Chrono Trigger Review for Nintendo DS

Chrono Trigger Review for Nintendo DS

Chrono Comes Back!

Chrono Trigger is a one-in-a-million game. In it’s time, it was a groundbreaking turn-based RPG that featured an all-star team of developers including Final Fantasy mastermind Hironobu Sakaguchi, artist and mangaka Akira Toriyama and renowned composer Nobuo Uematsu. The original game was released in 1995, and has kept a very strong fanbase since then.

Chrono Trigger screenshot

Although Chrono Trigger was remade for the original PlayStation in 2001 with some added cutscenes, many have been clamoring for a truer replication that kept the spirit of this SNES classic in-tact. The Nintendo DS rerelease of Chrono Trigger does an excellent job of channeling the original experience for longtime fans, and it has plenty of extras that will allow you to experience this title in just the way you want.

It seems that the development team has been very careful this time around with the game’s interface and, as a result, Chrono Trigger for the DS has to be one of the most customizable titles ever. For those who want to relive the story the way it was on the SNES, you can change the display so that it looks just like it did on the SNES and turn off the anime cutscenes that have been added from the PlayStation release. However, if you want an enhanced experience, you can turn on a DS-specific display, turn on touch screen controls, and switch between an active and turn-based battle system.

The different gameplay options allow for a lot of flexibility and accommodate all game styles. If you are someone who has already played Chrono Trigger, then it is easy to switch on the active battle system, turn off the cutscenes, and run through this title rather quickly to try and experience all of the game’s 15 endings. However, if you are a purist, or someone who is experiencing the game for the first time, tweaking these options can help you experience the game in the exact way you would thirteen years ago. These options are probably the best new feature of Chrono Trigger, and they add a whole new level to the experience.

Chrono Trigger screenshot

In addition to the customization options, there are a few new minor additions to Chrono Trigger. It is important to note straight away that these new features are completely optional, and you won’t have any trouble playing the game if you decide to skip right over them. The first new feature is multiplayer functionality in the Arena of the Ages setting. Instead of just fighting local monsters, you can engage in an “Interdimensional Battle” where you and a friend can battle your individual monsters using the traditional arena format. Although this feature is pretty cool, it doesn’t really add much to the Chrono Trigger experience, which may be a good thing considering this title’s fan-favorite status.

Besides the multiplayer mode, there are two new dungeons to explore. There isn’t all that much to these new places, and they are completely extraneous to the story at-large. However, there is an extra DS-specific ending tied to completion of these dungeons, so if you are interested in the new ending, these dungeons are worth exploring.

Chrono Trigger screenshot

Visuals in Chrono Trigger are fundamentally unchanged from the SNES version. Characters are still represented by cute little sprites, and environments are rich and colorful. Zealous fans will probably notice that a few of the background environments have been touched up a little, and certain elements have been touched up slightly. But on the whole, the DS version of Chrono Trigger leaves the original look intact and still looks great despite being over a decade old.

Chrono Trigger screenshot

The music in Chrono Trigger, though, is completely unchanged and is as beautiful as ever. Nobuo Uematsu’s score in Chrono Trigger has been hailed as one of his best, and it comes through the DS speakers very nicely. Although there is not much here in the way of voiceover or sound effects, the score itself is enough to make Chrono Trigger a title worth hearing.

As I mentioned before, there are two ways to control this title: stylus and button-based. The button controls feel a little more organic and are a little bit faster if you are using the active battle system. However, if you have played a lot of RPGs on the Nintendo DS, then you are probably all-too familiar with the touch screen-based menu control scheme. Both of these control options work well, and it is just a matter of personal preference which one you decide to use.

Chrono Trigger for the DS is definitely representative of how an updated re-release can be done well. The core gameplay remains virtually unchanged, and the game’s signature style and sound remain wonderfully intact. While this new version does include some new added features, these are very unobtrusive and serve to complement the original game experience instead of infringe upon it. I could not be more pleased with this rerelease, and I certainly applaud Square Enix for rewarding their longtime fans with such a classic title on a current system. However, this game is not just for longtime fans, and if you have never been able to experience Chrono Trigger, the DS provides the perfect vehicle to do so. No matter which category you fall into, this title is definitely one you shouldn’t miss and deserves to find its way into your collection before you can say “Good morning, Chrono!”

Graphics look almost identical to the SNES original, despite a few minor touchups. 4.2 Control
Both stylus-based and button-based controls work well. 4.4 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music comes through the DS speakers very well, and the score is just as powerful today as it was 13 years ago. 4.8

Play Value
The customization options make this title a breeze to play and replay, over and over again.

4.7 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • True to the game’s original premise, Chrono Trigger DS presents the story of Crono, who attempts to first save his friend Marle from a malfunctioning teleportation device.
  • Players have optional access to multiple control schemes (including touch screen controls), multiple endings, new dungeons, and a new way to enjoy Chrono Trigger – The Arena of Ages – where multiplayer fun over Nintendo Wi-Fi awaits!
  • Faithfully recreated from the original with only minimal adjustments to help take advantage of the DS’ touch screen functionality.

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