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Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII - Tokyo Game Show Impression

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: 09.13.2007 (Japan)

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It's been ten years since the launch of the original Final Fantasy VII, and since the game came out it has influenced the design of recent RPGs and inspired countless pages of awful fan fiction. Still, a business knows a good opportunity to milk profits when it sees one, so in an attempt to catch some of the feeling of the original game, Square Enix has released several add-ons to the story. One of these is a PSP game: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. If you can get past the fact that this is a cash-in on the popularity of the FFVII universe, Crisis Core both looks good and plays well.

"If you can get past the fact that this is a cash-in on the popularity of the FFVII universe, Crisis Core both looks good and plays well."

Storywise, this is set directly before the events of the original game, and the main character is Zack, Aerith's boyfriend and Cloud Strife's friend in SOLDIER. Even if you're not familiar with the elements of the FFVII story, as a prequel this does set up the events fairly well. The PSP has enough power to put out some impressive cinema work, and it shows off some familiar characters.

The demo had Zack dueling one-on-one against Sephiroth, and it highlighted the mechanics of the battle system. When in battle, players are able to move the main character around while selecting commands in real-time. This also goes for dodging and defending various attacks. A new feature is the Digital Mind Wave, which basically shows up as a small slot machine in the corner of the screen. If the slots match up with the same character and value (e.g. Zack / 2), the character gets a brief power surge. Materia are also available in the game to use for learning new spells, much as they were in the original title. Transitions into normal battles are seamless while roaming the different areas.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is already available in Japan, as it was released on September 13, 2007. So this was an unusual case of a completed game already on sale yet still available for play on the show floor. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this is because it will come out to North American markets, even if the release date hasn't been announced yet. If you own a PSP, take a look at this game, because it is pretty fun to play. That is if you can stomach it being yet another remake (because even with a new story and game system, that's what it seems like.)

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