Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition Game Poster Image
Repetitive dungeon crawler is best played with others.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Basic ideas of good and evil run through the simple fantasy narrative, which contains themes of courage, duty, friendship. Online cooperative play encourages teamwork and camaraderie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters exhibit compassion, courage, a sense of responsibility, ultimately hopefulness as they explore the world and work to help villages.

Ease of Play

Unusual, slightly awkward control scheme is offset by simplicity and repetitiveness of most battles. A quick in-game tutorial explains the basics.

Violence

Viewed from a raised camera, player characters attack fantastical creatures using melee weapons and magic. Flashes of light accompany successful strikes, and enemies disappear upon defeat. No blood or gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition is a downloadable role-playing game for the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. This is a re-release of a game that originally launched in 2004 for Nintendo GameCube. It's a straightforward dungeon crawler in which players battle fantasy creatures using melee weapons and magic. It has a cartoonish aesthetic and no blood or gore, as enemies simply collapse and disappear once defeated. The customizable playable characters fill the roles of heroes attempting to help villages and destroy an evil presence in the world. Online cooperative play encourages players to engage in teamwork and strive for similar goals.

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What's it about?

FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: REMASTERED EDITION lets players revisit one of the most curious entries in Square Enix's storied fantasy role-playing game series. The original game was released on GameCube in 2004 and was notable primarily because it allowed up to four people to play together using Game Boy Advance consoles as controllers. This remastered edition attempts to preserve much of the original experience: The story and dungeon crawler play are more or less unchanged, and the graphics have been only lightly enhanced. But the multiplayer aspect has been altered to allow for online and cross-platform play on PlayStation 4, Switch, and mobile. It's the tale of a caravan of heroes who travel the world looking for magical trees from which to harvest drops of Myrrh, a substance used to keep deadly miasma emanating from an ancient meteor at bay. The caravan moves down a road one space at a time before venturing into nearby dungeons, where players navigate mazes looking for treasure to boost character stats and battle roaming minions before eventually finding and taking on a dungeon boss. Though the game was designed with multiplayer in mind, it can also be played solo from start to finish.

Is it any good?

Some games are better lost to history. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition was a product of the technology of its time, and it simply doesn't translate well to the modern age. Modestly improved graphics, English voice actors, and the addition of a handful of new post-game dungeons check off some important boxes, but don't do nearly enough to update the experience on their own. Repetitive dungeon crawler design, antiquated combat controls, and unsatisfyingly simplistic characters and story all fail to live up to contemporary expectations. Even die-hard Final Fantasy fans who missed this one the first time around will likely find little of interest here beyond, perhaps, the pretty music and old-school character models. Indeed, there's really not much beyond these surface elements to distinguish Crystal Chronicles as a Final Fantasy adventure.

The real missed opportunity here is local play. Online co-op is handy when no one is around and you'd like some help in your next dungeon, and cross-platform play on various devices is a nice nod to the original experience (assuming you have enough available devices of the right type). But what could have modernized and elevated the Crystal Chronicles experience to something that would appeal to today's audiences is the ability to play with a friend (or three) on the couch using either a split or shared screen. It would have made the experience easier, less costly, more accessible, and a lot more social. Revisiting video games from years past can be a ton of fun, but Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition needed more than just some cosmetic updates and online play to make it compatible with 2020 gamer expectations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition is broken up into dungeons that can be completed easily in a single, not-too-long play session. But do you think playing through more than one dungeon at a time would make them more or less fun?

  • What are the advantages of playing with people online versus playing together in the same room? Which do you prefer?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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