Yesterday, the folks at Square Enix stopped by to give me a tour into Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time for Nintendo DS and Wii. While today I can only talk about the multiplayer elements of the game, TheFeed will have a breakdown of the single player later this week. However, if the past games are any indication, multiplayer will be the main way you want to play this game.
Echoes of Time will be released simultaneously for the Wii and Nintendo DS. For the most part each, the versions are identical. The Wii basically emulates the Nintendo DS and gives you a dual screen view of the action where you can adjust the size of each window to your liking. The top screen is used for the gameplay, and the bottom screen of the DS is used for touch screen actions such as communication, and choosing between what kind of magic you want activated.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time Direct-Feed
Keep reading for more on the game's multiplayer component.
What initially made me excited about this game was the fact that you can play four-player cooperative games between Wii users and DS users over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. On paper that sounds great, however, it’s limited to the point of making the Wii version of the game useless. Only one Wii can be used in cooperative play -- with three other DS -- and it must be the host. You can play with four DSs, though, so all is not lost, but Wii users cannot play with other Wii users, which makes the situation almost as stupid as the original FF:CC where you had to wrangle up four GBAs, link cables, and sit huddled around each other. At least with Echoes of Time the developers got rid of the carrying of the magic bucket. Square Enix didn’t have an answer why this was the case, so I’m betting it’s something having to do with Nintendo’s usual online shenanigans.
However, I did roll through some quests and dungeons, and for a portable four-player cooperative experience, it was enjoyable. With the DS, you control your character with the d-pad, by tapping on the touchscreen with your thumbs you can tap quick preset chat phrases, or choose between your different magic spells such as fire, water, lightening, healing, and more. It works so well on the DS that I question whether or not you’d be just better off playing the game on the DS alone because of the touch screen functionality. Also worth noting, is that you can play the game with your friends using friend codes, games with people from your region, and international users, as well. Since communication is using preset chat phrases, translation is done automatically.
If Square Enix were smart it would just bundle the Wii and DS versions of the game together, because the way it stands now, I highly doubt that anyone that understood how the situation worked would only buy the Wii version, unless they didn’t have a Nintendo DS. Just like every other online Wii experience, it just makes me shake my head in confusion.
We'll have a more in-depth look on the single player aspect of the game this Friday, but for now, take a gander at our multiplayer adventures from yesterday.