previewed on PSP
Just another cash-in?
How do you follow up one of the most popular, acclaimed RPGs of all time? Square Enix has tried, and failed, multiple times. The Compilation of FINAL FANTASY VII has been running for more than ten years now, with Square trying (and failing) numerous times to make the FINAL FANTASY VII lightning strike yet again. It is unfortunate that one of the greatest games of all time has received such decidedly average follow-ups or quick cash-ins. Take the barely competent shooter Dirge of Cerberus or the CG movie Advent Children which took storylines for granted as examples. But fear not, fellow fans, because it looks like Square Enix finally has a FINAL FANTASY VII spin-off to successfully carry on the torch of the original. Enter Crisis Core.
Crisis Core is the prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII, taking place seven years prior and starring not Cloud but Zack Fair, the underappreciated protagonist of the original game. If you missed Zack’s story when playing through the original - it was an easy thing to do - here’s a quick recap: Cloud claimed that he was the one who stopped Sephiroth after he destroyed the town of Nibelheim. But as it was revealed later on, Cloud was easily defeated by Sephiroth, and would have died if his best friend Zack hadn’t show up to finish the fight for him. The two were later captured by the mega-corporation Shinra and experimented on for a couple of years. Eventually they escaped. The duo hitchhiked away from their captors, but was pursued and Zack was eventually gunned down while protecting Cloud from Shinra foot soldiers.
Crisis Core’s story takes place before the Nibelheim incident, and tells of Zack’s time spent as a member of SOLDIER. After a top member of SOLDIER disappears without a trace in Wutai (a ninja city at war with Shinra), Zack and his mentor Angeal are tasked with locating him. Along the way he runs into many familiar faces including Cloud, Aeris, and Sephiroth himself. On top of his main mission Zack will have to, as a member of SOLDIER, partake in a number of smaller operations not always relevant to the main story.
If you have played FINAL FANTASY X-2 on the PS2, you should feel right at home with Crisis Core’s game structure. Instead of navigating an expansive world map, you can select and jump to any mission at any time via any save point. Making the experience even more streamlined, Zack can order potions and Materia from anywhere in the field.