Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: The Game Designers Studio
Publisher: SQUARE ENIX LTD
Platform: PS4, Switch, iOS, Android
Tested on: PS4

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition – Review

Site Score
5.2
Good: Atmosphere, Concept
Bad: Cutting offline co-op in a co-op game, Clunky, Dated
User Score
3.4
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.4/10 (5 votes cast)

The Final Fantasy series has been going strong for years, and even though the fifteenth part of the series is already nearly four years old, we reckon we haven’t seen the last of the franchise. The series also spawned a lot of spin-offs over the years, and some of them are quite memorable, while others are a bit more obscure or very abstract compared to the main line of games. In 2003, the Crystal Chronicles spin-off was released for Nintendo Gamecube, which was actually a multiplayer Final Fantasy game, with a twist. The game had you playing locally, with up to four players, but instead of using the normal controllers, you’d be using a Game Boy Advance as your controller, as it would show certain things on its own screen. The latter was a mechanic that was also used for Zelda’s Four Swords Adventures. Now, the game has been remastered for our entertainment but we were surprised to hear that the developers cut out pretty much the entire game’s charm; the local co-op functions. A bit disappointed we started our offline single-player adventure while having to pay for online multiplayer if you want to play with friends.

Story

We are thrown into a world that is covered in a poisonous miasma, where you need to be protected when walking outside of the protective barriers of the different cities. You’ll be at the head of a caravan that leaves from Tipa, to collect myrrh that powers the crystal of your town. This crystal keeps the miasma at bay and that’s basically your character’s complete purpose in life.

The story in Crystal Chronicles is a very basic one compared to the entries in the main Final Fantasy series. The story will progress in tiny bits, with random events that happen on the map. Bigger events occur when the years advance in the game, and the family of your choosing also adds a nice touch. Don’t expect a very emotional and engaging story in this entry, but there’s more than enough to keep you occupied and intrigued.

Graphics

It’s very clear that this game is a remaster, and not a complete remake. The game still uses the character models from the GameCube version, albeit with updated textures and brighter colors. The world surrounding your colorful toons is also updated with better and more detailed textures to give it somewhat of that ‘next generation’ quality.

Everything looks clear and crisp, and does make it feel like it’s a fairly new title, but the overall camera angle and such make it feel very dated. More than often you’ll find you have no proper overview of the ‘dungeon’ you’re in, and this is actually quite annoying to position yourself when fighting. The menus could have used a better overhaul than they have now, as things feel a bit simplistic at times.

Sound

The sound design is of course very much in tune with the other Final Fantasy releases. This means that the game has a very cinematic soundtrack, albeit one that is less expansive than the games in the main series. Nonetheless, the music is captivating and does well up at the right times.

In terms of voice acting, we can’t complain either. While the game only has its English voice cast representing this remastered release, the voices are still quite nice and have those ‘authentic’ pauses in dialogues as they had during the generation this game was released in. Overall the sound quality is a lot crisper than it used to be, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition is, like the original 2003 release, an RPG that is all about cooperative play. Sadly, for some unknown reason, while this game was amazingly fun as an offline co-op experience, the design team behind the remaster decided to cut the offline co-op functions completely. This has to be one of the most stupid choices in terms of reviving an old game that was based on couch cooperative play. Of course, you can play it online now, which is also very nice, but forcing you to do it completely online or otherwise play a multiplayer game on your own is a bit stupid. This is one of Square Enix’s clear attempts to grab a bit more money with a classic release like they are already doing for years with the umpteenth rerelease of other Final Fantasy titles. Of course, disregarding this obvious poor design choice, the game is still about going from one tiny dungeon-like environment to another to collect Myrrh to power your settlement to fight off the harmful miasma. This is done by navigating your caravan on a tiny drawn map.

The game feels very clunky, just like the GameCube version. You’ll have to constantly circle around enemies, while staying inside your protective barrier, to make sure you don’t get beaten into oblivion. Overall the commands are quite simple, as you have a basic attack, the option to defend, and some other items or skills you can equip in your action wheel. The latter can be consumables that heal or revive you or actual skill orbs. These skill orbs are actually found in the stages you go through and are not really a part of the class you pick.

While the game isn’t as complex as its bigger siblings, there is some level progressing and crafting available in the game, and in this title, some town management. These mechanics prove to be straightforward for the most part. Upgrading your character happens at the end of a boss battle, where you can choose a passive power-up from the artifacts you collected in that dungeon. The crafting works with recipes back in Tipa, and the city, of course, thrives because of your progress and how you interact with it. All of this is very basic but it does feel somewhat fulfilling to see everything flourish.

Conclusion

While we very much appreciate the revival of this somewhat obscure classic Final Fantasy experience, the main drawback was immediately cutting out the game’s forte, namely its offline co-op play. While the online features are a welcome to this title, they should have been an addition and not a replacement. We can also say that this Crystal Chronicles title should have gotten a full rework, even in the game’s mechanics and controls, or should have been a completely new entry in this side-series. Sadly, even with the spruced-up graphics and other new features, the game feels dated but can be fun for a group of older gamers that want to revisit this adventure.

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Rating: 3.4/10 (5 votes cast)
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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition - Review, 3.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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