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Alternative Names

クロノ クロス

Developer

SquareSoft

Genre

Role-Playing

Other Versions

PSN

Release Dates

08/15/00 Square EA
11/18/99 Square
(Add Date)

Community Stats

Owners: 365
Favorite: 43
Tracked: 1
Wishlist: 9
Now Playing: 5
 
8.7

Avg Community Rating:

 

Chronomantique

07th Feb 2021 | 1,844 views 


Finale

User Score
10
                         

Presentation - 10
Gameplay - 10
Value - 10
The last game of my childhood.

The very short period of time between my high school graduation and me getting accepted in college was the most aimless and strange period of my life. After doing what people told me i had to do to not die of poverty, there was a sense that nothing i did in my hometown mattered, since i would leave everything behind soon. All the memories i made and the places i knew would just be a distant thing in my past in 2 months, which made me weirdly apathetic towards everything.

So, since i needed something to distract myself of that strange melancholy, i decided to play something. The reason for it being chrono cross was simply that i liked the opening theme song, and also because jrpg's are a good time sink. It took me 5 days to download the game by torrent, since in 2015 i still had a dial-up internet, but i finally started it in a rainy friday. 

Chrono cross is a weird game. It is common knowledge that the development team did not just want to do chrono trigger 2, but i think the best way i can describe it is: a game that its as if the developers forgot the plot of chrono trigger, with the exception of some vague parts, and then tried to expand those isolated pieces separatedly. El nido as a place feels completely different than the Zenan continent from the previous game; the medieval and polished classsy feel of trigger is completely gone and replaced by the laid back, almost sad peace of a tropical archipelago, populated by npc's that dont have much better to do in their lives than worry about fishing, cooking and asking you to go to the beach get some komodo scales for your girlfriend. And in your way there, while you get to hear a very cool tropical rendition of chrono trigger's main theme, you get a grip of just how unique the game feels in comparison to it's predecessor, because things get strange in the story of this game very early.

You see, replacing trigger main gimmick of traveling between several ages, cross has the new feature of going between dimensions. After the introduction, serge, the main character, is sucked into a time void-thingy and ends up in an alternate version of his world, where he drowned when he was 10, and died.  And as much as i present this as an alternative to trigger's travelling system, it is actually closer to a traditional Zelda 2-world division system. Like games such as A link to the past, you can meet a different version of your own home and deal with people that don't know and have no sympathy for you. In this case, you meet also alternative versions of the same characters you met in the regular world, which means you get to see how your death affected the lives of people. Your mother left the village, travelling to a forest became forbidden, and several characters moved to other places, which means the changes grew exponentially.

It is a very novel and interesting concept, because it not only let's you see how time flows in a very subtle and diverse way, but it also gives you as the player the sense that your life as part of this world matters, and should be preserved. It is to be noticed, however, that this means a lot of areas will need to be revisited. While the game has plenty of new areas, being actually very close to even trigger in this regard in fact, you will be going to 2 versions of termina, arni village and the viper manor more than once, and they dont have that many visual differences between themselves. But it is mostly ok, since it gives you time to mess around with the game's new battle system.

If anything, the combat mechanics of cross are closer to a card game than a traditional jrpg battle system. You have 3 types of normal physical attacks: weak, medium and strong. Each of them have a percentage of succeeding, with a weak attack hitting almost every time, and a strong attack having a 30% chance of missing. Hitting enemies will build levels for your character, which they can they use to activate spells. Hitting a character with a weak attack and then a strong attack, for example, will give your character 4 levels(1 from the weak attack and 3 from the strong one), which means they can now use a level 4 spells.

And those are, in a similar way to FVIII, items that you can equip to any character. You can buy fireball or earthquake spells in several shops, or even just find them by exploring the world, and this is when that card game analogy comes in. Preparing for battle in this game is similar to building a deck before a duel. You need to think which spells to equip to deal with a powerfull enemy, taking in consideration the limted slots for magic that every character has in addition to the knowledge that every spell can be used only once per battle(unless you equip multiple versions of the same spell,of course). It is a system that encourages constante customization and a more strategic look at enemies, which is certainly a positive outlook for a role playing game.

Unfortunately, it also means that the characters have very little unique mechanical capabilites. Most of the time, the only thing that matters is the character's individual elemental proficiency. Green spells will work more effectively with characters with inate green preferences, but outside of unique animations for attacks, that is mostly it. You could swap almost any of them by someone with the same inate skills and the gameplay difference would not be noticeable. With the exceptions of Glenn, who has x-skills with serge, and sprigg who can mimic enemies, making him basically this game's version of gau from FFVI, there is not much here to find in terms of mechanical uniqueness between your party. And that is a problem, considering you get 40 part members, and the game also lack in proper "character" for most of them.

Chrono cross was born with the initial idea of making every NPC you meet recruitable, a goal that is as ambitious as it is impractical. While you could make the argument that the lack of differences in gameplay between most of the characters is something games like final fantasy VII also have with the materia system, you can't say the same equivalency stands for the depth within the party between those too games. The amount of recruitable characters makes so the vast majority of them can't be explored in an interesting way, which makes most of them little more than collectibles. And in a game that has a focus on the world and how you interact with it, that aspect being so poorly implemented really stands out.

Most of them are at least charming however, with a few stand out examples. Fargo, radius, harle, Glenn and some others are dealt with in a brief but engaging way, but most of the plot revolves around serge and kid. This is the traditional boy-meets-girl tale, and it brings with it the most egregious example of how to do it well and badly, at the same time. It is impressive really. Kid is the type of character that i tend to like a lot, but because so much of the story of this game is missable, you can actually complete it without getting to know what exactly is the point of her character. Early on that is not such a big problem, you have to go way out of your way to miss spending time with her, but one of the most powerful scenes in the game, the one that tells us about her past, is hidden behind one of the hardest quests in the game, which is both hard to find and to finish. And that means that, for quite a lot of people, kid being or not there does not make a difference(it may actually improve your experience in fact, since not everyone is like me and enjoys the bratty kid with attitude archetype).

That is one of the biggest examples of bad player conduction that this game has, but it is far from the last one. For most of the first 2 discs you will not understand exactly what is happening, why people want serge and why a lot of events had to happen the way they did. Which also means that, as a player, you will not know where to go next more than once. The plot explanations, when they exist, come with giant text dumps all done after half the game, with more than one thread never being explained. I don't usually agree with people when they call something convoluted because i think people are purpousefully obtuse when they decided they did not like something already, but in this case i do not have an objection to make. It is very much an unfocused, convoluted and confusing mess of a game, were the things left to interpretation on purpouse and the ones that were simply not finished are very hard to distinguish between each other.

And i love it very much. Kato said once that he does not think about theme before making a game, and it shows. There is not really a real point to chrono cross, it is simply a lot of ideas and passion that flew into game form by the desire of developers eager to create something new, and as unpolished as it is, a lot of it works incredibly well. The highs this game reach are higher than anything in chrono trigger, and if im being honest in most other games as well. The idea of a dead sea, a place were time and space get condensced into a single gigantic era, is such a surreal and uncanny concept that it stands out in a game that it is already weird. The athmosphere before you meet every single one of the dragons, specially the water dragon, is fantastic.

Every new place you visit is beautiful and full of life and personality, with new stories to tell. Even the ridiculous amount of playable characters, as badly implemented as a concept as they are, end up working in some level. The majority of these people dont really want the same thing as you, they have their own objectives, and that gives a sense of loneliness to serge's story. Nobody wants you alive besides the people you get really close with, and it really feels like time and the world itself would rather have you dead, for reasons you cannot understand.

And i think that is what really connected to me. I was about to enter a world that i did not understood completely, full of people that did not care for me like my family did, and i was afraid of being alone. After you go through so many things in this game, you never look at the starting point where you came from the same way. The village in which your house is, the forest and termina become very different places once you understand(part of) what really happened behind the scenes in El nido, but more importantly, after you grew attached to people you met in your journey. I got a unique feeling, one of being able to remember my life until that point,but from a very different point of view. And this is really what is special about this game for me. I dont need chrono trigger 2. I dont even need a perfect game. I need something that gives me something that i could not get somewhere else. Something that can be very flawed, but it succeed so much in one area that it earns a place in my heart.

 As i watched that very strange and sad ending that was very hard to do properly because the item you need is in a completely unrelated place, i felt that emptyness that you get after you finish something that was making part of your life for a while. But it wasn't the apathy i had before beggining it. It was a more tangible feeling of comfort and sadness. I would go away, and even after i came back home, i would never be the same again. I will probably never look at this game the same way i did when i was 17, someday i may even hate this game. Hate how unfocused it is, or how it wasn't chrono trigger. But i will always remember how i felt about it when i was at that age. When i had nothing in front of me except cerulean skies. 


Shipping Total

1,700,000 Units
As of: December 31st, 2017

Opinion (30)

Azhraell posted 05/09/2013, 01:00
One of the best games ever made. Nice sales but deserves more.
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Kyuu posted 05/06/2013, 02:19
@hatmoza
Same here! I usually prefer 2D JRPGs over 3D and I started with Chrono Trigger. Despite Chrono Cross' drawbacks, its a more magical game with a lot of painfully beautiful soundtracks. It had a much greater impact on me.
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Yamaneko22 posted 26/03/2012, 05:25
@hatmoza Brofist:) @A203D Exactly Chrono Cross was never released in Europe. I don't know what's going on hereO-o
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A203D posted 05/03/2012, 04:38
How can this game have sold 0.42 mil copies in Europe, it wasnt released there... i would know, because its still not released on the PSN!! which is PS3s strongest region, now is a time for a digital release of all these games where fans deserve to be rewarded for saving the PS brand this gen!
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hatmoza posted 20/01/2012, 08:28
Under rate game. I love it more than Chrono Trigger, and I love Chrono Trigger.
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Mordred11 posted 10/09/2011, 09:49
awesome game..
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