Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is an action-RPG by Square Enix. The original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles came out on the NGC. Ring of Fates is a different game for the NDS, though I guess it’s sort of a spiritual successor. I finally managed to get some NDS time and finish this game last night.
FFC: RoF follows the story of the twins Yuri and Chelinka who live a simple life with their father in an isolated cabin. Things are not as they seem however and of course eventually the twins’ world is turned upside-down and they find themselves having to find dangerous beasts and cast powerful magicks. It’s the usual RPG fare, albeit a bit too kiddified at some points. And as you would expect from a Square Enix title, we get an ending that’s literally out of this world.
It’s got the usual action RPG trappings: swinging your sword, jumping around, puzzles that involve really big switches, etc. Gameplay-wise it’s pretty decent, with each of the four main characters providing different styles of play (although Yuri is definitely the strongest one… or that just might be because I always gave him the best stuff). The difficulty level is not that high, though some people may find the platforming bits off-putting. Boss battles are the usual fare – figure out the enemy’s attack patterns and how to beat them, etc. The game does a good job of curving you up to make sure you know how to use the various gameplay mechanics.
My first complaint is about a particular “gate” in the final dungeon. Games like RPGs are sometimes referred to as “gate-driven”, because the player is presented with a sequence of “gates” or challenges he has to pass in order to complete the game. The “gate” I’m talking about in the final dungeon is a switch. The switch is visible in plain sight, but when I got there I had no idea how to turn it on. The usual action of just stepping on it didn’t work, I tried throwing various stuff or casting spells on it, but no such luck. I actually set aside the game for a few days because I couldn’t figure out that switch.
I actually needed It turns out I need to perform a particulat air-based attack to hit the switch from a jump. Normally this would be fine, except that the game has never required me to use that particular move anywhere else! It was taught in a short tutorial near the start of the game, but I’ve never used it after that so I even forgot it existed. It’s a bit disappointing because elsewhere the game does a great job of “teaching” you how to use the various actions as required.
The second gripe is a bit related: there are some platforms that require a particular camera angle in order for you to see how to proceed, and it’s not always clear how to get there. You end up walking to different positions to try and figure out how to get past the “gate”. In general in RPG design I think that whenever the player is forced to figure something out by trial and error it’s kind of lame and bad design.
These problems are mostly confined to the last dungeon of the game though, most of the time I just breezed through. The story mode will take about ten hours to complete, assuming decent platforming skills. THis may seem a bit short to the average RPG player who grew up with Final Fantasy VII, but it’s actually a nice bite-sized helping for guys like me who don’t have much time to dedicate to gaming and want to get on to the next game as soon as possible.
I give FFCC:RoF 3.5 out of 5 stars, decent enough. What? I don’t give ratings here? Right.