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Nov. 27, 2006
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII -
PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
678KBDolby PLIINoNoNoneYes

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Typical Square-Enix stunning CG.
Final Fantasy VII is one of the greatest games of all time for a number of reasons. Firstly it showed the Western world just how spectacular Japanese developed RPG's could be. Secondly it, to this day, still has one of the best stories ever in a video game. So what exactly is Dirge of Cerberus. Well firstly it is no another Role Playing Game (RPG) this is an action title played in either a first or third person mode.

Three years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. Starring as Vincent Valentine from the original game, players must battle against a mysterious military organisation known as “Deepground”. Before Meteorfall, these soldiers formed one of Shinra's most secret projects – but with the destruction of Midgar, the soldiers left below the town’s smoldering remains were forgotten. Vincent Valentine must now retaliate against this impending threat with his trusty Cerberus in hand.

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In-game graphics are average.
Essentially this is a first or third person shooter. I don't say that because I don't know, but rather that you can switch between viewpoints to suit your own preference. Set across a dozen or so rather large levels Vincent has plenty of guns from pistols to machine guns to take out a wide range of enemies, but can also engage them in hand to hand combat - essential when you run out of ammo as I did on many occasions due to my trigger happy fingers. The guns, or rather their customisations, are actually one of the most impressive aspects to this game. It's possible to modify them with items found through the game world to give them a totally different effectiveness. Want to add a scope? Go ahead. How about improved firing rate? Sure thing. In fact, this level of customisation is really a standout feature of Dirge of Cerberus.

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Looking bad-ass.
As you play though the game it's possible to activate a 'Limit Break' which transforms Vincent into a powerful beast capable of devastating attacks on enemies and also replenishing your health. As well as the main shooting levels there are also a couple of stealth based levels, and on-rails shooting levels to break up the gameplay. Each gameplay style is quite solid in itself. During the game several well known characters from Final Fantasy VII make an appearance and while they are only cameos it's nice to see them in a new video game. Who are they? Well, I don't want to spoil the fun now do I...

You may have read the reviews of the Japanese versions of this game which were quite scathing. Fortunately the American and PAL release has seen quite a few upgrades and changes before hitting the shelves. Vincent now runs 20% faster then in the NTSC game, aiming is now faster, and Vincent has a double jump move to make evading enemies a bit better. This is pretty good for a game which could have just been 'dumped' on the market following an average reception in Japan and America. Another bonus is that the game has been released in Australia at only $AU79.95.

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Ohh, another gorgeous cut scene.
One sad omission from the PAL version of this game is multi-player which had to be removed due to the fact it required the PS2 Hard Drive to run. Given that Sony never released that device in PAL territories Square-Enix were left with no option here. The good news though is that in compensation the developers have created over 40 special missions to take part in. These are pretty entertaining and will certainly keep you occupied for a couple of hours. Finally by completing the game in normal or hard difficulty unlocks an Extra Hard Mode.

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Taking on Azul in battle.
If there's one thing that Square-Enix always excel at it's the cut scenes in their games, and Dirge of Cerberus is no exception with dozens of cut scenes on par with any of their top line releases. They tell the story well, but certainly set the action up too. Where this game falls down though is the in-game graphics which are less then spectacular. The texturing is somewhat bland, and detail in the levels quite sparse at times. Characters, both friend and foe, look pretty nice, but overall the game isn't a patch on similar titles such as Capcom's Devil May Cry. Apparently the camera in the Japanese release was pretty average, but I have to say I rarely had problems with the PAL version and it is another area that either Square-Enix have fixed up prior to release, or the Japanese reviewers were being severely harsh on.

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Using the sniper scope.
Dirge of Cerberus' audio is quite impressive. The game packs an awesome music track and the voice work is equal to that in the companies RPG's. The effects are a little on the repetitive side but get the job done. One very weird thing about this game is that Square-Enix have put in Dolby Pro Logic II support, but if you don't have that your only other option is Mono sound, not even Stereo. What gives Square-Enix!

This isn't the perfect game - it's certainly not in the class of the original Final Fantasy VII, but for those that enjoy a bit of action (of the video game kind!) and the Final Fantasy VII universe then this is a good way to chew up a couple of afternoons. Not groundbreaking, but solid.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSCut scenes are stunning, but in-game Dirge struggles to impress.
SOUNDGreat music and solid effects but it's the voice overs which stand out.
GAMEPLAYIt's not brilliant, but I had quite a bit of fun playing the game.
VALUENo multiplayer sucks, but there's quite a bit of game to get through.
OVERALLDirge of Cerberus isn't an epic RPG masterpiece, but a somewhat underwhelming third or first person shooter. Still if you like the Final Fantasy VII universe this is probably worth checking out.

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