Final Fantasy VII
Dirge of Cerberus

Format: PS2
Square Enix

5 060121 820357
Age Restrictions: 15+
16 November 2006

When Midgar died, something survived. From the ashes of Metrofall, a mysterious organisation has arisen. Between it and the domination of the shattered world stands an unlikely champion, the enigmatic Vincent Valentine. Taking place one year after the events of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, this wholly new chapter in the
Final Fantasy VII saga features familiar faces and cutting edge gunfighting action. The fate of the world will be decided in a storm of bullets...

Discover the hidden truth behind the Final Fantasy VII storyline as Vincent Valentine's tale is finally told in Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus. Revisit memorable locations and see familiar faces from Final Fantasy VII. Use a variety of weapons and unleash devastating melee combo attacks Unleash the Limit Break attack to transform Vincent into an unstoppable beast. Customise and upgrade Vincent's weapons, including handguns and machine guns, with five different varieties of parts that affect power, range, firing rate, and more.

Now, and this is where I get deluged with a stream of e-mails, I've never been a fan of the Final Fantasy series and I never really understood why people loved them so much. I always thought that the graphics were poor, the music painful, and the gameplay so tedious that I'd rather sit down and play a campaign with small lead figures than spend any time in the Final Fantasy Universe. So, I thought I would be the last person to be reviewing this release - and certainly the last to view it favourably.

First things first. You really are going to have to start this game in the tutorial mode. This helps you get to grips with your weapons - although be warned, if you re used to inverting your up and down controls then you might find the tutorial a bit of a nightmare.

The controls - in particular getting used to changing your guns and magic weapons - can be a bit of a pain to begin with. You may end up accidentally triggering your Limit Break and turning into an unstoppable beast when you don't need to. Even worse, when you are transformed as the beast you can easily transform back without meaning too. And, as you are rationed to the number of Limit Break, this can be a real pain.

There are plenty of interesting little touches to the storyline. For example, you are occasionally given the task of defending villagers from the enemy. In one segment you have to follow a small child, while also protecting him from any nasties that attack you both. If you are a little slow on the trigger he will be carried off by monsters. And, while you can still easily work out where he was leading you and continue on your journey, you will miss out on an interesting cut sequence as well as a reward for saving him from harm.

If you are a fan of the Final Fantasy Universe then this game offers you the chance to discover a lot more about Vincent Valentine. Whether you will come away from this title angry with what the developers have done, or applauding them, will depend very much on how passionate you are about the original gameplay of the series. If you like Devil May Cry style games, then this will be to your liking.

With a little more care and attention to detail, this could have been a runaway hit. Sadly, there are a few too many problems with game to make it an essential purchase, but it is certainly a game worth checking out.

Ray Thompson

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