Review by SXGP
Mildly disappointing... But a great game nonetheless
Everyone remembers the masterpiece called Chrono Trigger. It shook your RPG-guided world, and is still known as one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Although fulfilling, Chrono Trigger still left most fans begging and pleading for more. And in one mind-blowing package, after years and years of suspenseful and agonizing waiting, it has been delivered to us, the faithful fans. I introduce to you, the highly anticipated sequel to a truly wonderful game.
Unfortunately, no matter how good this highly anticipated sequel was, it still fell a little bit short of my expectations. Anticipation does not equal greatness, and neither does the hype that was put forward for this game. I don't want to degrade this game, it was beautifully made, and with a mastered storyline. Despite this, it fell short of my expectations.
Overall, the game play was very good. A lot of puzzles were thrown in, as well as a lot of hidden and sometimes difficult side quests. The battle system was both a downfall and a savior. As interesting and innovative as the element system was, it became very annoying over time. Coupled with the frequent and usually unavoidable battles, the battle system could barely keep me interested by the end of the game. The combination attack system was pretty interesting though. Something that really started to make the battles interesting was the summon elements. The immense power and astounding visuals of the summons were worth building up for. A downfall: only the characters with the same innate element can use the monsters. And this makes it complicated for certain battles. Some of the tasks and areas were also long and redundant, but not horrible. This premium blend of game play elements may leave you somewhat perplexed and/or yearning for more, but it shouldn't be entirely disappointing, unless you thrive on this area.
I really want to give the story a perfect score. I would even go so far as to say that it deserves a better than perfect score. However, a few things really stop it short of its well deserved glory. One of them is the overwhelmingly large amount of playable characters. The amount of characters (45 or so) often leaves gaps in which the storyline breaks off for a little. And that branch usually doesn't go into too much depth, which usually leaves a sort of lackluster character section. And once characters join your party, they are rarely or never mentioned again. Unless that character has some specific ties to the plot line, that character will usually completely ignored. Because of this, the storyline is often unfocused, and it left me asking for more.
The graphics in Chrono Cross are spectacular. The settings used always match the storyline with supreme perfection. And the video sequences are both beautifully done and seamlessly integrated for a wonderfully designed game, at least visually. My only real problem with the videos is that unnecessary characters are not usually shown. But I guess that that would be asking the impossible. Let it be said that the exciting visuals greatly enhance the flow of the game, and often supplement the more serious mood. I didn't particularly enjoy some of the sprites, but it's nothing that would bring down the overall score.
The soundtrack is nothing short of absolute perfection. Every piece of music in Chrono cross was masterfully created, and placed with extreme accuracy for maximum effect. And the music just continues to grow in excellence as the game progresses. Some of the most enjoyable music is found in battles, and even through the longer ones, it never struck me as being repetitive. I recommend buying the soundtrack if you need something to listen to.
As long as this game was, a lot of it was taken up by seemingly meaningless tasks. And whatever time that was not taken up by these tasks was either battles, walking around, or more pointless side quests. However, lengthwise it is not a very short game. It should entertain your mind for at least 30-40 hours. The longest time I've ever heard of is about 60 hours, which is a little above average for an RPG of this kind.
REPLAY VALUE 6/10:
This was one section that really hurt the overall value of Chrono Cross. I like the fact that it does have multiple endings, a lot of good games do. The game was really quite enjoyable the first time through, despite all of the lengthy gaps. But the gaps and somewhat dull tasks began to be repetitive. The only thing that really kept me going was the multiple endings. Which were good to see, but not really worth playing through again and again for.
CONNECTIVITY TO CHRONO TRIGGER:
One real complaint that I must address about Chrono Cross was that it did not really do the job of a good sequel. A better score would have been issued if this was a stand-alone game, rather than a sequel, because it didn't quite explain some things. Rather, it created even more questions than need to be answered. But rather than go into detail, I'll let you discover that one on your own. Maybe you will find something that I could not see.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I will restate that as good as this game was it was a little disappointing. It had so much potential just waiting to be let out, but most of it was never realized. Thus, I give this game an 8/10. I must commend Squaresoft for the tremendous effort, even though it fell short. I think that it would have been possible for this to be perhaps even superior to Chrono Trigger.
Perhaps I set my standards too high? Maybe it was really just not meant to be, a perfect sequel to a perfect game. I really expected a lot from this game, but perhaps I was asking too much. As a final note, it would be best to borrow this game from a friend, or maybe even rent it if possible. But don't buy it until you are absolutely sure that you like it. It is a good asset for any RPG fan, but don't expect a perfected masterpiece. If you're looking for a truly great game, I suggest Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, or Xenogears.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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