12. Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross PlayStation Front Cover

Developer: Square
Publisher: Square
Year: 1999
Platform: Playstation, Playstation 3, PSP

I never finished Chrono Cross thanks due to a bug (either with the game or with my disc) that left me perpetually stuck in one area. I thought about not ranking this game, but from what I played, I know I would rank it at least this high. Perhaps if I finished it (which I won’t, I’m sure) it would rank higher. Regardless, it’s a nice follow-up to Chrono Trigger that excels in everything except that I never felt fully engaged with the story.

Like Chrono Trigger, our tale involves manipulating events to affect how things play out somewhere else. This time, instead of going to the past and to the future, you travel between parallel timelines, including one in which your character is supposed to be dead. It’s an intriguing mystery, for sure. However, I never quite felt there as I couldn’t come to care about any of the characters. There are 45 playable characters, a truly massive amount. As such, not a lot of time is spent on character development. I was also annoyed by some of the accents characters talk with. I was able to get past this and enjoy the game, at least until the bug hit me.

Chrono Cross PlayStation Cool feature: choosing different attacks with different hit percentage

Chrono Cross does have one of my favorite RPG experience and battle systems. Rather than gaining experience points, your characters can choose which areas to upgrade after battles; eventually these gains become static until you beat a boss and have increased capacity. Weapons and armors are forged by blacksmiths with materials you find; you don’t just give all your hard-earned money to people. The battle system itself is heavily influenced by the idea of elements. While this isn’t foreign to RPGs, this becomes the core of Chrono Cross. Enter a colder area of the map? Fire becomes more powerful, ice weaker. Et cetera. Another part I like about the battle system is that much more strategy is required, making mindless button pushing less likely. Your stamina decreases the more powerful of an attack you decide to use. Make weaker attacks, and you can attack more quickly. Weaker attacks also have a higher percentage of landing. It makes battles feel just a bit more realistic.

Chrono Cross PlayStation Isn't she something? ;D

I also enjoyed most of the visuals in the game. It’s one of the more appealing RPGs on the Playstation. There’s still a bit too many polygons, but it’s a huge stepp-up from Final Fantasy VII. The music is fine from what I remember. I’d recommend it to fans of Chrono Trigger. For those who liked finding multiple endings in that game, there are plenty more available to you here with the New Game + options.

2 thoughts on “12. Chrono Cross”

  1. I love this game (and with 45 playable characters, it’s a tiny thing compared to the Suikoden series, where each game gives you the chance to recruit 120 members. There’s a whole cottage industry for character-recruitment RPGs, actually). It was way more plot-driven than character-driven, and to some degree it spends enough time on the right characters and leaves others way in the background. It doesn’t do this nearly as well as Suikoden, though, which has 120 characters but smartly focuses the story on maybe six of them, at most.

    The character voices didn’t bother me at all. I found most of them amusing.

    Josh Mitchell played this game and named all the characters after friends of his. He made me the main character, partially because I’m his best friend but mostly because the main character had unkempt hair and a red bandanna, which was my deal at the time. He called him “Wells.” In the opening scene Kid yells out to the lead as well as to the air pirate Fargo. She goes, “Wells! Fargo!” and Josh laughed so hard he had to set down the controller and leave the room.

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