By Spencer . October 3, 2007 . 6:11pm
That’s the consensus from the supporting cast of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Cloud looks up to him and Aeris adores him. Square-Enix even makes him loveable to the audience. Unlike the mentally mixed up Cloud, Zack has a clear dream to become Soldier First Class. In the early part of the game Zack has spunky enthusiasm while you get to see him grow into a hero. He’s goofy at times too with overly animated motions, which is a refreshing change of pace from the cool tone typically given to characters in the Final Fantasy series.
We’re about to delve deeper into Crisis Core so I’m giving you a warning there are going to be some slight spoilers in the rest of the article. Click with caution!
Square-Enix doesn’t hesitate to deliver Final Fantasy VII fan service either. You know you’re going to see Cloud and Aeris, but did you know Yuffie was in the game too? After Genesis, a First Class Soldier, goes missing in a Wutai operation Zack is sent into Wutai with Angeal to track Genesis down. Along the way he runs into a young Yuffie who is pretty much there just to make a cameo. You’re going to see the Turks in the game too, include one who only appeared in Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, and… well… at least one more major character. You get to fight summon beasts like Ifrit and the legendary Bahamut too. I think fans are going to enjoy lots of these little “wow” moments. However, I can imagine those uninitiated in the world of Final Fantasy VII scratching their heads wondering “why”.
The gameplay in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is broken down into bite sized missions. There isn’t much exploration, you simply accept a mission from a save point and move straight into a field with random encounters. Some missions are even more basic, they just throw you into fights. If you want to complete everything you’re going to have to fight bosses again and under tougher conditions. Since I spent most of my time playing Crisis Core on the train I enjoyed the mini-missions. During a short trip I could complete one, put the game down and move on with my day. With that being said I didn’t play Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII for hours like other RPGs. I took it in small chunks, chunks of combat.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is mostly fighting, but it’s quite different from Final Fantasy VII. The system is action oriented, but you don’t have as much freedom as an action RPG. Zack has a basic slash attack that uses no MP or AP. When you use this Zack runs up to the enemy and strikes it with his blade. There aren’t any combos to master. It’s as if you selected the command from a menu in a turn based RPG. Most of the time mashing the circle button is the fastest way to win battles, but you can mix combat up by using magic materia or command materia. Those attacks utilize MP and AP respectively, so they’re limited. During boss fights magic is the key to victory. You want to expose weaknesses and hang out in a distance and hide in safe spots from attacks. Speaking of materia you can meld materia together to form new stones. The combinations aren’t always obvious, but I thought this system was more interesting than purchasing materia from a store.
The new thing about combat is the Digital Mind Wave system (D.M.W.), which is represented by the slot machine reel in the upper left hand corner. When Zack fights reels continually spin and if they randomly (keyword here!) line up Zack does a limit break style move or he might level up. Since you don’t have any control over this luck seems to play a greater role in battle than other RPGs. Granted during longer boss battles, odds are the D.M.W. slots will turn up something good, but you’re still relying on luck to be on your side.