Title: Chrono Cross System: Playstation 1(PS2 Compatible). Genre: Roleplaying Game Requires: 1 Controller, 1 PSone Memory Card. Players: 1 Forefathers of note: Chrono Trigger (SNES). Price: You can get this game for as high as 49.99 Canadian, but you can probably get it cheaper.
Overview: It's been years after Chrono trigger. RPG fans everywhere were waiting for the sequel that was sure to come out for it. After all, a game that great deserved a sequel. Square however, decided to work on other projects like the Final Fantasy series. After awhile, they finally decided to make the sequel....in part to the fact that they needed a title in-between Final Fantasy 8 and 9.
Chrono Cross is about a boy named Serge, who as a child was attacked by a panther. The game begins with his mother waking him up and informing him that he's late for his meeting with Leena (his quasi-girlfriend). While with her at the beach, something happens to Serge and he gets sent off to someplace else via teleportation. He later finds a girl named 'Kid', who has a checkered past and a connection with a demi-human named Lynx. At first the name of the game is to stop Lynx. Soon (like any great RPG), the story changes to something else.
Graphics: The colours are rich and vibrant. The 'elements' look fantastic (Forever Zero and Luminaire for example). Smooth transitions and little lag between effects. The characters look excellent and move fluid. The backgrounds are all done well, from shiny gold to the dirt on the ground. The CG scenes are some of the best to grace the PSone. 5/5, a treat to look at.
Sound: The sound in Chrono Trigger was awesome., and it's sequel delivers the goods here in spades. At the intro screen you're treated to the song called "Time's Scar" (or Scar of Time) and it sets the tone music wise. The score for this game is INCREDIBLE. From the gripping tense music fighting bosses to "People Seized with Life" (which plays when you fight Miguel, a boss in the game), "Radical Dreamers" (the ending theme) to "Far Away Promise". Incredible. The rest of the sound is excellent as well, with the sound effects sounding very crisp. Battle sounds are accurate and Elements all have the proper sounds they should. 5/5. I love the score that much I'm debating on importing it from Japan or actually buying something from the Internet (which I never do).
Control: Chrono Cross stepped away from the Active Time Battle System and went it's own way. You remain with a party of three like in most RPG's, and you can switch up to different members (more on that later). The unique thing is that instead of a time gauge, you have stamina points. For every attack you do you'll lose some (they regenerate after turns). There are three basic attacks; a high accurate weak attack (1 stamina point), a medium accurate medium attack (2 points), and a low accurate fierce attack (3 points). Once you hit less than 1 point, you can't perform any attacks. For every attack you successfully hit, the accuracy rating of the next attack will go up. For instance, if you go Weak, Medium, Fierce, your fierce attack will have a higher accuracy rating than what it would have before your first weak attack. You'll find yourself going W-M-F more often then not because that will only use up 6/7 stamina points, allowing you to do one more thing;
1) Do one more weak attack. 2) DEFEND. At times in this game you MUST defend. Defending will cut damage by almost HALF sometimes. Seriously, it rules. 3) Use an element.
Rather than use magic points, Chrono Cross uses an 'element' system. You equip elements onto a character to use in battle (this can only be done outside a battle). There are six elemental colours; red, green, yellow, blue, black, and white. You place the elements in an element meter, and where you place them on said meter is important. Also to note is that some elements have a minimum level (such as they can't be placed any lower than element level 5). If you place them lower, they won't be as effective. Now, you can't use up those elements right away, you need to build up the meter in battle. To do so, you must successfully ATTACK physically. A weak attack will rise up the meter 1 point, medium 2, and fierce 3. A "W-M-F" combo should bring your meter up to level 6 with 1 stamina point left. Now if you want, you CAN try to use an element, but doing that will drop you down 7 stamina points so you'll be down to -6. And as I already said, you need at least 1 point to do an action so you're a sitting duck until the turns pass by.
To make things even MORE interesting is that each character has an 'innate' colour. Serge for instance, is a white innate. That means he's weak against black elements AND the physical attacks dealt by an innate black character. That said, Serge can dish out the hurt to said innate black character UNLESS he uses a BLACK ELEMENT, which obviously would do less damage than a white element would do, even though Serge is white innate. Now if Serge were to fight another white innate, he would receive much damage but wouldn't take it out much.....UNLESS he uses a BLACK ELEMENT against the white innate. Any other colours Serge would go up against physically would be neutral. If he fights a red monster, the physical attacks would be neutral. If Serge uses a blue element it will do more damage than others. That said, some elements like UltraNova and Forever Zero are more powerful than others by default, and some characters will do more damage than others regardless of innates due to character stats (like in all RPG's, stats are important).
Chrono Cross also has a unique thing where you won't fight random battles because all of the monsters all are on the screen. Not ready for a fight? Avoid'm. Feel lazy? Walk around. Need to leave a fight? hey, you can run away from ALL battles in this game. And don't expect to level up by fighting random battles all the time. You reach up to a certain level and your characters will stop. When this happens, it means you need to fight the next boss (or any boss for that matter) and get a 'star'. Those 'stars' play a role for summons as well (yes, there ARE summons in this game). The cool thing about this means is that you don't need to spend huge amounts of time fighting and leveling up your characters.
The reason why I went in depth here is because I feel that Chrono Cross really stepped out and made some VERY innovative changes and came up with a tight battle system that requires thought and finesse. 5/5 hands down, and IMHO the best control system in a RPG ever (with FF X a very close second).
Fun level: Fantastic story which with the graphics and music will draw you in. And if you played through Chrono Trigger, you'll be treated to an even richer story as many pieces fall together. This would be 5/5 except for one thing....
Outside of the main characters, there's very little in character development with the minor cast. Ordinarily this wouldn't matter, but it does when your cast of playable characters is over 40. That's right, 40! One of the big things in RPG's is character development and also how attached one can get to the characters. in Chrono Trigger, you get into all of them. In Chrono Cross, only a select few. Quality over quantity. The characters who get developed you will be all over them and be interested in those ones, but the minor ones? Not at all. And even then, some minor characters you'll like (in my case Glenn), and wish you could see more of them (although Glenn does have a couple of scenes worth noting) but you can't, because the poor chap has to share time with all those other characters. Still, the game is very much fun to play. 4.5/5
Overall score; 19.5/20
Final note; Great battle system, excellent graphics, and a score that's the best I've heard this side of the Skywalker Ranch w/ Williams, this game is a worthy successor to the best game ever (IMHO), Chrono Trigger. While waiting for a new Final Fantasy or Square's next big thing or waiting for Skies of Arcadia, play through this game. You won't regret it.
(edited by El Nastio on 24.10.02 2250) Habs: 1-1-0-0. Renegades: Last place. All you need to know.Next VG Review: Chorno Cross. Next OSVG Review: Mike Tyson's Punchout
My thoughts on Chrono Cross are that the game is 75% One of Square's most impressive games and 25% a big dissapointment. And the dissapointment part comes at the worst possible point in the game. Of course, I may just be one of the people who expected Chrono Cross to be much more than what it was.
It's like a koala bear crapped a rainbow in my brain!
A roomate of mine back in college had CC and I played it on my PS2, and thought it was one of the better RPGS I have ever played.
I liked the element system a lot, and the music was spectacular throughout the entire game (I found some guitar tabs and started learning the song in the closing credits... very good acoustic fingerstyle song)
Another strong point of the game I didn't see in the review is the large number of endings. In the original CT, the ending changes depending on when you decided to fight Lavos. In CC, you get different endings depending on who is in your party, along with in which point in the game you fight the boss (whos name I won't spoil for anyone)
The large amount of characters didn't bother me as much, though. Its been a while since I played CC, but I remember that I pretty much stuck with a group of 4 or 5 regulars.
All in all I agree with your review and would highly reccomend it to anyone out there who wants to underutilize their PS2 by running PSX games on it.
(I won't give it away, but trying to get the "best ending" is damn near impossible. I could never do it... the boss would always mess it up for me.)
Actually, the battle system in Chrono Cross resembles Legend of Legaia's in several ways (though Contrail has borrowed liberally from other Square games, so fair enough). The stamina meter (limiting your "moves" per turn), the innate-color system, boss encounters being mandatory to gain certain abilities, and a seriously effective Defend command were all present in Legaia, though Cross tweaked them in certain ways. (The spell-element system was a nifty innovation, and random battles always suck.)
I haven't played the sequel yet (and with Vice City approaching, I won't be for some time.)
I'm still rather partial to the battle system in Star Ocean 2, but that's a very different animal indeed.
"No society has managed to invest more time and energy in the perpetuation of the fiction that it is _moral, sane and wholesome_ than our current crop of _Modern Americans_." -- Frank Zappa
I LOVED Suikoden II, although I admit most of the characters don't have any development at all. I guess I just liked the huge, epic, cast of hundreds feel to it. It was always cool to see who you would get next.
A shark on whiskey is mighty risky, a shark on beer is a beer engineer.
In terms of the 360 controller, I hear this kind of sentiment all over. While I do see where you're coming from since I got used to playing games on a d-pad gratis Nintendo, a little practice and the controller issue ISN'T.