Review by CChan

"Definitely one of Squaresoft's best RPG; philosophical storyline with a unique battle system."

For Chrono Cross, it's a sequel to Chrono Trigger, an RPG created by Squaresoft for the Super Nintendo platform (or now, released for the Playstation in a bundle called Final Fantasy Chronicles). This game, even though released long time ago in 1999 or so, it's still among the best, and perhaps better than Final Fantasy games. There are many qualities and good points that eliminate the word 'boring' from your mind, completely.

Graphics - 9.0
While the graphics in the game may not look that great, as in all Final Fantasy games (with the ultimate exception of Final Fantasy X), because of the blurriness of the character modelling, the only thing that really looks great here is the FMV. The characters actually look a bit odd; they look more like kids instead of teenager, maybe because of the eyes or whatever it is I find not suitable. The background is simply full of colours, that it's actually quite nice and pleasant to look at.

Lighting effects, of course, shines here (pun intended). It's brilliant to find the rays of the sun coming in through the windows, sparks of light from magic casted. Even though the character modelling is horrible in the game (it's made in 1999, mind you, and on Playstation, and NOT terrible in the battles), the drawings of each character that appeared in the dialogues are quite nice. Of course, while checking the status of your character, you can see him or her or it rotating around (the modelling from the battle system), which is quite nifty. One thing that might worth taking notice would be the font, which is quite sharp and clear, totally different than other games.

Music and Sound Effects - 8.9
The music's are really pleasant and serene, depending on the situation and place you are. Some parts of the game produce eerie music, while some sound totally weird. I don't really know how to put words in, except that it varies from different places to one another. The sound effects, on the other hand, sound just nice; examples include effects after blasting some magic, slashing an opponent with a weapon, and the like.

Gameplay - 9.5
The battle system has changed drastically, compared to the normal, linear battles of Final Fantasy. Instead of the usual Attack and Magic options, you are given a Stamina bar that decreases which each use until you had no more Stamina left. Also, when you are attacking, you could either attack softly (less chance it’ll miss), attack fairly hard (slightly higher chance of missing) and attack hardly (even more chance of missing the enemy).

In Chrono Cross, powers that are used to attack enemies are called Elements, and they can be equipped according to your likes. Some Elements cannot be equipped by certain characters, depending on the Innate of the character, which is based on 6 different colours, called Innate. If you attack an enemy with the opposite Innate colour, you will cause more damage than usual. For example, if you attack a Red Innate enemy with a Blue Element, your enemy will receive more damage than usual.

Some Elements are can be used indefinitely, while some will be depleted in quantity when you use them, like Tablets to heal a character. Tech Skills, which you can obtain automatically when you level up a certain point, could be used to attack an enemy. Sometimes, depending on your characters that you’ve chosen, you can use a Double Tech Skill (two characters attacking an enemy at the same time) and even a Triple Tech Skill, which is quite rare. All the Elements can only be used once in each battle, with the exception of the useable Elements.

Levelling up is also a totally different matter. No more experience points to be collected. Usually, you’ll level up automatically after defeating a boss, and levelling up will increase your HP, strength, defence, etc.

There is an arsenal collection of characters to be obtained – 44 all together – and most of them are optional, so you’ll have to spend some time obtaining them (and replaying the game all over again). Some of them though, have absolutely no connection to the storyline at all, while some are slightly connected, but not really the main protagonists or characters you’ll pay attention too.

Story – 9.5
In this game, the story will set you thinking, most of them pretty philosophical (but then, so are most of the RPGs like Final Fantasy created by Squaresoft). It’s rather interesting to me, something about time-travelling (like in Chrono Trigger) and parallel universes. Yes, it’s interesting because it portrays things that you’ve never thought of before; things that’ll give you ideas and something to go over with while you’re sleeping.

There are plenty of endings too, more than 10 that you’re able to view. Initially, there are only 2 endings, but if you play the game again, you can go through the game in a certain way to get the other ending. Some of the endings will be able to inform you on some of the gaps of the story, while some are pure comedy.

Replay Value – 8.0
Would you ever play a game all over again, especially if it’s an RPG? The answer is up to you, and Squaresoft did some clever moves by implementing a New Game+ and Continue+ option that will allow you to be able to carry forward your finished save game – to play it all over again, in order to view other endings. Of course, ALL your items (except for certain things like your Summon Elements) will be carried forward too, and there will be new things that will make playing the game all over again easier (can’t tell you what it is, that will be spoilers!).

Overall – 9.4
Eh bien, for the verdict. Interesting storyline, beautiful (in a Playstation sense) graphics, pleasant music, implementations that made the shelf-life of the game longer – these all adds up to Chrono Cross, one of the most successful RPGs that have been created by Squaresoft. Ah, I wonder if we can ever time-travel... (one of the questions most likely raised by us gamers). We can only do it – in fantasy and games.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/19/02, Updated 09/17/02

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