What has become more obvious is just how dark and creepy this game's story seems to be. Yes, in Japanese, the image of soldiers herding innocent townspeople into metal boxes was startling, but coupled with the more salient details of the plot (1200 dead in one town; threats of genocide from a maniac who steals the airwaves to broadcast his message of hate) becomes much clearer in finely-dubbed English. It looks as if this might a story that will be worth the attention it'll inevitably get either way.
Our reservations about the core gameplay remain, even if the changes Square Enix has wrought make it all the more playable. We're kinda bummed that the online play was sliced out instead of made compatible with US systems - the hard drive requirement ended up killing it. In the end, though, we're just satisfied to report that the game is more playable, and (even better) has piqued our interest in finding out more about its story. It may not end up going down as a shooter classic, but there's no arguing that it's a fresh dose of carefully worked-over Final Fantasy VII. That's what counts, right?