A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an entertaining yet time consuming role-playing adventure. The game will take tens of hours to finish. The protagonist Zack uses a sword as well as various magic spells to take apart soldiers or robots. There are some instances where you'll see blood, although nothing gory. There is also mild profanity. During his adventure, Zack develops a dating relationship with Aerith, but the farthest it goes is mild flirting.
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What's it about?
The events of CRISIS CORE: FINAL FANTASY VII occur before 1997's Final Fantasy VII. You play the role of Zack, an elite operative working for military giant Shinra Company. The story kicks off with Zack and mentor Angeal investigating the disappearance of a colleague and his large squad of soldiers. Plot is dominant, which sometimes means sitting through gorgeous yet frequent cut scenes. But Crisis Core boasts an interesting tale of Zack's ascent through Shinra and the tight relationships he develops along his journey.
The mix of combat and exploration is well balanced. The X button controls all your attacks, while the top buttons allow you to toggle between sword slashes and powers known as Materia. Magic spells include a thunder strike, fire attack, and cure ability. You can also scour your inventory of potions and other items. To minimize damage, you can block or dodge attacks. Along with those skills, Zack utilizes a Digital Mind Wave, or DMW. The DMW lets Zack channel previous experiences with other characters into a powerful attack. A slot-machine style reel sits in the left corner. As you engage in battles, the wheel randomly pops up. If three characters' faces appear in a row, you'll execute a special attack. Spinning along with these faces are numbers which, if aligned properly, allow Zack to level up his character and powers. Three 7's, for example, gives Zack an overall level boost. It's an intriguing concept, but there's too much unpredictability. You get little control in determining which powers and skills you want to amplify.
Is it any good?
The Final Fantasy franchise has made its mark for cinematic, engrossing storylines. The latest chapter on PlayStation Portable, Crisis Core, picks up that tradition with a captivating plot and solid gameplay system. If you need a break from the main story, Crisis Core has dozens of side missions where you can pick up bonus items to power up your character. Often, they're rather short and simple, like clearing out an area of enemies. It's perfect for a portable since you can hop in and out quickly if you're short on time.
Interfaces for your inventory and Materia are easy to navigate. You can also fuse Materia together to create new powers, as well as check e-mails from Shinra associates and other characters you meet in your travels. You're also encouraged to interact with others to gain information to aid in your progress. Crisis Core serves as a worthy addition to any PSP or Final Fantasy collection with a rich storyline and solid yet satisfying action.
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