*NOTE: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!*
Even though I am against the murder of Final Fantasy VII, I am still curious as to what SE are doing with ALL THAT MONEY!
My brother bought this game and once he finished it in record time, I took a dabble. You follow the story of Zack Fair, a minor character in the main mythology of 7. The story gives him a personality reminiscent of the younger generation heroes but he is in no way as annoying as Tidus or Vaan. In fact, his entire characters only flaw is the fact that he cares too much about those around him and doesn't want to give up trying.
I was wise enough when FFVII & VIII were released to not take the heroes of Cloud & Squall as literal as SE thinks their audience does. Yes, they start off as careless and taciturn legends but they grow throughout the story. But with all the latest releases we get a bunch of crybabies and womanisers who are as 2D as soul of the business.
Zack on the whole is a benevolent and decent human being which is in direct contrast to his main opposition. He doesn't need to grow as we are introduced to him near the end of his training. This is another problem with the game, it is rather short for a game that stretches over 7 years!
'LONG' STORY SHORT. After a unit of SOLDIER have gone missing, Zack is sent to investigate. Turns out that there is a First Class SOLDIER gone rogue because he has issues over how he was created. No, its not Sephiroth! It is a completely different guy who goes mental when he found out he was born in a test tube. He is also being helped by a Mad Scientist. No, it is not Hojo! Case and point.
The game is more action-orientated and manages to remove the party system from the game. The screen no longer spirals but instead you get an annoying ENTERING COMBAT MODE! thrown up on screen. You run around, dodge, block and ensue various attacks with loads of Made-Up Materia. It is quite obvious that Zack visited the guy in Corel on the Bulldozer who helps you start mining for new Materia in the Gold Edition! :|
Another thing with a prequel title is that the developers try to fit in as many links to the original as possible. For example, everything about Aeris that is significant when you first meet her is inspired by Zack's interaction with her. It literally coats the game in cheese but doing this. I wasn't a massive fan of Aeris and seeing her prostitute herself was the last straw for her popularity.
I enjoyed CC more than DC and AC though. At least the story deserved to be told in one way or another. Sephiroth WAS dead so no need for AC. Vincent Valentine IS a wanker so no need to spend time unveiling his poinltess past in DC. Zack is a genuine hero and deserved his story to be told but the fact SE managed to make the game so short it gave him no room for expansion.
The game should have started with him joining SOLDIER, not just before he becomes a First Class Member! Where is the growth, where is my heart? It is hanging on the wall along with Sgt Apone's Dog Tags and the T-Rex from JP3's snapped neck!
Please play Final Fantasy VII before you play this game. I have no other wish for anyone who wants to get into the series, DO NOT start with a watered down quel or spin-off. Start with a Core Game that actually has a massive fanbase which is trying to be corrupted by the Evil Corporation SE!