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Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Review

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Role-playing in your pocket...

★★★★

As a prequel to Final Fantasy VII - regarded by many as the best RPG ever made, and a game that helped make the genre popular outside Japan - Crisis Core has a daunting legacy to live up to. But even though the experience is tainted by a handful of irritating issues, this is an inspired and enchanting entry in the Final Fantasy franchise.

The biggest difference between Crisis Core and the original game is that combat now takes place in real-time, invisible barriers appearing every time you meet a monster to create a battle arena where the brutality unfolds. Simple and intuitive, the hands-on battles bring extra energy to the combat - a good thing, as scrapping makes up the vast majority of the game - further battle intrigue coming from the Digital Mind Wave slots system that can be used to endow your hero with special powers or find the power to change the course of a difficult battle.

Not surprisingly, Crisis Core is also brought to life by the imaginative scriptwriting and ambitious presentation that’s a hallmark of the Final Fantasy series, while a series of fleeting side-quests that are perfect for quick bouts of action on public transport make this one of the PSP’s greatest swashbucklers.

Less forgiving players will doubtless be irritated by the alarming frequency of random battles, which become tiresome when you’re on your way to do something more interesting elsewhere. The tedious loading times and movie sequences that can¹t be skipped also add a subtle edge of frustration to playing Crisis Core on the move. But for top quality role-playing in the palm of your hand, Square Enix has once again proved it’s the master of digital swashbuckling.