Review: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates [import]

But while the controls never quite clicked with us, and the diagonal camera view often falls foul of the DS Lite D-pad’s utter contempt for diagonal directions, we’re really quite taken with the game as a whole.

The main plus is that there’s plenty of game and it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at. And when you do manage to arrange a four-player session, Crystal Chronicles flies beautifully. The more people you’ve got, the more possibilities there are for the strategic role-play that’s so satisfying in this sort of thing. The designated healer will need to collect potions from the others and stand out of the way, reviving doomed colleagues from the safety of the battlefield’s margins, while the other players use melee attacks or ranged weapons.

When the time is right, everyone can combine their magic for some devastating blows that require great coordination. The ability to pick up and throw smaller enemies adds another element to the action, and while it’s rarely difficult to progress through the game, the fun is in battering the enemy as impressively as possible, then scrambling for the shiny goodies that spill from their corpses.

Lacking an online link-up mode and requiring four carts, consoles and people to experience its best moments, Crystal Chronicles isn’t an obvious must-have import. It may be the one Final Fantasy that you could happily complete without understanding a word of the story, but unless you’ve got at least one guaranteed partner, it’s probably not worth it.

The English translation is almost two months away, and this is basically just a fighting game. With any luck, Crystal Chronicles will finally find an audience, on import or otherwise.

Import Score: 8

Jan 23, 2008


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