wmoyer83's Chrono Trigger (PlayStation) review

Chrono and friends revisited

I remember playing many RPGs for the Super Nintendo in my youth. I would get together with a group of friends, and we would spend hours grinding our characters, advancing the storyline, and passing the controller off to each other while exchanging our ideas about how to make progress and discussing the storyline. Alas, as time went on, I moved to another state, and I haven't spoke to these friends since. That was over ten years ago. We played many Final Fantasy games, and some obscure RPGs also. The one that evaded me this entire time was Chrono Trigger. I remember in it's early release way back in the Mid-Nineties it was hard to find, and being kids money wasn't easily accessible. I ignored the game, and I have been playing RPGs on almost every console in every generation since. I found the PSone version of this game for cheap on the internet, so wondering what all of the fuss was about, I picked it up. That was two monthes ago. I have completed the game, and in reflection, I believe that I missed out on this game during its initial release, but it impressed me well enough that I am certain that it has aged well with time.

Graphics- It is difficult to make a judgment on the graphics for this game due to the fact that it is over thirteen years old. Thankfully, I have a accurate knowledge of what games looked like at this time, so my perception of how to intepret the quality of this game should be precise. The characters are distinguishable, and the sprites have various animations that are easily interpreted. You can tell what emotion they are conveying (although some animations are recycled). The main character sprites are larger than the Final Fantasy games. It is easy to navigate the overworld, and in game dungeons are also fun to explore. The only problem is sometimes the dungeons can be confusing, such as the maze in the 120000 BC era. The path takes focus to travel through and can be slightly frustrating. The enemies are all interesting and the bosses are all different. The attacks and animations interact with eachother, so the combat will keep your attention. The load times are somewhat long, but not as much as some would say. You might notice the difference if you have played the original on the SNES cartridge. I do think you can get used to them though. It would be nice if they were shorter, but they are not extremely long. The PSone has additional animated cutscenes and they feature particular scenes in the game. They are very similar to the Dragon Ball style (due to Akira Toriyama). They are interesting extras that enhance the game experience.


Sound- The music in this game is great. Each era you visit has a different tune, and is very enjoyable. The score was brilliantly composed by Final Fantasy legend Nobuo Uematsu. There are some melodies in this game that might be found in Final Fantasy VI, I am not sure, but I feel like I have heard some of them before. The combat sound effects are great and match what you are seeing in action. Every sword slash, gunblast, and destructive spell are present and they all sound great. There really is nothing I could find wrong about the music and sound effects in this game.



Gameplay- This game is very fun to play, but for RPG veterans, it might seem somewhat limited. Each character has their own techniques which are learned through leveling up and acquiring tech points. The progression of learning new techs goes well with progression with the overall game, which is good, but there is not much customization for the characters. The meat of the combat is using double techs, which are learned when you use two characters together. They can vary from physical attacks, Physical/magical combo attacks, and healing combos. The more you learn create more options, and that means using different combinations of characters throughout the game give more variety. Later on, you will learn Triple Techs, which involve your entire combat party. They are flashy and neat to watch, but they are usually not worth the MP, and do not give you a edge in combat. There is an element system implemented in the game, which does come into effect many times. There are situations when you are combating enemies and bosses where you must figure out which elements to defend or use to gain an advantage in combat. Occasionaly you are forced to abide by this element system or you will die. The story is very good, although brief. You will finish the main story in about 12-15 hours, which is short for an RPG. This is what I would consider the first half of the game. The second are optional sub missions involving story plots of individual characters, and it does not take much time to accomplish them. Your first run through of the game will require you to do a least some of them so you can get the XP and equipment necessary to survive the last final boss battles. You will play this game multiple times. The game has many endings (i think a total of twelve). You can find these different endings by beating the game at certain points. After your reach a certain point in the game, you are allowed to make the decision to fight the final boss. This make the game very interesting, because you can progress the game as much as you want, and then end it. If you do or don't accomplish certain things, it will effect what ending you get. This is a very cool gameplay device. Whenever you start a New Game+, you keep your XP level and items rollover to your new game, thus making it easier to obtain the endings. This game has high re playability, given your patience of playing the first couple of hours over and over again.



Extras- The PSone version of this game has nice extras. The System Data saved from beaten games unlocks a theater for all of your endings, music, and cutscenes. It is a nice extra to have. That is about all though, it would be nice if the Playstation team added a new ending or an extra character for those who have already played this game on the Super Nintendo.



Value- I purchased this game online for a mere ten dollars. It is also packed with the excellent Final Fantasy IV. If you haven't played either of these games, I suggest you get it immediately and add it to your collection.



Overall-
This is a great RPG. It has many classic elements and adds a twist to how you progress a story in a RPG. The gameplay and customization is limited but fun, so if you are used to Grid Spheres, Job Class System, Licence Boards, or Materia Slots, this game may seem a bit simple. Combat is fun and it can be strategic, although the damage rate you inflict on enemies can seem inconsistent at times. The music is great, the story is interesting and straight forward, although it may seem a little underwhelming by todays standard. All in all, it has aged well and can stand next to most RPGs of today. If you have not experienced this game yet, I suggest you do, it is a great way to kill a couple of weeks, and if your a completist, it may take you months.

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