|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Square Enix / Game Designer's Studio||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: TBA 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
you Never Knew You Wanted
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
April 22, 2009 - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was first announced way back at E3 2005, and if you forgot about it in the time since, well don't feel bad, as I am sure many other people have as well. But in the time since, it seems Square Enix has been taking their time with the game, and it looks to be coming along fairly nicely. Although I should warn you, this title is going to be a lot different from the Crystal Chronicles game you may have expected it to be.
Although the Crystal Chronicles spin-off series has always been known for its multiplayer capabilities, it looks like the series is going to take a turn away from the traditional hallmarks of the gameplay in favor of something entirely different. The Crystal Bearers ditches the dungeon-centric gameplay that was featured so prominently in Echoes of Time and Ring of fates, and is aiming to redefine the series as more of an action-oriented series.
The game again takes place in the Crystal Chronicles universe, with the four races: Yuke, Clavat, Liltie, and Selkie; each forming a dynamic part of the cultural landscape. However, The Crystal Bearers takes place several hundred years in the future, and in this time it seems the Yuke race has all but gone extinct, thanks to a war with the rival Liltie race. Because of their victory, the world of magic slowly vanished with the Yukes and magic was replaced by guns.
Enter our hero, Layle, who is a Clavat who recently had a run-in with one of the now-mythical Yukes. He is, by birth, a natural hero and is one of the crystal bearers - a special sub-set of people who have magical crystals affixed to their body in some form that gives them special powers. Layle's crystal is attached to his cheek and gives him power over gravity.
The gameplay features a mostly open-world where you can take your character exploring, mess around with the local wildlife, and even meet a girlfriend (or ten). However, if you choose to do battle, this mechanic will largely depend upon where you are. Because Layle's main power has to do with gravity, the chief combat mechanism will involve picking things up and using them to your advantage. A lot will depend on environmental factors, and the puzzle-based facet of the combat looks to really set this game apart from other Crystal Chronicles RPGs.
Though the combat mechanic is different, one facet of this game that looks like it is really coming out of left field is the level up system. To put it bluntly, it looks like there won't be one. This seems a little out of place for a series that is based on one of the biggest RPG powerhouses ever, and I am curious to see how this will work. In a recent interview in Japanese gaming magazine, Famitsu, it was revealed that characters would increase their abilities by having special items equipped that would enhance their natural talents.
I have to say that I am a little nervous as to how this will work, as leveling up characters seems to be the cornerstone of the RPG experience, at least in the Final Fantasy universe. But then again, this title seems to be marketing itself as more of an action-oriented game rather than a traditional RPG title, so perhaps this is for the best.
One thing that is looking great at this point is the graphics. This game continues the trend set by FFCC: My Life as a King as well as Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon, having very clean, polished visuals. Although the graphics aren't even close to those on the bigger PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles, they still look very good, and some of the magic animations are actually quite well done despite the console's limitations.
Although a lot seems to be changing in FFCC: The Crystal Bearers, I am nonetheless excited for the game. The game looks like it will give you an incredible amount of freedom to play the way you want, and the puzzle elements, especially during battle, will ensure that the game is challenging, even for stalwart Final Fantasy veterans such as myself. The game is still in development, but it looks to be on track for a late 2009 release.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor