Hey, VGChartz community! I figured I would talk about a certain game here in order to get some more thoughts and opinions from people. I did a similar thread many months back on Final Fantasy IX so I thought now would be the best time to do another one of these.
Today, I'm going to be reviewing (Amateurishly..) Chrono Cross, the "sequel" to one of the most well known and critically received video games of all time; Chrono Trigger. Note: There will be spoilers in this review so be vary.
Here's a fun fact that's gonna make you guys hate me, I've actually never beaten Chrono Trigger. I own the DS version and the furtherest I got was just after some factory or industrial area..I forget which one. So yah, I've never beaten Chrono Trigger but I've beaten Chrono Cross twice so I'm an oddball. Now Chrono Cross was developed by Square although most of the "dream team" that developed Trigger didn't return for Cross. It was marketed as a sequel to Chrono Trigger, the back of the game cover even says it's a sequel taking place 20 years after Trigger. Cross had a lot of hype before it's release among the Trigger fanbase and when it released, it got a lot of high scores from critics and a lot of fans were very pleased with the game. But as time started to go on, people started to realise what they actually played, a game that wasn't a sequel to Trigger at all.
The game has you control a tennager by the name of Serge starting off in an odd but mysteriously cool dream sequence. Trigger focused on alternate timelines but Cross focuses on a parallel world, which I thought was really interesting as characters and places across both parallel worlds are not entirely the same and may be entirely different due to the different circumstances surrounding each alternate reality. It's also interesting to see how a character reacts when approached by their other self from the alternate world, this is actually a plot point for a few of the characters.
To start off, let's talk about the graphics. Chrono Cross was a late PS1 game and it looks gorgeous. It's definitely aged better than other PS1 games such as Final Fantasy VII. Cross has great character models, solid artwork, and abolsutely stunning locales. Cross takes place in El Nido, a tropical archipelago where many exotic locations exist and that not only emphasize human life but animals and nature as well. This is noted later on, when Cross introduces a sub plot involving how humans basically make some creatures' life a living hell thanks to destroying their resources and their environment. It's interesting because it shows both humans and creatures in the gray and not white/black.
I love the setting of Cross because I'm a sucker for tropical areas in video games. It's one of the major reasons why I love Pokemon Emerald and Assassin's Creed IV. Cross has a lot of stunning backgrounds with beautiful images such as endless oceans, the gorgeous setting sun, mysterious eerie backgrounds. Gosh, I really do believe that Cross is one of the most amazingly artistic games I've ever had the pleasure of playing. The characters in terms of artstyle and character models look great and are also visually distinct from each other. So all in all, Cross is an amazing looking game and despite being released on the PS1, I think its aged better than a lot of other games.
In terms of gameplay, Cross is a little odd but it's actually easy to get used to the battle system. Battles are turn based and characters can do up to 3 attacks on one turn but with each successive attack comes a decreased hit rate. The game also has "elements", think of these as magic spells and they're split into 6 distinct types (Red = Fire/Magma, Blue = Water/Ice, Green = Wind/Flora, Yellow = Earth/Lightning, White = Light/Cosmos, Black = Darkness/Gravity). Of course, this means that each element is strong and weak against different types so there's factors of customizing your characters with appropriate elements so they can have advantages against enemies. The game also features a field effect in battles so if a field effect has one color, then spells from that color element will do more damage.
The story of Chrono Cross can get very...complicated. The first half of the story is relatively easy to understand and I commend Cross for having a suspenseful and mysterious feeling throughout the game which made me really invested into the story. I also wanted to know what would happen next and then during the second half of the story, my mind pretty much lost track of the plot. Cross incorporates philosophical questions, psychological questions, alternate reality factors, etc. within it's story. Even by the end of the game, the story never truly tells you everything about it. A lot of the deeper plot points requires a lot of thinking to try and understand. Seriously, you may need a degree in quantum physics just to understand the plot (That may be stretching it..). But despite that, I like how plot points in Cross requires a lot of thought even after you've beaten the game and there's a lot of great moments in Cross as well. There's adventure, action, comedy, fun, mystery, tragedy, romance, you name it Cross has it all.
Cross has a total of 45 playable party members and one common compliant is that the game doesn't have much character development due to the sheer number of characters the game focuses on. Yes, the game does focus on some characters more than others and character development is lacking with most of the characters. But in a way, I still felt connected to a lot of the characters and because there are so many characters to recruit, it increases replay value (You're not going to get all the characters in your first playthrough). The number of playable characters also makes the world feel grand as so many of these characters have their own problems to tend with.
The soundtrack of Chrono Cross is absolutely amazing. Seriously, imo it's one of the best if not THE best video game soundtrack ever. If you guys haven't listened to it yet, do yourself a favor and search up a playlist on YouTube. Not all tracks are amazing (The battle theme gets annoying), but as a whole the OST is absolutely a treat to the ears. Also, the game is relatively long; it took me about 40-50 hours on my first playthrough, but New Game+ allows you to speed up the game which allows you to recruit characters that you didn't before a lot more quickly. Also, there are multiple endings to the game, a total of 11. These endings can be done at multiple points throughout the game on a New Game+ file, so you don't need to play the game entirely again to access a new ending.
So yah, I love Chrono Cross, it's one of my favorite games of all time and can even be considered my absolute favorite. A number of people don't like this game because it's nothing like Trigger at all. Despite being a "sequel", it's more of a pseudo-sequel. Although, the plot does tie into the events of Trigger and even features some old characters. If you love Trigger and/or haven't played this game yet, I would recommend it. But approach Cross with an open mind, don't think of it as Chrono Trigger 2 but Chrono Cross.
What do you think of Chrono Cross? Does it compare to Trigger? Are you interested in playing it if you haven't? Drop a comment and let me know what you thought of the review.