Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (GameCube) Preview

By James 15.07.2003 2

Everyone has played a Final Fantasy game, haven't you? If you haven't it is probably because you've always bought Nintendo consoles. The Final Fantasy series started out on a Nintendo console, right back in the days of NES when everything between Square and Nintendo was perfect and the series was Nintendo exclusive- that was until Nintendo decided to not release their SNES CD system. Sony were betrayed and, they designed there own home console, the Playstation, sadly the Nintendo 64 never saw a Final Fantasy game.

Square Enix are back on a Nintendo console and are we glad to see them, its been over 9 hard years since the last Home Console Final Fantasy. Crystal Chronicles isn't going to be your normal Final Fantasy outing, this won't be the standard Turn based driven game, the style you have all come to love but a new, more fluent style of action that looks very promising. Crystal Chronicles isn't going to be another cinema style outing at all; it will be more like the originals, the first 5. The Final Fantasy series has always inspired other developers to try out new ideas with different configurations, many have been good but the Final Fantasy series has always been at the top. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles isn't going to be any different, it will be innovative, different, and, most importantly fun. Whilst these facts mean it may not sell as well it means it will be totally different to anything else that, surely from our point of view can only be good. Crystal Chronicles won't just be about a rich, one player gaming experience but it will heavily rely on multiplayer and link up action, Square are really taking good advantage of the GBA - GC linking up ability. The emphasis on the multiplayer action should make this even better just because of the advantages of four people playing co-operative.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles on GameCube

The way the multiplayer cooperative is done looks to be very good and enjoyable. Player one holds a crystal that makes a great circle around the player. The remaining 3 players have to stay in the circumference of the circle, if you don't the toxic gases around you will make you pay for not co-operating. If you don't communicate you don't stick together, if you don't stick together you die. Simple as. As you may have gathered or presumed, this all goes on, on one screen, no splitting down the sides and across. This crystal, hence the name is a rather important item that we expect will be the item you find yourself using the most. The fighting consists of opening your Attack menu (pressing R) then choosing an attack from a pretty large list of 6. Once you have chosen you tap A and your attack will be shown on screen whilst others are still playing. This is real time, thankfully. It isn't just as simple as this though. You can control if you will hit, or miss much better and decide if you are in range. If you aren't facing our opponent your attack will most likely go in totally the wrong direction, you effect if it hits or not much more than in the traditional turn based RPGs. By pressing the B button you can pick up an item such as Attack Multiplier or a health pack.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles on GameCube

The gameplay is really nothing like any other Final Fantasy in that its real time. You can hold down A for a more powerful but more time consuming manoeuvre. There are also much more time specific synchronised team manoeuvres that should be on offer when the game is nearly finished. The charging only takes a mere few seconds but this will seem like a lot when playing. You can play the game using a Gameboy Advance, or a Gameboy Advance SP as a controller; the main buttons are all allocated and designed well for the Gameboy control system. By using a Gameboy Advance you can get information, maps and more on the screen that will help you progress further throughout the game.

Also, another point in the game that differentiates Crystal Chronicles from standard RPGs is that you have to complete various objective style levels rather than a more flowing game. The one player story will be, most likely based on this multiplayer style of gameplay. Being attentive and being fast will be the key to success and progressing through the game. Fighting great giant beasts and cooperating should be great fun and is something to look forward to a lot.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles on GameCube

Graphically the game looks different. The colours are very loud and the game is full of primary colours making the game look rather bright. The effects on the attacks look great with sparks flying to and fro. The environments have been brought to life very well and look fairly interesting but they do seem a tad simplistic, uninviting and maybe even tedious. There is nothing on the Gamecube that looks even the tiniest bit like this. The cutscenes also look again very nice but the game seems to be lacking something about it. The screen seems somehow cramped with so much going on and this may detract from the game and the gameplay in it. Although, it could make it seem more crazy and enjoyable than normal, it's a matter or personal preference. The huge immersing worlds should be very enjoyable and thrilling to fight around.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles on GameCube

Final Thoughts

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is shaping up to be one of the best RPGs if not the best of the year. (It should be with the lack of them on the Gamecube) Square Enix should do a great job on this game and with the Gameboy Advance linking up technology this really will be an innovative game. The only downside to this technology is in that if you don't have possession of a Gameboy Advance you could be in for a bit of a disappointment that would make the game look more as a marketing ploy to ship Gameboy systems rather than the actual game. The graphics seem to be going well and all in all the game looks very promising. People who were expecting a hardcore Playstation style Final Fantasy game may be disappointed but they shouldn't be too disheartened as this new style of real time gameplay should offer something more fresh than another graphical upgrade of rock paper scissors.

Developer

the Game Des!gners

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (9 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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