I recently played “Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles” again. It was actually my very first “Final Fantasy” game (at least, my first game with “Final Fantasy” in the title), but in my opinion, it’s not really a “Final Fantasy” game. It’s fun, but it’s really missing the great characters and complex storyline “Final Fantasy” games are known for. It still has Thunder and Blizzard and Tonberries (shudder) and Moogles, and it’s made by Square Enix, but that’s where the similarities end. (There’s not even Chocobos, but instead these dumpy blue things that pull your caravan everywhere.) It’s kind of an interesting idea, though. The land is covered in a deadly miasma, and each town has a crystal that protects them. The crystal needs myrrh in order to keep its power, so people go out and collect myrrh from special trees to bring back home. So that’s what you do.
It’s not quite as boring as that, though. For one thing, you have a bunch of characters to choose from. (They have no personality, but the variety is nice, at least.) Four different tribes, male or female, and different designs, which adds up to…a bunch. They have different abilities based on what tribe they are, and you can have up to eight. I originally had eight characters the first time I played, two of each tribe, one male, one female (like Noah’s ark), and it was a mess. I used them all about evenly, so they each leveled up about one eighth of the time, which resulted in weak, pathetic characters. I did not reach the end of the game.
Now every time I play, I only have one character, so they get all the experience. I’m kind of boring because I always, always choose the first male Yuke design. Yukes are good with magic, and I like Cure a lot, so I choose the Yukes. I like the first design for the dudes the most, and I don’t like the females. They have weird…chests. So yeah, always male Yuke 1. Usually named Nazca, after the Nazca Lines (which actually does exist in the real world and not the fantasy land I spend so much time in, check Wikipedia), because I thought it sounded neat. This time, though, I named him Vin after a character in “Jak II”, one of my favorite characters ever. This Vin is lacking the wimpiness of the character he was named after, though.
So anyway, on with the actual game. Well, the whole time, you visit different areas, fight enemies, beat a boss, and get myrrh from a tree. Then, a letter from home, and then you choose how you want to level up. You have to stay within the protective radius of your crystal chalice to stay safe the whole time, which you’d think would be a huge pain, but I don’t mind it that much. It makes the game unique, even if it can be a little bit annoying. The battles are fought in real time (as opposed to turn-based, which they normally use in “Final Fantasy” games), which is nice, and you can use magic all you want. You never ever run out. And sometimes while traveling between locations on the world map screen, you meet people. Usually boring people (“Want to stop and have lunch with us?” “Sure.” Done.), but I guess it’s nice to give that feel like you’re really traveling and stuff. Yeah.
And most importantly, the game is a lot of fun to play. There are interesting areas to explore, like Tida, a town whose caravan never returned and was overrun by miasma or the Lynari Desert, which holds a secret vital to the game. There is also very beautiful, unique music, often using instruments I can’t even identify. And the game can also be played in multiplayer, which I’m sure would be fun, but I never did. It’s just me and Mog all the time. (Mog is a Moogle that carries the crystal chalice for you in single player, but he gets tired and slows down, thus slowing me down and causing me inconvenience, the oaf. “Let me carry the chalice, kupo!” Two seconds ago you told me to carry it! And stop calling me “kupo”!)
Anyway, as you go through the game, eventually things start to happen. You venture out farther and farther from home. Meet more people. Learn of rumors. Several years into the game, you can finally reach levels that are actually important to the story. And the game suddenly becomes pretty neat. There are actually some characters and, gasp, a pretty decent story crammed into that last hour of the game that I found very interesting. I’ve only beaten this game twice so far, and it was so fun to find out there was more to this game than just collecting myrrh year after year. (If only they had done more with the rest of the game, it could’ve been really awesome.)
So anyway, I enjoy this game quite a bit. It’s different. It’s the game’s uniqueness that makes up for the lack of story or characters. (And like I said, I liked the ending. So that’s where the plot was hiding all this time…) It’s silly that I enjoy being confined by the small radius of the chalice, but I don’t mind it because of the simple fact that no other game I have does that. It’s simply a fun, different game. It could’ve been better, but it’s still pretty good. But, it’s not a “Final Fantasy” game. Not sure why it says that. Must be a typo.