‘Cris Tales’ review: a contemporary epic with a conscience, hung up on JRPG history


there’s a moment early in crystal Where protagonist Chrisbell – a genre-specific orphan, completely unaware of his origins or destiny – gains what will become his signature time-bending ability. It’s meant to be a moment of apotheosis, where the fearless heroine steps into power she’ll need to change the world, imposing some urgency and importance on the player. Instead, it is an indicator of one of the major problems affecting the game.

This moment, later referred to as a major event, is believed to occur when Chrysbell opens the Time Crystal, awakens as a Time Mage and has the ability to see the past, present and future all at once. acquires capacity. What actually happens on screen though Chrisbelle raises a rose in front of a stained-glass window.

Chris Tells. Credits: Dreams Uncorporated / SYCK

Longtime fans of the classic Japanese RPG – and we’re talking classics from the 16-bit era here – can take it in stride. It’s the kind of convention that shows up in countless games, where if you know the rules of the genre, you get it. To start the story Chrisbel needs powers, ego gets her powers and we can talk about how important it all was later.

Chris Tales developer Dreams Uncorporated and SYCK definitely get it – Colombian Indies seems set to make a love letter to old JRPGs, especially like Chrono Trigger and classic last dream. The problem is, being such fans themselves, they have assumed that everyone else playing will know the rules, understand the references, or similarly get it, even if the characters pop up with apparent gravity, but no one. There is no real introduction, or lore is discussed as if common sense, without any explanation.

The result is a game that – ironically, given the themes of temporal manipulation – is in a hurry to go somewhere, never really committing to the journey. It’s never completely isolated, but it’s often jarring, taking the player out of an otherwise immersive world. It’s a shame, as once you’re committed crystal’ To the world, it reveals a solid JRPG-style feel that respects the format with respect, while still offering some innovative twists.

crystal
Chris Tells. Credits: Dreams Uncorporated / SYCK

Like many of its forebodings, crystal’ Combat opts for a turn-based approach. Initially, this may sound very old-fashioned, but as Chrisbell learns the magic over time and builds relationships with his teammates, it becomes increasingly layered. You can send enemies into the past or future, for example, to send back stronger ghost warriors into runes or older soldiers, just to besieged each other.

As allies improve their powers, you can add to them to even greater effect – using Christopher’s water enchantment to soak up armored enemies, then casting them into the future so that their protection is nothing, or Planting a poison with another ally, Wilhelm, magnifies the harmful status effects, before using Chrysabelle’s time powers to make it bloom immediately. There are many combinations and applications, and many of them can be discovered through creative experimentation.

Outside of fighting, Chrisbell’s powers are more geared towards problem solving. With the past in the field on the left side of the screen and the future on the right, Chrysbelle — contained in the present — has a vantage point from which to correct injustice or prevent bad scenarios from passing. Sometimes, you’ll control Matias (a talking frog in a top hat, of course) to “time hop” into the past or future, collect information or bring important items into the present to change the timeline. .

crystal
Chris Tells. Credits: Dreams Uncorporated / SYCK

This is an area where crystal Really pleased. While there is a larger conspiracy to place the supposedly cosmic bets during the course of the game, it is often more concerned with mundane matters. During their journey, Chrisbell and friends join forces to defend exploited workers – forced to mine a valuable magical resource that only the upper class of a wealthy city enjoys. ​—that the future floods the Lower City—and pushing back against it hordes of vital drugs as often as they rip into bizarre fictional creatures.

Ideas for the future – and humanity’s power to change it for the better – is perhaps the central message of crystal. With just a little foresight and a willingness to act, anyone can help make the future better – no time magic required. Everything here may be shrouded in fantasy webs, but the metaphors are transparent, making it a game steeped in social conscience.

It also drives home the fact that choices have consequences – a choice that developers have made that would result in driving perfectionists crazy. Certain decisions, such as which house to save or which side to choose in an argument, change the entire course of the game, meaning you need multiple plays to see everything Chris Telles’ story has to offer. Will be

crystal
Chris Tells. Credits: Dreams Uncorporated / SYCK

Thankfully, if you choose to go for multiple runs, the game is at least a pleasure when you do. While the anime influences are obvious, this is no cheap or lazy attempt to jump on a popular aesthetic. Instead, crystal To create a truly unique visual approach, Superflat offers a grand approach to design and animation by combining anime sensibilities, including the art movement, pop-up storybooks, and developers showing their Colombian roots in the world’s architecture and fashion. It all sounds simple at a glance, but the more you look, the more you’ll appreciate it crystal’ rich details.

It’s also a treat to the ears, with a lovely suite of instrumental music that perfectly matches the spirit of every scene. Perhaps most impressive though is the English voice, which is above and beyond the quality of many real anime games. There are nuances and changes in every performance, even for the supporting characters who only appear briefly.

Unfortunately, all crystal’ The positivity may be lost on players who aren’t as big a fan of 16-bit JRPGs as the makers of Dreams Uncorporated and SYCK. The pacing is precarious – another temporary irony – striking an often frustrating balance between adventure and problem solving, with little freedom to go off-rails and explore. Who has higher expectations from JRPGs FINAL FANTASY XV from Final Fantasy VI There’s the potential for getting weirdly impatient here.

There is also a lack of polish in some areas. Battles happen randomly, but unlike the classics which crystal What it loves so much is that there’s no screenbreak or upbeat fight music to start an encounter with a slew of excitement, just the same loading screen you get when transitioning between regions. There are often typos in the onscreen dialogue as well, notably the town “Crystalis” sometimes referred to as the much less romantic “Crystalis”.

It’s weird to feel like a game was made by people who were huge fans of the genre, but this is where crystal Sits – a treat if you’re already over the tropes of it, but the developers forgot that not everyone is. The more polish and attention to detail, especially in those key story moments, would have made it for the ages.

We reviewed Cris Tales on PlayStation 5. It is also available on PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and Stadia. Now available on all formats.

Decision

Despite valiant attempts to link to the genre, crystal He never escapes under the weight of his influence. If you don’t have a particular passion for the era, or don’t want to get swept up in a decidedly old school adventure, crystal’ The attraction is likely to be lost on you. Though for the target demographic, this love letter is likely to be received with all the affection put by the developers.

professionals

  • Beautiful art style and great voice acting
  • Clever evolution of turn-based combat thanks to time manipulation
  • Fast Involved and Emotional Story

Opposition

  • Key details of the story missing
  • lack of polish
  • By fans, for fans – for better or worse



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