Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Review
Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII box art
System: PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Square Enix 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Square Enix 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Aug 2006 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
Review by Cole 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII is anything but a budget-price game, yet I can’t help thinking of it as a poor man’s Devil May Cry.
by Cole Smith

Vincent Valentine is the tall, dark, mysterious stranger that is the hero of the game, like Kain (star of Devil May Cry) he’s also a semi-vampire; a condition caused by an experiment gone wrong. Vince, armed with his upgradable guns, is not ambiguous about his predilection - he fights on the side of good. A few years after events in Final Fantasy VII, the evil army known as Deepground that were buried alive under a gigantic, crushing meteor have begun clawing their way to the surface and are ransacking the city of Midgar. Vince, with the aid of his comrades of the World Restoration Organization, is determined to rid the world of this scourge. Armed with special combat powers and his magical gun called the Cerberus, Vince tackles hordes of enemies in this action-oriented RPG.

Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII screenshot

Vince becomes less of a stranger to us, and to himself, as secrets to his past are revealed through the storyline that is interspersed with cutscenes. Some of these revelations are unexpected, though they will have little to no impact on gamers that are unfamiliar with the series. Fans of FF, and more specifically VV, (that stands for Vince Valentine, aren’t I cool?) will be rewarded with characters from the series that make cameo appearances.

As far as gameplay variety is concerned this game contains a lot of elements from different genres and combines them to marginal effect. The gameplay is linear in nature and follows a repetitious format that is all too predictable. After a few hours of play, you’ve basically seen it and done it all. The only saving grace is the upgradable weapons and character leveling features that are standard RPG fare. Overall the RPG elements are light and should appeal to gamers that aren’t necessarily RPG fans. On the other hand, RPG fans might just enjoy some good-natured, mindless violence and action that is slowly being integrated into the genre.

Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII screenshot

The Cerberus has three main upgrades: Power; range, and speed. You begin with a pistol and through various side-quests you will earn points that you can use to upgrade it, eventually wielding a one-handed, three-barrel death machine. Eventually you will acquire a rifle and ultimately a machine gun. You can also add special features such as a sniper scope and a magical upgrades that do things such as make bullets explode like bombs. The enemies will rise to the challenge, so when you’ve got a machine gun, the number of enemies will increase to allow you to cut a path though them like swathing a grain field. You can choose to free aim or you can use the lock-on targeting system which works well. At the outset of the game you will find the challenges relatively easy, allowing you to get the hang of the gun physics and control system. The action takes place in 3D and you can use the third or first-person perspective, which is great if you want a little FPS in your RPG.

Other gameplay elements include stealth, character interaction, exploration, escort missions, turret shooting and puzzle solving which typically involves the hunting down of code cards to unlock doors. But next to the first-person shooting the most prominent and least developed gameplay element is the hand-to-hand combat. Vince is capable of kicking, punching, clawing and jumping. Many of these moves he can perform in mid-air while launching himself with one of his super jumps. The feel of the combat is stiff. It reminds me of a generic, 25-year-old arcade game but made worse by the 3D environments and flashy camera angles that obscure, confound and confuse.

Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII screenshot

Each room that you enter feels like the last one with a new skin thrown on it. They are all boxy and even though they are rendered in 3D, there are many places you simply can’t go and many objects and levels that you can’t touch or climb on. The characters are excellent looking but when viewed against the mundane backdrops it only serves to highlight the overall lack of polish.

Some elements of the soundtrack are perfectly scored for this game. There is some rich, orchestral gothic-sounding music that adds some weighty drama to a scene as well as some barren melodies, stripped to their basics, that hint at impending doom. The cutscenes are fully voiced and even though the acting is ham-fisted, it’s totally acceptable – not to mention expected. One thing that I do have a problem with is the sound effects. The Cerberus is the main focus of the game and it ends up sounding like a pop gun. The shooting sounds are weak and instill very little confidence or satisfaction.

If there’s any motivation to complete the entire game it’s because you will unlock a series of side-missions that are much more interesting and ultimately less structured than the Story mode. Some of the challenges including taking on bosses such as the invisible woman and a guy built like a tank. In one mission you have to kill a hundred enemies using nothing but magic while another mission will have you shooting your way through a maze with the added pressure of a time limit. Think of these forty-plus missions as a reward for slugging through the Story mode. Unlike the Japanese version, there is no online multi-player mode but you would need a PS2 hard drive to access it anyway. No loss as far as I’m concerned.

Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII screenshot

Dirge of Cerberus is somewhat underwhelming. It’s got all the ingredients of a great game but somebody just didn’t get the recipe right.

Features:

  • Unravel the past to protect the future as Vincent Valentine’s story is finally told.
  • Modify Vincent’s weapons, including the Cerberus, with five different varieties of parts that directly affect firepower, range, firing rate, and more.
  • Three customizable gun types allow for three distinct playing styles: 1.Handgun: Attack mid-range enemies as you quickly move around the field. 2.Machine gun: A high-speed automatic weapon for mowing down close range enemies. 3.Rifle: Snipe down long-range enemies and eliminate them before they notice you.
  • When enemies get too close, break out powerful melee attacks or Vincent’s signature limit break technique.
  • Witness cutting-edge cinematics that challenge “next-gen” graphics in a way that only the Final Fantasy series can.
  • Meet new allies and old friends as Midgar faces an unfamiliar threat.
  • The latest chapter in the compilation of products based on Final Fantasy VII.

    By Cole Smith
    CCC Staff Writer

    Rating out of 5
    Rating Description

    3.8

    Graphics
    The characters look great but the backgrounds have no personality to them.

    2.8

    Control
    The gun is kinda fun to use either freestyle or with a lock-on but the hand-to-hand combat is stiff and hard to follow due to the camera angles.

    4.0

    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    The soundtrack is classy but the sound effects of the gun are much too weak.

    2.2

    Play Value
    You might get bored with the repetitiveness after awhile. If not, there's something wrong with you.

    3.4

    Overall Rating - Fair
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.


  • Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Preview

    Final Fantasy fans across the globe have been eagerly anticipating a remake of the Final Fantasy pinnacle, Final Fantasy VII, for the PS2. For just how long now? Ever since Final Fantasy X premiered on the PS2 in 2001.

    Fast forward to May 2005, E3. Sony showcases the power of the brand spanking new PlayStation 3 with a recreation of the Final Fantasy VII info. This video sent fanboys in a media whirlwind, taking it as a sign that the FF: VII recreation was under hand. Unfortunately that is not the case.

    Sony is however creating a trio of titles, not all video games, which have been affectionately called "Compilation of Final Fantasy VII". However, we're going to take a look at the most ambitious of the trio with a game called Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII.

    Dirge of Cerberus stars Vincent Valentine in a, which a surprising move by Square, third-person shooter. The only time Square has taken Final Fantasy away from the RPG Genre was is Final Fantasy Tactics, which was a turn-based tactical game. However, prepare to soak your shorts with DoC.

    In the same fashion as the more recent Final Fantasy games, Dirge of Cerberus sports some amazing graphics. The attention to detail on the characters and the typical third-person shooter levels are looking good enough for FF fanboys to forget about the horrendous Final Fantasy: X-2.

    It is too bad that not a lot of details are out on the game; however we do know that Dirge of Cerberus will blend third-person shooting fun into RPG fashion quite nicely. Afterall, you cannot play a Final Fantasy title without a well developed and involved storyline.

    By the way, if you're wondering just what the hell Cerberus is, it is the three-headed guard dog of Hades in Greek Mythology. God of War and Harry Potter fans are familiar with this creature. However, don't expect this monster to make an appearance in the game. For those of you who don't know, Vincent Valentine's impressive weapon has three, quite large barrels. I'm sure you can finish the math from here on out. CheatCC; history lessons and game reviews.

    Prepare to continue the Final Fantasy VII story arch Aug 2006.

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