Review by REdxL

"A worthy attempt that fails in the most critical areas"

Like many others, I was ecstatic to hear that a sequel to one of the finest games ever produced was in the works. Unfortunately, I found Chrono Cross, the follow-up to the ever-popular Chrono Trigger, to be horribly flawed in the elements that, for me, make-or-break an RPG. Surprisingly, I discovered more positive aspects to the game, but the negatives completely override these elements and drag the game down below mediocrity.

STORY: (7/10)

I thought the story was very good and well thought out, but it didn't break any new ground as far as plot twists and surprises are concerned. Cinematically and artistically, the story was well documented, but the lack of any real surprises left me wanting more. The simplicity of the storyline made the game easy to follow, but my mind desires a bit more complexity to evoke raw emotion.

GRAPHICS: (10/10)

As expected from Square, the graphics of this game are among the best to date. The FMV was beautiful, but I feel the story would have benefited greatly had it been used more at the plot twists. Overall, aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.

MUSIC: (6/10)

Like the storyline, the music was novel and amusing, but nothing compelling enough to make me want to go out and buy the soundtrack. Thanks to Chrono Cross, I now have three more songs to add to my repertoire of favorite RPG music. With over 60 tunes, the ratio of 1:20 doesn't suffice as anything groundbreaking. This goes without mentioning the worst songs from the game; fortunately, I only came upon two of these migraine-inducing tunes.

GAMEPLAY: (10/10)

Largely the best aspect of Chrono Cross, I have relatively nothing to complain about in this department. Square must be applauded for the groundbreaking innovations presented in this game; the elimination of random battles, the need for money, and level-ups are a great step away from the tedious, tiresome RPG formula. I believe this game will redefine the RPG formula. I'm extremely thrilled this game came out to present the new innovations and set a new standard for the next generation of RPG's.

CHALLENGE: (1/10)

Up to now, you may be wondering how I could ever have given Chrono Cross a score of 3. Simply put, it has everything to do with this category. For a game to earn to my recommendation, it must present me with a mind-blowing challenge. Chrono Cross ranks among the easiest games I have ever completed. My idea of the ultimate RPG would consist strictly of nothing but Boss fights; this game almost delivered it. The biggest disappointment I have ever encountered with a game came when I was never confronted with a worthy challenge. This game had just about everything I could ever ask for in an RPG, but my hopes fell to pieces- no, disintegrated- because of the lack of difficulty.

REPLAYABILITY: (5/10)

There's a new feature when you beat the game known as New Game+. There are many extra things to do by playing through again, but it only makes the game easier than it already is. You can collect the rest of the characters, face new enemies, choose different paths to proceed through the game, or discover new endings, among the new options you're presented with. I would only recommend playing through if you have the time to play and feel the urge to uncover new story elements you missed the first time around.

MISCELLANEOUS (+):

- More than 40 playable characters, all well-defined and unique
- The best dialogue translation I have ever seen
- Characters with different accents only heighten their uniqueness
- Story branches

MISCELLANEOUS (-):

- Objective unclear at times
- Tedious exploration (can only warp from one location)

FINAL VERDICT: (3/10)

Chrono Cross had all the elements necessary to be the best RPG, except for the most crucial, the challenge. I can only dream for the day when an RPG will be very difficult while remaining emotionally involving and fun. That day has yet to come, but Chrono Cross is proof that such a game will come upon us one day.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 08/25/00, Updated 08/25/00


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