|System: Wii||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: Dec. 26, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The controls also contribute to the game's combat issues. The game goes to great length to use the Wii's motion controls, and the main control mechanic involves using the Wii's IR pointer as an on-screen cursor. A swing of the Wii-mote will then send whatever the cursor has selected flying into the air, or rolling around, based on the way in which the Wii-mote is swung. Unfortunately, this mechanic is not very satisfying, and when you are trying to use the crystal powers cursor to navigate through puzzle-like dungeons, the experience can be frustrating.
However, even though the control and battle mechanics don't live up to the Final Fantasy standard, the technical aspects of the game certainly do. The soundtrack is particularly impressive, with a widely varied soundtrack that includes Western-style themes as well as more traditional orchestral fare. The voiceover is a little less impressive than the soundtrack, but the game definitely gets points for having a full English dub, rather than silence and subtitles.
The visuals here, while not on par with the best that I've ever seen on the Wii, are certainly serviceable. The pre-rendered cutscenes feature sharp animation, and the game's engine does a great job of rendering large and detailed objects. There is also virtually no load time when traveling between areas in the game's world (sometimes there will be a second or two of lag) which is very impressive. My only complaints about the visuals involve some tearing and pop-in which occur when there is a little too much on screen. Still, considering the Wii's graphical limitations, this is a good looking game overall.
As the Crystal Chronicles spin-off series grows, I am starting to get the impression that Square Enix is using the series as a testing ground for features that may be implemented in future games. They experimented with multiplayer in the first game, console cross-compatibility in Echoes of Time, and with Crystal Bearers, a single character story and a focus on exploration rather than combat. While the story portion of the game works very well, the shift to an action-adventure style of gameplay rather than traditional RPG feels a little weird. It wouldn't be so bad if the combat was at least more satisfying than just waving the Wii-mote around to push things into one another. As it is, The Crystal Bearers has a lot of things going for it - it's just too bad the combat isn't one of them.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor