My biggest problem with the pacing of CC is the part where the story basically stops completely for a glorified fetch quest (getting the Dragon's blessings), that does nothing to advance the plot at all. And mind you this is right after the Dead Sea, which was fantastic, so the wind is almost completely taken out of its sails halfway through the game.
This would have been better handled if they used that chunk of gameplay to flesh out the info dumps we recieved at the end of the game. The reason Chrono Cross is so confusing is because the big reveal just throws too much info at the player at once, and then follows up with immediate plot twists that contradict what was just revealed before the player can even process what was given to them prior.
There was also good potential right after Terra Tower is raised, as this is where the endgame side quests come into play. There were a few that were well done, such as the Orphanage of Flame or the whole Karsh and Dario sequence, but most of them were rather small.
Then the whole solution on how to even get to Terra Tower was just kind of random too. Like it literally felt like a random thing that had no real plot relevance at all (Starky).
And don't even get me started on how little the Chrono Cross itself was explained. Had I not looked it up, I would have never known how to properly use it to get the true ending. The little hints were awesome, the problem is that there was nothing given to the player to suggest that there was even anything to look for in the first place.
Sorry for all that, I really hate tearing into one of my favorite games of all time, but I felt the need to clarify what I meant about the pacing. It started off well up till after the Dead Sea, then comes to a complete stop, then bombards the player with too much stuff to process. It is bad pacing at its finest. It is almost like they got to the end of the game and realized, "shit we forgot to put all this important stuff...lets just shove it all onto disk 2 and call it a day!"
[Note: I'm answering to both of you at the same time.]
I've already talked too much about objectivity on these forums, but I can't avoid jumping into this topic again in this particular context. =P
I'll try to keep it brief this time (note from the future: I didn't make it): if just one person in the whole world can refute something with arguments, then that something is not objective. If someone enters this debate right now and that person tells that the pace of Chrono Cross is good because reasons, then that's not an objective matter. In fact, you only have to read the bold part of your comment to see a little contradiction in this regard: a specific segment of the game felt like random to you. Something feeling like whatever is the opposite of objectivity.
Now, is there something fully subjective in game development? Hell, no. Not even in disciplines like soundtrack, art direction, game design, script-writing, characterization, etc. All those disciplines are far from subjective, and there are in fact guidelines on how to do them right. In the case of game design, for instance, you can't just put items on the scene randomly, that's a bad game design: every element has to be there for a reason, even if that reason is simply to give all the parts of a scene the same weight, so that the combination of all of them looks more balanced.
Or another example: imagine that there is a level with a hidden entrance to an underground place, some sort of a pit that is not visible until the player does something on it. Well, a good design for that specific level would be placing a lot of its elements in a way that their main lines are somehow pointing towards the place where the pit is hidden, so that the player instinctively feels that that place is the key to get out of the stage. In addition, the hidden pit should be placed in a spot which, by its mere location, attracts the eye of the player. Well, nothing of this is subjective at all; I mean, it's not like: "Hey, I'm going to place this here because I think the scene looks cooler than if I place it there". No, that's not how it works by any means: game design has rules and guidelines, as well as good and bad practices, just like any of the other fields in game development and in any other artistic media.
Now, is all that objective? No, not at all either: there's not a unique way to design a game world, write a script, set the ambientation of a movie, etc. There are always many good and bad ways to do anything, and there will generally be people who like the result and people who dislike it. Of course, we can have certain intuition on the quality of a product as a whole or any of its parts, but there will never be an exact and undeniable value that serves to objectively measure that.
To illustrate this, I'll use something that I should've posted in these forums a couple of weeks ago (and which, by the way, I'd still like to go back to and finally post): it was an analysis of the villain in the movie Se7en. And the reason why I mention it here is that, as I said, there are good and bad practices in every field of the artistic creation, and that includes characterization. Well, this villain is basically a compilation of bad practices: when you see him in scene for the first time, you have to wonder how that can be a main villain in any movie, with such a dull and forgettable appearance and name (John Doe). In any other film, that would've been a terrible job of characterization. But... it works very well instead, and I'm regretting not having that post fully finished now, so that I could paste a link to the reasons why. Shame on me here.
Anyway, the villain is not the only element in that movie that is supposed to break rules and guidelines; there's a certain part of the story-writing that also goes totally against good practices, and also works very well in spite of that. I mean, Se7en could almost be a masterclass on how to make a good product using bad practices, lol. And why am I bringing this here? Because doing something that is theorically bad and yet making it work wonderfully on the practice speaks a lot of how little objectivity there's here. Now, in order to achieve something like that, you need to know very well what you're doing. I mean, that's not something subjective that you take out of your ass and do just because you think it's cool: there's theory and argumentation behind any decision and everything is done for a reason.
So, to sum it up, you can't objectively measure the quality of a game; there's just not such a thing. But... believing that some of its parts are completely subjective is also far from true. To sum it up even more, I disagree with both of you. =P But I also partially agree with both.
And, since this ended up being longer than I expected (as usual), I'll just leave it here.
I feel bad about the derailing thing, so...
I don't have a Switch, because I still haven't bought any of the consoles that are in production these days, so I won't rate it. But... I'm up to date with the announcements for all of them, and Switch looks like a device that I'll have lots of fun with when I can finally get one, so I'd probably give it a high score.Last edited by Verter - on 07 March 2021
I have periods of social disconnection, it's a part of me that I need and keenly embrace. I'll still log in and read news and threads during those times, but I won't be (very) active on the site, so I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause (late answers, bumps or the like).
Please, feel free to correct my English.