Soon after the PSP was first announced, gaming forums came alive with talks of portable Final Fantasy games.  This immediately sparked my attention and got me excited about the PSP. I had grandiose images of a portable RPG that I could play on my daily commute.  Once Square-Enix announced that FF7: Crisis Core would be coming out for the PSP, my dream had come true.  Not only was this a traditional Square-Enix RPG but a prelude to one of my favorite RPGs of all time. After years of waiting, I’ve finally got my copy of Crisis Core (CC).  Who was this mysterious Zack from FF7?  What was Aeris like before she met Cloud?  Did this game live up to my expectations?  Is it everything I’ve always dreamed for?

I really want to tell you that this game is perfect.  I want to tell you that CC is everything you’ve always dreamt about.  Regretfully Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core is one of the biggest disappointments in PSP history.  That’s right, Crisis Core is a disappointment. I’ve waited roughly two years for a game that is mediocre at best. CC had the potential to be a legendary RPG but fails miserably.

One major flaw with CC is that the gameplay is very repetitive and extremely easy. You only have 3 combat options: “dodge”, “attack” and “Command”. 3 combat options!? Enemies are unimaginative and all have the same weakness. If you attack them from behind you can hit them with a “Critical” strike. What is this a game for ANTS?!

CC also features a new materia fusion system. On paper this sounds extremely cool but in actuality it is horrible. Let’s say you want to fuse “Fire” + “Blizzard”. You’d expect something cool, perhaps a new material called “ArticBlaze”. WRONG. You end up with “FIRE +1 Mag”, which basically means you get a slightly better “Fire” and lose a perfectly good “Blizzard”. Half of the time I end up creating garbage and losing valuable materia. Sometimes you can make really good material but it takes a lot of experimentation and resets to make it worth while.

CC has a ton of side quests called “missions”. At first I was really excited at the sheer amount of missions but as I started to hammer away at them I noticed that they are all variations of button mashing. I swear, every mission involves running around a small dungeon and killing everything in your path. CC takes absolutely no skill and just a lot of repetition/button smashing.

The DMW slot system is one of the worst gameplay elements I have ever experienced.  I thought it might be interesting but it’s completely random and involves NO SKILL.  How do you level up?  You DMW slot system has to hit 7 7 7.  Yes, it doesn’t matter if you want to level your character.  I don’t believe SquareEnix made this the core gameplay system to level up and use summons.

I feel as if a lot of reviewers gave CC a decent review solely based on its title and story.  They overlooked huge gameplay flaws which really hurt the game.  It’s like the cops pardoned a convicted felon just because his older brother saved the world.

Despite these glaring flaws I did manage to have a few good times with CC. The story is really what saved CC from being a total failure. Riding on the success of its older brother ‘FF7″, CC manages to hook fanboys in for one last ride. I don’t want to ruin anything but CC has a decent story that any FF7 fan will appreciate.   Another positive note about CC is its over the top graphics. Square-Enix really knows how to make a game look pretty. I am still taken aback by the amazing summon CGI sequences.

In conclusion, Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core is a decent game with great graphics and mediocre gameplay. It’s a disappointment in my eyes because it could’ve been so much more. Crisis Core should’ve been 3 UMD discs long, had huge maps, 15 party members, Ad hoc party support and weapon customization.

wriXeL gives Final Fantasy 7 :Crisis Core a disappointed 6.7 out of 10