Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII

is a third person shooter/RPG video game developed and published by Square Enix. It is part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII metaseries, a multimedia collection set within the universe of the popular 1997 video game Final Fantasy VII.

The game was released on January 26, 2006 in Japan, August 15, 2006 in North America and November 17 2006 in Europe and in Australasia.

Gameplay

Dirge of Cerberus is a third-person shooter (the first game of this genre developed by Square Enix) with RPG elements. Battles occur in real-time, with the HUD displaying information including Vincent's HP and MP, the currently selected item and the quantity thereof, and a cross-hair to aid in targeting enemies. Defeating enemies yields EXP, which is totalled at the end of each stage and can either be used to level up Vincent, increasing his statistics, or converted to gil, which can be used to purchase items and equipment upgrades at jukebox-shaped shops scattered throughout each stage, or the shop at the end of a stage, which also allows the purchase of additional equipment.

Unlike Final Fantasy VII, where a character could equip three types of equipment (weapon, armour and accessory), Vincent's equipment consists solely of his weapon, which has amalgamated the effects of armour and accessories through customization. Players can customize three weapons through the frame (Vincent's handgun, Cerberus, introduced in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and named after the Greek mythological creature of the same name, as well as a rifle, Hydra and a machine gun, Griffon, two new weapon types also named after Greek mythological creatures (although the spelling "Griffon" is incorrect in terms of the reference)) and the size of the barrel (short-, regular or long-barrel, with longer barrels affording targeting of enemies that are further away at the cost of weight). Accessories include a sniper scope, charms (such as the Cerberus charm) which can increase Vincent's defense and decrease the weight of the gun (which affects the speed of Vincent's actions) among other things, and materia, which returns from Final Fantasy VII and enables magic shots with special properties that use up MP. All weapons have limited ammunition, which is dropped by defeated enemies, but can also be bought at shops. Ammunition capacity can be increased through upgrades.

Limit Breaks also return from the original game. Two of Vincent's Limit Breaks are available in Dirge of Cerberus: the Galian Beast, Vincent's first Limit Break, can be activated in two different ways: in the Japanese version of the game, it can be activated when the MP gauge is full. Upon transformation, the gauge slowly decreases and, once the gauge becomes empty, Vincent returns to human form. In the American and European versions of the game, the Galian Beast transformation can be activated through the use of an item called the "Limit Breaker". The effect lasts for around 30 seconds, upon which time the transformation reverses automatically. In all versions of the game, the transformation can be reverted by the player by pressing the L1 and R1 buttons at the same time. The other Limit Break is Chaos, Vincent's final and most powerful form, who serves as a major plot device and is playable only in the final stage of the game, when it is permanently enabled. Also, in specific areas of the game, such as in Training Mode, when Vincent's Limit Break is activated, instead of transforming into the Galian Beast, Vincent's body would pulse a color; his firing rate would increase, and all his attacks would be more powerful.

Miscellaneous

Being modeled after many first-person and third-person shooters, the game takes a few liberties and implements minor features that are featured in many games that are similar in genre. A blinking disc icon appears whenever the game loads data from the disc, something akin to many console shooter games. The game can also be controlled using either the DualShock 2 controller or a USB mouse and keyboard.

Bonus material is available in the game, and the method of unlocking bonus material consists of shooting Memory Capsules, which are well hidden and found during the course of the game. Memory Capsules found during the story mode unlock the game's cutscenes, while a variety of Memory Capsules found in the Extra Missions mode unlock various other features, such as a music player, an artwork viewer, a character model viewer and additional extra missions.

Plot

Characters

Dirge of Cerberus centers around Vincent Valentine and a new cast of characters. Vincent's father Grimoire Valentine is mentioned several times throughout the game as the one who devised a thesis on Chaos but died in an experiment. The playable characters of Final Fantasy VII make cameo appearances, notably Cait Sith, who is controllable for a brief sequence. A new WEAPON is also introduced, Omega Weapon, which serves as an "ark" for the planet's Lifestream when a calamity arises.

Supporting characters

  • is a female scientist, who first appeared in a small role in Before Crisis. She is a WRO scientist with a prosthetic left arm, that serves as her life-support system, and a missing left eye. Shalua is a workaholic who is actually searching for her sister, Shelke. Upon meeting her, she was heart-broken over how little of her sister there was left and blamed herself for it. In order to make up, she helped Shelke escape the clutches of Azul, who had turned on her, in exchange for her life.
  • Reeve Tuesti, the former head of Shinra's Urban Development Department, leads the World Regenesis Organization (WRO; called World Restoration Organization in the Japanese version of the game), an operation dedicated to restoring the world and undoing the mistakes made by Shinra. Prominent members of WRO includeYuffie Kisaragi, in charge of espionage and intelligence gathering; Shalua Rui, WRO's chief scientist; and Cid Highwind, head of the WRO's airship division. Cloud Strife, Barret Wallace, and Tifa Lockhart also lend their support to the WRO during the second half of the game.
  • Grimoire Valentine, Vincent Valentine's father, is introduced in Dirge of Cerberus. He appears in the game's flashbacks with Lucrecia Crescent, serving as her mentor.
  • Omega Weapon appears as the game's final boss and is the result of Professor Hojo's plans to merge with Weiss and bring destruction upon the earth.
  • A new character, Genesis, appears in the secret ending of the game. An enigmatic character, three reports found in the game refer to him as "G" and must be collected in order to view the secret ending after the game's completion. The Deep Ground soldiers and the Tsviets are said to be the result of his evolution. Genesis's origins are revealed in the prequel game Crisis Core.
  • Other characters that were featured prominently or otherwise in Final Fantasy VII also return. Lucrecia Crescent is shown mainly in flashbacks, further fleshing out her story. Hojo returns as well in flashbacks, and he then reappears in the penultimate moments of the game. Red XIII also makes a brief cameo in the game's ending, though he does not speak.

Tsviets

The are the highest ranking elite squad within Deepground and its chain of command. All of the members of the group are named after colors from different languages, hence the group's name, which is derived from цвет, the Russian word for colour. Five members appear in the single player mode of the game, and at least one more member appears in the online mode.

  • The leader of the elite Tsviets of Deepground. He fights with two pistol swords, or gunblades, and possesses all the abilities of the other Tsviets, the only exceptions being Nero's darkness and Azul's metamorphosis. He is controlled by Hojo's digitized mind, who invaded his body when Weiss was in "Synaptic Net Dive" mode, trying to find a cure to the Restrictors' virus that infected him after he overthrew them. He is eventually defeated by Vincent; however, in the game's ending sequence, his body is seen carried off by an awakened Genesis, who addresses Weiss as his "brother" and tells him that "it is not yet time for slumber" and that they "still have much work to do". In the online version, Weiss is shown fighting both Azul and Rosso at the same time and winning while Restrictors watch. Weiss means "white" in German. He is voiced by David Boat in English, and Joji Nakata in Japanese.
  • is a 23 year-old man and second member of the Tsviets, whose face is always obscured. He is Weiss' younger brother and can control darkness as the only fully successful experiment from stagnant mako injection into a fetus. He secretly leads Deepground under Weiss' name after the unification of the organization, when Weiss' state becomes unclear to the remaining Deepground soldiers. He can transform into the spider-like . He eventually merges with Weiss to free the latter from Hojo's control. Nero means "black" in Italian and Sable is the tincture black in heraldry. He is voiced by Mike Rock in English, and Ryotaro Okiayu in Japanese.
  • is a red-clothed, psychotic 25 year-old woman and third recruit of the Tsviets. She fights with a double-bladed weapon capable of bursts of gunfire. Rosso moves with elegance and speed and does not care if she kills friend or foe to win. Even though there are several meetings with her over the course of the game, Vincent only fights her once. Overconfident and egomaniacal, she kills herself after being beaten by Vincent: she collapses a part of the building with her on top of it so that she "shall not grant him the pleasure of killing Rosso the Crimson". Rosso means "red" in Italian, and she is given a Romanian accent in the English version, voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and Atsuko Tanaka in Japanese.
  • is a blue-eyed, 19 year-old girl trapped by mako in her 9 year old body and fourth recruit of the Tsviets. She fights with two electromagnetic sabers, and has a special ability named SND ("Synaptic Net Dive"), which allows her to project a residual image of herself within a computer network. She is initially emotionless, but becomes connected to Lucrecia's personality as the games progresses. She is also revealed to be Shalua's younger sister, and is referred to as Shelke Rui in the ending credits of the game. Shelke's job within the Tsviets was to locate Vincent Valentine. However, Shelke's body does not allow her to fight for very long and without the Mako stations in Deepground to support her, Shelke tires quickly. She is also the only member of the Tsviets who does not possess cells from Genesis. She later abandons the Tsviets in favor of aiding Vincent. Shelke means "orange" in Urdu. She is voiced by Kari Wahlgren in English and Fumiko Orikasa in Japanese.
  • is the blue-haired, 33 year-old final recruit of the Tsviets. He first appeared in Before Crisis as an ordinary man who wanted to be a SOLDIER. As the largest of the Tsviets, Azul uses a large cannon with disturbing ease. He is one of three Tsviets subjected to the Metamorphose experiment, allowing him to transform into the monstrous . He fights against Vincent three times during the game and is finally killed when Vincent, in Chaos form, impales him with his own cannon, and blasts him. He's falls down into the abyss by the elevator. His greatest love is battle. Azul means "blue" in both Portuguese and Spanish. He is voiced by Brad Abrell in English and Tessho Genda in Japanese.

Online mode characters

The Restrictors are members of the 14th SOLDIER force, "Lost Force", and the former leaders of the Deepground before Weiss took over. The Restrictors destroyed "Ragnarok", the 13th and previously strongest force of SOLDIER, in a single night. Their weapons are two short gunblades. The Restrictors' leader governed over Deepground, implanting chips into the brain stems of all DGS recruits so they cannot turn against the group. The player character in the multiplayer mode is the exception to this, who was part of Weiss' plan to take control of the Deepground. At the end of the multiplayer mode, the entire Tsviet group managed to defeat Restrictor and take his place as the ruling force of the DGS. Though they succeeded, Restrictor's leader attempted to kill Weiss with the virus implanted within him.

  • is a member of the Tsviets seen only in the Japanese multiplayer mode. She has an eye-patch over her right eye. Although she wields a large sword as her weapon, her role is to observe others as an instructor. She conspired with Weiss to overthrow the Restrictors. Argento means "silver" in Italian, and it's revealed in the Compilation Ultimania, that Argento was the one who made all the weapons of the colored Tsviets.
  • Usher is a mysterious orange-haired SOLDIER who assists the player several times throughout the multiplayer mode. In the mode's ending sequence, Shelke deactivates her Synaptic Net Dive with the player's character and Usher disappears, thus revealing that he was only a simulation created by Shelke to guide the player into helping with their plan to overthrow the Restrictors.

Story

Three years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, an unknown group of powerful SOLDIERs known as Deepground or DGS appear, bringing a swift and bitter end to the peace enjoyed by the people of world. The members of this enigmatic group are the ones who were trapped under the ruins of Midgar for three long years after Meteorfall. Their intention is to call forth the final WEAPON, Omega Weapon, before its time. Awakening Omega Weapon would trigger the end of the planet, as Omega takes the Lifestream and leaves for the stars. This can only be done through Vincent's Protomateria, the agent by which he controls Chaos, described as "Omega's squire to the lofty heavens" by an ancient Cetra tablet. The leader of Deepground, Weiss The Immaculate (now under the control of former Shinra Vice President of Scientific Development, Hojo,) plans to summon Omega Weapon in what he believes to be the best way to do so. He seems to know that Omega could only awaken if an enormous catastrophe occurred. This was almost achieved by Sephiroth through casting Meteor. The planet was, however, ultimately saved by Aerith's use of the Lifestream to destroy the Meteor. Weiss intends to awaken Omega by having DGS kidnap people born of a pure Lifestream, while killing other citizens who aren't, and having them killed in Mako Reactor 0. Vincent Valentine, after regaining control of Chaos, attempts to stop Omega Weapon. He succeeds in temporarily destroying Omega, and kills Weiss at the same time. Soon after the planet is saved, Genesis, referred to in the game as "G", picks up the now-deceased Weiss from the flooded cave under Midgar. Genesis tells him that "their work is not done", before flying upwards and out of Midgar.

Development

Director Takayoshi Nakazato said that he was a big fan of the PC game Half-Life and wanted to turn it into an RPG, and he has done so, in the form of Dirge of Cerberus. This is the last game in chronological order in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, and is often referred to by the staff of the game as "the ending finale to Final Fantasy VII". However, producer Yoshinori Kitase has recently stated in an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly that it's not necessarily the end of Final Fantasy VII's story, but will provide resolution to Vincent's personal story, just as Advent Children resolves Cloud's. The game's secret epilogue also leaves the door open, introducing a mysterious character named Genesis, or "G", who speaks in a cryptic fashion that suggests the story is not yet over.

The North American and European releases of Dirge of Cerberus received a major overhaul due to the fact that the developers were not satisfied with the final Japanese version; the developers also wanted to make the game more single player oriented.

  • Vincent's running speed is 1.2 times faster, and he can perform a double-jump and do ranged and melee attacks in midair. Also, his dive-roll dodge move is supplanted with a dash move.
  • Vincent's weapon can be customized to make it lighter, so there is no sluggishness when drawing his weapon.
  • Limit Breaks no longer detract from the magic bar; instead, a single-use item can be used to perform the attack.
  • "Easy Mode" has been removed, replaced with an "Extra Hard" mode. This new mode includes unlockables such as 40 special missions, a character-model viewer, and artwork and sound galleries.
  • Online Multiplayer support was removed due to the poor popularity of PlayOnline in America, and lack of PS2 HDD support in the U.S. Missions from the Multiplayer Mode were reworked into some of the missions that can be unlocked in "Extra Hard" mode, however, this contains none of the additional storyline presented in the Japanese Multiplayer Mode.
  • The game retains support for mouse and keyboard peripherals for PC First-person shooter-style gameplay.

was released by Square Enix in Japan on September 4 2008 as part of their Ultimate Hits lineup. This version retains all of the new features incorporated into the North American and European releases, and also includes the cutscenes that were originally only available in the Japanese online Multiplayer Mode.

Audio

The soundtrack for the game was composed by Masashi Hamauzu. Vocal tracks were performed and composed by J-Rock singer, Gackt Camui for the theme songs, 'Longing' and 'Redemption'. The soundtrack was released on February 15 2006 in Japan with a price of ¥ 3,300 and the limited edition of the soundtrack will be released on the same day with a price of ¥ 3,900. The CD consists of 2 CDs with 53 tracks. The limited edition of the soundtrack includes a 'Cerberus Complete Case' deluxe box which is designed to hold the soundtrack along with the 'Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII' PS2 game and the limited edition of Gackt's single for the game, 'Redemption'. Also it is known that Gackt was the Voice Actor for "G" or Genesis.

The CD single for Gackt's single for the game, 'Redemption' was released on January 25 2006, with a price of ¥1,200 (roughly USD 10.17). A limited edition was also released featuring two 'Redemption' video clips, one being Gackt's promotional music video and one being set to animation from the game, with a price of ¥1,950 (roughly USD 16.53).

A supplemental soundtrack was released through the Japanese iTunes service and the Square-Enix Music Download page on August 22, 2006, for the price of ¥1,500. Titled "Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Multiplayer Mode Original Sound Collections", this album consists of 27 tracks, including a handful of songs from the single player game which weren't included in the official sound track, as well as all of the original music composed for the multiplayer mode and two new songs composed by Ryo Yamazaki for the North American release of the game.

Reception

Upon its release in Japan, the game received mixed reviews. Gaming magazine Dengeki PS2 rewarded the game with a 313/400 while Famitsu scored it a lower 28/40. The Famitsu review was not made available until three weeks after Dirge of Cerberus was released, contrary to the Dengeki PS2 score. The game managed to ship 392,000 units in its first week. Though sales were moderately successful, they paled in comparison to sales of other games in the Final Fantasy series.

Dirge of Cerberus received similarly mixed reviews from American critics. Gaming review sites IGN and Gamespot scored the game 7.0 and 6.0 respectively, 1UP.com gave the game a D+ while Electronic Gaming Monthly collectively scored the game with a 4.6/10 average from three reviews. G4's game review show, X-Play, gave the game a 2 out of 5 due to poor level design, weak gunplay, a tremendous amount of cutscenes and bad AI. Similar reviews also cited poor gameplay as a major criticism. At Game Rankings, the combined reviews for the game are currently 60%. The combined score from Metacritic is currently 57 out of 100 based on 51 reviews.

Mobile phone tie-in

is a Japanese third person shooter role-playing game was co-developed by Square Enix and Ideaworks3D, and published by Square Enix. Unveiled at E3 '06, the game was released on August 22 2006 in North America and July 26 2007 in Japan. First only available on Amp'd mobile phones, the game was eventually also made available on Verizon's V Cast network. It was also unveiled as a flagship title for NTT DoCoMo’s Foma 903i handset at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show. The title initially released a single player mode, with a multiplayer function launching at a later date.

Lost Episode reveals a missing chapter of Dirge of Cerberus taking place between two events of the latter. It involves the adventures of Vincent struggling to save the world from the evil Deepground Soldiers, a mysterious army of soldiers. Three years after Meteorfall from the original Final Fantasy VII, the world is threatened by the Deepground soldiers, a mysterious army of bloodthirsty warriors. Vincent Valentine learns that the soldiers are searching for him in the hopes of harvesting the Protomateria from his body. He decides to investigate the Shinra Mansion in an effort to uncover the truth about his own past—and the mystery behind the Protomateria as well. Reeve Tuesti's goal is to find information on the DG written by Dr. Lucrecia Crescent. On his way to the mansion, his chopper is attacked by the Deepground. He survives and makes his way to the Shinra Manor, fighting countless Deepground Soldiers and destroying a DG battle bot.

Notes

References

External links

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