Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time

Many people – most of them bigwigs at Nintendo – have said that the graphical quality of Wii games isn’t of any great importance. Sales figures have probably proved them right over the last couple of years, but now Square Enix will be putting the theory to a radical new test with a dual-format game that’s identical on both Wii and DS. It sounds like a brilliant idea. While there have been plenty of portable versions of console titles in the past, they’ve always been stripped down and simplified. Having the same game on both machines means that for the first time you can choose exactly how you want to play, without sacrifice.

This is based on the excellent Ring of Fates gameplay, which scored an 8 back in March of 2008. Our only real criticism of the game was that you had to gather four players to experience the spell-mixing co-operative adventure at its best, but Echoes of Time is online across both platforms. You can hook them up in any combination – a DS and a Wii in one house, connected to a DS in a Wi-Fi hotspot somewhere else and another Wii on the other side of the world, for example. As long as you’ve got access to the internet you won’t be short of people to play with.

Your character type determines the kind of spells you’re best at. The fun will be in combining and synchronizing with other players. There is also a lot more customisation than in previous FFCC titles and the promise of limitless post-completion dungeons to replay with your friends. And you won’t have to worry about missing out on features your friends are enjoying on differing systems: the graphics in the Wii and DS versions are almost identical. If you play on Wii you’ll even have the lower menu screen from the DS alongside the main playing area.

If our experience with Ring of Fates is anything to go by, this will be one of the most compelling reasons to take your Nintendo format of choice online. It’s an action RPG with team-based gameplay that fans of Phantasy Star Online are sure to appreciate. Look out for it around spring time.

Jan 16, 2009