Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Even with Final Fantasy XIII on the horizon, the series' seventh installment remains by far the most popular. Scoring amazing reviews back in 1997, it has since spawned spin-off games, movies and even novels. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is the latest game added to the list and expands upon the original game's epic storyline by exploring the origins of the evil Shinra Corporation some seven years earlier.

The game follows the experiences of Zack, a young recruit in Shinra's private military. The young soldier sets off in search of a rogue colleague, along with FFVII's big bad Sephiroth, no doubt bumping into more familiar faces along the way.

Gameplay-wise, Crisis Core seems to be a mix of familiar elements and brave new directions. Square's proven storytelling techniques, involving in-game conversations, cutscenes and impressive cinematics, are on board, revealing a more realistic graphical style than its forebear. The developers have also opted for third-person, real time battles. However, the inclusion of some familiar foes and those beloved summonable creatures should soften the blow for purists. There's also an all-new hard mode not available in the Japanese version. But will it be able to please old and new gamers alike? If this is anywhere near as good as Final Fantasy VII we're going to be blown away all over again. If it turns out to be like Dirge of Cerberus, well, let's just try not to think about that.

Feb 20, 2008