Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a historic day for Celtic Gaming. After I realised that I was daft for trying to make one on an MMORPG, mainly FFXI, I found a game which comes under the “You must review” category. Yes, I have dusted off my trusted Handheld and plugged in a true legend of gaming, Chrono Trigger – but is it really deserving of being hailed as one of the greatest games of all time?
Right, you turn the game on, and you are treated to a rather awesome anime intro, although it does give away a few plot points. This may not matter if you’ve already played it if you live in the US, but for Europe, who aren’t sure what to make of this game, is kind of a pain. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m reviewing this game without a case of nostalgia. I am immune! Now, when you reach a point of the game that you saw in the anime opening, the effect is lessened. Now, normally when you see someone no longer exist, you think “Holy crap!” but thanks to being pre-warned in a much more dramatic scene in the opening all I thought was “Bugger, now I have to save her,” – it does seem mean, but everyone knows you do not reveal a dramatic point in the story before it happens! Here’s hoping that’s the only time that happens…
Now, the controls – as it’s Square-Enix, they’ve done what they did with Final Fantasies 3 and 4 and just add a map, Touch Screen Menu, and the move by placing your stylus where you want to go. Nothing new, nothing exciting – just, average predictability. It’s almost…in fact; it is a major let-down. From the looks of it, Squeenix ((My new name for them)) have done nothing to build on the game. Graphics are the same, I mean the only new addition…and I mean the only thing that they could think of new in fourteen years…is a new Dungeon. That’s it. No new mini-storylines, no new items, just a dungeon. Moving swiftly on…
This is tricky waters, definitely, as CT is famous for its Interactive Storytelling, something games nowadays have yet to realise ((Still looking for a nice bit of middle ground between Demonic asshole who sweats liquid evil and Mother Teresa)) and yes, I’m looking at you Mass Effect! You! With your false promises and lies upon…Ahem…sorry, that’s a rant for another time. Yes, well the problem with such Open-endedness is there’s no real closure. Is there any point in playing through for twenty to thirty hours, making just a few different decisions, just to see the end to a story differently? No is the short answer. Multiple endings work in shoot-em-ups when they go into different levels, as if they are different games almost! But in an RPG that takes a long time to finish? Not such a wise move.
A good RPG needs a good battle system, and this is probably the only thing the DS Screen can be useful with. It leaves less clutter so you can see what’s going on. The Sprites move alright, and you can see what the weapons clearly…are…Why has Crono taken a large carrot out his scabbard? Why is he hitting imps with it…and why is it doing more damage than a crossbow and Plasma Gun combined?! …Oh, that’s supposed to be his sword…well, that’s rather unfortunate…what’s next? A sword made of Candy Canes? >.>
The maps can get confusing, with where you need to go obscured by big walls, the lower map showing where you go – saving you from power de-activation raging. The sprites on the World Map look really, really primitive – Pokemon Blue had better sprites! Your main characters seem to be the only bright and colourful things in most eras on your magical Time-Travelling adventure. The future is a bleak, dreary, post-apocalyptic world – and it works because that’s what the end of the world will look like, but the castles, and everywhere with a fog filter look incredibly depressing. And once you get magic, all the challenge has been drained because all you have to do is get Marle and Lucca to cast Antipode Bomb to do major damage and kill everything. The amount of cash and items you trip over is obscene, and its almost like the game wants you to win…that’s pointless! I want a game to make things hard so I can taunt it when I win!
The menus are simple, clear and concise. The soundtrack is atmospheric, builds up tension, and makes the boss battles feel incredible. The random Anime cut scenes are a nice break up from all the text, and help the game along. And although the battles become easy, it still feels awesome to annihilate a whole battle worth of enemies with one perfect combo, watching them fade into nothingness one, by one, by one, by one…
Overall, I think this is a Missed Opportunity by Squeenix. They were too terrified to change anything about the game, not even a Sprite graphical upgrade, they just copied the coding from the old Chrono Trigger, added some bonuses and a lumped on Wi-fi bit. They most likely thought “Hold on a tic, we can add another random feature to pad it out! So they give us an arena in the same vein as Dragon Quest VIII, a fun little distraction at first, but unlike DQ8, there’s no point. They could have done what they have done with FF3 and FF4 and make it full 3D and voices, but thanks to the whiny fanboys and girls who would have been in uproar if anything was changed, innovation has been shelved for a Money Cow. To fleece the army of fans out of more money – When they re-release FF5 and FF6 I expect a lot more work, Squeenix!
So, how do I rate the Legend that is Chrono Trigger? It’s good, but not as great as was hyped. Hype kills games, movies, and so many things. I give it a 7 out of 10, which could have been higher if they tried a bit more innovation, some more new stuff, and didn’t have a carrot sword