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Review: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

This is a review of the Sony PlayStation Portable game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII was the game that made me want a PlayStation 1. I played Final Fantasy VII briefly after it was initially released at a friend's house, then my own copies later in college on both the PC and PlayStation 1. So when I ordered a PlayStation Portable (PSP) recently it seemed like a no-brainer to pick up a copy of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII as one of my first games.

Having previously played and enjoyed the Kingdom Hearts games for the PlayStation 2, this game was the perfect choice for my first PSP game, and is the major reason I'm extremely glad I didn't pick up a PSPgo, and will continue to keep my PSP-3000 for as long as it works.

Crisis Core tells the events that lead up to Final Fantasy VII (in fact ending with the opening of FF7), and I'll admit the story is pretty moving (Lost Odyssey was the last game to make me tear-up, and I didn't cry during FF7). The gameplay will be quite familar if you've played the PlayStation 2 Kingdom Hearts games, featuring a mix of real-time battles with RPG elements. Depending upon your preference for such things, it offers various simplified elements, such as the shop and leveling, which I think works fairly well.

The game plays great on the PSP, offering fairly tight controls (movement via either the d-pad or stick), with great sound and video (as usual with Square (Enix), the CG videos are top-notch and they look great on the PSP).

The game is UMD-only, and there seem to be no plans to make it available electronically. Compared to the other UMD game I've thus far played, Star Ocean: First Departure, the UMD seems to be read from fairly frequently, but loading times are fairly quick, and it's something that you can easily ignore.

To completion, with a number of optional missions finished, I put in a little over 27 hours into the game, and will definitely be putting more hours in to get near 100% on the optional missions, and perhaps even another playthrough (via new game plus).

On the default difficulty I died once or twice (excluding those times a Phoenix Down kept me going), and those were more from stupidity then anything else. Generally, I'd say the game is fairly easy, with some fights a little more difficult than others. Unlike Final Fantasy VII it seems to be a little easier to be a completionist in this game, but since the main area is pretty spread out, those of this type might get a little bored walking back and forth (unless they're following a guide).

I give the game 5 stars of 5, as I found the game to be extremely enjoyable, and the amount of time put into it currently, and in the future, is vastly more than the price of entry.

Recommended for fans of Final Fantasy VII, as well as those who enjoyed Kingdom Hearts on the PlayStation 2.

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