Well, 14 hours was how long it took to finish FFVII: Crisis Core's main story. I didn't expect it to be this short when it was leaked on 2ch but looks like it's true. But if you did all the short side missions, you could land up to 50 hours!
The RPG's been fun in terms of gameplay with a bit of freedom to roam, easy instant access to shops, no grinding and the great mix and match Materia system similar to the original FFVII's one.
The "DMW" system was also a fresh new element turning it into an ARPG / slots machine kind of game. During battles, the slot machine in the corner rolls away randomly as you kill off enemies to earn SP (Soldier Points) which is also your EXP basically. As numbers match in the background you gain various temporal effects such as becoming immune to physical or magical attacks.
When two of the three character portraits matches it's enlarged on your screen. The numbers continue to roll and the middle character portrait does too. Then you just wait for them to stop, hoping you get the right combinations. The redder the limit gauge is, the more likely you'll three matching character portraits. This way, Zack unleashes a limit break or summon and the numbers you manage to roll adds to your current stats. Three matching numbers mean Zack levels up and two numbers mean your Materia levels up. The more you match character portraits, the more likely you'll get a different video flashback related to those characters.
It's mostly about luck really and that's what annoyed me towards the second half of the game. Sometimes it would kick in a bit too much and give the wrong limit breaks you needed or it doesn't run at all! However, according to Japanese sites, you can control them apparently depending on your Materia setup.
The rest of the battle system is very smooth. Although it looks like an action RPG (which is mostly is), you're actually queuing commands for Zack to perform. He doesn't respond to your commands instantly but it's still much more action oriented than turn based RPGs. Enemies are still invisible as you run around on the field but, encounters happen exactly on the same spots so you know where to avoid or just run around the edges.
For gear, you don't really have much to wear apart from accessories you gain from doing missions. Items are used pretty much the same way but you can buy them easily no matter where you are via your mobile phone. Saves all that travelling time which is a feature I like. It does make the game very easy though since you don't have to worry about running out of items as long as you have plenty of Gil. That said, the main game itself is very easy to beat!
And speaking of the mobile phone, you have access to over 200 different side missions which you can do at any time wherever there's a save point. Once at the familiar green spots of light, you just switch over the mobile phone screen and then access the missions. You then get "teleported" instantly to where you need to go or dive right into battle. Again, very handy. The missions start out easy much like the story battles but get unbelievably hard as you unlock new ones...
Needless to say the graphics are astounding for the PSP with some great facial expressions but in-game graphics wise, I would have to say they're on the same level as the MHP games. On the other hand, the pre-rendered videos are nowhere as good as the AC quality movies here. The following are a collection of screenshots from the game, most of which brings back enough nostalgia for players of the original FFVII and a very rough summary of CC.
Be warned, big spoilers ahead!
The story takes place 7 years ago before FFVII. 1st Class Soldier Genesis has gone missing during a Wutai mission along with other Soldiers. Now Zack must set out to help settle matters in Wutai.
Not the first familiar place. Sector 8.
The Shinra building.
With an exhibition room full of familiar transportation too which you can view up close.
The 3 friends Genesis, Angeal and Sephiroth hanging out on top of the Junon Canon. Genesis can't get away from the Loveless poems.
And a little dispute means they end up chopping the place into pieces.
It's that reactor.
Aerith and Zack's destined meeting for the first time. They get along well. It was Zack that suggested she went to sell flowers. Aerith wanted to spread the rare flowers all around Midgar.
The playground. Aerith seems to know about Soldiers taking a "special operation" and worries about Zack.
The highway but no chase.
Ah, here's where Cloud finds JENOVA's headless body.
Red XIII makes his appearance. Hojo still the crazy scientist here in CC.
Cloud and Zack meets and finds out they have much in common. Both coming from a rural place with a rural sounding name.
Zack trying to relax on the sunny beaches of Costa del Sol.
With the lovely Turks recruit Cissnei. Zack misses Aerith and wants to call her.
But even at the beach they can't relax. Zack fights the group of Genesis clones with a nearby umbrella. I just happened to roll a "Chocobo Kick" with the DMW.
Junon is under attack again. Well... This is in the past.
The action in Junon proves a little bit much for the low rank Cloud.
Ah yes, the first boss from FFVII. So it's 7 year old Shinra technology.
Zack finally gets to spend some time alone with Aerith again. He finally builds that little wagon for her and decides to go out to sell the flowers.
Zack wants to grant her every wish. Aerith tells him she has 25 but Zack is all she wants right now. The rest is written on paper for Zack.
Out in the park, the pair have a hard time finding customers. Just as things start to work out a little, Zack has another mission. Tseng assures him that part of their spying on Aerith means protecting her too. Zack leaves, a little less worried.
It's off to Nibelheim.
The exact same scene and lines, "So how does it feel? I wouldn't know because I don't have a hometown."
Not the type of person who talks about himself much, Sephiroth.
Tifa's disappointed to hear Sephiroth and Zack are the only 1st rank Soldiers around.
Welcome to the inn where Sephiroth and Zack stayed.
But did you know it's "haunted"?
Tifa's the guide? Too dangerous says Zack.
Lets pose for that photo!
Didn't come out too bad.
On the way up to the reactor, Zack continues to try and convince Tifa it's dangerous. Monsters appear before Tifa and guess who was the first one to defeat them? The one in the helmet.
"Mystery" soldier continues to do his job by keeping Tifa out of the reactor. Not very happy obviously.
Where the crisis begins.
Sephiroth and Zack discovers the origin of the monsters around Nibelheim.
"It is unfortunate. You are a monster."
Says Genesis, helping to confirm Sephiroth's thoughts. A result of the Jenova Projects just like Genesis himself and Angeal. However, Sephiroth worked out the best thus he doesn't suffer from the same deterioration they do.
As the two leaves, Zack gives chase as the two leaves the reactor but finds Cloud unconscious outside. Monsters had attacked them and Cloud had tried to protect Tifa.
Zack escorts them back to town, unsure of what to do.
Back at the inn, Cloud wakes up. He still wants to be a 1st Rank Soldier but Zack tells him to forget it because Soldiers are like monsters.
Going outside, Aerith calls. Zack makes sure none of the others are watching before taking it. After a brief conversation...
Zack: I'll call you again later.
Aerith: No, don't...
Zack: I got it. I'll go see you.
Aerith: I'll be waiting for you.
He also receives an e-mail from Tifa who is worried about the soldier who protected her earlier. She's also glad Zack stayed with them until they were back in town. She wants to ask more about Soldier.
Meanwhile Sephiroth digs deeper to find out about the Jenova Project. Another memorable scene.
The light underground never went out.
And so the madness begins. No more nice Mr. Sephiroth.
Zack rushes to the reactor to confront him.
Zack tries to stop Sephiroth but he isn't strong enough.
Cloud just manages to severely wound him from behind.
He goes back out to his beloved Tifa but Sephiroth was not dead yet.
Encouraged by Zack, Cloud picks up the Buster Sword to try and finish Sephiroth.
With his strong will power he manages to do it throwing Sephiroth deep into the reactor.
Both passed out, Zack manages to catch a glimpse of Hojo and his Shinra soldiers preparing to carry him and Cloud off for his experiments.
In his dream, Zack wishes Angeal was still around to tell him what he should do now.
Zack wakes up, breaking himself out of the Mako container and makes his escape with Cloud who was now poisoned with Mako.
Seeing how Cloud's clothes were soaked in Mako, Zack decides to stop by Nibelheim to find some clothes for him. Already, Shinra soldiers are out to retrieve Hojo's "samples".
After entering the Shinra Mansion, Zack finds a Soldier suit for Cloud and changes him into it. He then remembers Aerith was waiting for him and decides they should head to Midgar next. He still had to fulfil Aerith's wishes. It wasn't going to be easy.
The Turks were onto them too and Zack did not want to fight them because of his respect for their heavy sense of duty.
Cissnei attacks but with little effort. She had already fallen for Zack and after seeing the ill Cloud behind him, she hands over keys to a bike so that they could get away more easily.
But more problems awaited ahead. Genesis wasn't dead and with new Jenova cells injected into Zack and Cloud, he wanted them dead so that he could stop his deterioration.
Before Zack starts his new life away from Shinra, he drops by to see his parents in Gongaga. He is hesitant about going in. Cissnei already knew he was going to do that and was waiting for him. Fortunately, it was just her. She wanted to know what has happened.
Zack explains and how he escaped the Shinra Mansion together with Cloud. He decides not to drop in his home so that he doesn't make his parents worried. Cissnei tells him they are fine. He thanks her and leaves.
On his way, he finds the Genesis cell injected Hollander attacking someone who resembles Angeal. It turns out to be Lazard who reveals he is actually a clone of Angeal produced as one of the earlier Jenova projects.
Zack decides to go finish off Genesis once and for all to end his madness.
He successfully defeats Genesis while Lazard had been keeping Cloud safe outside. Unfortunately, Lazard's time was up. After burying Lazard, Zack leaves with Cloud ready to start a new life but the Shinra were onto him.
Zack puts up a brave fight but even with his skills, he no match for the enormous Shinra army before him. Back in the church Aerith can feel something has happened.
Cloud manages to get up and crawls over to Zack, still unable to speak due to his Mako poisoning. Just before Zack dies, he puts the Buster Sword in Cloud's hands and leaves the sheet of paper that Aerith gave to him with her list of wishes.
Cloud gives out a cry of sorrow.
He walks off, dragging the Buster Sword behind him.
"If you see Aerith, take good care of her for me."
SE Hinting at a FFVII Remake or...?
And once you finish the game, SE had a little surprise for all the FFVII fans. A pre-rendered "trailer" for Final Fantasy VII which very much resembles the real-time PS3 tech demo.
So what could this mean? There's quite a number of ways to interpret this. First, since Crisis Core is a prequel to FFVII, this trailer would obviously point to the story continuing in the original game.
However, you can't actually purchase the original game anymore so perhaps SE is hinting at the PS3 remake that FFVII fans have been waiting so long for, despite the company denying it? As we can see from this game, they clearly have a fair proportion of the game re-modelled. Or is Sony just going to re-release the original game again on their Playstation Store so that players can play it on the PSP's official PSX emulator?
I think SE will re-release the PS1 game first then announce a PS3 remake. More money that way.
So complaints about Crisis Core? Well, an option to replay all the pre-rendered movies and a skip button for them during the plus game would be good.
I haven't really had time to sit at home to play the game so, I've been playing the game completely on the move mostly. Coming home and going to uni/work takes an hour on the bus so I've been spending that time playing CC. The gaps between save points are short and the side missions are quick too so I haven't found myself having to put the PSP in standby. Shows how portable friendly the game is.
You don't see anyone here playing portables on public transport but if you were in HK, you'll see people everywhere carrying them in queues and public transport mainly but also people who are waiting for their food. Most are playing their DS, though...