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Dirge of Cerberus - Final Fantasy VII PlayStation 2

Published by Square Enix
Developed by Square Enix
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Over the last few years in Europe we’ve had a couple of Final Fantasy remakes appear on the GBA, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles on the GameCube (which was disappointing and didn’t feel like a Final Fantasy game), and the online only Final Fantasy XI (PC & Xbox 360) which wasn’t even released for the PlayStation 2 here in Europe. The long awaited Final Fantasy XII is yet to arrive in Europe after being released in Japan nine months ago and the US almost two months ago. In short it’s not been an ideal situation. Still, at least we have Dirge of Cerberus – Final Fantasy VII in time for Christmas.

As you probably already know if you’ve read up on the game, Dirge of Cerberus isn’t an RPG. In fact it’s a run and gun third person shooter set a few years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. You’ll play as Vincent Valentine and you’ll have to battle against a mysterious military organisation known as Deepground who are planning to gain the Omega weapon and utilise its power for their evil purposes. As well as the fight against Deepground you’ll also learn quite a bit about Vincent Valentine as you play through the game, which is something fans of Final Fantasy VII might appreciate.

More often than not, we in Europe end up waiting ages for a game to arrive only for it to have had features removed or no improvements made (such as bug fixes etc.). Dirge of Cerberus does offer some enhancements for us though, which is good to see but it’s also had the multiplayer mode taken out. Vincent moves more quickly than in the Japanese version and can now double jump. Aiming has been improved in that it’s quicker and more responsive. An Ex. Hard difficulty mode has been added (which can be accessed once the game has been completed) and 40+ standalone missions have been included amongst other things.

Whilst it’s nice to have a game set in the Final Fantasy VII universe, the game does have some problems. The main problem is who is the game going to appeal to? Yes the game does have some connections with the story (you’ll use potions and collect Gil during the game for example) and characters of Final Fantasy VII but it’s not enough to satisfy those Final Fantasy gamers who normally wouldn’t touch a third person shooter with a barge pole. Those who don’t mind third person shooters have better titles to choose from over Dirge of Cerberus where the action is faster flowing and you’re not getting bogged down with overly long Final Fantasy style cutscenes. The action feels too linear at times and whilst it’s nice that you can trigger missions during the levels they aren’t interesting or challenging (although the points you earn from them will allow you to level-up) enough to keep you interested. That said the controls feel comfortable, the aiming assistance in the game is very generous and on the whole the game is accommodating for those who don’t normally play this kind of game.

Visually the game is a mixed bag. There are a handful of pre-rendered cutscenes that really look excellent and give movie like quality to the game. The in-game graphics are not so impressive though. In fact they are run of the mill for the PlayStation 2. Some of the character models do look good, mainly the main character in the game, but others are not so easy on the eyes. Still the frame rate holds up pretty well and the load times are pretty good too.

Dirge of Cerberus is OK for deaf gamers. The game does offer subtitles and they are enabled by default. The cutscenes are subtitled using a bold white font that is easy on the eyes. There are no character portraits or names placed alongside the text though. Important conversations are shown in text during the main game. All mission objectives are shown in text. Some peripheral speech isn’t subtitled which is disappointing, although it doesn’t cause any real problems. When Vincent is watching a news report, very early in the game, for instance the speech in the news report is not subtitled. On the whole deaf gamers should have no real problems with the game.

If you are a Final Fantasy VII enthusiast and don’t mind playing a decent run and gun third person shooter to find out about one of the games characters then Dirge of Cerberus should definitely be worth a purchase. If you’re looking for a great third person shooter or something to fill the gap until Final Fantasy XII finally arrives here in Europe then the game is tougher to recommend.

Overall Game Rating 6.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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Dirge of Cerberus is a decent third person shooter. The story manages to add some depth to one of the better characters in Final Fantasy VII but I'm sure most fans of the series would have rather had a pre-Christmas release for Final Fantasy XII than a decent third person shooter.