|Computer and Video Games||9.0/10|
Crisis Core sold 350,000 copies in Japan on its release date, including the 77,777 Limited Edition PSP/Crisis Core bundles. In November of 2007, Square Enix announced that Crisis Core was its best-selling game across all regions from April through September, with 710,000 copies sold in Japan. Selling 790,705 units as of August 2008, it became the third best-selling game for the PSP in Japan. In March 2008, Crisis Core sold 301,600 copies in its first month of release in the United States, behind the sales of God of War: Chains of Olympus, which sold 340,500 copies, making Crisis Core the second best-selling game for the PSP during the month of March and the sixth best-selling game overall. As of March 31, 2009, Square Enix announced that Crisis Core had sold 3.1 million units worldwide, with 830,000 of those sales coming from Japan. About 840,000 units of the game, including 550,000 in Europe, were sold during Square Enix's 2009 fiscal year. In response to the game's sales, Square Enix labeled Crisis Core their best PSP game of the year, calling it "an incredible success." Doug Bone, Square Enix's UK sales director, called it "the must-have PSP game of 2008."
Crisis Core has received generally positive reviews. At GameRankings, the combined reviews for the game are currently 82%, while the score at Metacritic is 83. With individual scores of 9/9/8/9, the game received an overall rating of 35 out of 40 from Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. GameSpot awarded it an "Editor's Choice" label, praising its storyline, the combat system and its presentation, and also stating that "Crisis Core is an exciting and poignant journey that every fan of role-playing games should take." IGN's Ryan Clements praised its differences from other RPGs, due to its focus on Zack's growth and his relationship with the SOLDIERs. He stated "Crisis Core is a great game and, barring a few minor issues here and there, will not disappoint." It also received a place amongst the "Editor's Choice" gallery of recommended games for the PSP platform. GameSpy also gave it a good review, stating it "is equal parts tribute and original, marrying classic design choices with refreshingly new techniques, harmoniously bringing together something old with something new." Gamespy also commented that although some players may dislike Zack, "you'll have to be pretty jaded for the character not to grow on you as you progress through the adventure." VideoGamer.com gave an overall score of 9, finding its fighting system "addictive", and arguing that its CGI scenes had a similar quality to the ones from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Similarly, GamePro gave it a positive review, calling it the "best looking PSP title," and praising how it incorporated elements from the Compilation, and at the same time created new aspects. GamesRadar's AJ Glasser stated that with the DMW system, the gameplay could be easy, causing the "rare gamer" to try to play it in Hard Mode. Glasser also found the game likeable enough so that even gamers who dislike the Final Fantasy VII series may enjoy it. Play's Samuel Roberts called it the best game of 2008.
Many reviews also commented on the game's relationship with Final Fantasy VII. 1UP.com called it one of the best prequels of all time, arguing that it "does a better job of putting players in FFVII's world than even the original game did." While GameTrailers stated that Crisis Core "doesn't take the easy way out and photocopy the source," they found it, unlike Dirge of Cerberus, to be appealing. Computer and Video Games mentioned that despite the game's main story only lasting 12 hours, the side-quests helped expand the game's length. They further praised the battle system, claiming " never becomes tiresome," and the fact that some of the weak points from Final Fantasy VII ("lengthy wandering, and an overlong center") were not issues in this game.
The game did receive some negative reviews, however. Despite calling it the best Final Fantasy VII spin-off, Eurogamer criticized that "for the twenty-six, twenty-eight, thirty-year-olds who it's aimed at, the game has little to offer beyond polished sentimentality." Although PALGN called the DMW system a "handy tool", they also felt it was the game's weakest point. X-Play gave the game a 2/5, complaining about the unskippable cutscenes, poor dialogue, repetitive gameplay, and a weak plot. On April Fools' Day, in response to criticism for their original review, they "decided to give the game a second look and give it a re-review, this time with a clear unbiased perspective," sarcastically dubbing over the original and giving it an impossibly high 6/5.
Crisis Core has also received a number of awards from different publications. It was nominated by GameSpot for the "Best of 2008" awards, in the "Best Story", "Best RPG Game" and "Best PSP Game" categories, winning "Best PSP Game". It was also listed as the tenth best PSP game of all the time by IGN. Four IGN articles concerning the game were in "The Top 10 PSP Stories of 2008", with the review article listed at number one. In IGN's Best of 2008, Crisis Core won in the categories "Best RPG" and "Best Story for the PSP". Videogamer.com placed it fifteenth and fourth in their articles "Best Games of 2008" and "Top 10 PlayStation exclusives of 2008", respectively. GamePro featured it as one of the five games PSP gamers should play, one of the 31 best PSP titles in 2009, and as the seventh best video game prequel. It was also voted to third place in the Dengeki poll of most tear-inducing games of all time. In 2011, it was voted second place in the Famitsu readers' poll on the same topic.
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