Dirge of Cerberus tells an interesting tale of Vincent Valentine, a memorable video game character with plenty of additional missions in a usual shooter type game. The pre-rendered cut scenes are as usual magnificent like the earlier FF versions. If you are searching for yet a character driven epic as FF series, you will be shocked with Dirge of Cerberus which provides moderate enjoyment with exciting gunplay and nothing more than that.
The main character of the game is Vincent Valentine, the heroic shooter with a dark past. Three years after the world is saved by Vincent, Cloud and their teammates from total destruction, people start to live again peacefully. But a group of soldiers termed as Deepground plan to retrieve the Omega weapon for destroying the world. But they require the help of Vincent for that but his duty is to save the world by uncovering the past secrets of his importance in the plan of Deepground.
The plot gets twisted several times whenever you get introduced to new characters but it is still interesting with familiar faces showing up in middle of cut scenes, though Dirge of Cerberus tells a poised story distinguished from FF7. The game follows a generic mission based format and before very stage, you will have to watch a long cut scene after which you blast you way down to end of the level where you will have to meet a new character. Your common goal is to kill all moving objects and there will be mission events triggered in some cases with presents immediate targets like protecting civilians in your locality or unarm hidden excavation in a room. By completing each of these missions, you can gain additional points for purchasing weapon upgrades and equipments.
With many interesting stages, the game is focused entirely on action and gun shots but it is not that exciting. The game controls a first-person shooter which is Vincent, and you can use right analog stick for focusing and left analog stick for motion. The controls are pretty good and shooting is simple with target support option which allows holding your aim on target which is nearest to you. The gunplay is functional with various enemies like dogs, flying creatures and few mechs. Mostly you will face soldiers jumping from boxes while entering a room. The weapon selection is disappointing since there are only few guns available for you to choose. The Cerberus pistol is mostly used that can be upgraded in each stage to cause more damage for your enemies.
The cut scenes are cinematic with detailed animations and lifelike facial expressions accompanied by good body language similar to Advent Children movie. Though there are not many of them, you will watch one of them while entering each stage. Some cut scenes drag for a long time with arduous, histrionic dialogue which is very painful for listening to and they also tend to disturb the pace of the game.
The music differs from each stage and varies from quiet, ambient melodies to orchestrated, dramatic tracks which match the action of the game. The game also a high-pitch theme song played during end credit which has been performed by Gackt, a popular Japanese pop. The gentle pop of gun shots from Vincent does not sound very attractive and there are distorted explosion sound effects in some parts of the game.
An experienced play will take approximately ten hours for completing the Dirge of Cerberus game, and once you finish the mission, you will unlock forty five additional missions which come packed along the game. It includes various missions like defeating hundred enemies at same time using magical powers, fighting against bosses, shooting your path through maze for reaching the target rapidly etc. The game has decent variety in each of these missions which is challenging and fun. There are various difficulty setting and optional missions which keeps the player busy for a while. The Japanese version of the game has multiplayer mode but it is not available in North American version though there was an option for it using Play online service.
Dirge of Cerberus presents a hard choice for true fans of Final fantasy series. Being a generic shooter game, it does not match the standards of latest action games on PS2. The downsides include awkward camera movement, bland environment with linear design, poor weapon selection, unexciting gun play and frequent cut scenes which confine the pace of game.