To celebrate Chrono Cross' release on the PlayStation Network, I'd like to take a moment to tell you that, yes, it really is a good game. How could it not be? Even though it was released in the waning years of Squaresoft's peak, the development teams still had a bit of magic left in them. But I'm also here to tell you that if you approach the game as Chrono Trigger 2, you will be incredibly disappointed.
And that's what I was back when the game was released: disappointed. As someone who has claimed Chrono Trigger as their favorite game for more than 15 years, it's hard for me to look back objectively on its sequel. So here's a bit of subjectivity for you.
But please, don't let me stop you from enjoying the game's re-release.
My second son was born today, it was a scheduled delivery, so no, I’m not publishing this manually at six in the morning while my family happily celebrates. He’s the site’s fourth First Hour baby and my second; exciting and scary times lie ahead.
Video games have a long history with children and families, as games began focusing as much on story as any other element, we learned more and more about our protagonists and their situations at home. Text adventure games, computer RPGs, and Japanese RPGs provided writers much more room to flex their muscles and give gamers as much complexity in their stories as they would find in other media.
SquareSoft is an excellent example of writing that evolves over time. The first Final Fantasy was simple: four heroes known only by their character class save the world. Compare that with Final Fantasy VI (III outside Japan) which has feuding brothers teaming up and a knight who just lost his family to a deadly poison and is forced to watch them march to the afterlife. And then again, with Final Fantasy X, where the final boss is the main character’s dad. As the industry grew, writing became braver and more involved and less like a simple action movie.
I started this column over a year ago with a study on Mass Effect, and almost pathetically, this is just the second column. I’ve got about five games in mind I’d like to write a feature on their daddy (and mommy) issues, but they’re a bit more involved than the typical review. The birth of my son though has encouraged me to write this on my favorite game that is chock full of issues: Chrono Trigger.
Obsidian Entertainment recently mentioned that they would like to remake Chrono Trigger into a Western-style console role-playing game and the gaming world went, "huh?" I personally like the idea, while the usual haters are going to hate, but this actually has a small chance in happening since Square Enix recently recruited Obsidian to work on the Dungeon Siege IP Square picked up recently. So the companies have a relationship, anything could happen now.
As a gigantic fan of Chrono Trigger, the idea of a remake honestly doesn't bother me. Any Chrono game at this point is better than no more Chrono games. Square Enix has shown over and over again that they will never come back to the series in any serious form, so why not contract it out to a studio that is actually interested (and experienced in picking up old IPs, if somewhat lousy at it sometimes)? Chrono Trigger on the Super Nintendo and its ports to the PS1 and DS sold over 3 million copies, but sales outside of Japan have always lagged, why not take one of the best games ever and adapt it to a new audience? There's definitely potential.
New Game Plus is probably one of the coolest, most obvious, and underused features in video games today. There is no better way to get me to immediately replay your game than to give me every single item, weapon, magic, and point of experience that I finished the game with at the start of the my next playthrough. Yes, it makes everything Win Button easy, but it is so very satisfying returning to the boss the gave you so much trouble the first time and one-shotting him into oblivion. New Game Plus should be a required feature of every RPG and adventure game.
For the unaware, New Game Plus means starting the game over but loading your characters from when you last beat it. You generally retain most non-story items and weapons, and keep your existing level and stats. It's generally a nice reward for conquering a game, but as we'll see, can also be used for a variety of reasons.
I've been going through my large collections of games lately, which numbers in the hundreds, deciding if I can pass any of them off to gamers who can actually appreciate them for what they are. Not only do I have tons of games, but for 95% of them, I also still have their original box and manual. This makes some of them rather valuable for the collector, and hopefully I can provide.
However, there are a few games which I simply can not give up, some are worth quite a bit, others... well, they're mostly just meaningful to me. Let's take a nostalgic walk through some of the rare, obscure, and classic games I own that I could never give up.
Chrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS is the second port of this classic Super Nintendo role-playing game. You guide a group of time-traveling heroes through different time periods to save the world from the alien parasite, Lavos. I'll get my biases out of the way right now and say that the Super Nintendo version is my favorite game of all time. Out of the hundreds of games I've played, Chrono Trigger stands as the undisputed number one. So I had very high expectations for the 2008 portable port of the 1995 original, so let's just get to my review to see if it lives up to the hype... and see if the game has stood the test of time.