First, a declaration of interest. Final Fantasy VII is the most important game I ever played. Not the best game - far from it - and not even the best game in the series, but to me personally, the most important. It was the game which showed a young technology journalist embarking on a move into political writing that there was more to videogames than just shooting my friends in the face for a bit of competitive stress release; which opened up the my mind to the concept of interactive storytelling; which made me buy my first videogame console and changed the path of my career to the point where, around ten years later, videogames are my life. Thanks, Final Fantasy VII - were it not for you, I coulda' been somebody. Still, the point is, FFVII was an important videogame to me, and that might colour my perception of today's topic at hand - I just thought you should know.
What we're dealing with today is the latest in Square Enix' ongoing "Compilation of Final Fantasy VII" series, a number of games (and a movie) which return to the characters and the world of their epic, legendary PlayStation RPG and fill in the gaps before, after and even during the story of the game. Branching out beyond the relatively traditional RPG gameplay seen in FFVII itself, the Compilation titles offer new additions to the game as diverse as a full-length computer animated movie, a mobile phone game where you take pictures on the phone camera to cast different types of spell, and in this instance, a hybrid first- and third-person action game.
Alarm bells - whoop! Whoop! Square Enix' reputation with action games is patchy, to say the least - so much so that the company has mostly avoided that field in the recent past, with Kingdom Hearts and its sequel being the closest the RPG specialist has come to direct action. Dirge of Cerberus, however, is an action game to its very core - essentially a first person shooter, it's a game very different to any in Square's recent back catalogue, and seems like a terribly risky gamble when you consider the value of the FFVII franchise which the team has attached to the game.