Review by FFM
Once upon a time before flashy effects and 3D graphics. You had Chrono Trigger, one of the best, if not the best role playing games of all time. Square soft went into the ring for another go around with the series they knew they had big shoes to fill; they didn't do that. Chrono Cross fails pathetically in about every aspect possible to date. Trashing about all the original game-play traditions that keep Chrono Trigger fun. Chrono Cross made it’s own game play; which still stands today as one of the most unique types out there, but different isn’t always better.
You begin as a young man named Serge; this is the blue headed protagonist of Chrono Cross. Something happens to him that will change the pace of the game. It takes a while for Chrono Cross to start up as all you do is talk to everyone. Most of the townsfolk seem to speak non-important jargon. After about 20 minutes of prepping the storyline; Chrono Cross launches. Thus you’re epic journey into the realms begin, tis a journey only the brave should take..
What strikes you as odd from the opening of Chrono Cross is the battle system. It’s time based like about all other Square soft games; so you should be able to get an idea of what it’s like. Attacking consists of three levels. You can choose a level one attack: Most damage/Lowest Hit rate. Level two attack: Medium damage/Medium hit rate. Our you can choose a hard blow: High damage/Low hit rate. I see myself keep using the High damage attack just to get the battles over, and those are abysmal to say the least. You start off a battle with the beginning of a catchy theme. Then you choose attack/magic/item to get the battle started..
When you go to select magic; you only have a small list of magics that you can use. You can only use them once too , and that is really crappy. You get 8 levels of magic at your disposal, each level holds a certain amount of spells in them. The spells at the beginning of the game basically play no part. The reason for this is that all the early enemies seem to just be able to be killed with regular attacks. The later enemies are then only defeat able with magic. They screwed up the system in this way; when you run out of limit breaks and high level magic’s to beat later bosses with; you’re just down to using weak magic on them. Taking boss battles a long time to win. Where as you don’t want to use physical attacks since they’re weak too. Making boss battle harder than they should be.
In the battle you got the way of the land as I like to call it. You have a chart on the screen that shows what element of magic has been used last. (I.E: If fire was used last then one of the three marks will be red) To make your element of magic more effective than the last used you have to change the chart according to the element of magic you use (I.E: Say you used fire, if you use it again then it‘ll become stronger, since there will be two fire marks on the chart). Using say a fire spell three times in a row will cause the whole chart to be red. Meaning fire is the predominate element in that battle. This chart can be changed at the simple use of spell under another element alignment.
What about all the characters FFM?
Sure you do got a lot of characters, but when you compare and contrast them to other characters of the RPG genre; they don't measure up. Though what they all lack in, expect Serge/Kid, is character development. In other RPG’s you know how the characters will react, how they’ll feel about certain things. In Chrono Cross you don’t have that sense of knowing how all the lackluster characters that square seemed to throw in there just as a selling point will react. On top of that; they don’t have much variety either. You got about three classes and I can break this down for you if you wish reader: Mage/Fighter/Mage-fighter. A good point is they do seem to have set down and spent some time on each of the character models. As they’re all diverse in their own little way.
More less all the characters seem jaded in one way or another. When you use most of them is seems as though you just throw out a simple, no emotion solider to the battle.
What does stand out about Chrono cross is the fact that you got one hell of a music selection. I’ll turn into a fan boy for about the next 2 paragraphs. When Yasunori Mitsuda was called and told to produce the music for Chrono Cross, he did one hell of a job. From the opening theme (Scars of time) to the final themes (Orphanage Fire) you get your moneys worth to say the least. Most of all the songs are orchestrated with woodwind instruments and a piano. Plus you got something that is very rare and done well. Behold reader: Singing done right…
Not often do you get singing done right my friend. Usually it’s done when it’s not needed. Just done wrong, or just pisses me off. Most of the music is integrated with a piano of some sort. Chimes seemed to be used a lot compared to most other videogame soundtracks. What do I know, I’m not music composer.
Music goes well with graphics, and Chrono Cross has those ,too. Ohh and high-quality ones may I add. Lets begin with the character. They may be poorly devolved , but they look great. The levels that you explore are pre-rendered, meaning that they are made not to move but just look great. Most games now days have pre-rendered backgrounds so it shouldn’t shock you as a big achievement. The spells look superlative and so do the summons. If you ever see a summon due to the fact that you have to get that stupid chart all one color to use one. The water effects are something that stand out as you can see them at the beginning of the game. Most character special moves look fine too. The only flaw I see here is that the way some of the levels are positioned some times you get your own character lost in them; meaning you’ll just have fiddle around with the control stick to get out.
Which leaves you with not much to fiddle with at there isn’t much in the way of controls. You choose what actions you want to do by using the X button mostly. Then you got the trusty old control pad; letting you choose where to move your character ,that is presently active, to move at. Moving him involves these simple steps: 1.Press up on control pad 2.Watch
If that proved to difficult for you then well; leave now in utter shame and humiliation.
The shortcomings in Chrono Cross are very fatal . On a game that relies so deeply on game-play, then to have that game-play isn't up to par; destroys all the fun that could have been had in this game. In the end you’re left with a fancy show of graphics and sound.
If it doesn’t come out right, it’s because the game , as I said earlier, relies a lot on game-play. Which it doesn’t have any of therefore the final is lowered by a lot.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 02/17/03, Updated 07/29/03
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