Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
Posted 3 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
Generations of gamers have grown up and experienced various forms of the Final Fantasy universe. From the NES era to recent titles, the series has offered some really interesting ways for RPG fans to enjoy themselves. The Crystal Chronicles games on Nintendo consoles have taken the series in a different direction, offering a multiplayer experience geared more towards real-time action, instead of turn-based combat. The latest game in the series, The Crystal Bearers, attempts to give you an enjoyable single-player experience but ends up completely ruined by numerous mechanical issues.
The Crystal Bearers puts you in the role of Layle, a Clavat who is one of the few people in the world to have the ability to use Crystal powers. In this world, Crystal Bearers are considered, not only a rarity, but are viewed by others as abominations as Crystals are used only for science and technology.
As with other Crystal Chronicles games, the world is inhabited by Clavats, Selkies and Lilty people, with the Yukes seemingly being brought to extinction. When a Yuke who also possesses the power of a Crystal Bearer appears, Layle is determined to find out who they are and try to stop them. In typical Final Fantasy fashion, this only ends up revealing an even greater threat.
While past Crystal Chronicles games have focused on group combat, your adventure as Layle is a solo one. Whereas action was the name of the game in the past, most combat this time around, except for major, plot specific battles, can be avoided.
Layle’s Crystal Bearer ability allows him to use telekinesis to combat enemies. To control his powers, you use the Wii-Remote to target and lift foes and objects in your surroundings. Some enemies can be picked up and thrown, while others will require you to use manipulate objects in order to destroy them.
Because combat can, for the most part, be skipped, you will more than likely avoid most potential battles. Also, combat is timed. You must defeat all the foes in an area and seal their portal in order to completely rid an area of foes. If you fail to do so, a chime is heard and the enemies simply disappear. If you go back, you may or may not fight the same foes again. This random nature for battles makes the combat feel incredibly disjointed.
Along with the extremely weird combat mechanics, the Camera will cause you the most frustration. In a game that requires you be able to quickly manoeuvre around 3D environments, you will spend more time adjusting the camera to get a better view of your surroundings than you will actually spend moving within them. The Z Button defaults the camera behind Layle, but in areas where a lot is going on, the very close, behind the back point of view does not allow you to see everything properly. In combat, enemies can often become translucent and there will be times when you get hit without any knowledge of an enemy’s existence.
Another problem with the game is the very mundane requirements placed in front of you. There are too many set-pieces that require you to do specific actions to progress. In most cases, the instructions are not properly conveyed and getting through them is simply a matter of trail and error.
This becomes even more annoying since a good chunk of the game will have you doing simple fetch quests where you’ll need to walk from one part of the world to another. It wouldn’t have been such a problem had there been a better over-world map. You will rely more on sign-posts and the occasional Moogle to assist you.
If there was one thing that stands out in The Crystal Bearers, it is without a doubt the graphics. Thankfully, the environments you trek through are extremely varied. Outside of the repetition of the NPC characters, the main cast are also well designed and look stunning, even up close. There are some minor pop-up issues that occur but these are few and far between.
As expected with Square Enix, the game’s presentation is very cinematic and it’s executed really well. There are a lot of cut-scenes to watch and they’re well integrated with the gameplay. Of course, you can tell the difference between cinematic and gameplay quite easily, but there aren’t any awkard breaks that take you out of the adventure.
As for the Sound, while the game’s soundtrack is surprisingly well played and very different from previous Final Fantasy games, the voice work is a little disappointing. A few of the main cast, including Layle are performed well, but others, specifically minor characters, have poorly delivered dialogue and can be unintentionally funny.
You would expect a Final Fantasy title to be a deep and long adventure, but that is far from the truth here. Experienced gamers should expect to finish this in less than 12 hours. There is very little incentive to go back and play again unless you want to collect additional trophies/awards that you obtain for doing specific objectives.
Another disappointing aspect is the lack of a true cooperative experience. Yes, a 2nd player can join in at certain points, specifically during bigger battles, but unlike previous Crystal Chronicles’ titles, this is focused as a single-player affair.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most disappointing Final Fantasy games in a long time. A competent story is completely ruined by persistent camera issues, weak combat and poor objectives. You can clearly see the potential it had to be a great game, it just would have been better served by a bit more time in development.
+ Good Story...
- Camera controls that will absolutely frustrate you
- Poorly implemented combat system which is also hampered by the camera
- So-So voice work; some characters are well done but others are a joke
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Release Date : 2009/12/26
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Square Enix
Developer : Square Enix
Category : Role Playing Game
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10