In terms of the PS3 "port" of Chrono Cross...it's just straight up emulation and all the PS1 games on PS3 are, to my knowledge, emulated with their loading times and other issues intact. I think it was done because they'd have to actually do some work to make an emulator that allowed you to increase frame rate and decrease loading times without affecting gameplay. Some games have frame timing gameplay so can play sped up with quicker frame rates, and some games hide loads behind cinematics that may cut off or have other issues when you cut the load times, so the easiest way to make a maximally compatible emulator is to preserve those things. We all know how Sony feels about putting work into old titles.
I correct the typo and am aware that that the laziness of the PlayStation One Classic ports. The program was, for all intents and purposes an olive branch to fans when Sony shit-canned backward compatibility on the PS3. Sony being forced to retract their original shutdown of the old PSN stores is the exception to the rule and likely not a positive sign of things to come. I do not anticipate that the PSOne Classics program will pop up on the PS5 unless developers push for it.
When it comes to Square-Enix, they just have an incredibly inconsistent record. They only remaster or re-realse games in their tentpole franchises, but even then they don't go far enough. Shit, they cannot even be bothered to remaster the classic Dragon Quest games even if doing so would make them millions. But, what is especially distressing is how I think the company has completely forgotten how niche their games were back in the day. Sure, Final Fantasy VII put them on the gravy train, but some of their PS1 and PS2 games are just obscure and weird. I got a good chuckle when the SE USA Twitter account commemorated the 20th anniversary of The Bouncer and all of the comments were chastising the company for not have any version of the game playable on modern platforms.
And I have nothing against the properly done remasters like what they did for Final Fantasy IX, X, or XII. But anything pre-VII looks like shit because they always look like they are optimized for mobile phones.
Nice review. It's painful to hear criticism of this game though, because I remember loving it. That said, I remember *very little* of the overall plot or gameplay and your criticisms may be valid. I don't know what I'd think about it now, but at the time I quite enjoyed both the gameplay - battle system and exploration - and the story, for what it was, although I found it quite confusing at times. I just loved being in that unique and colorful world. And it goes without saying that the music is just goddamn amazing. I'd love to see a modern release that just up-resed everything and fixed the load time issues. (I didn't even remember load times being an issue here although I remember hating it in FFIX.)
I wouldn't call 80 people a "skeleton crew" though. That was quite a large team for the time I think.
Chrono Cross is obviously a game a lot of people played when they were young and at a time when time was irrelevant. Some of these dungeons I lambasted sound like something I would have happily toiled away at during along Summer day when I was a youth. That said, I do think the game's art style is a bit too busy for its own good. There are times when it is impossible to determine what is the foreground and what is the background. That is especially the case when the game messes around with its perspectives for puzzles or platforming bits. And HOT DAMN is the Temporal Vortex an unmitigated disaster to look at and navigate through if you don't have a guide.
Also, when I said "the game's team peaked at around 80 designers" I should have made it clear that Square-Enix continually cannibalized the game's dev team to send more manpower to work on Final Fantasy IX. Masato Kato has said in interviews there were times during the midpoint of development the team working on Chrono Cross dipped to the fifties because people were re-assigned to work on Final Fantasy IX instead.
For me, Chrono Cross was more about the experience than the "story", as it were. Even as a kid I knew that a main selling point being 50+ playable characters all with their own distinct dialects meant focus was a secondary concern. And the art design in this game, married with the music, is pretty remarkable. I got huge waves of nostalgia and dopamine looking at your screenshots. Also, it's a shame you didn't engage with the magic system a bit more! I get why it can come off as discouraging, especially early on, but it does paradoxically make the game both harder and easier if you try to game the color system.
Harder because there's a much greater risk reward, but easier because solid colors unlock summons and greatly enhance the potency of attacks, particularly the white/Holy elementals that are pretty crucial late game. In any case, as a kid with infinite time I really enjoyed pushing the boundaries of those systems, but then I was also somebody who played FF VIII 15 or so times just to goof around with the Draw system so...I'm broken somehow, probably. And this is all from that childhood memory, so who knows if I'd agree at all now!
That said, pretty much everything you said in this blog drudged up warm fuzzy feelings for me that I felt the complete opposite about, particularly the slow burn opening and the fact that the game is almost entirely side quests. I really dug that, especially considering the more the game focuses on what it's actually about the less it arguably has to say about anything at all, from what I remember.
Lastly, the One True Party is Serge/Grobyc/Norris even though Serge/Glenn/Anybody is the most iconic.
I understand the appeal of getting characters and checking out new abilities. What I continue to view as "the problem" is how everything in the game basically controls and levels exactly the same. Sure, there are a few characters that play differently. Nonetheless, the variety of playstyles is less than that of Chrono Trigger because the games doesn't know what to do with its enormous cast. Don't get me wrong, I had a little fun plopping every character into a battle once and checking out their abilities. Except, Sneff, who I thought was a disgusting racist caricature. I thought the summons were a complete waste of time. Once you get Diminish and Magnify you can basically one-shot everything in the game. The computer is always happy to give you a few turns before it fucks your shit up, so, when you pop those two status effects off, you can usually land a single high tier spell and wipe out everything. Likewise, the combat in Chrono Cross just doesn't reward experimentation enough.
I used Grobyc a lot and Norris until I felt like his AOE special attack was no longer scaling well. I used Starky way more than I am willing to admit and Razzly partly because I tried to convince myself that she was worth getting instead of Glenn.
Perhaps this says more about the time of my life in which I played Chrono Cross, but nothing Square has made since (including FFIX, which I’m pretty cold on) has taken hold of my imagination quite like it. I can’t disagree with anything the post notes; it’s a complete disconnect between the logical and emotional in my brain. As noted above, a messy failure is way more fun than a competent success.
I’m interested to see if you had issues using the Chrono Cross outside of the final battle. I had some glitch in my game that kept it from doing what it was supposed to, or maybe I completely misunderstood what it does. A version of this game where they fix the glitches, load times, and agonizing frame rate problems has been at the top of my wishlist for a long time.
I'll give it to Square, they sure have not made games as daring or creatively ambitious as Final Fantasy VIII or Chrono Cross! Both of those games really tried something different in the face of a beloved predecessor. Both are flawed but beautiful in their own right.
I got the "correct ending" the first time around. I even researched how to get the "secret endings" in the game.
@dijidiji: As someone who played 300 hours of Stellaris and then found the UI changes they made to be incomprehensible, I have to disagree. I can't play one of my favorite games anymore because they've changed everything about it. It's a Ship of Theseus at this point.
The UI is completely incomprehensible and the new mechanics they have tacked on since MegaCorp have completely de-emphasized previous playstyles. Additionally, I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate how you develop planets and collect resources nowadays. I thought the original planetary resource allotment system was way more simple and easier to use.
Once apron a time, I watched people spend a little over $100,000 for a card game company to dig a big, pointless hole in the ground...
Or what about that time when people paid money to watch David Jaffe shoot up an ice cream truck with a machine gun?
To the topic of the thread, I will agree that on paper, the video series seemly utterly inane. However, it's oddly hypnotic in the same way Storage Wars or any Discover Channel realty television show weaves you into its mystique.