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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time

Score: 93%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: RPG/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

I have not personally played any of the Final Fantasy games, but I have played quite a few of the Crystal Chronicles games available and loved every one of them. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time is the latest one to hit the market.

Graphically, I think that Echoes of Time is an improvement over the previous DS release, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates. It's not that the graphics were bad in Ring of Fates, but that they seem even more detailed in Echoes of Time. Everything just seemed so much sharper and more colorful in this game than in the previous one. The characters all still look the same though, which is nice. I like having familiar faces to start a game. This time you get to choose which character to play as and which additional characters you'll have in your party too.

The music is very pleasant to listen to. In the background, it just provides a nice flow. When there is something going on, like monsters present, you get different music to let you know of the change. The characters also make cute little noises when they attack. Each race and gender has its own sound that they make. Then there are little things like the noise when you pick something up, so that you can tell what's happening just by listening to things.


Gameplay:

Like most RPG's, in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, you play as a hero who's just come of age to be considered an adult. You have grown up in a village hidden deep in the forest away from all others. In fact, people in the surrounding towns consider the forest to be haunted and don't really even know there's a village there.

The story starts out on the day of your sixteenth birthday, the day you are considered an adult. After you complete your trials to earn your new status, a village child suddenly falls sick. There is no medicine in the village for the mysterious "Crystal Sickness," so you must travel to the neighboring village to find help. Getting the medicine is just the beginning of your journey, though. Once out into the world, you will have to find your own way. To do that, you'll need to wander around from place to place and talk to everyone you meet.

There are a lot of different things that you can do other than the main story in Echoes of Time. I recommend talking to everyone you meet multiple times since it can spark new quests for you. Quests are something that you do not have to do to complete the main story, but they can be quite a bit of fun and you will get some good items from some of them.

You can also have multiple characters in your party, up to 4 people total. You can control only one at a time, but you can swap between them very easily during battle. This makes it so that you can have one of each of the four races: the Clavats, the Yukes, the Lilties, and my favorite, the Selkies. I highly recommend you keep one of each simply because each race has their own particular benefits that you will end up needing to complete some puzzles. You can also play multiplayer with other players on DS or the Wii. Being able to play with a friend that you might not get to see is a great added bonus! I also really liked the fact that you can play multiplayer with people on the Wii as well. The only catch is that if you are playing with someone on the Wii and someone on the DS, the Wii has to be the host.


Difficulty:

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time is not the world's hardest game to play, but it's not one of the easiest either. Not only do you have to deal with fighting enemies, but you also have to figure out puzzles to get places. There are normal enemies and there are boss enemies. The normal enemies are usually easy to beat, but sometimes you have to figure out what exactly to hit them with. You've got several different magic spells and then your physical attacks. Some enemies are strong against physical attacks, but weak against a certain type of magic. Some resist magic, but can be killed with physical easily. You'll need to keep track of what enemy can be beaten quickest with what attack to make your game a lot easier.

The boss enemies can be a lot more difficult than regular enemies. They have a whole lot more hit points and a stronger defense. Each of them does have a weak spot, though, so if you can find it, you'll make the battle go by a lot quicker. Just like the regular enemies, it could be a certain type of magic that they are weak against. I recommend running away when they strike and hitting right after they swing. For the most part, their attacks are slow, so this will keep you alive long enough to figure out what the weakness is.

You do get maps of the areas to make your life a little easier, but sometimes getting to where you know you need to go can be very difficult! As I said before, you can have up to four people with you and the further you get in the game, the more important this is going to be. Some places can only be reached with certain characters. You'll need to learn the abilities of all four races if you're going to get through this game.


Game Mechanics:

The mechanics are relatively easy to get used to in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, but there are quite a number of them. Every single button on the DS, as well as the touch screen, has a purpose in the game. They don't really tell you what all of the buttons do in-game though, so I recommend you read the manual to get them all down. If you have played a Crystal Chronicles game before, the controls are basically the same. You'll be able to figure out the ones that aren't.

The only problem I found with the controls happened when you had extra characters in your party. They have a tendency to get in the way, so if you were trying to do something quickly, like push a block out of a gate, you ended up falling when they stopped you from moving correctly. Luckily, it doesn't really hurt to fall off the board. It just meant that you lost time, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but it is very frustrating!

So far I have really enjoyed every Crystal Chronicles game that I've played and I'm quite glad to report that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time is one of my favorites so far. The story is intriguing and the interesting gameplay and characters keep you coming back for more. I recommend you go pick it up today!


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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