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Chrono Trigger is widely regarded as one of the greatest RPG's, SNES titles, and just games in general. It was originally released in 1995. That was eighteen years ago and those who were fortunate enough to have played it upon its debut probably have extremely fond memories of it. Nostalgia plays a massive factor for gamers' love for classic games. I was not fortunate enough to play Chrono Trigger back in 1995 and but I had always heard wonderful things about it and recently decided it was time to check it out for myself. After little effort, I learned that those who still wish to play this fondly remembered title from the 16-bit era have many options to do so. I settled for purchasing the Final Fantasy Chronicles package which can be found on Amazon for a very reasonable price. What ensued was a RPG that I couldn't be happier experiencing. So without further ado, here are my thoughts on the epic game that is Chrono Trigger (minus nostalgia).
I wanted to know if this “masterpiece” was really as good as people give it credit for, or if it doesn't hold up all that well today. The answer is simple. Even with all the high quality, triple A video game experiences available today, Chrono Trigger is still amazing.
There is really so much to love here but I will start with the visuals. It's no secret that 16-bit graphics still hold up pretty well to this day (way better than the early 3D ones from the PSOne generation). Everything from character sprites to the environments are filled with color and detail. Another huge deal for me is the fact that Akira Toriyama was the lead artist. I am not afraid to admit that I am a huge Dragon Ball fan and Toriyama's art style in this game reminded me of much of his work from his anime and manga.
I have a similar love for the music. Nobuo Uematsu from Final Fantasy fame was the secondary composer and I found myself reminiscing some of my favorite Final Fantasy tracks after hearing his contributions to this game. I enjoyed all the music but I have to say that the Trial theme was my favorite. I fell in love with it from the moment it started playing.
Story is a big deal in most RPG's and Chrono Trigger's was a fantastic one. Time travel is the star here and while it can be hard to tackle, the developers nailed it. Throughout the game you are constantly changing time periods but the plot never once gets too confusing or complex for one to get discouraged in following it. The more it all opened up the more I became enthralled with it. And I am sure that everyone knows about the excellent New Game Plus feature and multiple endings by now. All of this just gives fans more reason to keep playing even after they've finished it.
I found the characters to be well developed and fleshed out and there wasn't one that I found myself disliking. The game does a good job of forcing you to use every member of your party for at least some time until you get a feel for who you like the most and want to primarily stick with. NPC's are also memorable, giving the world much more depth. Fresh enemy types are always being thrown at you and their designs are creative and interesting.
This brings me to the next big component of an RPG; combat. The battle mechanics here are simple to understand and don't go into much depth compared to most others in the genre but there is still enough here to not get bored with. A big factor here is the ability to combine characters' attacks together, creating better ones. I was always in for a pleasant surprise when I had a new party member so I could see what kind of attacks I could create with a new arrangement of characters. Subtle strategies in defeating both common monsters and bosses help keep you thinking as well. The game does a good job of not constantly throwing you into the same encounters and feeling repetitive. Bottom line; the combat is simple but entertaining.
Difficulty-wise I have mixed opinions. Solely referring to the battles that you partake in, I felt that they were overall pretty easy. I didn't get many game overs and if I did I usually was just being dumb, not paying enough attention or feeling too cocky. I almost always felt overpowered compared to my enemies. Even when I entered a new area I didn't feel like the creatures were very challenging, with little exception. Most of the boss battles weren't that tough either. For the most part, their attacks didn't really threaten me. It just seemed like they kept having larger HP values, thus taking longer to kill them. That's just my opinion.
I DID frequently use a strategy guide however. This was mostly due to the fact that I didn't always know where to go. I know games have become a lot easier these days, with most experiences holding gamers' hands. This wasn't as common back in the SNES days and I could definitely feel that fact with this game. To me, it wasn't always obvious enough where I was supposed to go. I know if I would've shown a little more patience it wouldn't have taken me much longer but I was enjoying myself so much that I just wanted to progress and didn't want to waste my time wandering in the wrong direction because another plus about this game is that you are able to access many areas before you are meant to. Another reason why I found having help was necessary was due to the fact that you are changing time periods so frequently and you need to know which one you need to be in for specific events to occur. So I wouldn't call this a hard game by any means but I would recommend using a strategy guide or FAQ just to help direct you along. I think it saved me some frustration that I just didn't want to deal with it in this game.
Lastly I will touch on duration and the amount of content. I suppose compared to most other RPG's, this game isn't that long but I still found the length to be very adequate. I ended up clocking in a little over 23 hours into my playthrough and was satisfied with all of that time. Random fact: I also ended up saving 123 times in total. Toward the end of the game you can begin to tackle side quests. There are seven major sidequests in total and I felt that each one should have been a mandatory chapter of the game. None of the content provided within them had any less quality than the rest of the main game. I was glad I decided to do them all. It gave me a chance to level up my characters and get their ultimate weapons and equipment. By the time I was done I felt adequately ready to take on the end game fights. Each one also provided more back story for the characters that I had grown to love and I was genuinely interested in learning more about them. I highly recommend those who still have yet to play this game to also do these sidequests once they become available.
To wrap things up I am immensely glad I finally picked up Chrono Trigger even after eighteen years since it's release. The game still holds up to this day and is definitely deserving of “classic” status. I would highly recommend it and have no problem saying that if you are a RPG fan this is one you must have under your belt. I am very pleased with playing it on the PSOne through the Final Fantasy Chronicles bundle. There is some minor slow down at times but I still think it's a great port since not everyone is able to get a hold of a SNES these days. The addition of some very well done animated cutscenes is a nice bonus too. I am not going to give this game a traditional 1-10 score for a number of reasons. I will just say that if I had to it would be very high and any gamer who is serious about experiencing important games throughout this industry's history should play this one.
I would love to hear any comments you guys have regarding this classic. I realize I am extremely late to the party here with this one but I'm glad I've taken care of that now. I welcome reading anything the GI community would like to share with me about the wonderful masterpiece that is Chrono Trigger. Also if there are others who have yet to play it I would love to hear from you too! Are there any out there who favor Chrono Cross over this? I also do plan on playing that one too.
Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!