Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time - hands-on

The Wii and DS link-up takes a matter of seconds, and cross-platform play handles exceptionally smoothly. The Wii version suffers slightly in comparison to the DS one – a good deal of the interface is empty space, while the two windows mimicking the DS screens seem a little blurry. If you own both consoles, you’ll probably want to plump for the handheld version, which not only has the benefit of being portable, but also looks crisper as a result of running in its native resolution.

Co-op play is as satisfying as ever, although a bit less… well, co-operative than you might have expected. It’s still possible to injure other players, so charge into a scrap and you may end up doing more harm than good. Loot drops can be a mad scramble if you’re playing with the wrong crowd (that’ll be us), and it’s still perfectly feasible to ignore your comrades and do your own thing.

But despite all this, Echoes’ multiplayer is sublime, combining the sort of depth you usually find in an MMO with fast-paced arcade sensibilities. With a full roster of character classes – and four smart people controlling them – it can be as much fun as Gauntlet, the granddaddy of co-op. We’ll have to wait and see how online fares, but if you own a current Nintendo console and have four like-minded friends, you should be very excited indeed.

Feb 9, 2009