Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
And you thought Dirge of Cerberus was stupid! The Crystal Bearers is the worst game I have played that bears the once sacred Final Fantasy name. Despite the series’ reputation, don’t believe for a second there is anything remotely role-playing about Crystal Bearers; it is a generic action game through and through, with a few Final Fantasy monsters tossed in to lure unsuspecting fans.
I had high hopes going into this game. I wasn’t a big fan of the previous Crystal Chronicles entries, but I thought that moving away from the co-op centered gameplay toward a single-player, story-driven experience would put Crystal Bearers in territory where Square Enix has more expertise. Instead, players get a mishmash of awful mechanics delivered alongside a predictable and obvious story.
The worst of it comes in combat, where players are tasked with targeting objects and enemies and flinging them around using telekinetic powers. Thanks to the imprecision in registering motions, you can never count on your actions being interpreted properly. When I managed to grab a rock and throw it at the enemy I intended, it felt more like luck than skill. Rather than wrestle with this problem, the development team just decided to make everything painfully easy, removing the challenge altogether. This also holds true during occasional minigame breaks, where you do things like fly airships and surf down tunnels. You can’t fail these events, but the game keeps track of your times so you can (ugh) go back and try to beat your score.
I wish I could say that the story makes the suffering worthwhile, but that would be a dirty lie. After a cool introductory sequence, things go downhill immediately. Players will have the whole plot figured out light years before the moronic main character, and every member of the supporting cast got on my nerves. The dialogue is particularly heinous, with stilted and wooden exchanges that make you wince every time anyone opens their mouth.
To its credit, Crystal Bearers hits its target graphical style dead on, with cool character designs and a world that fuses fantasy and technology in visually interesting ways. Unfortunately, you would actually have to play the game to enjoy the art, and that is something I just can’t recommend to anyone.