Wednesday, July 19

Return to Midgar

Happy Valentine's Day.

If you're a fan of the Final Fantasy VII game, you'll surely have watched FFVII Advent Children by now (if now, what are you waiting for? The english flub, er dub? It's OUT, by the way). Well, the other titles in the 'Compilation of FFVII' series that Advent Children is a part of are starting to come out. Dirge of Cerberus is the second title (the last one is Before Crisis) and, on a wild, out-of-left field direction, isn't an RPG but a SHOOTER. Well, a shooter with RPG elements, and a whole lot of CG cinematics. In fact, the game (which has been out in Japan for quite a while) has received quite a bit of flack from reviews. The gameplay, it seems, isn't up to par... really, the most this game has to offer are the lavish CG FMV's that Square of Japan has come to be known for. Still, if you're an FFVII fan, you'll probably want to check out the game simply for the story and the cinematics, simply because DOC gives fans once again a look into the lives of their beloved characters in the fantasy world of Midgar.

Dirge of Cerberus takes place a year after the events in FFVII Advent Children (which in turn happens about two years after the end of the FFVII game story). The main focus of the tale this time isn't emo-boy Cloud Strife, but UBER-emo boy Vincent Valentine- former Turk (Shinra special agent) and current shapechanging supermutant. All seems well in the world as the WRO or World Restoration Organization is working to bring the planet back to track without the use of destructive Mako energy that Shinra used in the past. One day though, the peace is broken when a new, mysterious enemy attacks the town of Kalm. These invaders are the Deep Ground Soldiers, a special corps of enhanced warriors created by Shinra during the war but buried underground when the Meteor came to the planet. Now released into a world unprepared for their attack, the DGS seek to reawaken powerful forces in their bid for conquest. And their key to their victory is one Vincent Valentine. Now our red-cloaked hero must take up his trusty three-barrelled pistol and take on the enemy, lay to rest ghosts from his past and save the world from destruction once again.

While Vincent is the main and apparently only playable character, ninja cutie Yuffie Kisaragi plays a vital role in the story, often helping out Vincent and appearing in the many cinematics. Also playing a big role is Reeve/Cait Sith, in one scene apparently being gunned down by enemy soldiers. Ouch! Anyway, all of the FFVII heroes (save perhaps Aerith) eventually show up as the big throwdown for Midgar gets underway towards the game's climax. Thanks the Square's CG mastery, the pre-rendered cinematics are pretty much the same quality as in Advent Children, with the same character models being used. This makes DOC pretty much a sequel to Advent Children and well worth seeing for fans of the world and it's characters. I've seen the cinemas and some of the big battle scenes bring to mind the large-scale battles from the Star Wars Clone Wars movies... that's a good thing, actually.

As for the gameplay... well, awkward gameplay concerns just melt in the face of Yuffie Kisaragi's CG cuteness. Yes. Hehe.

The english version of Dirge of Cerberus is slated for an August 2006 release on the PS2. FFVII fans wanting one more adventure with their beloved FFVII heroes should keep their eyes peeled for this one.

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