Review: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered is a remaster of a 17 year old classic Action RPG. Square Enix is polishing the game for a modern release on Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and even iOS and Android. Are the crystals successfully transported again?
In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered you take on the role of the Crystal Caravans. The Caravan, consisting of a group of adventurers in search of myrrh, a rare and valuable substance for maintaining crystals. After all, the crystals protect the world from the poisonous Miasma. This poisonous Miasma is literally everywhere. Therefore, your caravan should always stay together and someone should always take the crystal to protect the group.
On paper, the remaster looks like a huge improvement on the original game from 2003. Online cross-play multiplayer with matchmaking, English voiceovers, new dungeons, weapons and upgrades. In addition, you now always have a fixed minimap and the original soundtracks have been completely re-recorded. Unfortunately, in practice it falls short on almost every level.
While playing Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered, a question kept popping up in my mind. "Who is this game made for?" You would think that with the success of Final Fantasy 7 Remake , among others , Square Enix is carefully introducing their new game. After all, Final Fantasy 7 Remake attracted many new players who have never played Final Fantasy 7 or any other Final Fantasy game. The remake was developed in such a way that it is interesting for both novices and veterans to pick up. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered feels more like a fan service to the old guard.
Reviving a game after 17 years is quite a job. A lot has changed technically and graphically over the years, so that today much more is possible in every area. Crystal Chronicles Remastered delivers quite a bit of news in one area. For example, the game offers English voice-overs for the first time and everything looks a little sharper. New dungeons, gear and upgrades ensure returning players have something new to look forward to. So the content is good.
Unfortunately, there is less positive to say about the technical aspect of the game. Certainly for newcomers to the franchise this will leave a sour taste. The original game allowed you to play together gameboy advance systems with each other. As you may know, the Gameboy Advance does not have as many buttons as a current controller. The controls of the remaster have hardly changed with the times, so you can only perform one action in the game. If you want to perform another action, you first have to scroll through your action list with one of the shoulder buttons on your controller.
This plays very old-fashioned and doesn't make the gameplay much better. After all, you can only place four actions in your action list, two of which consist of attacking and defending. You cannot adjust this. You are free to fill in the other two yourself, but if you want to perform an action while playing that is not in the list, you must first open the menu to update the action list. The flow is constantly interrupted by outdated design choices.
On the one hand, the game seems to remain 'faithful' to the original operation of playing via a Gameboy Advance, but that does not apply to multiplayer. This simply means that offline co-op is no longer possible. You can only play together online. Fortunately, the game does offer a number of options in this regard. First of all, you are not dependent on any particular platform. Any Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered player can play together. Regardless of whether you play on Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, smartphone or tablet.
The game uses in-game friend codes or Lobby IDs for this. In practice we have only played with each other on Playstation 4 systems and it was a bit of a puzzle to find out how it all works. You cannot add friends directly via a traditional PSN invite. Everything goes through the complicated in-game code system. The game also doesn't really try to make this very clear to you, so you're constantly moving through cluttered UI screens to play together.
The biggest plus of the game is that you can try it for free. There is a Lite version that allows you to play the first few dungeons without having to pay for it. If you play with a friend who owns the entire game, you can play up to 13 dungeons. So as long as there is at least one player who has purchased the game, you can play through most of the game together.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered is held back by inconsistent design choices. On paper it looks like a perfect game to pick up with your friends, but especially if you're not familiar with the original game, it becomes a huge job to find skill in the outdated gameplay. Very unfortunate because the game is rich in unique pieces of content and the remaster expands this further with new and more difficult (or reskins from older) dungeons, more upgrades, spells and weapons. Fortunately, everyone can try the game for free first, so you can experience for yourself at all times whether or not you like the outdated way of playing.
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