This game is a 3rd person shooter/rpg. You level up at the end of the chapters but it has a lot of problems. Ironically enough, dirge also means a song of mourning, which indicates my feelings towards this game. The story drags and the dialogue feels pretty boring. Basically, a group called Deepground is trying to revive Omega and purge the world and you have to stop them. At least there is some action to make it feel a little less tedious. The characters are forgettable too unless you're a huge Final Fantasy 7 fan. At least it does show some of Vincent's flashbacks or repressed memories.
The cutscenes and characters look good but the problem is some areas may be too dark to see things. The graphics do lie to you in the gameplay with invisible walls which I'll get more about later. The sound is also completely forgettable.
You have a sniper rifle called Hydra, a machine gun called Griffon, and Vincent's handgun called Cerberus. Hydra is completely worthless. Fortunately, the game controls well with its dual analog setup although there isn't an autoaim button. However, if your cursor is near the enemy and your gun has the range, it will make a small circle to indicate that you can shoot at the enemy, which is like a mini autoaim. The game also enables you to switch from 3rd person to 1st person view to get a closer view, or if you have the sniper scope, a sniper's view of things.
I find it annoying how there are a lot of snipers that you cannot really see well, especially when they're on roofs in dark areas. It's pretty cheap but at least they give you plenty of health; I was playing on hard mode and even with this nuisance, I was able to progress through the game without dying multiple times at the same area. You even have a Phoenix Down which revives you automatically once you use it.
The guns have barrels, which also negate Hydra's usefulness. Hydra is the sniper rifle, which has the lowest firing rate and ammo clips. At first the gun starts off with 5 shots, but it fires so slowly, even with the short barrel which trades range for a quicker firing rate, that the shots do not "stack". Cerberus and Griffon can stack, that is, damage increases with each consecutive shot. This in addition to their higher ammo rate makes Hydra completely worthless. Hydra also doesn't do much damage without this stack effect and it weighs more than the other guns, slowing down the speed that Vincent runs at, which makes this gun even more useless because the long barrel allows the handgun, Cerberus, to shoot down these snipers. You can even combine Cerberus with the sniper scope to easily snipe them, making Hydra even more worthless.
It is a real pain to waste money on upgrades like I did only to find out the weapon will always be terrible; at the end of the level you can either turn your experience into gil to buy accessories/upgrades or level up Vincent to increase his stats. It's worth leveling up more since the game's bosses are pathetic until Chapter 9 onward which is near the end. I played the game on hard mode, and the bosses before the final ones hardly put up a fight; I even killed one of them in 10 seconds, without even moving, and I did not even get hit.
The materia is an interesting concept but the fire materia is useless. It lets Vincent use magic; ice is good damage from far away to one enemy, lightning is even stronger at short range to multiple enemies. However, fire does half of ice's damage to multiple enemies with range. There's honestly no point in using it when ice will easily kill them at long range. Lastly, it's terrible how bad invisible walls are. Vincent can do all these things in cutscenes like jump on lampposts and jump to melee attack enemies with cool attacks but in the game he cannot jump on some boxes which are high enough to jump over (Vincent can even double jump) and he only has 1 melee combo. At least there is a rail gun that you can use from time to time. Lastly, Vincent does have a limit break, which is an item that transforms him into a monster to do devastating damage. Sadly, the bosses as I said before, are generally so pathetic that you'll only need this at end game. You'll mainly use this as a tank since his defense also increases, against those cheap snipers.
Overall, this game is potential gone to waste. It was hyped up with the Final Fantasy 7 brand name and being able to play as Vincent. The cheapness with the snipers was a huge nuisance too, since it honestly made the game more difficult than the bosses and that's just sad for a game's regular enemies to be tougher than the bosses. The 3rd person shooter has been overdone with the same guns but at least Dirge of Cerberus did try to be original. There are extra missions for masochists to replay.