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03 May 2009

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time [DS]

Plot Synopsis: 5/10
Typical RPG fare. You come from a small village. Undergo a coming-of-age ritual. Go off on your own, and stumble into the game's main adventure. Figure out who the bad guy is. Tragedy ensues. A decision is made to stop the bad guy. Adventure truly begins.
I can't justify giving the plot anything higher than a 5 out of 10. It's not bad, but it has been done so many times, it's becoming clich├ęd.

Game Play: 1/10
I have a few complaints about the game play. My first complaint is that the game is a little buggy. Specifically, there are occasional issues with the clipping. Occasionally, at least when playing as a Selkie, there will be times when you jump, and land on what should be solid ground, but you will instead appear to fall through the ground, as though you were falling off a ledge. Unfortunately, like falling off of a legitimate ledge, this causes you to lose HP and respawn wherever you "fell" from.
My second complaint has to do with leveling up. There appears to be a glitch in the game where, suddenly, for no apparent reason, neither your character nor any of your equipment will gain any more experience, and thus, they will stop leveling up. Obviously, this can prevent the player from actually finishing the game, should it happen at a sufficiently low level. The only way to solve this problem currently appears to be to erase your save file and start over from the beginning.
My third complaint is that, much like Ring of Fates, some areas seem excessively difficult. Normally, when making this complaint about a Final Fantasy game, I am simply referring to how strong the enemies in a given area are, in comparison to the enemies in the previous area. However, this time, I am referring to the actual puzzles the player needs to solve in order to proceed. Some puzzles are very unintuitive, and have a lot of steps to complete. Frankly, there were a few areas that I couldn't get past without consulting an online walkthrough.
In addition, there is the omnipresent problem with Square-Enix games, in that there are areas where one must spend a frustratingly long time leveling up in order to proceed.
Because of these factors, I have to give the game play a 1 out of 10. Excessive difficulty, major leveling glitches, and clipping issues, on top of the other downsides to Square-Enix games, make for a frustrating game.

Graphics: 8/10
I don't have any real complaints about the graphics, generally speaking. But I am a bit bothered that they look exactly like the previous DS installment of the Crystal Chronicles series. I'm torn between feeling like Square-Enix was following a sort of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality, with the graphics, and feeling like they were just being lazy, and couldn't be bothered to try to improve the graphics at all. Because of this, I'm tempted to score the graphics a point lower than I did for Ring of Fates, but since I can't think of any actual problems with them, I can't justify doing so.
Therefore, the graphics still get an 8 out of 10. No change in graphics quality. No change in score.

Audio: 8/10
Much like the graphics, there were no major changes to the quality of the music or the voice acting. And so, there will be no change to the score I offer the audio, from how I scored Ring of Fates. Thus, the audio gets an 8 out of 10.

Overall Score: 5.5/10
A mediocre plot, clipping issues, leveling glitches, unbalanced difficulty, and absolutely zero improvement on the graphics or audio since the previous installment point to a rushed game. And things never turn out well when they're rushed.

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