"Good, but not quite Great (single player)"

Introduction

Finally, a Final Fantasy game is on the Gamecube. The history of Final Fantasy has been mainly a success for the most part and this one may not be any exception. Sure, it may not be on the same level as the other Final Fantasy games, but that does not necessarily mean it is no good. Hopefully this review will help some of you puzzled folks determine if this is the game for you or not. This review is solely based on the single player mode only.

Gameplay 6/10

This game can be fun, but the repetitiousness might tear out some of the fun. It does get tedious because you will have to go to the dungeons over and over a few times. The battles may get somewhat tiring after a while, but they are manageable and can be enjoyable also. You are only allowed one character to fight in one place at one time, but can make up to eight total characters. There are some dungeons that may be more of a challenge when it comes to finding your way to the boss and trying to cover every area in search of artifacts. Luckily, though, you are enabled a map of the dungeon if you have a Gameboy Advance hooked up to the Gamecube. The battles may be challenging at times, but if you keep your stats up high enough, it should not pose a problem. Unlike other Final Fantasy games, you will not be gaining experience points to help increase your character’s stats. Instead, you will obtain an artifact from each time you get through a whole dungeon. Basically, you just hack and slash your way through each dungeon. There are a few puzzles to solve, but I did not find them to be much of a difficulty. There is a variation of monsters you will face throughout each dungeon. Some of their forms of attack are quite similar to others, but some are also different. Battling monsters in Crystal Chronicles is similar to that of Kingdom Hearts, Dark Cloud, and Zelda. It is a button masher that involves casting magic spells, defending, and using physical attacks against your enemies.

The controls feel nice and suit the game well enough to not be a bit of a bother. Picking your form of action while battling is very similar to Kingdom Hearts.

Mog joins you along your journey and carries the chalice as he follows you in each dungeon. The chalice’s purpose is to protect you from the miasma, but is only strong enough to shield a certain area. If you walk outside the area and into the miasma, you will begin to obtain damage. When Mog is not carrying the chalice, he is able to help fight off monsters by casting magic spells against them. I did not find it all that helpful though, simply because if he does not carry the chalice than you have less space to run from your enemies. He does not always constantly cast spells during the fights, so it may not be much help. Mog keeps up a steady pace and keeps up with you even when you are going top speed unless he tires out. When he becomes tired, he will slow down a bit, preventing you from going top speed. It may make battles more challenging by disabling you from running away as quickly, and causing less area to run without any damage being inflicted from the miasma.

Story 6/10

This story is not the best I have seen in a game, but it is alright. A substance called miasma exists in the atmosphere all over the world. It can harm or possibly cause death to any who touch it. In order to protect everyone from the miasma, caravans travel in search of a liquid substance known as myrrh. Your goal is to collect myrrh from each dungeon until you have enough to supply your town for each year. You must embark on your journey to collect myrrh each year because eventually the protection against miasma fades. That is the main plot in this game, but there are a few side stories to go along with it. It does not seem to be as much of an epic, or as deep in story as most Final Fantasy games have been. The story catches your interest enough, but I believe it could be improved.

Graphics/Sound 8/10

The graphics are nice for a Gamecube game, and probably couldn’t be improved upon that much more. Every playable character has their own distinctive feature that sets them apart from each other. I do wish you could have a closer view of the character than what the game enables you to have. There are moments when you get a better and more up-close view of the character when you speak with somebody or a certain scene happens. Each different area has it's own musical tune to go along with it. There is no voice dialog whatsoever, except for when you first enter each dungeon. The graphics and sound are overall approvable and well done. The style of the music and graphics has somewhat of a Final Fantasy IX feel to it.

Play Time/Replayability 5/10

I feel that it’s possible for someone to want to replay through this whole game again, and perhaps even a few more times. You do have several options to choose from in certain scenarios that could change the outcome of certain events. Because of the repetitiousness, though, you may be driven away from replaying this game in single player. This game may last you 25+ hours depending on how much effort and time you put into increasing stats, collecting items, etc.

Final Recommendation (Final Score 6/10)

Overall, I consider this game to be slightly above average in single player mode. The music, graphics, characters, environments, gameplay, and story all seem to fit together rather well. I think that this game could use a few slight improvements on several parts of it. Nevertheless, I believe it is a good game and worth playing. If you read through this review and are still puzzled as to if you might like it or not, or uncertain if you want to purchase it, then it might be best to just give it a try by renting it.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 03/02/04


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