Review by NF_Kodiak
"FF + Gauntlet + GC = FF:CC"
This review is now slightly updated I've added a few comments that reflect how I felt when I stopped playing but the day this game came out, I was anxiously sitting in my seat on the bus waiting for my stop near the local EB. When I finally got home I slapped the disc into my Gamecube and played for 6 hours straight, and did the same the next day...and then the next. Rarely does a game make me sit in front of a monitor for such a long period of time. FF:CC did it, and the reason is simply because it is my cup of tea. Oh yeah, and I am not a FF 'fanboy'. But then, a week later my attention passed. I hadn't collected every artifact or whatever. The game got stale to the point where I didn't want to look at it again until I traded it for Custom Robo, of which I had a similar experience and traded that in for the Megaman Anniversary Collection. Basically, I quicky got sick of the same dungeon crawling, having to go through the same dungeons over and over again to try and get obscure artifacts, but wind up failing because of my lack of a GBA to not find out my goal. The first week of play was fun and all, but when I got into the half of the second week, my attention began to fade and move onto something else. I probably had quite a few hours into it, but for the motnsh after I stopped playing, I haven't so much looked at the game because I think I'm permanently tired of it. Thats mainly my reason for dropping it three points, from an 8, now to a 5.
The plot? The world is surrounded by a death fog called the Miasma. Huge crystals are erected in towns to ward off the Miasma, but they only last for a year until they need more Myrrh to keep them powered. That's where you come in, you are sent by your village and family to travel the world to collect Myrrh from trees, conviently at the end of 'dungeons' and right behind boss monsters. You protect yourself and caravan from the Miasma with the crystal chalice, which is also used for collecting myrrh in.
What this all boils down to: go to dungeon, go to end of dungeon, kill boss, get myrrh. Repeat 2 more times to end a year. Sure it's all well in good when you first start playing, but really, this is the main reason to play and once you beat the game, figure the ending out and all that, the only reason left is to go and raid the dungeons ad infinitum to get the rest of the artifacts, and unless you have a lot of patience or a GBA, you won't even get close.
Ohk, now Final Fantasy is known for vast storylines....well...sometimes. It's all a matter of opinion. On hindsight, the storyline still doesn't seem all that bad.
The graphics? This game flexes the Gamecubes power with gorgeous graphics, amazing water effects, and a graphical display shown while crossing miasma streams that never ceases to amaze me. Graphics are a tertiary thing with me, but I really have to give credit.
The sounds? Something I never really take notice of. The sounds sound like what they are supposed to sound like. There are no voiceovers, so illiterate people are left behind as there is a lot of reading to be done. That is actually a good thing because often, voiceovers have been messed up, and there are quite a few of characters you run across. The music has a sort of homely feeling to it, nothing that will get you pumped up for battle, which I prefer. The intro music was good, but nothing that will want you to rip the song from your disc and put it on your computer.
The gameplay? This is the real kicker. For all you fans of traditional FF games, your going to have low opinions of this games. For all you fans of Secret of Mana games, Legend of Zelda, or Diablo II, you'll feel close to home. But unlike Diablo II, FF:CC will get boring quickly. The dungeons consist of running around, pounding enemies senseless, looting chests and making it to the end alive while having some puzzle solving here and there. At first it's cool, after you go through the same dungeon for the 50th time trying to get an obscure artifact, it gets boring. Diablo II had more to the formula in collecting weapons, unique weapons and whatnot, but here, it's just artifacts that you can only get at the end. LOZ had a bunch of gadgets to shake things up and Secret of Mana at least had different weapons which changed how you play. Here, same ol' same ol'. I found the chalice to be a tad annoying in the Lynari desert, but that was it. As for 'leveling'........you don't. You collect artifacts during the level, and can pick from them, or 4 others the boss drops to permanently keep. These either boost stats, give another heart, give another command slot or a ring that will allow you to carry a spell over from dungeons.
What do I mean by that? Well, you get stones with spells in them during a dungeon, which are easy enough to get, and use them until you hit the end, and you lose all your stones.
I found the camera angle to be a tad off at times too, focusing on my side at front every now and then giving my no view of whats ahead of me, most likely a carryover from the multiplayer mode.
Multiplayer? Yes, the first multiplayer FF game, requiring a Gamecube, a GBA/SP for every player and a link cable for every player. Too steep? Too bad. You need'em. The multiplayer modeplays as a competition as you try to fulfill your given objective (that change every dungeon) while working together, else you will get horribly, horribly wasted by the bosses. In single player it's easy enough, but when you have 3 other people trying to mindlessly hack at the boss while no one wants to heal anyone else, trying to points so they get first pick at the artifacts, well, it raises the difficulty a bit. The fact that a GBA is still needed to find your objective to get the right score of artifacts, on hindsight, cripples the game. Before, I didn't care, but when I cleared the volcano area for the hundredth time looking for parts to a weapon, I just gave up.
Replay value? As mentioned repeatedly above, after you find the ending, very little. There is starting new adventures with different races, collecting all the artifacts and getting all the memories. If your into the 'gotta catch'em all' mindset, this will be a good challenge for you. If your into 'Gotta catch'em all, but within a reasonable period of time', don't even bother without a GBA. Playing with friends, is also good replay, since playing with a group of friends sittin next to always makes a game more fun. Especially when you grab the chalice after a skirmish with minor enemies and start to run away from everyone as a gag.
In the end, this is a nice spinoff of the FF series, they haven't tried this kind of gameplay since FF:Adventures on the Gameboy, but it more than likely won't hold your attention for too long unless you are really into collecting trinkets in games. If your into these kind of games, rent, and if you still like it when you return it, buy it. If your looking for a game that's deep and has strong roleplaying elements, look elsewhere. If you do end up buying, have fun.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 02/12/04, Updated 09/24/04
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