Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- is a third-person shooter and action game, part of the well-known Final Fantasy series, developed by Square Enix. Dirge of Cerberus is part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, which consists of other titles including Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- and other games for video game consoles. The plotline of Dirge of Cerberus centers around one of Final Fantasy VII's secondary protagonists, Vincent Valentine.
The plot of Dirge of Cerberus revolves around Vincent Valentine, the gunslinging companion to Cloud Strife. This game reveals more about the Vincent's past, as well as to draw a new chapter in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Dirge of Cerberus is more dynamic in style compared to previous Final Fantasy VII games, and also introduces a new character, dubbed Genesis (or G) in its epilogue, leaving doors open for the next Final Fantasy VII game. The game resolves Vincent's life story, and is somewhat of an exploration into a style of Final Fantasy game that plays in a different matter than previous games.
Dirge of Cerberus is a third-person shooter that carries with it an optional first-person shooter mode. The viewpoint is more or less the same in both third person and first person, where iron sights and scopes allow for greater versatility of marksmanship. The third-person default viewpoint gives gamers more ability and range of movement with aerial maneuvers and combos, and better side to side movements and dodging.
Combo moves allow for excellent movement, where Vincent can perform several moves to evade attack and to stunningly fire away with acrobatic moves. One large leap in Final Fantasy technology is the ability in Dirge of Cerberus to double-jump, where Vincent can jump again in the air after an initial jump. This extra hangtime gives greater freedom to perform combos and added accuracy while jumping.
Using one of Vincent's Limit Breaks would unleash him as a powerful beast reminiscent of his red cape, the Galian beast. This beast has great melee power and is very immune to bullet fire. The second Limit Break that is available to Vincent is Chaos, which can only be used during the final chapter of the game (Omega and Chaos.)
Dirge of Cerberus also borrows heavily from RPG elements. Not only can Vincent buy weapons and get weapon upgrades, Vincent can alter level up his weapons and abilities, and eventually customize his weapon to different styles of firing. The game's director, Takayoshi Nakazato, meant to make the game as a cross between Half-Life, Final Fantasy, and an RPG, and created Dirge of Cerberus.
Three years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, an unknown group of powerful SOLDIERs 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; the Deepground SOLDIERs, their intention is to call forth the final WEAPON, Omega, before its time. However, to do that, the DGS need Vincent to lead the way to Omega.
Vincent Valentine finds himself pursued by several elite members of the mysterious organization. An unrelenting chain of events leads Vincent to the truth behind his past and forces him once again to be the key player in a battle for the planet itself and all those living in it.
Reeve Tuesti, former Head of Urban Development at Shinra (as well as the remote pilot of Cait Sith), is now the leader of the World Regenesis Organization, which looks after the planet and prevents people from damaging it further. Yuffie Kisaragi is another member of the organization, and several other characters from the original game provide the WRO with outside assistance.
The game begins with an FMV depicting the attack on the town of Kalm, an attack carried out by Deepground soldiers. Vincent thwarts the attack, but not before encountering Azul and Shelke, members of the Tsviets, Deepground's elite force of super-soldiers.
Vincent then makes his way through Kalm, taking down the Deepground soldiers, and saving many of the Kalm town's people from being killed or kidnapped. As Vincent reached the town centre, a Deepground helicopter, called Dragonfly, attacks. Vincent fights it off, and makes his way into a nearby residence where he meets Azul, and an endless amount of soldiers. Vincent must now meet Reeve at the church, and heads back through Kalm, assisting the WRO on the way. As he reached the church the Dragonfly returns, this time known as Dragonfly GL. Once it is taken down, Vincent and Reeve meet, and the mission ends.
As Vincent and Reeve speed across the desert to Edge, Reeve tells Vincent about the Deep Ground soldiers, and that they were a secret project that only President Shinra, Heidegger, Scarlet and Hojo knew about. When Rufus took over after his father's death, the ascension was so quick that he didn't have a chance to be told about the Deep Ground soldiers, and the deaths of the other Shinra executives eliminated all outside knowledge of the project, causing the soldiers to languish in the research facility for three years.
Reeve then tells Vincent that 1200 people disappeared from Junon. The conversation is then interrupted by a transmission from a mysterious figure that states his desire to 'cleanse' the world, and the tainted shall be killed. After the transmission ends, the van is attacked by Guard Hounds. Vincent saddles up on the machine gun and fends them off before making his way on top of the van, where he continues to defend it with his own firearms. With the van damaged, Vincent is forced to make his way to Edge by foot while under constant assault from more Guard Hounds and their pack leader, Crimson Hound. Near the entrance to Edge, he is confronted again, this time by several Deep Ground soldiers on bikes. After defeating the soldiers, he crosses the border into Edge.
Rosso sits on a crate in a factory laughing to herself about Weiss' talk, then the camera zooms out to show dead WRO members surrounding her. Vincent is peering around a corner, when a woman wearing a labcoat points her gun at his head, but he turns pointing his gun at hers. He notices a WRO badge and puts his gun down. She introduces herself as Shalua Rui. Shalua says that Edge is too quiet, and that the WRO troops and 500 townspeople are nowhere to be seen. She then walks off talking about finding her 'reason to live.' Vincent fights his way through town, and finds a dying WRO member, who mentions a soldier in red and a warehouse at the edge of town, before dying. Eventually, he makes his way into a central area, where he takes down many snipers around the area, and saving a child, who leads him to someone who has a card key to get into the warehouse. In the warehouse Vincent must fight a Heavy Armoured Soldier. Rosso is outside, and calls Vincent the 'Keeper of the Protomateria.' The two fight, and she smashes Vincent into the wall, where he begins to glow red and transforms into Chaos. He knocks Rosso away, and then falls to the ground, Shalua coming up behind him.
The scene switches to a flashback, with Vincent in Lucrecia's cave, where she keeps saying 'sorry' and leaving Vincent in question. Vincent then rediscovers his true past, when he was a Turk with the Shinra department. Vincent is then shot (later in the flashback) by Professor Hojo. When Vincent eventually awakens, he stumbles, and falls before it fades to black, Vincent screaming. The final flashback, shows him in regenerative tube, with Lucrecia looking in on him. During this it is known that Lucrecia had filled his body with Lifestream, and that Hojo's earlier experiments on Vincent had turned his body into what it has become now.
English voiceover cast
- Steve Blum ... as Vincent Valentine
- Kari Wahlgren ... as Shelke Rui
- Kim Mai Guest ... as Shalua Rui
- Jamieson Price ... as Reeve Tuesti
- Greg Ellis ... as Cait Sith
- Dave Boat ... as Weiss
- Mike Rock ... as Nero
- Brad Abrell ... as Azul
- Mary Elizabeth McGlynn ... as Rosso
- Mae Whitman ... as Yuffie Kisaragi
- Chris Edgerly ... as Cid Highwind
- Steve Burton ... as Cloud Strife
- Rachael Leigh Cook ... as Tifa Lockhart
- Beau Billingslea ... as Barret Wallace
- Bob Joles ... as Grimoire Valentine
- April Stewart ... as Lucrecia Crescent
- Paul Eiding ... as Hojo
- Robin Atkin Downes ... as Genesis
Japanese voiceover cast
- Shougo Suzuki ... as Vincent Valentine
- Fumiko Orikasa ... as Shelke Rui
- Yuu Asakawa ... as Shalua Rui
- Banjō Ginga ... as Reeve Tuesti
- Hideo Ishikawa ... as Cait Sith
- Jouji Nakata ... as Vice, Grimoire Valentine
- Ryotaro Okiayu ... as Nero
- Tessho Genda ... as Azul
- Atsuko Tanaka ... as Rosso
- Yumi Kakazu ... as Yuffie Kisaragi
- Kazuhiro Yamaji ... as Cid Highwind
- Takahiro Sakurai ... as Cloud Strife
- Ayumi Ito ... as Tifa Lockhart
- Masahiro Kobayashi ... as Barret Wallace
- Rio Natsuki ... as Lucrecia Crescent
- Nachi Nozawa ... as Hojo
- Gackt ... as Genesis
- Hikaru Midorikawa ... as Restrictor
There are major differences between the North American and Japanese versions of this game. This is to make the game seem more single-player like and to make the gameplay more fluid and easier to control.
- 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 Multi-player 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 Online 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 Online mode.
- The game retains support for mouse and keyboard peripherals for PC First-person shooter-style gameplay.
The game has scores of around 6-7 out of 10. It was praised for its cutscenes, side quest after storyline was completed and the secret characters. The criticism of the game are its camera angle, linear game design, and the weapon selection. The AI for the enemy became easily predictable.