What Do We Do When Game Developers Get Greedy? We Play Their Sequels and Prequels..
July 24, 2008 § 5 Comments
With a mixture of not being allowed the house and not wanting to, I felt myself being rapidly more and more occupied with a game that I only got a few days ago. Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core on the PSP, prequel to the RPG classic, Final Fantasy VII released on the original Playstation. It was released a couple of a weeks ago back and personally as I found the Final Fantasy VII story one of the best storylines in gaming, I had to play this game. The answer to your question at this point is no. This isn’t a review.
Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core tells the story of a young man called Zach Fair. It follows his own personal story before the events of Final Fantasy VII where the protagonist is Cloud Strife, a good friend of his. Okay, I changed my mind. This paragraph is going to be a very rushed review but it will come in nicely with the rest of the post! When I first started this game, I was immediately thrown into an action packed cutscene and combat situation. The new combat system is very impressive using real time battle and movement in a fight and commands that are acted out instantly. None of this RPG “staying still in fights” crapola. The environment is rather limited although graphically the game is beautiful. Unfortunately there isn’t much freedom as I had hoped, for example there isn’t a world map for you to travel and explore, the game is all quite linear but still it’s not that bad. The cutscenes are immersing and just the right length. What really made this game stand out for me though is the story. Voice acting and the CGI cutscenes are absolutely beautiful and set the standard for what the PSP is capable of. Right, I feel like I’m stuck in a bit of a strut. Having just finished the game, there’s an uncontrollable urge for me to share the ending with the world but I feel that would trigger off some fanboys throwing bricks through my window. I’ll say this. If you’ve played Final Fantasy VII, you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t played Final Fantasy VII, then you will want to after finishing this. Each character has a unique personality and what really impressed me was how well the two games fit together. You find out just about everything there is to know before FFVII from Aerith’s pink bow to how Cloud got his famous and over-sized Buster Sword. Finally, the ending of the game, is perfect. We just had a detailed rant on what endings should be and the end of Crisis Core is emotional, beautiful to watch and links perfectly up to the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. Subtleties that people that have played Final Fantasy VII noticed are all in this game and there are parts where something in your brain clicks, and you have a moment of nostalgia from remembering something in FF VII which you couldn’t quite understand. I guess it would be hypocritical of me writing a small review if I didn’t tell you some of the bad points of Crisis Core.
1. The environment and backgrounds looks rushed and lazily done as all the characters, combat, enemies and magic look very detailed.
2. The combat although should be praised, doesn’t have the same strategy to it as RPGs should, i.e. using variety in attack and magic depending on who you’re fighting.
3. The new “missions” option is a good idea but rather poorly executed. They should have made it more realistic in how to get to the place where a mission is and situations in which you’ve been sent, rather than just spawning at a random environment each time and fighting enemies that gradually get harder.
4. Rather linear, different to Final Fantasy VII where there isn’t much to find out for yourself and there isn’t a world to explore and to defeat the super-enemies and get the super “final” things. In that respect, it’s a rather short game.
5. What the fuck happened to riding chocobos? I don’t care if it doesn’t link in with the story, it just isn’t Final Fantasy without chocobos…
Please note, I think points 1,2 and 4 can be excused because it would probably be impractical to fit a detailed world map on a portable console and some things obviously must be restricted.
That was longer than I expected… But anyways Crisis Core is a fantastic role model for those game developers who are looking to milk it just a little bit more. The hate we see for sequels and prequels is probably justified. Most of them are in fact well received but that shouldn’t be praised really… Okay imagine you’re a game developer and you make a good game. Now you just take what’s good and with the updated technology available make some adjustments and bam. A safe sequel, done and dusted. However bad sequels are rightfully condemned, the risk factor might be an issue but I personally think games are it’s own worst enemy because of human greed. Crisis Core was good in the respect that it provided something for everyone, wether you’ve played Final Fantasy VII or not you can enjoy it, something all games should aim for. Another good prequel is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater where you play as Big Boss himself, who all the Snakes were cloned from. It doesn’t link in as well with the story of the previous titles (unless you count the original Metal Gears that no ones really played) because of the timespan of the events. However what I liked about this was that it wasn’t limited and it introduced new ideas in gameplay to the whole Metal Gear franchise even though it was a prequel. Finally Konami took things on board and made a fantastic sequel to MGS2 and linked in well with story and improvements in gameplay once again for Metal Gear Solid 4.
There we go! I’ll have to go into a sequel that does suck to get out my pointing stick and floodlights to show the world what not to spew into gaming. The unfortunate Devil May Cry 2 is going to be subject of my hatred tonight, which probably a lot of people would have picked in terms of “shitness.” I can honestly say I’m saying this from a non-biased view because this was the first Devil May Cry I played. I can explain to people in one sentence why it’s awful and this is my theory. Any game thats last boss features the heads and body parts of the previous in-game bosses put together in a chaotic blob has “run out of ideas” printed all over it. In terms of a sequel it was appalling. Capcom seem to have the biggest, what I like to call, swing and a miss ever in terms of making Devil May Cry 2 as from the roaring success of the original Devil May Cry they decided to change the protagonist, Dante, and throw him in a storyline that was designed by a team of Tesco-value Hideo Kojimas… What made Devil May Cry 1 stand out was the brutal and effective combat and how it fit in perfectly with the darkness characters and the story. Suddenly Devil May Cry 2 decided to throw in some shiny stylish ways to slash a sword and ignore combat effectiveness almost completely. Basically a poor game in any respect but Capcom wanted to milk it from the original so in conclusion compared to the first game, Devil May Cry 2 was boring and rather easy.
What do you do when you make a successful game with an intriguing story? You work damn twice as hard if you want to make a sequel and take in exactly what made the original good in the first place. I think developers have a fear though which gets to them when making a sequel. It’s true no one wants to see a repeat of a good game but at the same time you can’t change it completely and go in a different direction altogether. Sequels are risky to make and even harder to completely pull off, just look at Halo (or read Trolleydude’s more detailed review of it). Please though, game developers have brains. There’s nothing more obvious than “use good parts of your original game in the sequel and focus improvements on them.” It seems rather retarded though when we see such awful 2nds and 3rds to games of greedy game makers who don’t care about their own creations. I can’t speak for everyone but I’ll say this on behalf of myself. Gamers like it when they see parallels in sequels and prequels. A good fitting story from a prequel has a certain niche if you will that makes you go “ah” out loud as if to say, “so that’s why they had sex, to create a superhuman bear killer that would one day save humanity.” Nintendo! There you go. Another idea for a new franchise from yours truly.