Earlier in the week, Billy previewed the multiplayer component of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time. While the game is best played cooperatively with friends, the single player portion will offer a great gameplayer experience with three AI characters.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronices: Echoes of Time Wii Footage
The game opens during an ominous dream of an evil man chasing a helpless girl to a crystal in a forest. After the vision, you wake up. It’s your birthday and your village requires you to enter the forest to complete your rite of passage into adulthood. Once in the forest, you’ll learn the basics of combat from a friendly Moogle (kupo!) and make your way toward the game’s first boss.
The boss is easy, but takes more damage from head attacks. Jump into the air and pummel him to death to move to the next area. Your rites end near a giant crystal (dream alert!) and you receive a small piece of crystal (get ready for a chronicle!) and the ability to leave the village. As a new adult, you are allowed to leave, while younger villagers are not.
Unfortunately, one of the younger girls in town falls ill and shows symptoms of “crystal sickness,” which no one has been afflicted with in a long time. Due to this, the medicine to cure the ailment is not kept on hand and it’s time to head out into the world looking for the cure.
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Thankfully, a curious German archaeologist (and a familiar figure from your opening dream) in the closest town can make the medicine if you defeat a monster in the town’s aqueducts. He shares that crystals do not exist in the world anymore and seems extremely interested in your small crystal.
The aqueduct is the game’s first dungeon and requires some puzzle solving, combat, and magic use. It’s a fun dungeon, but not too difficult. The puzzles generally require specific magic to be used, boxes to be pushed, or switches to be hit. Standard stuff, but they are put together well and varied enough.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time DS Gameplay
The game features some pre-rendered cutscenes with voice acting, but they aren’t all that much better than the in-game graphics. Sadly, the music ranges from good to annoying. The game also features scratch off mini-games that use the Wiimote or DS touchscreen to complete. These come on card items that drop off of enemies and can be equipped for temporary bonuses once the scratch puzzle is completed.
The game’s singleplayer is fun, but don’t go in expecting a full RPG experience. AI allies are passable, but will mostly just follow your lead. If you begin to cast cure, they will too. You can set each AI to a different strategy, but it isn’t anywhere near as robust as Final Fantasy XII’s Gambit system. This game is a multiplayer game at heart and really shines when four players are linked.
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time will be released on March 24, 2009 simultaneously for the Wii and DS. You can also check out our full gallery of screenshots here.