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Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core, developed by Square Enix Corporation, is a remarkable game with stunning pre-rendered cinematic sequences and an impressive musical score. It introduces a new spiky-haired protagonist, Zack Fair, an energetic and ambitious member of the SOLDIER Corporation. Zack's idealistic views lead him to fight against Shinra, an organization with questionable ethics. The game primarily focuses on Zack's interactions with three major characters: Sephiroth, Genesis, and Angeal, who are central to the storyline.

Zack Fair, along with his mentor Angeal, embarks on a mission to investigate the disappearance of Genesis and other SOLDIER members, as well as confront hostile forces in Wutai. With each level, the plot becomes more intricate and action-packed, involving intense combat.

Crisis Core boasts top-notch graphics and visual effects for a PSP game. The cinematic sequences rival the quality of Advent Children's DVD release, and the combat special effects dazzle with vibrant colors and magical particle effects. However, the game features several barren landscapes and repetitive environments, with monotonous desert scenes and gray interiors, which are minor drawbacks.

The elegant music compositions evoke fond memories of previous Final Fantasy installments, best enjoyed with headphones. Crisis Core also excels in delivering an engaging role-playing experience on a handheld platform. The missions are brief, usually completed within five minutes, and offer valuable rewards upon completion. Players may find limitations in controlling leveling and limit breaks, but the game remains enjoyable for both newcomers and long-time fans of the series.

Crisis Core employs a turn-based rapid-fire combat system similar to the latest version of FF12. The X button is used to confirm actions during turns, while also controlling the character in real-time. Action points can be spent for physical damage or to block attacks and prevent damage. The frenetic pace feels like real-time combat, but the turn-based system allows players to use various menu items to execute character actions.

Nostalgia abounds with the game's 3D redesigns of familiar environments from FF7, particularly the accurately recreated Shinra Headquarters. Crisis Core maintains the style and overall design of its predecessor. At its core, the game tells a poignant story with the charismatic protagonist Zack Fair, who captivates players with his stylish swordplay.

In summary, Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core is a must-play for PSP owners who love role-playing games. The exceptional production design, voice acting, and pre-rendered cutscenes make for a truly immersive experience.

Gameplay 4.5 / 5
Soundtrack 4 / 5
Replay Value 3.5 / 5
Storyline 4 / 5
4 / 5 Great!