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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII:

I WANT THIS SOOOO BAD!! Suppose to come out in July I think. Man, I'M SO EXCITED!!! It's suppose to happen after Advent Children movie. The theme you're hearing is "Redemption" by none other than Gackt. He helped with the action movements with the characters. Ya know would the people fight with those things on them and the are actually do CG characters. Anyway he does a voice of one of the characters I think. *Squeals* Gackt and Final Fantasy VII!!! IT'S LIKE A WONDERFUL DREAM!! I also included an article I found that might explain things better. Well, I seriously have to go now.

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII is the third installment in the compilation of Final Fantasy VII series. Instead of starring Cloud or Tifa the game focuses on other cast members who didnít have as much of a presence in Advent Children. The enigmatic sharpshooter Vincent Valentine takes center stage along with Cait Sith and Yuffie as the main supporting cast members. Square-Enix could have made another RPG or action RPG but they opted to do something totally new. Defined as a ďgun RPGĒ Dirge of Cerberus is the first RPG cross FPS.

When the game gets underway youíll run around with a third person camera following behind you. Vincent can do a melee combo by pressing X and jump if you press circle. But Dirge of Cerberus is really all about shooting. When you press R1 the game goes into ďgun modeĒ. Vincent moves to the left corner of the screen and the camera shifts to an over the shoulder perspective a la Resident Evil 4. Now you can start blasting a way with your pistol by aiming with the right analog stick and pressing R1 to fire a burst of shots. Even though you can adjust between normal and reverse for both axes aiming takes awhile to get used to. Whatís worse is that you canít really focus on dodging and attacking at the same time. Vincent moves unbearably slow when he draws his gun. On top of that he canít jump or dodge roll while shooting. So youíre pretty much forced into standing in one place, while walking slowly to avoid shots. Since youíre mostly stationary your best defense is shooting each enemy once and then rotating to the next enemy. Each time you land a shot you can stun an enemy for a second to prevent your foe from shooting at you. In some ways the shooting mechanic is more similar to a light gun game than a first person shooter.

Vincent has some abilities unique to him like using materia. You can equip materia on your gun and use the secondary fire, L1 button to use it. However, there really isnít a deep materia system. Fire materia just shoots a sphere of fire, like a wide range bullet. Using materia does take up magic points, which you can obtain by running over glowing circles. While you could spend your magic on casting spells itís probably better used to transform Vincent into his beastly forms. If you press L1 and R1 at the same time Vincent will use his FF7 limit break ability. This change is expensive, it consumes one entire MP meter bar and the remaining MP drains every second when youíre in an alternate form. When Vincent turns into a werewolf heís given a phenomenal boost to his melee attack and can shoot a short range fire attack by pressing R1. He also gets an added defense bonus, which makes a transformation key for boss battles. Transforming also recovers all of Vincentís HP. This is pretty much the only other way to recover HP other than using your limited stock of potions.

One thing disappointing about Dirge of Cerberus is that the best action sequences are all in FMVs instead of having a player control them. We watch as Vincent leaps into the sky to shoot down a plane and as he kicks an enemy into the air to finish him off with a burst of bullets. But we canít actually do any of that in game. The amount of action is limited to the shooting gallery gun mode and if enemies get too close a flurry of hand to hand kicks. There arenít killer combos, just chains of successive well aimed shots. No jumping around, limited puzzles that are really fetch quests and just a tad of exploration. Dirge of Cerberus throws out many of the gameplay mechanics that RPG fans expect. On the other hand the fast light gun style gameplay is entertaining. Dirge of Cerberus draws upon the light gun genre further by having stage missions when you try to save people from getting shot by shooting the enemies first.

At the end of each stage youíre awarded experience points which you can use to level Vincent up. Or you can trade in your precious EXP for gil so you can purchase items like Phoenix down or gun accessories. Gil is also useful for upgrading weapon parts so you can build a stronger gun. There are four parameters to consider when building your gun: power, range, speed and weight. All of them are self explanatory expect weight, which affects the speed Vincent moves while heís carrying the gun. If you enter the customize mode Vincent can literally build a gun from scratch. You can alter the barrel, scope, frame, and more to make your own instrument of death. Build a rapid fire shotgun or create a long distance sniper rifle. Dirge of Cerberus offers lots of different gun options as you collect more parts. However, Vincent can only carry three different guns at a time. Since you can customize on the fly you can transform your pistol to a machine gun if youíre surrounded in the heat of battle. It might be unrealistic, but it guarantees that players can always create the right tool for the situation.

Outside of playing as Vincent youíll also step into Cait Sithís furry feet. When youíre the little guy you wonít tote a gun instead youíll snoop around and try to avoid getting caught by the Deep Grand soldiers. Since Cait Sith is without his large companion, you can easily sneak behind crates and barrels. But if you get caught you wonít be able to fight back. Cait Sithís claw combo does single points of damage.

Most people are probably picking up this game for the story and not just the gameplay. Dirge of Cerberus actually starts off directly after the events in Advent Children. Then the story quickly fast forwards to three years in the future where there is a war between Reeveís World Revival Organization (WRO) and the Deep Ground Soldiers. Vincent is caught in the middle of this war and heís drawn into helping Reeveís side out. In between the gunshots weíre given a full glimpse of Vincentís past. We finally know why he was locked up in Shinra mansion and how he obtained his trademark skills. It sounds like fan service, but Dirge of Cerberus manages to hold its own in the story department. This is probably obvious, but if you havenít played Final Fantasy VII most of the plot wonít be clear since the game doesnít spend much time introducing characters.

Square-Enix makes sure that it wonít disappoint gamers with the visuals. Dirge of Cerberus looks great. Realistic facial expressions and excellent character Advent Children based character models are what people want to see. The Hollywood inspired action sequences are great too, even though we canít play them. Probably what is most impressive are the full motion video sequences that have a level of detail similar to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The only minor complaint is the dark and generic level design. Otherwise Dirge of Cerberus lives up to Square-Enixís high visual standards. The music is another story. The game background music is mellow ambient sounds, something different from the epic scale that Square-Enix typically uses or pulse pounding music you would see in an action game. It fits with Vincentís mysterious character, but itís not memorable except for Gacktís theme.

Dirge of Cerberus is bound to polarize Final Fantasy fans. Some gamers will appreciate the ďsomething newĒ value that Dirge of Cerberus offers. It has fast paced arcade style action and a good story. However the gameís controls are severely flawed. Itís best played with a USB keyboard and mouse if you have one. On top of that gamers looking for a tight controlling FPS or an in depth RPG are looking in the wrong place. Dirge of Cerberus only has elements of each those genres tied together.

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