Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is a welcome, yet somewhat dissapointing return to the marriage of the big N and SquareEnix. After over a decade of producing games on the Sony systems, Square decided to change it's policy and bring a new version of one of the most loved franchises on the Gamecube console. Utilizing the "connectivity" feature of the gamecube, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is a great looking game, with a fun action element, but a thin storyline, and a major problem in being boring unless you have 3 friends with you.
The story is simple, you are a chosen one to find myrrth, which create a special light that prevents the world from ending thanks to a dark fog that surrounds everything.
Graphics- This is a beautiful looking game. We have fluid character and enemy animations, nice spell and weapon effects, a weird, comic looking overworld. The graphics shine like a new penny on the gamecube, and are a strong example of the hidden powers the system has, but also it's limitations. Some slowdown does occur in big areas, like boss battles and a ton of magic is being used, but other than that, it is solid in this department.
Overall Score- B
Gameplay- The game is not an RPG in the typcial sense, but more of an action beat em up game than anything else. Yuo go to vastly different worlds at different times to find Myrrth, which is usually held by the boss of the worlds. You do level up, but it only affects your combat strengths and how much health and mana you get. The big problem here is that once a world is done, you lose the spells you gained. So if you made a nice spell, or combined two spells (one of the neat features in this game.) you lose that in the end. You can return to a world you defeated, but that would be to repetitive, because nothing really changes.
Another feature is your town, and your family job.. There are 8 family jobs that can be made. The jobs range from a blacksmith to a farmer to a merchant, to anything else you would see in a fantasy village. The jobs are basically side bonuses for your character, and in all honesty, serve little point in the action. The main problem is that the enemies are usually simple to defeat, and some exceptions, like boss battles and late game monsters, take some strategy with weapon and spell attacks.
The most prominent feature is the up to 4 player game, which makes this a great game for friends to do on a lonely saturday night. That being said, you need to CONNECT to do so, and by that I mean have 3-4 GBA connectors, and 3-4 Game Boy Advances. This is quite tedious, especially if your like me, and not everyone plays games. Doing the game solo is no fun, doing it with friends is better. If you only have 1 friend with a Game Boy advance, you have a problem. That, plus the near obvious plagirism of the Gauntlet games and the 4 types of characters (magic, strength, speed and defense being the strong points of the 4 different races) makes it less innovating than it seems.
Overall, there are good ideas here, and I think SquareEnix was right in implementing them, but they also should of made some of them more optional, rather than forcing you to find people with a Game Boy to play.
Final Score- C-
Sound- The music in the game is really good, with a country feel and ritualistic sounding works. We also have great sound effects, from the dying sounds of the creatures, to the spell effects when they take hold on an enemy. Finally, the small clips of voice over are done nicely, but did feel out of place at times. It was more for flavor I think than anything else.
Final Score- B
Overall- Final Fantasy: Crystal Crhonicles is not your typical FF game, nor is it supposed to be. It is a neat idea from the rigorous, story driven RPGs, to make a simpler, more pick up and play style, but at the same time it makes the pick up and play hard to do, thanks to the restricting controls. I think Square wanted to make a simple game for their old friend, because they thought they were making it for a specific audience. Unfortanatly for them, I am not a part of that audience. Hopefully the Wii Version they are making Crystal Chronicles 2, will be much better, but we can only hope that it changes a bit.
Final Score- C
Overall Score- C+