Crysis Core Endgame

So I’m playing Final Fantasy: Crisis Core right now. As with every Final Fantasy game, I somehow feel obliged to check out the endgame content. Final Fantasy games tend to have a big dramatic storyline but also tons of optional side-missions. Square even started to hide very, very, very difficult bonus bosses in the games as special challenges for hardcore players.

Crysis Core is no different in this regard. Actually, the structure of the game is actually even improved. All the side-quests are so-called “missions”. They can be accessed at any point at save spots. They all consist of tiny dungeons. You can finish each mission in a few minutes. It’s perfect for portable play. But it’s also a very elegant way to distinguish side-quests from the main storyline.

Crysis Core Missions

Your Mission is, should you accept…

Yet, as I completed the first 50% of all availible missions, there is something that starts bugging me. The battle system seems to have a bi-polar tendency. You either smash any enemy or you die instantly. There is no in-between. The game starts at the smashing side of things. So as already mentioned, the beginning of the game is very confusing. There are no challenges to overcome, no decisions to make. You just kill everything that stands in your way. And it stays pretty much this way for most of the story.

It starts out similarly in the side missions. But after a while, you suddenly start dying a LOT. The game tries to judge the difficulty of each mission compared to your level but I found that the system just breaks down at some point.

But then it’s Final Fantasy, so it provides you with some crazy overpowered spells and abilities. If you find them, you can keep on blasting away the enemies just like before. The trick becomes to find one of those and keep on exploiting it until the enemies become too powerful even for that. And then you move on to find the next even more overpowered skill.

So at first I was using the skill “Darkness” a lot – it does heavy damage to everything around you for the cost of a small amount of HP. One or two shots killed everything for a long time. But now it doesn’t anymore. So I’m moving on to “Power Punch” or something. That does damage to just one enemy but so much that I one-shot kill even bosses. I imagine once that doesn’t work anymore, there is yet another skill.

That bi-polar effect is something I encountered in other Final Fantasy games as well, especially the newer ones. But it seems to be very extreme in Crisis Core. It may have to do with the fact that you control just one character. So mistakes are much less forgiving. Also, I feel like the game was designed for portable play, so they went for extremely condensed battle gameplay. I don’t think they did themselves a favor there.

That doesn’t mean that the game is bad. I like some of the choices they made and there is certainly a game design lesson or two in there. So I’m not ready to throw the towel yet. At least not as long “Power Punch” is working. ;)

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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