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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers Review

Pity the wayward Crystal series. While the main Final Fantasy franchise consistently offers a straightforward role playing experience, its subordinate brethren has incessantly jumped genres. From the multiplayer oriented Crystal Chronicles, the hack-and-slash exploration of Echoes of Time and the city-building of My Life as a King, the series has never established a persistent style of play. Recent Wii release, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers expands this affinity for variety by offering players an assortment of action-oriented fare. With a mix of gesture-based combat, Chocobo riding, light platforming, and even a bit of shooting, the title dispenses with most of the RPG elements the heritage might imply. Although ‘Squenix’ aficionados might be dismayed, Crystal Bearers sets its sight on casual appeal, and mostly succeeds.

Forgoing the characteristic narrative which ensnares a team of protagonists, Crystal Bearer’s focus is on a single adventurer- Layle. This approach is wonderfully effective, and gives the game’s storyline a sharp concentration. Picking up a thousand years after the presumed annihilation of the Yuke tribe in Crystal Chronicles, science and reason has dominated throughout the world. Magic has been subjugated, leaving the populous fearful of the lead character’s miraculous telekinetic abilities.  When the young outcast encounters a remaining member of the Yukes, he uncovers a conspiracy that could have devastating effects on the entire realm. Layle’s solitary persona is strong enough to maintain gamer’s attention, and is a refreshing departure from the conventional party system. 

Crystal Bearer’s range of gameplay mechanics are introduced through the game’s extended prologue, where players are taught all of the lonesome hero’s abilities. The game’s most conspicuous inclusion is Layle’s ability to move physical objects with his mind. By using the Wiimote’s IR pointer and pressing the ‘B’ button, players can grab any unsecured on-screen character or object. A fling of the controller along with the release of the button initiates a number of capabilities- from tossing an object, to dropping it gently in front of the protagonist.  Additionally, gamers may repel projectiles or take evasive a maneuver by performing a roll. The Wiimote’s directional pad is used to adjust the game’s dim-witted camera. Unfortunately, finding an optimal viewing perspective while hurling objects is unnecessarily cumbersome, while not adjusting the camera often results is an imprecise throw.

Players will use Layle’s abilities while navigating the game’s extensive open-world environment.  Wisely, combat is not as frequent as one might expect, and is typically confined to areas with an open Miasma Stream. When these nefarious whirlpools are open, they become monster generators. Players must eliminate all the enemies in the vicinity to close the flow of foes for an extended period of time. Outside, of conflict, your gravity-shifting powers are used to toy with the environment. Here the game realizes its potential as players anticipate the results of dousing a Cactaur with water.

Graphically, Crystal Bearers often rises to the pinnacle of Wii sumptuousness. Layle’s chainmail topcoat is exquisitely rendered, while the game’s Moogles are rendered adoringly. The title often employs an elegant depth of field effect which blurs a foreground or background layer, giving in-game cutscenes a cinematic aesthetic. Sadly, this visual splendor is spoiled by the odd low-resolution texture or the sporadic moment of pop-in. Sonically, the title is as diverse as its activities, with both pop accompaniment and orchestrated battle crescendos. Although Crystal Bearer’s dialog is completely articulated, the voiceover work often seems awkwardly delivered.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
strengths are twofold- the title has an absorbing story and a multiplicity of diversions to keep player’s interest. From tunnel surfing, cherry picking, and even ballroom dancing this ten-hour jaunt is far removed from its equipment upgrading, level-grinding cousins. Regrettably, not all of these activities are engaging or instinctive; some are hampered by the game’s vague instructions or clumsy controls. Venture into the Crystal Bearer’s world with modest expectations, those anticipating a role-playing magnum opus may be disappointed.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

46 comments

  1. This got released with that much hype. Nowhere near the XIII expectations.

  2. I saw 1up thought this game was a hot mess.

  3. I’ll be getting this when it hits $20 or so.

  4. Great review!

  5. So you just get to throw junk around, no shooting or anything?

  6. Is it anything like Twilight Princess?

  7. I ordered this from amazon (via Cheapassgamer) I was promised a calander and $10 gift money. I got neither.

  8. Very good review. I like the way you didn’t just trash it like Game Informer did.

  9. I cant say I’d pay $50 for this.

  10. I’m glad to see the usual foes return.

  11. Not a bad score.

  12. Surely worth a rental, maybe a purchase.

  13. I’m trying to resist a purchase, but I have $150 in gift cards.

  14. Thanks for the review!

  15. Wow, those screenshots look NICE!

  16. I’m hearing mixed things about this one.

  17. Good review. The fact that its only 10 hours long is a bit bothersome.

  18. Great review, Desert! I played through the game and have to agree with most everything said.

  19. Yep, graphics are hella nice.

  20. A FF game gets lets than a B? Has Desert lost his mind?

  21. Drunk Tiger Woods

    How responive is the waggle? Did your wrist get sore?

  22. Are there dungeons in the game?

  23. Minister of Murder

    Great review. I’m glad to see you guys are working hard in the new year!

  24. Not the best FF, but not the worst either. I’ll end up buying it.

  25. I was waiting for you guys to review this.

  26. Sounds like I might like this one. Usually there’s too many charcters in a FF game.

  27. Nice new look!

    And just the review I was looking for.

  28. I dont care what anyone says, I’m enjoying this game. I love the storyline.

  29. I didn’t have any problems with it at all.

  30. Wow, I almost didn’t recognize the size. Nice new layout.

    I am interested in CB, but not at $50, I think $30 would be a better price.

  31. You should call in. They might take care of you. Amazon is good about those things.

    if you didn’t do that already.

  32. One of the better reviews out there.

  33. As long as you can ride Chocobos, there’s enetertain value for me.

  34. Nice explosions. it’s got that going for it.

  35. My friend got it and says its just OK.

  36. Walmart was sold out if this 🙁

  37. I’ll end up getting this one eventually.

  38. I like the new layout! Thank for the review, too.

  39. I would have liked to get this for Christmas.

  40. I like the look of the game. I didn’t think a Wii FF game could look that good.

  41. At first I couldn’t tell what was going on in the Bayonetta demo. Once it got on earth, or wherever the hell it is, it seemed cool.

  42. I’ll rent it, and see if I like it.

  43. I might have to pick this up.

  44. On my ‘to get list’. Hopefully, I’ll see a sale on Crystal Bearers.

  45. The graphics seems to have improved. Neat stuff.
    Regards,
    Richard Davis
    dirty pretty things

  46. First of all I have to say that I am one of the biggest Final Fantasy Fans in the world. I have been a PS3 player for the longest time and the Wii was kinda new for me. I have to say though that this game is definitely worth $50. The graphics have definitely improved in the Chrystal Chronicles and I liked your perspective in this review.