Friday, August 30, 2013

August of Games: Day 30 - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Just...just listen to the soundtrack. I have no words to describe how great this soundtrack is. Promised Moisture, Sad Monster, Sound of the Wind, and Monster's Rondo are also great representatives of this stellar soundtrack.

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
Developer: Square-Enix
Genre (Setting): Fantasy (huh, that's like the simplest definition I've given all month)
Genre (Gameplay): Action, RPG
What is this game: This is a spinoff of the Final Fantasy series released on the Nintendo Gamecube. Departing from the series's turn-based standard, this is an action game first. You explore the world, collecting myrrh, which protects things around it from the poisonous Miasma spread across the land. You are the leader of a Crystal Caravan, a group that goes out and collects Myrrh to bring back home, where it is used to empower your town's crystal and strengthen its safety against miasma. As you venture further and further, you experience encounters with other travelers and slowly uncover the mystery behind the miasma.
As a game, you run around and hit stuff with your sword until it falls down and solve minor RPG-style puzzles then fight a boss. There's some extra tricks to the formula though. First, there's the miasma. You have the Crystal Chalice, holding your myrrh and protecting a radius around it from miasma. As long as you're within it, you're safe. If you leave though, you start taking damage at a set rate. In the single player game, you have a floating moogle helper who can help carry the chalice. However, multiplayer is where the game shines. Made to use the GBA-GCN link cable, up to four people can play as long as they all have GBAs hooked up, In that mode, one of the people needs to carry the chalice, and you'll juggle it around depending on who's the best for the situation.
The game is long and while you'll repeat areas, they are different and tougher each time. It also gets pretty tough.
What's great about it: I should note something: I did this single player. I didn't have friends with GBAs. Despite what some people say, I LOVED it. I found it very fun, though sometimes very hard. The gameplay ideas are innovative, though not always conducive to good design. Where I really fell in love with it is the world. The general art direction of creature and character designs is great, ESPECIALLY for bosses. Each place is simply extraordinary looking. Here's my declaration: thanks to the unbelievable design work, this game generally looks better than a lot of modern games, including all of its own successors, which adopted the DS art aesthetic started in Phantom Hourglass, continued in Final Fantasy III, and used consistently in just about every 3d DS games. Rebena Te Ra, Veo Lu Sluice, Gigas Manor, Leuda, Alfataria, Tida, everything. It's up there with the original Metroid Prime in terms of art design. The feeling is just enhanced by the music, which is one of the best soundtracks in gaming.
How do I get it: It's a Gamecube game, going used is your only option. If Nintendo is kind they'll update it for the Wii U - either for the Virtual Console with online multiplayer or a full-blown HD remake (which, if they did, I would be very careful around).

This was the final mainstream game of August of Games! Only one more day. Thank you for making this a record-breaking month.
Oh, and I'm gonna be at PAX all four days! If you're around, drop me a line on Twitter or here and we can hang out a bit. I'm gonna be tweetin' all about what I'm doing, and I'll be running games at Indie Games On Demand on Saturday from 6pm-10pm, Sunday from 10am-2pm, and Monday from 10am-2pm. If you've ever wanted to give Monsterhearts, The Quiet Year, or Fiasco a try, those are my main offerings, though if there's something you're into I can totes see if we can't figure it out. Maybe I'll stuff Lady Blackbird in my pack...
End Recording,

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