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Final Fantasy VII - Dirge of Cerberus

In an odd twist, the Final Fantasy series has "gone backwards" to expand on Final Fantasy VII. Latching onto a minor character - Vincent Valentine - we now find out what happened 3 years later.

Vincent is older than the typical Final Fantasy Teen character - more along the lines of Auron from FFX. He loves to dramatically swirl his cape as he moves. He is dark, brooding, and ruthlessly efficient in his attacks. I like all of this.

The cut scenes are simply *gorgeous* at times. The movements of characters is just amazing. The small motions, the emotions shone, this is a work of art.

Unfortunately, given these great achievements, the actual gameplay really doesn't hold up well for me. I understand that this is not a RPG - it is a combat game. You go around attacking enemies, little numbers of damage bounce over their heads, and you reduce them to zero. The "world" is a Final Fantasy world, but it's not really a Final Fantasy game. It's about building up gun components, shooting, and then shooting some more. Puzzles involve getting cards to get through doors, and figuring out how to kill enemies.

The in game graphics are much less impressive than the cut scenes. Your character is reduced to jumping and walking. There's no diving, rolling, or other special moves. Even worse, there are incredibly numerous long pauses as you go between gameplay and cut scene. There must have been a better way to integrate those quickly, especially as many of the cut scenes are just brief little "thank you"s.

Also, while I know Vincent is a dark, brooding type - a type that appeals to me a lot, by the way - I find him a bit too uncaring about the people around him. He seems often to get involved reluctantly. He almost seems to dismiss some people as being beneath his notice. This isn't a kind of hero I appreciate.

In general, as much as I tried to get into this new style of game, it just didn't work very well. There are many other combat style games that involve characters that can creep, roll, dive and use great combat moves. With Vincent doing these things in cut scenes, he should be able to do them in actual gameplay as well.

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