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Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation 2) artwork

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation 2) review

"Square Enix had this long standing policy about sequels and remakes... they didn't make them. This has obviously become more of a guideline these days, with several remakes having come out, and some sequels, one of which is Dirge of Cerberus. "

Square Enix had this long standing policy about sequels and remakes... they didn't make them. This has obviously become more of a guideline these days, with several remakes having come out, and some sequels, one of which is Dirge of Cerberus.

I can't say I'm unhappy with this change of events. Sometimes it's hard to play a whole game, fall in love with the characters, and then have to end it knowing you'll never see them again. Dirge of Cerberus puts you in the role of one of those characters, the formidable and way cool Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy 7.

I don't know what it was about FF7's characters that made them so cool, but most of them were undeniably awesome, and Vincent was high in the running for biggest badass. So a game based solely around him should be sweet, right? Well, sort've. Yes and no. Okay, not really. But it does have it's highlights.

Dirge of Cerberus takes place three years after FF7 and Meteor Fall. The game starts you out in the peaceful town of Kalm, which is suddenly attacked by soldiers and their creepy metallic dogs. People start dying in droves as the soldiers either kill them or load them into crates and fly them away to an unknown fate. Fortunately, Vincent Valentine is on call and he's ready to kick some ass.

Unfortunately, he's not very good at the whole ass-kicking thing.

Dirge of Cerberus is an action RPG that uses a third and first person shooter interface. Yeah. That confusion you're experiencing is perfectly normal. Really, shooting things is the name of the game, though. It basically works like any other shooter, except that you can freely switch between first person and third person mode. You also have a few action staples tossed in that almost aren’t worth mentioning, like “floating” while shooting and a melee attack... which is absolutely worthless.

So, a shooter. SqaureEnix has obviously never made a shooter before, though. Some of the most basic elements of a good shooter are missing. There's no good way to dodge bullets, and rarely any cover to duck behind, making fights contests of ‘who has the most life.' The damage indicator, which tells you which direction bullets are hitting you from, is very small and hard to read, meaning that when you get hit from a distance, you'll be running around in circles desperately trying to locate the sniper. The enemy AI is poor, as well. Their tactics consist solely of standing in one spot and shooting until one of you goes down. This makes most of the game play like one of those target tests in a police academy, with you running around an environment and waiting for the bad guys to ‘pop up.'

Another disappointment is the lack of environmental interaction. There are only two things besides enemies you can affect with your guns. Supply boxes, and explosive barrels. Everything else, from windows and bottles of wine to wooden barrels and cardboard boxes, are indestructible. C'mon, SquareEnix. You could break almost everything in Metal Gear Solid 2, and that was how many years ago? Or are things just built really solidly ever since Meteor Fall?

I think my biggest disappointment were the bosses. In appearance the villains are bad asses. Each has their own unique way of slaughtering countless of the troops on your side and they show off their abilities many times in the cutscenes. And yet, when you actually fight them it comes down to using potions while shooting at them a lot. There's no weak spots and very little strategy for the majority of the bosses. Just aim, shoot, and keep your distance. I'd never thought people that looked so impressive could be so boring to fight.

And they definitely look impressive. The cutscenes are incredible in this game, beyond anything that's come out so far. If you've seen Advent Children, you'll be seeing almost the same quality graphics here. Even outside of the cutscenes, the graphics are nice, with detailed textures, fluid movement, and tons of character animations.

Beyond being pretty, there’s not much there. The game completely failed to get me interested in the characters and their depressing situations. It tried. The characters spend the whole game whining to try to get you to feel for them. Eventually, it falls apart under its own Emo weight.

For a game, too, that is obviously banking a lot on fan service, there really isn’t that much of it present.

The choice of locations is good. They are all from the FF7 universe and each stage is different enough from the last that you don't get bored running around similar locations. Even so, the levels themselves get old after a while and are far more linear than they needed to be. Add to this the fact that there aren't any puzzles, and you'll be desperately wanting a new stage at the end of each level. Also, though the locations are recognizable in name, none of them look familiar.

There’s a lot of extras thrown into Dirge of Cerberus, and if you hate yourself enough to keep playing the game, you may get to see them all. Otherwise, if you're looking for an action game, go try Devil May Cry 3. If you're looking for an RPG, try out the original Final Fantasy 7. If you're looking for both, go play Kingdom Hearts. If you're looking for a shooter, Call of Duty is always available to you.

The point is, there is always a better game to play than Dirge of Cerberus.

zippdementia's avatar
Community review by zippdementia (July 08, 2008)

Zipp has spent most of his life standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox there. Sometimes he writes reviews and puts them in the mailbox.

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