Review by AngelX000
"To sum up Chrono Cross in a word: Disappointing."
I just can't really get into this game. The only reason I bought it is because it is a sequel to one of my favorite games of all time.
Graphics: Great as usual from Square, kudos on the attention to detail, even in areas in which you don't spend alot of time.
Music: Highly enjoyable although I don't generally take this much into account when playing a game.
Storyline: Thus far very nicely done.
Characters: This is where I begin to have problems. It's great that Square offers so many choices of characters. 40+ actually. The problem I begin to have is when the characters become arbitrary and meaningless. Many of them have little to no fleshed out background story and this means that collecting all the characters becomes little more than a pokemon-esque "gotta catch 'em all" sort of mission, but a mission with no real reward. Take Frog for instance from Chrono Trigger. They did a fantastic job of giving him a truly heroic and moving tale of tragedy, giving him meaning and purpose, a way for people to truly connect with him and sympathize with him. Now imagine if Frog had joined the party and you simply learned nothing more of his past, for instance why he's a Frog. He would lose all appeal for me and I would have never used him. Unfortunately, this seems to be the approach that Square has taken with many of the characters in Chrono Cross, which is very disconcerting considering that storytelling is one of Square's strongest points. Such potential here wasted. I'm not saying that every single character needs a grand sweeping move-me-to-tears background, but I should be able to sum up the majority of them in more than one sentence.
The Battle system: This is by far my biggest beef with the game and is so overly convoluted and such a departure from Trigger's battle system that I can't even consider it anything but a massive flaw. First off I respect that Square was trying to go for originality, but it seems that the tradeoff they made here was the fun. The battle system to me just seems overly complicated and pointless. Firstly, there are elements. Each character is assigned an Elemental Base. Each element is represented by a color: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, White and Black. Each has a weakness to it's specific opposite color. Okay, easy enough concept to grasp, it's basically and expansion on Trigger's elemental system, Fire does more damage to ice monsters, etc. But then they decided that if you want to do bigger damage you have to turn the battleground to your specific spell color by casting several of the same elemental color spells in a row. This is ineffective and it affects battle in a negative manner. Meaning that if you Get 2 Red spells off and suddenly your enemy casts a different spell, you'll have to start the process over. Lame. This is not my biggest beef, however. The worst part of the whole system is that in order to cast spells in the FIRST place, you have to actually hit the enemy a predetermined number of times physically....huh? I can only cast a spell on someone if I walk up and slap them first? And I can't even slap them hard, first I have to hit them weakly, then stronger and finally fiercely? I can't just hit them fiercely or I'll probably miss? This took an amazing amount of fun out of the battles for me. Imagine if in Final Fantasy VII you would have to go 3 rounds in each fight hitting physically before you could cast ANY spells. And after you got to the point where you CAN cast those spells, you could only cast each one once. What little fun was left was squandered by the new levelling system, although I really shouldn't call it a levelling system, since your characters don't really have levels at all, they have stars. And they don't get "Stars" from fighting regular enemies, only bosses, making all the small battles leading up to the bosses seem like a gigantic waste of time. Frustrating. There's a reason this battle system has remained unique to Chrono Cross. It simply isn't fun, which is why it hasn't been carried over to any RPGs to date.
My last real problem with this game is the lack of continuity, but this is purely a matter of personal preference. I would've loved to have been able to revisit past locations and see how they had evolved over time from Chrono Trigger. This was used in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 and I loved it. It would have been great even to simply be able to see the changes they had made in the major continents from and overhead map perspective. Unfortunately a quick comparison between a world map of Chrono Trigger vs. A world map of Chrono Cross shows that they are 2 completely separate worlds. Disappointing. Another point was how in Chrono Trigger you were able to directly see the effects your actions in the past had on your actions in the future. This system was simple and easy to follow and made the game intriguing and fun in my opinion, but I've seen little to no evidence of this in Chrono Cross so far. Also disappointing.
In closing please simply remember to look at this objectively and recognize that it is simply my opinion and no more valid than yours or anyone else's. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 12/25/07
Game Release: Chrono Cross (US, 08/15/00)
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