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Chrono Cross - Review

A Pan-Dimensional Journey

By: Jade Falcon


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 9
   Originality 8
   Plot 6
   Localization 10
   Replay Value 5
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Easy-Medium
   Time to Complete

30-50 hrs.

 
Overall
8
Criteria

Chrono Cross
 

   By now, if you have never heard of Chrono Trigger, you must have been living in like Mongolia or somewhere. It has been hailed as the greatest SNES game ever by many RPGamers. Chrono Cross, released five years after CT, is the true sequel to it. Would Chrono Cross become the best game to ever hit the Playstation? Does CC tower over its predecessor? Well, no it didn't, but it comes close.

   This is just one of my pet peeves about CC. The battle system is set up similar to Xenogears in the fact that you have a choice of three types of attacks: weak, medium, and strong. You then are able to use elements in your grid according to the "stamina points" you hit the enemy with. If you missed, too bad. You are able to use each element once. This system restricts each character's abilities, except for expendables, which also take up room in your element grid. You don't have an item command, and you must take up valuable element space for expendables. Otherwise, it's a well-made system.

   Due to the enormous cast of characters (over forty), you need to switch your element grids quite often. However, the game does not have an option where you can directly switch your grids from person to person. Also, the traditional item screen is gone. The item command on the subscreen takes you to the key items only. To use expendables, you must use them from the Element screen. To use a key item, you must press the square button, which is quite useful, not having to open the subscreen to use an item. Again the usual dumb main character is shown, so any "speech" made by Serge is in the form of you pressing a button for his responses to questions. It is quite well laid out.


ZOAH WEARS ALMOST NO CLOTHES
YOU THINK YOU CAN BEAT ME, PUNK?  

   All hail Yasunori Mitsuda. He rules my world. The soundtrack for CC is his best work ever. "Scars of Time" is the best video game theme I have ever heard in my life. The boss battle music made me feel like I was truly fighting for the fate of the entire planet, or both of them at least. The sound effects are likewise excellent. Serge's sword actually sounds like a piece of metal slicing through a target. The staff users' sounds actually sound like a blunt object striking home. Kudos goes to the sound crew in the development of CC.

   The battle system, as mentioned before, is a mishmash of several different games' systems, but it is original and done well. Over the battle system, the one thing that will stick out at you and yell "Hey, I'm original" is the character dialogue. The translators did an excellent job in CC giving each character a specific way of speaking. Korcha, Orcha, and Macha all use "CHA" at the end of many of their words. Irenes has a Scandinavian dialect. Kid speaks like an Australian. Excellent stuff here. I applaud Square's efforts.

   The other aspect of CC which bugged the heck out of me was the plot. Many of the characters from CT (after all, this is a sequel) are just cameos in a play, most of whom you never meet in CC. Most of them meet a sad fate. I dislike this. I also do not like the fact that you play half the game as an antagonist. I was so glad to shake that guy's skin! The plot also gets quite confusing in many stages of the game, especially at the end when the story is supposed to come together. This is one of the few reasons why I have not played through this again.


Serge's village looks like a circus
Serge's home  

   Okay. They brought back the New Game+ in CC. So, the game should be fun to play through again, blasting through the enemies you ripped your hair out to beat the first time, right? Wrong. I have only played through the first hour or so of the replay before I got bored out of my mind and started to play some of the other games I have lying around. The only reason I didn't take the score lower is because the New Game+ option was actually included and you can fast forward through many parts of the game.

The graphics in CC are just awesome. They rival all other games on the system, even the newer ones. The backgrounds are awesome, and the characters fit in so well that they actually look like they belong in the picture with the scenery. The characters move around like a true person would. The FMV in CC is also eyecandy. The opening sequence is a collage of sorts made of FMVs which occur during the entire game. If you are wondering how the FMVs fare throughout the entire game, look no further than the opening FMV. It is one of the most well-done opening FMVs I have ever seen.

The first time through CC can be quite frustrating at times, but those are generally few and far between. Because there is no experience system, long hours are not needed to pump up your characters, and you can go through the game without a level up session quite easily. The New Game+ is just a joke for the most part. You get your stuff from the previous game. Is that enough? I only played through the beginning of the game in New Game+, and it was laughably easy. The game is completable in about forty hours or so. New Game+? Probably in 20 hours, maybe less.

Chrono Cross did not match up to Chrono Trigger in its lasting appeal, but it still is an excellent game for an excellent gaming console. Every true RPG fan who owns a PSX or PS2 should at least give it a try. The game is quite cheap, so it is no big money blowout. I have seen it at Best Buy for $30 and $35 on regular prices. If you liked Chrono Trigger, get Chrono Cross.







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