Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII had a strange effect on me. It made me remember why I like Final Fantasy VII all those years ago. When it came out I thought FFVII was fantastic and played through it maybe 3 times over the course of a few years. While Final fantasy VII was my first rpg I moved on and played others. However, many who played FFVII as their first seem not to have moved on at all and claim it the best rpg ever and for some the best game ever. This is clearly madness and this led to me getting frustrated with the ridiculous love it gets and the constant calls for a remake. My feelings towards the game were not helped when the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII was announced in which new areas of the Final Fantasy VII universe would be covered. Dirge of Cerberus was an awful third-person shooter while Advent Children was a string of seemingly unrelated cutscenes into an awful story with the most disgustingly blatant pandering to a fanbase I have seen in some time. Cloud becomes an emo loner who can’t deal with his emotions even though this particular thread had already been resolved in the main game while characters turn up for no reason other than to have a big fight. Aerith is dead but don’t worry she is in there too as a ghost or something. Worst of all for no particular reason the main baddie turns into Sephiroth. There is a basis for this in the story but it is a pretty light explanation.
As I have said I found Crisis Core enjoyable as it reminded me why I enjoyed Final Fantasy VII so much with events set in areas of the VII universe such as the Shinra building, Nibilheim and in general the opening disc areas based in the city of Midgar bringing back memories of the great setpieces and good parts of FFVII rather than the cross-dressing, or the snowboarding or Cait Sith.
Crisis Core wasn’t amazing and to be honest the story went a bit off the rails at a point but I liked its short and snappy nature compared to most rpgs. Zach was a character who grew on me over the course of the game while the battle system, while seemingly mental with its slot machine goings on, was actually really cool, giving a more random element to each fight. To briefly explain about the story it has three members of the military organisation SOLDIER called Genesis, Angeal and Sephiroth who all find out that they were basically the result of experiments. As soon as they find out they go crazy. This happens three times and in such a short game it just seems kind of stupid. I liked the brisque nature of the game and that it actually expanded on the original unlike the rest of the collection and is something that I would maybe like to see done more rather than remakes for some games e.g. playing as Balthier or Red from FFXII or… well you can insert any minor character from a game you liked.
The ending is particularly effective. If you have played FFVII leading into this you know how it ends and the way it is handled in terms of gameplay and story is well done. For me personally this was slightly cut back by the choice to have an awful J-pop song at the end. This is more annoying because over the credits a great orchestral piece is played which would have been perfect but thems the breaks.
FFVII is not the best game, rpg or final fantasy ever but is a very good game. It has just been completely skewed by the significant factor of huge hype and enormous backlash that is currently at play with LA Noire but over the course of 14 years. As a result its followers praise it to the heavens while its detractors drag it through the mud. As usual the truth is somewhere in between.