Review by Ofisil

"Nailed to the Cross"

Chrono Cross is a RPG developed by SquareSoft. Remember Chrono Trigger? If you consider yourself a fan of Eastern Console RPGs then you just have to play it at least once in your life. Featuring an extremely good plot that put today's “masterpieces” to shame, great innovative gameplay and excellent audiovisual quality, it is widely considered one of the best games ever! Chrono Cross is some kind of a sequel to it, (different characters, same universe), and it completely disappointed me. I wish patience to all you fanboys and fangirls if you'd like to carry on reading…

Story: 8.5/10
Presentation: 0/10

This game reminds me of another of Square's “masterpieces”, Xenogears. Like that game, Chrono Cross has a great plot underneath but the presentation and the characters completely destroy the game.

You are Serge, one of the typical silent RPG protagonists. He sets of to the beach near his place to find some stuff to make a necklace to his girlfriend or something. Something happens and he is dragged into another dimension… which is the same as before, except know one knows him! From there on I won't tell you what happens, apart from the fact that it is somewhat based in the happenings of the first game, (Chrono Trigger).

From there on things get pretty bad… the main plot moves on veeery slow to the point that you get bored and the game is full of stupid, pseudo-complex stuff that you won't understand until you reach the very end of the game. I hate it when developers do that, throw a couple of strange dialogues without any meaning in, TADA! MYSTERY IS CREATED!!! Well, I disagree… a good plot relies very much in HOW you will present the mystery. You don't just say weird stuff that the player can't even make assumptions about. Most of the time, especially in the first disc, you'll forget that the game even has a plot! You'll be wondering aimlessly meeting character after character, talk, fight, talk fight and with no plot advancement whatsoever.

And the characters, man the characters! A sum of 45 usable characters, (Yes! Usable!), that are absolutely boring! What's the point of having so many characters if none of them is at least a bit interesting. All of them are typical cardboard versions of RPG archetypes, the main\hero warrior, the mysterious girl\secondary protagonist, the magician, the martial artist, the samurai, the scientist, the big strong guy, the wimp… the, the, the, the… All of them are dull, have a background story that can be explained in one line and you probably won't care about them at all. Finally only 2 of them are the ones that the game actually needs and these too are boring too.

Gameplay: 0/10
Replay Value: -5/10

First of all let me tell you that the game is half destroyed due to the bad presentation of its otherwise good plot. An RPG NEEDS a good plot advancement, at least for me… But what about the actual game? Is it any fun? Well lets see what we have here. We have random battles and bosses and… and nothing else! No searching around, no sidequests, no nothing. You just go in THAT place take the key, move to THIS place and use the key in the door to go on, that simple and that boring. But who cares about that, RPG gameplay has to do with the battle system, right? Right, but the battle system of CC sucks too and sucks big time.

The battles use a unique system of stamina, where you get a certain number of moves you can make, which can be divided in weak, normal, strong, with weak having more accuracy and strong being likely to miss. Each time you make a hit though your accuracy gets better and the game automatically chooses for you the next stronger move available, so like in most RPGs you just mash the X button all the time, since that is the only good strategy, but at least you think you're using a more sophisticated battle system… yeah right. The second part of the game is the elements, the magic of the game. I won't explain to you how you equip them, which is probably the only strategic element in the game, what you need to know is how you use them in fights. While you use physical attacks you get levels, which are some sort of MP that is needed to use elements. Each spell is connected to a color, so when you use a spell that color is added to a bar in the HUD, which helps you make more powerful magic attacks or defend yourself. For example if in the bar are 2 or 3 red circles filled, your fire magic gets better and if an enemy uses ice, (blue attacks), more often when the bar is mostly red his attacks will have little to no effect. While all these sound good and all… are veeery boring and try to force the battles into looking a bit innovative than most games out there. What makes it even worse is the fact that there is no point in fighting! You don't level up when fighting enemies, you only do so when killing bosses and when you do your stats are randomly generated!!! I hope I've showed you enough reasons so far to not buy this game, haven't I?

Graphics: 8.8/10
Design: 8.5/10

At least the game looks good. Wonderful areas, well designed, detailed and colorful. Each place looks very good and has a certain atmosphere, especially some very weird places that you'll have to travel through. CC though isn't so diverse as Chrono Trigger was, since the game takes place in a large tropical archipelago so most of the time you'll be in sunny beaches, jungles and stuff like that, where Chrono Trigger had jungles, medieval castles\villages, a post-apocalyptic future and many, many more. The 45 boring characters have only one good thing and that is their unique designs. Each and every one looks quite good and different from the other ones and also all of the, come with their unique battle animations, add to that the fact that battles are full of various colorful fireworks and special effects, we have a good looking game.

Sound: 7/10
Music: 8.8/10

The game has good sound effects, nothing to die for, but good. What is great though is CC's magnificent music. An OST worth buying, with lots of wonderful music themes, well composed and quite… dreamy! The only flaw of the game in that section is the boring battle music, which like in most eastern RPGs gets boring pretty fast and is a bit too generic.

Positives:
-Very good plot but…
-Great graphics, excellent music

Negatives:
-The plot is good but has very bad presentation
-Boring battles. You don't level up when doing them
-Way too many usable characters that add nothing to the gameplay
-Extremely dull characters

Also Play:
Chrono Trigger (SNES) (JUST PLAY IT!!!)
Final Fantasy 6 (SNES)
Final Fantasy 7 (Plastation)
Xenogears (Playstation) (I don't like it but it is quite similar… and equally bad)

Overall: 4.6/10

What's wrong with people out there? Why do they like this game?!? And most importantly what's wrong with Square? She took one of her best games, Chrono Trigger and messed things up very badly… why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why!?!?!?!


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 08/28/09

Game Release: Chrono Cross (US, 08/15/00)


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