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E3 06: Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII

Nobody expected Final Fantasy to become a shooter. And when it did, the lack of confidence seemed... justified. The Japanese version of the game showed that the developers, while great at transferring the brilliant world of Final Fantasy VII to the PS2 with its atmosphere intact, didn't quite understand how to make a tight and playable shooter. Well, somebody at Square Enix noticed the complaints. The English version of Dirge of Cerberus has been tweaked and modified for the tastes of US gamers.

 



What once was on the sluggish side is now quick and responsive. Undead hero Vincent Valentine moves at a speedy pace, and combating the forces you encounter suddenly becomes a lot more seamless. Though you are still at times forced to pull back your view from the shooting mode, as in the original version, you can move and shoot more easily. A double-jump has also been added, which helps offset a lot of Vincent's troubles with maneuverability. There are also more hand-to-hand combat moves, if you choose to go that way. You can even dash out of the way of danger now, something that wasn't present at all in the Japanese edition. The US version is also getting 40 new missions - this is in exchange for dropping the multiplayer included on the Japanese version, which ran into technical problems (it requires the PS2 hard drive, which almost no one in the US bought).

The bad news is that the online play, which requires the PlayStation 2 hard drive and an account on Square Enix's pay service PlayOnline, has been removed from the US edition of the game due to technical constraints.

Otherwise, it seems our prior preview should clue you in on anything else you need to know. The story, levels and weaponry are all the same - just translated into English.

May 11, 2006

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