Generally speaking, there are two types of remasters and ports. There are those that bring iconic games forward for another generation to enjoy, something we’ve seen with Mario and Zelda, and those that make sure great experiences from the past aren’t lost. Both have their value, as there are many games I would love to re-experience without having to bust out my old system(s). And then there are games like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. As beloved as it was, it was largely due to concepts no longer present in the remaster. This could be worrisome and disappointing, even if it is unavoidable but is it a dealbreaker? With a new coat of paint and some cool concepts, is Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered one done with love or a shameless cash grab?
The core premise of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered is interesting, to say the least. You go through dungeons to recharge crystals and meet a number of interesting characters along the way who mostly exist to add depth to a rather shallow experience. Where characters try to stand out, it ultimately feels dull and lifeless, something the voice acting and other elements only increase. It won’t take long before you just want to fight monsters, an unfortunate feeling gave the story could’ve been so much more with more going on.
Perhaps the biggest issue with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered, despite lacking some of the best elements, is how lifeless the remaster is. Extremely dated character models and gameplay elements feel more tiresome than anything else. There are plenty of action games like this that are not just more fun, offer a lot more depth and variety. With limited moves and relatively simple concepts, such as staying within a spot or defeating enemies to progress, it feels like a painful slog over a fun adventure.
Those interested can opt to play with others and be frustrated together. Given the original was designed with people playing together at the same place in mind, a lot of the finer points are lost and you can get lucky and find someone good or unlucky and ultimately waste your time. Unfortunately, unless you play with a friend or track them down to invite to some kind of chat, they’ll probably fall short of expectations given only so much can be communicated with the in-game chat and resources. Best of all, there is little benefit for those joining and any issues can make it a waste of time, bringing into question how much longevity this adventure will actually have.
Thankfully, there are still some interesting elements. Progression is linked to which items you collect and what you choose following completion of the said dungeon. It motivates you to make it to the end and actually get better over-rely on just fighting peons and then overpowering the boss. It also has some puzzles and deeper mechanics as you progress, making it more than run, hit, avoid, repeat, even if it doesn’t step too far beyond that. There is also a lot of magic, items, and elements you can utilize, they just require more effort than you might be willing to put in.
After a while, there is gear, loot, materials and a lot of the standard RPG stuff, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered just suffers from the issue of modern games offering a bit more. I won’t touch on the original legacy, one that is rather favorable, it’s just, why revisit a game that may or may not have been great over a decade ago when there are 10 games that cost half as much and do things multiple times better? It’s a hard question and one that brings into question many elements of this remaster.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Verdict
Long story short, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered isn’t an awful game. Seriously, it isn’t, but it isn’t the best remaster around. It feels like it got a small touch up, a couple of modern features, a few edited dungeons, and gear to add something different. Without something to make it stand out, besides being a popular game in the past, it struggles to find value. For some revisiting a beloved game is enough, whereas others might opt for better experiences.
[Editor’s Note: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered was reviewed on the PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]