I have a big soft spot for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. It was one of my most played games on the Gamecube (right behind Phantasy Star Online) and I still consider it a really good dungeon crawler. The Switch version of the game has a lot of problems. It runs like shit, doesn’t have local coop (even though it SHOULD) and the desync is horrible. Despite all of that I’m still really enjoying the game. The soundtrack has held up really well and the gameplay loop is still fun. You enter a dungeon, kill a bunch of monsters, beat the boss at the end, rinse and repeat for about 60 hours (more if you’re leveling more than one character).
The problem is the performance. I could be doing something as simple as walking around and my FPS would tank. Playing multiplayer is no longer as simple as plugging in a separate controller. I have to navigate through multiple menus, enter a fucking password to the room I’m looking for, and team up with my wife for a few minutes until we reach the end of the dungeon. We spent more time trying to get multiplayer to work than we did actually playing the stage. It was horrible when back in the day all we had to do was connect another Gamecube controller and have a good time.
I’m not against online multiplayer. But you would think that Square Enix would’ve at least made sure the shit worked before launch. I had one session that had very little problems and we had a really good time fighting through the mine and making it to the boss at the end. As I mentioned above, the gameplay loop here is still fun 17 years later.
Is it dated? Yes, but is it bad? No. I don’t think it’s fair to compare this game to a game that launched recently because this is a Gamecube game we’re talking about here. The fact that the Gamecube version is better than the new and “improved” remaster is sad though. There is still fun to be had here though and the fact that it’s only $30 is really neat. I just wish Square Enix would’ve put some more love into the game before launch because it clearly wasn’t ready for release.
Graphically, this game looks a lot neater and has clearer textures than the Gamecube version, but it’s nothing drastic. This is a simple remaster with a fresh coat of paint. This is not a remake, but depending on how this game sells we could potentially see a sequel one day.
Whenever I boot this game up I get incredibly nostalgic. The diary system, random encounters on the world map, music, and even bare-boned story is fun to me. If Square Enix supports this game by releasing a few quality of life patches you’ll have a real winner here. The multiplayer and teamwork required to win in each dungeon is great. Planning out who will hold the chalice and who will do all tanking, healing, dps, etc is really neat. And I love that this game has crossplay. I can play with anyone on any platform. Even if they’re using their phone. It’s a neat concept that I wish more games would adapt because it makes no sense locking a community to one platform these days.
I have mixed feelings on Crystal Chronicles right now. On one hand, I like it because of the gameplay loop and soundtrack. On the other hand, it has a lot of technical problems and there’s no real reason why Square Enix should have removed local coop. I can’t introduce my kids to this game because of that missing feature. I would recommend waiting awhile before buying this game simply because of all of the technical issues it has right now. Yes, it’s only $30, but it’s a really buggy $30 game and that cash can go towards something else.