I recently played and beat Chrono Cross, and let me tell you, it was quite a struggle. Due to a leveling up system where you really only level up when you beat a boss or when you fight the first few enemies after a boss, I had lots of frustration trying to defeat enemies that were just too tough for me, which was helped when I got the Mastermune, but still. I nearly quit the game several times due to this, and while I can now say that I did enjoy it, I still have mixed feelings about it. I loved the battle system, even though I didn’t like that most battles were pointless due to your stats never going up. I thought the story was interesting, while at the same time, I just couldn’t get attached to any of the characters. Continue reading What Makes a Game a Sequel?
How wonderful that we’re doing Listmas again this year, as it was quite a fun holiday, and I’m just a person who enjoys listing things, no matter what time of year that may be. This has been a crazy year for gaming, so I thought today’s list would be a list of the games I played this year. Look at me go!
- Rayman Legends, PS3, which somehow managed to top the masterpiece that came before it
- Final Fantasy VIII, PS1, a game that makes you want to conserve your magic at all costs, only to have it get periodically stolen during the final boss, the only time you feel like you can actually use it
- Final Fantasy VI, PS1, the inspiration for the first costume I ever made and for getting me into masquerade competitions
- Final Fantasy IX, PS1, a game I strangely couldn’t get into, even when, at the same time, it was pretty darn fun
- Chrono Trigger, PS1, a nice break from the turn-based RPG’s I had played up until that point and which included some pretty neat time travel
- Chrono Cross, PS1, which was both fun and the bane of my existence, considering they didn’t let you get experience from fighting most of the time, and the bosses could be so darn ridiculous
- Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, PS2, my second playthrough, but my first time completing Annihilation Nation and collecting all sewer crystals, thanks to a map I completely forgot existed before
- New Super Mario Bros U, Wii U, which I’m still in the process of playing, with much gusto
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Wii U, which is a lot like the prequel, which accounts for the lessened gusto and less motivation to complete it any time soon…
- Pikmin 3, Wii U, which makes fruit far more fun than I ever would have expected; I just wish Brittany would shut up
A Duck That’s Been Busy With Nonsense
As I’ve been saying, I have been busy catching up on a bunch of old games I was told were the duck’s quack, and one game I beat rather recently was “Chrono Trigger”, a game made by the same developers as “Final Fantasy”. The story involves our heroes traveling through time in their efforts to prevent the monster Lavos from bursting forth from the surface of the planet and causing the apocalypse. While I would have liked to have had a better main villain than a monster, I definitely see why people have so many good things to say about it. Continue reading I Don’t Have the Patience for Multiple Endings
Sometimes, I like to think about how things would be if I made different decisions. Like, if I had never decided to buy the PlayStation 2, my first venture outside my previously Nintendo-only domain, what games would I be playing now? What would my collection look like? I’m sure we all have times where there is a great game we didn’t plan on getting, but we ended up playing it because of what a friend said about it or because it caught our attention in the store during a search for a completely different game. And when this happens, I often think about how close I came to missing out on such a good game. And maybe we all do that, or maybe it’s just me. Because I think too much into things sometimes.
And when I get to thinking, I realize all manner of things. If I didn’t just happen to spot “Okami” and “Vexx” and decide to give them a try, I would have missed out on some fantastic games. And “Portal 2”, actually, was thanks to good things Cary and Hatm0nster said about it, or I would have never bought the game. (Thanks, guys.) Seriously, I saw it in the stores, and all I thought was, “That game sure has a weird cover”, and that was that. Then, I heard people talk about this game, looked it up one day, and there it was, a game I had seen before and just simply passed by. Small world. Or just, small video game section of the store. I dunno. But, it’s weird. Also, thanks to more good reviews on blogs I’ve read, I bought “Chrono Trigger” and “Chrono Cross”. Never heard of those games before, but now I own them, and I really look forward to playing them. Continue reading Great Games I Almost Missed
It was rather early in 2008 when Square-Enix announced their plans to re-release Chrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS. After playing through the fully upgraded visuals and new 3D perspective of Final Fantasy III, I was eager to see what sort of treatment Chrono Trigger would receive. Would Square-Enix rebuild the game with a 3D engine, or keep the visuals in 2D but re-draw all of the sprites? The soundtrack certainly deserved to be re-mastered, maybe even with a symphonic performance track. My head was buzzing with the thoughts of one of my favorite games being brought back and drastically improved.
Then the first screenshots came out and they were… the same as always. It seemed that the only changes being lauded by Square-Enix were the inclusion of anime-style cutscenes (which were already made for the PS1 port, and could be watched anytime on Youtube), an extra dungeon or two, and a Pokemon-esque battle arena. Hoo-freakin-ray.
Needless to say, I gave up on buying this seemingly lackluster port and moved on to other major releases in 2008. Nearly five years (and one massive sale) later, I decided to pick up Chrono Trigger DS and complete yet another playthrough of a classic RPG. What I found upon this tiny cartridge was not just another lackluster rom-dump of an old game, but the perfect version of a Super Nintendo classic.
Right from the start of the game, there are two new options that take advantage of the design of the DS. The first of these is using the touch screen controls to navigate the game menus and commands. The second gives the option of playing with all of the menus displayed on the lower screen of the handheld, leaving the actual game world on the top screen. This is huge. Chrono Trigger is well-known for its distinct art style by Akira Toriyama, and being able to enjoy the game’s visuals without any sort of menu clutter is an excellent upgrade. All of the memorable battles and gorgeous sprite work were presented like never before, and I was able to appreciate the art from a new perspective.
The story has been expanded to a degree as well. A fresh translation was completed and included, which provides a more accurate and fleshed-out narrative. This means that all of the “cafes” from the SNES version have been transformed back into taverns and pubs, and any sort of mature content/dialogue has returned, which certainly gives the cast of characters more depth. The cutscenes add a bit of flair to the game, and run quite nicely on the DS. Furthermore, an extra ending was added, which creates stronger ties from the game to its pseudo-sequel, Chrono Cross. All of this is topped off with an in-game encyclopedia which catalogs and details every enemy, boss, item, and ending as the player encounters each one.
So far, this post must seem like nothing more than a roaring endorsement of Chrono Trigger DS (guilty as charged), but what I am really trying to get across is that this game serves as a template more publishers should follow when re-releasing older titles. Instead of simply providing players with a fancy emulator to play old games, companies should be piling on special treatment to these classics. Imagine downloading a game from the Virtual Console or PSN Classics and receiving tons of concept art, developer interviews, or even the original instruction manual for a game. Planning to release an HD collection of games from the Playstation 2? Include the original versions, voice actor interviews, bonus games; really the sky’s the limit with this stuff. It may cost a bit more to add these tidbits to a re-release, but the content is certainly worth it and I am ready for video games to receive the same fanfare and treatment as the film industry.