|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Square Enix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
What really stood out to me about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates was the magnitude and length of the game. Generally when I think of handheld games, I think about short, bite sized experiences. However, this game is quite lengthy for a handheld title, and can easily occupy more than 25 hours if you take the time to explore the expansive levels. And even though it is possible to run through the different levels without defeating all the monsters or finding all the treasures, I think that RPG gameplay really demands the extra effort. If you don't stop and actually spend time leveling up or gathering items, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle during the final stages.
One thing that the original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game did get right was its multiplayer functionality. And I'm happy to say that the multiplayer functions in this title are just as good, if not better, than the original. For the multiplayer modes, you play as a created character that is representative of one of the four tribes in the game. From there you can get to a mission mode where you can visit different lands and play them with a party of friends. And if you're worried that you don't have friends who will play the mission mode with you, the good news is that you can play mission mode solo. It may be a little more difficult to play solo, and you'll lose the benefit of strategizing, but it's great that this mode is available to those who might not have friends who share their Final Fantasy enthusiasm.
Visuals in this game are quite amazing, and are probably the best graphics I have seen yet for the Nintendo DS. I was really floored by Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings last year, and this title just improves upon the already-impressive graphics in that title. Characters are presented very smoothly, and textured environments come through lush and atmospheric. Cinema scenes in this title are amazing and look like some of the better PS2 titles. The color palate is vibrant and enhances the overall look and feel of the game. Truly this game is a sight to behold, especially on the DS.
Overall, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is an excellent title. It features memorable gameplay, stunning graphics, and a great multiplayer mode. It is also a very long title, and will keep you playing for quite a while. So if you're into Final Fantasy, enjoy RPGs, or are just looking for a great title for your Nintendo DS, look no farther than this game. I can confidently say that it is by far one of the best titles in the series, and I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy it!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer