Instead, at every turn I'm being encouraged to avoid the storyline missions to do repetitive fight sequences in tiny little roped-off areas.
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