Square (now a part of Square Enix) was responsible for some of the greatest JRPGs (and, some may argue, RPGs in general) that have ever graced our consoles. Having found both critical and commercial success across a variety of titles including Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and more, there is no denying that Square knew what they were doing, and did it well. Arguably one of their most worthwhile efforts (read as: ONE of their most worthwhile efforts, not necessarily their MOST worthwhile effort) was the sequel to their critically acclaimed Chrono Trigger: a PSX game called Chrono Cross. Now, Chrono Cross has been made available in its PSX form for download on PSN.
Just like most of these re-releases from Square Enix and others, Chrono Cross is the same game on PSN that it was on PSX. The graphics are unchanged, the cinematics are unchanged, the soundtrack, etc., all unchanged. If you’ve played Chrono Cross before, there’s nothing new for you here, just a fantastic game in a new medium.
If you haven’t played Chrono Cross, you’ve been missing out on one of Square’s most important titles (again, read as: ONE OF, not THE). Chrono Cross takes a story involving parallel dimensions, throws in over 40 playable characters, intricate and powerful magic and combat systems, an overworld map with visible encounters, a new game + mode, and more. While it sounds like a lot to take on, it all weaves together seamlessly, creating a mindblowing experience with incredible amounts of depth and replayability.
Serge finds himself transported to a parallel world where his parallel self died a decade ago. While trying to determine the circumstances of his parallel death, he falls into events that lead him into a mission to save the world. From time travel, dimensional travel, body switching, time paradoxes, causality, and more, Chrono Cross leads you through a twisting tale with surprises around every corner. This story is definitely one of the most complex and ambitious tales told in the medium, and it is told astoundingly well. On top of that, the 40+ playable characters are all unique in their mix of abilities, personalities, and even voice acting. An inordinate amount of time went into making the story and the characters a strong point of this game, and it’s something that needs to be looked at as a lesson of how to do things right.
The combat system is semi-realtime. It’s based off of stamina points, with weak, medium, and heavy attacks using one, two, and three stamina points each, respectively. As long as a character has a stamina point remaining, they can launch an attack. This is true for the enemies as well, which can result in some of your attacks being interrupted by your opponents. Magic is also based on the stamina system, but requires the full seven stamina points to cast. Additionally, magic has to be built up first by successfully landing weak, medium, and heavy attacks, resulting in an interesting co-dependent balance between combat and magic. The magic system is based on elemental colors that have contradictory colors (black and white, blue and red, yellow and green), with each character having an affinity for a particular element type, and with each element type being most effective against its polar opposite.
The only complaints for Chrono Cross come from its controls. You are hard locked to the D-Pad for controls, with no customization options to change to sticks. This may be a bit uncomfortable for people now who have gotten so used to playing without the directional pad, especially since most controllers are now designed to place the joysticks in the most comfortable natural position for the left thumb.
Chrono Cross is one of (ONE OF) Square’s greatest hits, by far. The scale of the story, and the success in which it is told, make this a fantastic game to experience. The sheer quantity of playable characters and the number of potential endings give you fantastic replay value to go through and see the story in whole new ways. The combat and magic system are a treat to learn and manipulate as you go through the world, avoiding every battle or joining in all of them depending on how you choose to navigate the map. Could the controls be better? Yeah, if an option were provided now to let players use the joystick. Is it a dealbreaker? Not on your life. This is a game to play, end of story.
|40+ playable characters|
Complex and riveting story
Great attack and magic system
|No control customization options|
Movement is limited to D-pad, no sticks