Forum > Gaming Discussion > FFCC: The Crystal Bearers (Wii) Reviews coming in - from 5.5 to 8/10
FFCC: The Crystal Bearers (Wii) Reviews coming in - from 5.5 to 8/10
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Wed, 23 Dec 2009 21:10:00

phantom_leo said:

Yeah, I know about the low end of the spectrum, but the high scores... not justified... there's difference of opinion, but there's REALLY no reason why this game should get above a 7. This is just barely an average game. If it didn't have Final Fantasy in the title, 5's would most likely be the norm right now.

It would have to do something RADICALLY different from what I have seen so far for me to trust ANY positive review.

You'll have to trust me on this one 'til you get a chance to play it.

I could be wrong, BUT...

I dunno, if you want to find a reason for why they would rate it over a 7 then just look through their reviews. It's pointless to quote what's already on the page. Most of the praise seems to stem from its production, polish and experimentation, as well as wealth of things to do.

The flaws seem to be no map, dodgy camera, sometimes iffy motion controls and disparate mini-games all over the shop.

There are similar impressions on GAF from real gamers who hate it like you do and others who like it like some reviewers do (see previous pages here for a few). It sounds from what I hear that you have to diverge from the main story and experiment in the overworld to get your fun.

Edited: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 21:15:21

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Wed, 23 Dec 2009 21:36:20

gamingeek said:

phantom_leo said:

Yeah, I know about the low end of the spectrum, but the high scores... not justified... there's difference of opinion, but there's REALLY no reason why this game should get above a 7. This is just barely an average game. If it didn't have Final Fantasy in the title, 5's would most likely be the norm right now.

It would have to do something RADICALLY different from what I have seen so far for me to trust ANY positive review.

You'll have to trust me on this one 'til you get a chance to play it.

I could be wrong, BUT...

I dunno, if you want to find a reason for why they would rate it over a 7 then just look through their reviews. It's pointless to quote what's already on the page. Most of the praise seems to stem from its production, polish and experimentation, as well as wealth of things to do.

The flaws seem to be no map, dodgy camera, sometimes iffy motion controls and disparate mini-games all over the shop.

There are similar impressions on GAF from real gamers who hate it like you do and others who like it like some reviewers do (see previous pages here for a few). It sounds from what I hear that you have to diverge from the main story and experiment in the overworld to get your fun.

I know it's not your opinion I am questioning, but don't those things kinda contradict each other?

I don't HATE the game. There is fun to be had. It's just a difficult game to LOVE.

I'll have to play some more. I am planning on doing so the day after X-Mas. My opinion may change, but so far to me (at least) the majority of scores seem over-inflated.

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Thu, 24 Dec 2009 10:55:24

phantom_leo said:

gamingeek said:

phantom_leo said:

Yeah, I know about the low end of the spectrum, but the high scores... not justified... there's difference of opinion, but there's REALLY no reason why this game should get above a 7. This is just barely an average game. If it didn't have Final Fantasy in the title, 5's would most likely be the norm right now.

It would have to do something RADICALLY different from what I have seen so far for me to trust ANY positive review.

You'll have to trust me on this one 'til you get a chance to play it.

I could be wrong, BUT...

I dunno, if you want to find a reason for why they would rate it over a 7 then just look through their reviews. It's pointless to quote what's already on the page. Most of the praise seems to stem from its production, polish and experimentation, as well as wealth of things to do.

The flaws seem to be no map, dodgy camera, sometimes iffy motion controls and disparate mini-games all over the shop.

There are similar impressions on GAF from real gamers who hate it like you do and others who like it like some reviewers do (see previous pages here for a few). It sounds from what I hear that you have to diverge from the main story and experiment in the overworld to get your fun.

I know it's not your opinion I am questioning, but don't those things kinda contradict each other?

I don't HATE the game. There is fun to be had. It's just a difficult game to LOVE.

I'll have to play some more. I am planning on doing so the day after X-Mas. My opinion may change, but so far to me (at least) the majority of scores seem over-inflated.

From what I've read they mean polish to the production values hence audio and visuals. Map and controls comes under mechanics and controls.

You should check the GAF thread, eve the guys who like it do so with provisos and generally give it between 7.5 and 8/10. There is one dude who 9/10s it.

A lot have very similar impressions to your own though.

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Thu, 24 Dec 2009 14:33:48

Batberg GAF impressions

Anyway, just to throw out some very brief things I'm enjoying and things which I'm not.

POSITIVES

  • The presentation is top-notch. Graphically the character models are stunning, the environments are unique compared to the typical "ice level/fire level/forest" with locales like a pirate bay, a vineyard, a monastary, etc., and are really brought to life by an excellent artistic vision. Moreso than this I don't think I've seen a single loading screen in the game, so all the transitions feel fantastic, and all the cutscenes are rendered in real-time.
  • The music is incredibly diverse, with bluegrass, rock, folk, piano-led jazz, and most of it is wonderful - including some wonderful remixes Happy I am also a fan of the voice acting, and though I know some people have been down on it, I think it's stellar and everybody is perfect (except maybe Vaigali, who is barely in the game anyway).
  • The different reactions you can get with enemies (or in playing with the NPCs) is really great. Not everything you think will happen will, but there's a lot of room for experimenting and it feels really rewarding to discover something new to do with an enemy, or finding a new one that you can use the power of (examples: Goblin Samurai swiping his sword, Cactuar using 1000 Needles).
  • The story and characters are great. This is definitely one of the more subjective ones, but I think this is one of the better Final Fantasy stories out there for sure - not necessarily because it's so dazzlingly original or anything, but just because I like the characters and the story is small enough to be fully realized.
  • There is a surprising amount of content. I'm only 14 hours into the game, and I figured I would have already beaten it by now, but I'm still pushing on, not quite finished with the story, and only have about 45% of the medals. Additionally there is the promise of a new game+ which lets you carry stuff over and has new cutscenes.
  • It is addictive. This is like crack. And it only gets better with time.


NEGATIVES

  • The controls. Most people argue the camera as the main offender, but it honestly only bothers me very rarely - the IR/motion combo is the prime suspect for unenjoyment for me. After about 6 or so hours I had fully come to terms with the unwieldy method of picking up enemies/items and throwing things about, but that's just too fucking much.
  • The beginning of the game (first 2 hours or so) are kind of poorly paced, though the rest of the game makes up for it. But here it will feel like half of the game consists of nothing but mini-games.
  • The map is utterly useless. Thankfully I don't think this is much of a problem, as I love exploration and never really needed it besides checking the intended destination, and the world isn't that big, but this does bother some people.
  • The battles have a time limit on them. To elaborate: you have something like 5-10 minutes to beat the enemies if you wish to collect the myrrh (which gives you one additional health point). If you do not, the level reverts to its NPC/safe form, and you have to wait about five fucking minutes to do it again. A true pain in the ass, and one of the worst design decisions I could imagine. This is honestly the only part of the game that I felt had been "casualized", and it is a fucking killer.
  • Missed opportunity. Why do I have to use a context sensitive jump button - why can't I just jump? Presumably it's because the camera can not handle platforming, but that just doesn't cut it for me. Why are there so few reactions, so that when I expect something cool to happen nothing does? Why does the information scrolling on the bottom of the screen disappear if I pick up an enemy or item or do pretty much anything? More importantly, why didn't they get the woman from FFCC to voice these again? Sad This game... has a shit ton of missed opportunity. Always inches away from greatness.


Verdict: On the whole I would only feel safe recommending this game to those who already feel like it is something they would enjoy. If you are on the fence about it, I would say wait for it to hit the bargain bins or rent it, or just forget about it. The game is not going to impress the masses. It has a plethora of excellent ideas, but many are not delivered on, and others are going to be hit-and-miss with people. It just so happens this game has hit all the right buttons for me. While I wouldn't disagree with the review scores pegging it as a 7-7.5 or whatever, for me, personally, it's been closer to a 9, and one of my favorite games this year

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Thu, 24 Dec 2009 14:36:25

Cosmic Blizzard GAF impressions

Just beat it clocking out at 12 hours and 28 minutes. Cinematically, the final boss was amazing. The fight itself was just okay, but I think the crazy visuals definitely made it memorable. The ending itself was nice albeit a bit cliche.

Overall, this game is a solid 8.0 from me. The world is very fun to explore and the music is top notch. The gameplay itself, as others have put it, is very unrefined, but it isn't hard to look past the flaws once you get used to the controls. Even the mini-game events were very fun and really added an extra layer to the interactive storytelling.

I'll admit that expectations for this game were waaaaaaaay too high. Even I was too enthusiastic. However, I still found this game fun as hell and even a bit addicting. While it may not hold a candle to a numbered release like some people were expecting, it definitely should not be written off as just another crappy mini-game fest, especially by fans that were looking forward to it.


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Mon, 28 Dec 2009 01:52:01
Lilties
Lilties


Clavats


Selkies


Yukes

______________________________________________

These are the four races of the Crystal Chronicles universe. They all have a Crystal of their own. A great war happened before the events of the game and the Yukes were wiped out and their crystal destroyed. The Lilties, apparently, "won." The Clavats seem to be the mercenary/work-horses of the world now. The Selkies keep to themselves and/or generally cause trouble for the Lilties.

The game starts with Layle (Clavat) and his partner protecting a Royal Cruise Ship. It is attacked, mid-flight by a female Summoner (Yuke) by the name of Goldenrod. Since the destruction of their crystal and their land, the Yukes were banished to a realm between worlds, but somehow Goldenrod escaped.

You spend (at least what I've seen so far) the game pursuing Goldenrod.

The game flow tends to be Mini-Game Intro > Open Field Exploration > Town Exploration > Dungeon Exploration > Repeat

Magic has been outlawed in this new Liltie regime and the few people who possess latent Crystal powers are usually frowned upon and are referred to as Crystal Bearers. Layle is one of them. He has mastery over the powers of Gravity. What this means is he can generally manipulate objects of the world telekinetically. He can push or pull his targets or generally toss them around. Falling, gliding, and leaping great distances also seem to be within his abilities also. You never really control these things directly, but he can also power Crystal charged vehicles/machinery/stuff with his magic.

The gameplay is split into two main forms of action: Battles and Mini-Games. Now, I don't know about you, but I generally did not like the mini games in most of the Final Fantasy games. With MAYBE the exception of the Card Games, the mini-games got in the way of the real gameplay to me and were never really all that fleshed out. Cloud Snowboarding, for example... Yuck. The Motorcycle Sequences... Why? Imagine a game comprised almost entirely of THOSE...! You have to steer a Crashing Cruise/Air Ship through a valley for example, or Glide down a river using Layles powers, collecting White Flags as you go. Why? Ummm. Dunno! Why not?

The Battles can be creative, but they are very limited. You see a Flan and an Electric Jelly Fish, for example. You can toss these enemies around individually for a while til they die. You can use the environment against them (toss boulders or barrels at them) --OR-- here's the clever part... Throwing an Electric Jelly Fish against a Flan electrocutes it and it is killed that much quicker... and you usually gain a medal for doing something creative like that. The problem here is, most areas only have one or two enemy types, so it's not in the figuring out of what you need to do, it's all in the actually accomplishing it. Having a large variety of enemies roaming around and seeing how ALL of them would interact would be great, but this game makes it too easy! Most of the time you are struggling with the controls, NOT with a tough enemy!

Even that isn't consistent though! I was struggling against a Demon Wall early in the game. I COULD NOT beat it! The controls were too slow, the time was too short, and Layle kept on getting knocked over. The game saved after I lost to it, so I THOUGHT I would never be able to earn the medal for defeating the damned thing. As it turns out, You CAN return to fight it later and earn the medals... How in the hell was I supposed to know that? I almost gave up on the game entirely due to that! Not a great idea, Square!

The game sets up pretty epic battles. Goldenrod summons Bahamut on you, for example. Even that battle is pretty scripted, though, with your partner yelling out clues to you on how to defeat him. The boss battles tend to rely on a single gimmick; discover that and fight with the controls to make it happen; move on to the next area.

The areas between towns switch between Friendly and Monster Infested as time passes. Defeating all the enemies in the area and closing a Miasma Stream earns you a...? ...Heart Container... I forget it's actual name, but that's basically what it is!

You also get medals for clearing these areas as well. Which leads me to motivation: Casual/Modern Game Players will be motivated to play this game to collect the bazillion medals. Though it can be fun and addicting sometimes, for me it's just not enough. A great Final Fantasy is pushed along by a great story and so far this game just doesn't cut it. Yes, Goldenrod is all mysterious; Yes, you start to wish to find out the fate of the Yukes and (possibly?) lend a hand in resurrecting their Crystal... The problem is you have to do this as Layle (and Layle alone)... So far Layle is a Douche. He's pompous, bored and generally unlikeable. What's worse, the game starts with him leaping from an airship to fight Monsters mid-air and him being all over-excite-able but quickly does a 180 and makes him seem like he's bored and can't be bothered half the time. WTF Square? Make up your mind!

I've played twice as much of the game since the last time I posted, and I STILL don't know how I feel about it! I've had moments of enjoyment, and I'll admit, as you start to craft a few items in the game, Layle's powers improve and this makes the controls a bit better... but fixing a broken control scheme shouldn't be a gameplay element!

Truth is, I don't know where I am going with this post; I wanted to put up more impressions, but realized some people may not know about the "history" behind this series... There's a fully fleshed out back story, but, like me and this game, Square can't figure out what to do with it all!

I'll post more as I gather my thoughts...



Edited: Mon, 28 Dec 2009 01:53:40
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Mon, 28 Dec 2009 17:37:59

Goldenrod LOL

Thanks for the impressions Leo it sounds like a very, fragmented experience. What I hate is that there is no map for one, but also that I hear battles have time limits on them and then respawn if you fail but only after you wait around for 5 minutes. Weird.

Otherwise I hear from most others that the story is good and the events like snowboarding and stuff sound very much like Disaster Day of Crisis, which is a good thing in my book.


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Mon, 28 Dec 2009 19:39:49


Does this help Leo?

GAF:

Game is actually pretty fun. The graphics and soundtrack are really top notch, and the controls when set to sensitivity level 5 (highly recommended, just like setting controls to expert in Metroid) work 100% of the time....and you really arent beat over the head with motion controls. Camera angles can get in the way at times, but if you just play like playing Zelda (use the camera center button whenever exploring/fighting) it works just fine.

Layle is a cool main character (seems like a normal guy...just with TK power) and the opening was really nice (guess the medal shows you can play that in co-op later). Havent experienced any slowdown yet, and the combat is really easy.

I think im going to really like the game if it ramps up from here. I mean its not perfect, and sure, some of the technical aspects (camera) could have been refined abit more, but all in all it seems like a good game

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Fri, 08 Jan 2010 21:10:23

A portion of an AtomicGamer review...

It may not be the huge, serious undertaking we’ve generally come to expect from most Square games, but Crystal Bearers is still an entertaining and worthwhile investment (it’s also one of the prettiest Wii games yet), particularly for the more casual FF fan. Save it for a rainy afternoon when you don’t have much to do. At least it shows that FF XII wasn’t just a fluke, and that the man responsible for the SaGa series is not in fact completely out of his mind.

Full review here (thanks Tim!)

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Wed, 13 Jan 2010 12:16:30

Snap Judgment: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

When we review a game without finishing it, we call it a Snap Judgment. Read why here.

Time played: 10 hours


Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is a game with seemingly no built-in audience. There aren't any Final Fantasy fans, that I can imagine, who love the series but hate all that role-playing and complexity, and there's likely a very small portion of the fanbase that love the Crystal Chronicles universe, but hate multiplayer.

Because of that, because of the current climate for third-party Wii games, and because of the sizeable budget and long development time that went into this project, Crystal Bearers is a bold experiment that's unlikely to be repeated. Which is a shame, because I've really enjoyed what I've played so far, and I feel like some small tweaks in a sequel could make a truly great game out of what is currently an interesting, flawed (and very, very strange) game.

Despite being such a departure from Final Fantasy and Crystal Chronicles past, it's pretty simple to understand. Layle is a "crystal bearer," one of a small number of superpowered individuals in the Crystal Chronicles universe. His ability is a sort of telekinesis, through which he can grab objects, people, and even himself in a glowing energy field. His fighting style relies entirely on this skill -- whereas, in an RPG-style Final Fantasy, you'd have some kind of turn-based attack system using magic spells and different weapons, in this you pick up things (including enemies) and throw them at stuff. Sometimes the things you pick up have certain effects: captured enemies will fire whatever projectile they use in the direction you point, or a robotic enemy's shield generator will put a shield around you, etc.


Layle also uses this skill to grab onto faraway objects and pull himself toward them, and to interact with the world in general. The fact that you can now grab and toss everyone around makes towns endlessly entertaining! People just kind of get up and shake it off when you throw them off the side of a bridge. This part of the game is broken up by frequent minigame-like events, exciting (and scored) sequences in which Layle must pilot an airship, escape on chocobo-back, and other unique actions using motion controls.

Like other Final Fantasy games, Crystal Bearers relies heavily on cutscenes to tell its story. But the story, to me, is a lot more tolerable than usual. Layle is totally non-whiny, confident in his abilities, and even aggressive to the point of dropping a huge rock on a perceived enemy during a confrontation. To provide further depth to the setting, a scrolling Headline News-ish display at the bottom of the screen constantly provides information about not only gameplay, but background about the location and its inhabitants -- a remarkably idiosyncratic way to flesh out the world. In addition, you can read newspapers (grabbed out of people's hands) and a newsletter about indigenous monsters.

While the story is worthwhile and the basic gameplay is fun, there are some potential issues that get in the way to varying degrees. First, it's kind of shallow. While, as someone who loves beat-em-ups, I enjoy the simplicity of the system, rendering it totally not a problem for me ... I know it's going to seem repetitive and oversimplistic to many, especially those expecting more RPG elements. You really do just pick stuff up and throw it at other stuff. Occasionally it'll result in a "reaction," a unique result of your attack that gives you an Achievement-like "award" -- for example, throwing a beetle creature at another will stick them together and create a giant bowling ball thing. But it's pretty far from any kind of strategy.

Second, there is basically no map. The game is really nowhere near as open-world as Square Enix made it out to be, with various large fields between a few towns and other important locations. The result is an odd hybrid of linearity and sandbox design wherein you basically get lost on the way from one objective to the other. And the only map in the game is a large world map that only shows which region you're in. Had Square Enix included a sufficient map, the game would have been infinitely more playable.

Even more troubling is the difficulty curve, which is less a curve than a sheer rock face. For hours, enemies will be minor nuisances, only to suddenly become able to kill you in a single hit after a certain point. It's possible to grind somewhat for HP, but not to any helpful extent. This is one reason why this is a Snap Judgment and not a full review: I came across a boss that I couldn't defeat, and just set the game down after about thirty tries.

Which is a shame, because during the good parts -- essentially, when it was at its most linear, and sending me from fight to fight with minigames interspersed -- it was absolutely thrilling.

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Mon, 25 Jan 2010 12:08:49

NGamer review:

Ever notice the discrepancy between Final Fantasy's CG cutscenes and the in-game action? Like how one is all blinding explosions, rippling hair and slow-mo acrobatics, and the other is selecting 'attack' from a menu and watching numbers squirt out of a goblin's head? Crystal Bearers rights these wrongs: anything movies can do, gameplay can do better. Isn't crushing a Chocobo pursuit force more fun if you pull the building onto them? And why watch a plummeting aerial gun battle when you could be the plummetee?

Kicking off Crystal Bearers, this freefall is the first of many standout action beats. Unleashing lead with the remote pointer, the wind rips past as an army of pink eagles attack our hero, Layle. Cutscenes deal with the yapping (there's plenty), but when it comes to the punchy, fun bits, control reverts to you. After the aerial target gallery comes ship steering, train escaping, monster fleeing and party infiltrating - each its own fenced-off setpiece, casually tossing around mechanics as far-reaching as rhythm games and Solid Snake-like sneaking.

screenshot_225832_thumb300.jpg

Sounds a bit, well, bitty? You'd be right to think that. Action scenes are clearly intended as flashy self-contained moments (each is scored individually), and are not indicative of the whole. No, the meat of Crystal Bearers is more Zelda-like in flavour: a sprawling overworld in which an intensely linear story plays out. And we mean linear. Although gifted with immense power (more in a second) and a huge playground, Layle can make it from the start to end in just under ten hours, engaging as few as ten enemies. Let us explain...

Layle is one of the eponymous Crystal Bearers, gifted with telekinesis. If it's not bolted down, you can target it with the remote pointer, lock-on with B (the closer you are, the faster you grab) and manipulate it with flicks. But nowhere, bar a handful of prescribed boss encounters, do Square Enix demand you fight. Enemies roam the plains, but Layle is more than capable of running past (using evasive dodges if things get really hairy) and towards his next cutscene and blockbuster moment. It's entirely possible to finish the game without having equipped a single accessory.

Interviewing the developers this month (page 84), they repeatedly referred to the game as being casual friendly. That's initially hard to see (is there anything geekier than a force push power?) but having now finished the game, we understand: you play as much as you want. All those 'real-time cutscenes'? They're for the people who want a decent yarn at a rollicking pace. For you and us? A whole different game awaits. Perfectly fine in its own right, the story is really just a guided tour of a wider playpen.

screenshot_225833_thumb300.jpg

Throughout the action you unlock medals for achievements, 300 in total. Our first ten-hour run-through saw us net 65 of them. They're awarded for everything: story moments, minigame performance, uncovering items, killing monsters. The majority lie in hidden reactions - interactions you uncover between Layle and the world. This is Crystal Bearers proper: actually playing at being a Crystal Bearer. When, in some downtime before the finale, Layle says he's going outside to play, you really should take him up on the offer.

Telekinesis is brilliant - a weapon of crass destruction, knocking old biddies to the floor and plucking newspapers from their mitts. Your first hour in the capital city is played out to a sea of angry emoticons. Hey, it's not our fault pulling a train's emergency brakes or lamping a Moogle with a fire extinguisher is fun. Eking reactions from combat is harder.

Once locked-on, different directional flicks have different reactions. Goblins can be piledriven into the soil. Flick angry red bombs to the left or right and they'll spin like tops before exploding in a mushroom cloud.

What a witty combat system it is. Snatch a skeleton's head and wolf monsters pant lovingly at your feet. Beetles can be rammed together into bowling balls. Tougher enemies require all kinds of cleverness - peeling off armour to reveal ejector seat levers or tugging away weapons to fire back in their faces. A personal favourite are the iron giants - clunking mechanical death-tanks that you rev into action by spinning the cog on its back. Putting them back to sleep? Good luck with that.

Clean out monsters (or wait long enough) and the region briefly purifies, filling with a whole new set of (slightly less face-eating) toys. A barren desert becomes a quaint farm, complete with pig-cows to milk and crops to pluck. In the grassy highlands, a farmer needs help with alien abduction. Hide and seek, fishing, topiary, football and water chutes await the diligent explorer; bit by bit that slim ten-hour runtime gets closer to 30 - more if you want the full 100%. It'll take two run-throughs, too, some events only opening second time round.

screenshot_225831_thumb300.jpg

Crystal Chronicles has always been the Final Fantasy laboratory, where producer Akitoshi Kawazu and his team tinker with mad co-op experiments or real-time combat. Confident strides in a new direction are to be welcomed, but there's still some learning to be done. D-pad-controlled cameras are never nice, especially in tight boss arenas or platforming tasks. Navigation can be tough on a grander scale, too - a horribly vague map screen sees to that. And do not jump off a Chocobo in the middle of nowhere - doing so leaves Layle in for some long treks.

We're not sure the conclusion does the game justice either. After delicately balancing 'doing' against 'watching', the final hour spams the cutscenes and palms you off with a couple of quick-time events. The yarn (about warring factions and what seems to be five potential apocalypses) wraps up nicely, but couldn't we have done the wrapping? That said, five minutes later we've hopped straight back on Crystal Bearers for a second ride, back in an aerial plummet with 235 medals in our sights.

Could Bearers' true playfulness be better integrated? Certainly. Does the story feel a little odd taken alone? Without a doubt. But knowing this going in should help. Ultimately, it's hard to begrudge any game that encourages you to throw poo at cats and use a cow as a pump-action milk gun. Final Fantasy has always done the best line in silly anime hair - how nice to see Crystal Bearers let it down.

84%


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Mon, 25 Jan 2010 17:02:07
I've got to rent this. There's so much range in opinion I'm getting curious.
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Mon, 25 Jan 2010 17:07:31

angrymonkey said:
I've got to rent this. There's so much range in opinion I'm getting curious.

Yeah its weird. I want to try it, but no way can I pay full price for this dealio.

Shame its not unanimously great. I get the idea that if you want to just tool around and experiment it can be fun.

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Mon, 25 Jan 2010 18:17:14

gamingeek said:

Shame its not unanimously great. I get the idea that if you want to just tool around and experiment it can be fun.

Well, I've got a niche taste so if it was unanimously great I might not like it as much.

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Tue, 02 Feb 2010 11:59:57


Aussie Nintendo review Crystal Bearers

Aussie Nintendo review
Well now, what an unusual game. Initially announced at E3 2006, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (rolls off the tongue) would quickly spiral into the depths of development hell. Here we are what, four... million years later, and it definitely shows in the end result. The game tends to trip over its two left feet; unsure of its own direction. Crystal Bearers can make a fool of itself on the dance floor, but to the point where people will actually start cheering it on. The DJ then shrugs his shoulders, winks into the camera, everyone laughs and the credits roll.

Honestly, I had a blast. This is unlike anything I've ever played; almost experimental in its design. It's not an RPG, so don't go in expecting any traditional Final Fantasy gameplay. In fact, I'm not even sure how to best explain it. An adventure game with a strong focus on exploration and discovery, perhaps? Combat is the game's weak point, so yeah, that'll do.

Set in the Crystal Chronicles universe, the timeline has jumped forward by a few thousand years. The world's four tribes have been reduced to three, with the Yukes suffering defeat at the hands of the Lilty in The Great War. Forced into a limbo-like dimension, they're now fighting back for their right to co-exist - and you're going to get caught up in the middle of it all. Meet Layle, the main protagonist. Cool, calm and collected, he's dubbed a 'Crystal Bearer' – one of the lucky (or unlucky) few to possess magical abilities. The general public hate them for it, so they're often treated like garbage. In this case, Layle's power is levitation, the game's main hook.


Spoiler: He's the one on the right

The Wii Remote acts as an on-screen cursor, which can be locked on to pretty much anything and anyone. Once Layle has got something in his sights, a quick flick of the controller will lift it up above his head. From there you can run around, quickly hurl it away with another flick or line up exactly where you want to throw it and press the B button. So yes, you can be a complete jerk – the game encourages it. Fat lady minding her own business? Pick her up and chuck her down some stairs. Man reading his newspaper? Take it off him and catch up on the latest headlines. Stray cat chasing a mouse? Toss the mouse in a fountain. Does someone have the nerve to sit down on a chair? Pull it out from under them.

You can't do damage to anyone (physically at least) - they'll just get straight back up. But don't expect to get away with everything. That fat lady could jiggle on over and tackle you to the ground in retaliation, or you might find yourself being chased by a whole heap of cats in a comical fashion. On top of this tomfoolery, there are literally hundreds of special 'interactions' to discover, and you'll be awarded a medal for each one (basically an achievement-style system).

This sense of discovery extends to the game's mysteriously half-baked combat in open fields. Layle again relies on his bearer powers to take down enemies, and there's a slew of oddball results. Early on in the game I was surrounded by a bunch of skeletons and wolves, but upon yanking the head off a skeleton, the wolves fell in love with me. At first I had no idea what was going on until I threw the skull away and they all chased after it playfully. They wanted the bone! This caused them to gather in a big group, so I tossed a huge boulder in their general direction. Another time I found a guitar on the ground (as you do), and Layle started shredding away on it, killing enemies with beautiful ear-bleeding noise.


But the thing is... it's completely optional to even bother with enemies while you're out and about. They rarely ever pose an actual threat, and automatically vanish after a few minutes anyway. A bell will chime, and all the enemies get sucked up into a portal (returning the land to its regular bright, happy state) or spawn back again. It's a bit like Castlevania II's 'horrible night for a curse' syndrome. Naturally you'll be rewarded in one way or another for clearing an area, but it's so unbelievably difficult to kill everything in such a short amount of time. You could go through the entire game without fighting a single enemy, and boss fights are kept to an absolute minimum during the story mode.

Speaking of which, Square Enix has injected the same light hearted nature into the story, while still keeping a serious tone. It's an excellent adventure (starring Bill and Ted), helped by the likeable cast of characters. None of them will start slashing their wrists whilst high on angst, and that's always nice. Layle himself is refreshingly laid-back. It's heavy on cut scenes, but with such a strong story they're not wasted on pointless bullshit. Some cut scenes will even turn into interactive action sequences; you'll experience one of these within the first five minutes as Layle is free falling from an airship, gunning down flying beasts. These are pretty exciting showpieces, and for some reason they have a completely pointless score counter. Oh boy, I just got 200 points! … Yeah, woo!

All up, the main quest will take around 10 hours, but there's so much more to the game after that. Square Enix has crafted a beautiful, detailed world to explore. It's not entirely open (some areas will require a train ride), but a lot of it can be traversed on foot, or by Chocobo. Sunny beaches, hot springs, snowy mountains, forests laced with cherry blossom trees, deserts, cities, small villages off the beaten track – it's an absolute joy to poke around. Should you feel the need to run through the story again, a New Game+ mode is there to change up certain events just a bit.


While the texture work can vary, the art direction goes a long, long way. I don't find myself stopping to truly admire the surroundings in a Wii game too often, but Crystal Bearers did it. It's the little details, like leaves dropping from the trees, or confused middle-aged men rolling down hills on barrels for absolutely no reason at all. I once saved someone as they were rolling down a hill by slamming them into a wall; they'd go on to send me a letter (in-game, technology's not that advanced yet) to thank me. For uh, breaking their spine, I guess.

Oh yes, and Crystal Bearers has a screenshot function. At any time during the game, pressing button 2 will take a snapshot, which can then be instantly saved onto an SD card. I took all the images used in this review myself, I'm a big kid now. ♫

Voice acting is solid, for the most part. The main bad guy is a bit too enthusiastic about even the smallest of things. I can just imagine him at McDonalds or something. “Yes, yes I WILL have the LARGEST Big Mac meal, for I HUNGER today. I'm the HIGH COMMANDER. Good, good – ahahua huaaw haw hargle bargle!”


The soundtrack is top quality, as you'd expect from a Square Enix production. Fitting in with the game's unique feel, there's a wide variety of different music genres mixed in. Jazz, classical, rock, new-age, techno, it's all here.

Really, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers Extravaganza X: The Crystal Revenge of Krystal's Crystal Loincloth isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's unlike anything Square Enix has ever put out. There are a lot of ideas crammed in here; some work, some don't – but it's clear the development team had fun somewhere along the line. The game world is the center of attention, it's up to you to fully explore everything it has to offer. Merely blazing through the story (as entertaining as it is) won't do this any justice.

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Tue, 02 Feb 2010 22:00:36

gamingeek said:

Voice acting is solid, for the most part. The main bad guy is a bit too enthusiastic about even the smallest of things. I can just imagine him at McDonalds or something. “Yes, yes I WILL have the LARGEST Big Mac meal, for I HUNGER today. I'm the HIGH COMMANDER. Good, good – ahahua huaaw haw hargle bargle!”

Ah bad voice acting. Made me listen to my res evil clips. The porn mix one is funny.

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Wed, 03 Feb 2010 03:55:26
Porn mix resi?

Post that for Vader now!

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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Wed, 03 Feb 2010 08:28:45

Foolz said:
Porn mix resi?

Post that for Vader now!

OOOOOOOOOLD. Nyaa

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Wed, 03 Feb 2010 20:46:15

ONM review FFCC Crystal Bearers


The action at the start of Crystal Bearers is impatient verging on breakneck. As you're hustled through the opening few moments, lead character Layle dives off the massive airship he was guarding before it came under attack, sparking a mid-air section which has you pointing the Remote at various targets on-screen to blast them out of the sky. Then Layle lands back on the airship after a real feat of aerobatics, to be confronted by a furious Yuke called Amidatelion intent on throwing a proper wobbler on the royal ship.

After some fisticuffs, Amidatelion causes the ship to fall towards the ground, at which point go-to man Layle jumps behind the controls to save the day. Breathless stuff and hardly what you'd expect from such a traditionally slow-burning series. Even the traditional scenery chewing cut scenes are missing, with all the story-setting being done as the action unfolds.

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After such a lightning start, Crystal Bearers settles down into a more relaxed rhythm, but it never falls back into Final Fantasy routine. In fact the only things Crystal Bearers has in common with previous Crystal Chronicles games are the four races - the Selkie, Clavat, Yuke and Lilty. As far as the broader Final Fantasy universe goes, the lineage reveals itself as a series of trademarks. Androgynous boy-girl characters, hair that could have your eye out, awkwardness between the sexes... you name it, every Final Fantasy stereotype is in here. The refreshing thing is what Layle can do and how he interacts with the world around him.

Telekinesis is Layle's weapon, completely replacing the standard turn-based melee of countless other games. So much in the vicinity can be manipulated by pointing at it and squeezing B that it can easily be turned against enemies. A gauge on screen tells you when you can flick the Remote to hurl something around, so skirmishes become more of a desperate scramble to find something heavy and dangerous to fling at an opponent - usually other snarling enemies do the trick. It's a nice twist on the old formula. If the opening to Crystal Bearers set out its new action-packed stall, the battle system puts the roof on.

A portal called the miasma stream is the means by which enemies burst into the world, so once you've smashed through the initial wave of miscreants you need to hotfoot it over there to seal it up using your powers, otherwise you'll be embroiled in a second battle. For the most part, the game doesn't offer much in the way of guidance, but when you're busy clobbering, a handy radar appears to point out adversaries.

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Many other RPGs would do well to have a sneaky glance at Crystal Bearers to see how it has shaken up its own system. Fighting is a mix of just the right amount of control and blind panic, while the only downside is the potential for repetitive strain injury from all the furious waggling.

Far Horizons
It carries on as Layle travels. Crystal Bearers is a handsome game with some vast areas to explore. Its sense of scale is much bigger than any previous Crystal Chronicles game, partly to give you room to use those mind over matter abilities. Interesting objects can be shaken or pulled apart to yield money, people can basically be violently mugged with some vicious shaking, even animals can be upset as you bash them up and down. It's funny (though it's probably not supposed to be) and a never ending source of fun.

There is a slight delay between targeting an object or monster and being able to pick it up, which affects the fluidity of the experience, and it's especially annoying if you're surrounded by beasts. There's a slight delay in absorbing the story too, told in numerous cut scenes, and it feels as if Square-Enix's scriptwriters haven't quite kept up with the advances made by the design team. Layle is a member of the Lilty, the race that emerged dominant after a long war, who happens to be fused with a powerful crystal - hence his telekinesis ability. The cut scenes seem to spend a long time not telling us very much, and plotwise it's all a bit of a mess.

No matter though. The story might be long-winded, but the gameplay genuinely nudges at Final Fantasy's well established envelope. There's much to see and do, with the standard story being 15 to 20 hours long and an Awards mechanic that takes many more to exhaust.

Crystal Bearers is a rewarding experience for newcomers and those jaded with RPGs alike.

81%

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Wed, 03 Feb 2010 22:24:59

Dvader said:

Foolz said:
Porn mix resi?

Post that for Vader now!

OOOOOOOOOLD. Nyaa

oh yeah. still good though.

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