So, we all loved Final Fantasy VII right? And we all loved Advent Children yup? So, what could be better than a follow up game based on both? Enter, Dirge Of Cerberus…
Set a few years after the events of FFVII, this game centres around Vincent Valentine and focusses on his role in helping the world further try and escape a seemingly recurring fate involving lifestream, the planet dying, corrupt government agencies Hellbent on making things worse and another weapon still hiding away in the earths core.
Basically, it is a re-hashed version of FFVII’s original storyline.
You are Vincent Valentine. You are armed with 3 guns and also have a minimal hand to hand combat attack option (press triangle basically).
The game is set as a third person shooter although you can switch to FPS if you so desire though I wouldn’t recommend it: At various points you are being attacked by assailants from all directions which is hard enough to view as it is without going all ‘DOOM’ on it.
The levels are fairly straight forward and often linear in design. So long as you check your map regularly it isn’t too difficult to figure out what to do.
The only exception being: when you are stuck somewhere (the airship before stage 8 for example) and have to talk to different people in random order to advance the story. This becomes annoying and to add to it, sometimes you have to talk to the same person multiple times in a row. Why didn’t they just tell you all of it in one go??!! An unnecessary interruption to gameplay is all this is.
You have a HP bar and an MP bar and can top up using potions, hi potions, ethers etc. It is like a simplified version of what is available in the orig. FFVII. Except, you buy these from ‘shops’ littered around the levels that actually just look like classic jukeboxes. I am still to figure this design out.
Oh and the currency is Gil, as per. You generally find this in crates though you can exchange your EXP for it at the end of each level.
Your weapons are basically of 3 designs: The Hydra which is your standard pistol, the Griffon which is a machine gun/assault rifle style weapon and the Cerberus which is your long distance sharpshooter weapon – basically only good for sniping.
Materia: yes you can use Materia in Dirge though at a basic level. You buy these as add-ons to your guns and basically can fire a Mako powered shot which does extra elemental damage.
- Fire: pretty awesome and the quickest one to use
- Ice: difficult to target the enemy with (and seems to have some weird homing type thing that doesn’t work) though does decent damage if/when it hits
- Lightning: I still cannot figure out how to effectively use this. It doesn’t seem to do anything.
Limit Break: You can change into Gallion Beast If you so wish and this lasts around 30-40 seconds. When you are in this form your health refills to the max and then you take less damage compared to ‘normal’ Vincent. You also remain on whatever you were on before returning to your human form. You can also fire some sort of energy beam (Mako most likely) using the L1 button.
It can be useful against a bevvy of foes or a boss that has been handing your ass to you. Otherwise it is pretty annoying – much like in the original RPG.
Items: Going back to the previously mentioned items – these are available from shops or you can find them just knocking around in crates, or on dead enemies.
They are mostly different types of potions which increase your hp. Some are good (mega-potion), some aren’t (red potion).
You can also get ethers which prove crucial as the Materia shots are very effective in taking down multiple enemies/distant enemies.
You can get Phoenix Downs and this is one thing I find most odd – as you have to use them BEFORE you die.
Your limit breaker comes in item form which is odd.
These are mostly in the form of soldiers who shoot at you. This can be quite tough as in some stages you are pinned down by gunfire from all directions (and heights).
As the game progresses and you learn how to operate your character/weaponry – this is actually quite a fun aspect of the game.
As the game progresses, other enemies such as winged beasts, mechanical spiders, bazooka wielding cyborgs and a variety of insects come into play. There are also some uniformed dogs – which look straight outta Resident Evil.
The boss fights are generally quite cool though definitely get better as you advance through the levels – as they should. Even with a shop nearby it is very easy to run out of everything (including Gil to buy more stuff) which makes some of these battles pretty damn hard.
As per a lot of boss fights though, once you work out the pattern you are generally okay.
In addition to all the cool stuff mentioned above, you have a good amount of storyline running throughout your journey. Unfortunately, by a good amount I mean a lot….. and a lot…and then some more. Basically there are points during this quest where you could leave the game running, go out grab a pint, come back half an hour later and still be waiting for the FMV to finish before you are allowed back to the gameplay.
The story itself is actually quite good and uses a similar level of CGI animation as Advent Children did.
At points they factor back in the characters from AC and it is like you are getting bonus scenes from the film – which is great! But otherwise, the sheer length AND amount of the cut scenes becomes tiresome. It cannot figure out whether it is a game or a film and in my experience – you can’t be both!
So, all in all I would say that this is a good, well thought out game that doesn’t go overboard with its level of detail but does factor in some decent and enjoyable gameplay. The interactive element of the shootouts and overall combat is a lot of fun. The storyline is good, though in parts becomes boring but mainly due to the sheer amount of cut scenes in comparison to play. There are only so many times you need to explain who the Tsviets are!! Once, actually – they are the bad guys.
Pros: The weapon upgrading, Materia and support accessories are fun and tie in nicely with the original FFVII. Some fun parts, a mix in the style of action, some cool (but overly long) cut scenes, decent graphics and the fluidity of the gun fights – makes this game quite enjoyable.
Cid finally lighting a cigarette during one of the final cut scenes. I am not pro-smoking, but this was an aspect of his character in VII that up until this point – had been missing from Dirge.
Cons: Trying to be a film aswell as a game. They could have done more with the individual level settings: More Midgar less giant Kalm (which let’s be honest, had a population of about 5 in the original game). The very beginning and the very end are not as good in terms of gameplay as the middle section. Hojos voice. Cait Sith’s Billy Connolly impression!
and one final thing…..