When exploring levels, the game plays like a fairly standard third-person run-and-gun adventure. But when Vincent engages the enemy, the camera shifts to a Resident Evil 4 -style "behind-the-shoulder" view, and the controls change to FPS-style aim-and-shoot. (In fact, gamers disenchanted by the default DualShock 2 control scheme can simply plug in a USB keyboard and mouse.)
Most of the game's complexity comes in the form of weapon management. Vincent can customize up to three guns with hot-swappable stocks, barrels, and scopes. He can also attach pendants, charms, and Materia which can open up elemental attack spells, improve firing rate and accuracy, and perform a variety of other tweaks, as well. Unlike most shooters, your weapons start out extremely slow and inaccurate, so frequent upgrading is a must if you hope to survive.