When there were rumors that a Chrono Cross remake was in the works, Square Enix finally announced Chrono Cross The Radical Dreamers Edition during a Nintendo Direct. But rather than a remake, it’s actually a remaster that brings a touch of modernity to the PS1’s cult title. What allows a new audience to discover this masterpiece in good conditions?
- The Adventures of Serge (not the myth, no)
- A more comfortable gaming experience
- A lazy remaster in some ways
In the history of Square Enix, the PlayStation 1 has been a very important console, especially on Squaresoft’s side. By making the decision to stop developing games at Nintendo with the advent of 32-bit machines, the Japanese publisher took advantage of the power of the PS1 to produce many titles now considered cult: Final Fantasy VII† Final Fantasy Tactics† xeno ears† Parasite Eva† wanderer story… Faced with the aura of all these titles, it is clear that we can speak of Golden Age for Squaresoft.
Between this flood of classics, we find a certain Chronocrossreleased in 1999, set in the same universe as chrono trigger, another cult title from the publisher. In terms of name and origin, time naturally plays a central role in the adventure. While the game received a warm, critical and commercial reception in North America and Japan with 1.5 million copies, Chrono Cross was never released in Europe, much to the chagrin of J aficionados. With The Radical Dreamers Edition, it’s finally time to right that wrong.
The Adventures of Serge (not the myth, no)
Chrono Cross tells us the story of Serge, a teenager who lives in a quiet fishing village. While looking at the horizon on the beach with his childhood friend Leena, he is suddenly sucked into a strange phenomenon before it blossoms. Maize when he wakes up in the same place, nobody in his village seems to recognize him, but worse, in the new world he’s landed in, serge has been dead for ten years† To try to understand what happened to him, our hero will go on an adventure and explore this dimension, which is identical to his in every way. Throughout the plot, the player encounters a large number of characters who share reflections on the passage of time and on the trail left on the world after his death.
Once the first hours are up, you’ll be given the opportunity to navigate between these parallel worlds, a feature that quickly becomes essential to progress. Indeed, sometimes you need an object available only in one of the two dimensions to unlock a situation in the other. From then on, the player is much freer to explore the game universe as he pleases.† A great freedom of choice that is also felt at the level of the scenario, as the title offers more than ten different endings, as well as about forty characters that can be recruited during the adventure. Which leaves a pleasant play space for the player to enjoy the experience as he sees fit.
As for collisions, Chrono Cross remains a traditional turn-based role-playing game like Square did back then, but with special mechanics† Each character has seven stamina points at the beginning of their turn to perform melee attacks or spells. The “Attack” command allows you to take three types of strikes that consume between one and three stamina points, depending on their strength. If the first attack does little damage, it has a high percentage of hitting its target, unlike the third which is very effective but can miss easily. However, the more you manage to hit your opponent, the more the accuracy of your shots increases. Usually, therefore, we are content to start with a weak attack and then move on to increasingly powerful attacks to be sure to hit. Finally, the magic system is quite special because there is no MP (Magic Points) and spells can only be cast once per battle. Instead, Elements, the name given to skills, must be equipped for each character based on the size of their grid which grows as they level up.
A more comfortable gaming experience
To (re)discover this adventure in good conditions, The Radical Dreamers Edition offers plenty of comfort options for new and experienced players alike† Of course, the graphics are the aspect that the developers have paid the most attention to. So we can appreciate the sublime colored backgrounds of the title in pastel rendering thanks to the smoothing performed that makes them clearer than ever. What is this unique artistic direction to admire and so special because of its colorful side that plays a central role in the appreciation of the game. If this edition allows to take advantage of new artwork for the characters, the most nostalgic people will be happy to hear that it is possible to find the original images in the main menu. In addition, the music, another beautiful highlight of the original experience, has been re-mastered here, for an excellent result that does justice to the compositions of Yasunori Mitsuda.
on the side of the game, we find most of the features present in the other Square Enix remastersLike it Final Fantasy VIII Remastered for instance. If in the original version it was already possible to speed up or slow down the speed of the game thanks to an object in New Game+, the latter is now available from the beginning of the adventure. Then, at any time, players can decide to deactivate random battles, boost their characters, or even auto-attack. All of these options allow you to tailor your gameplay to your liking, allowing for confrontations if you need to level up your team or avoiding all encounters if you want to go faster.
Of all these additions, we regret that this remaster doesn’t allow you to save quickly, especially when the save points are very far apart. Finally, the great novelty of this The Radical Dreamers Edition is above all the integration of content Radical Dreamers – The Forbidden Treasure –† a Japan-exclusive visual novel released in 1996, available only on Satellaview. Initially, this textual story was supposed to add new elements to the plot of chrono triggerbut was eventually picked up to serve as the base for Chrono Cross.
A lazy remaster in some ways
The Radical Dreamers Edition allows you to explore Chrono Cross in more comfortable conditions thanks to finer graphics and accessibility options that modernize the experience. In some ways, however, this remaster could have gone further and corrected some of the issues of the original game. One of the biggest criticisms that can be made of this re-release is that the framerate should have been the subject of particular care.† If the bubbles are always displayed at a frequency of 60 i / s, the same cannot be said for the action of the battles or even just the phases of exploration, whether on Nintendo Switch, handheld or docked, as on PS4 Pro and even PS5. Quite regularly the title is subject to brutal delays during collisions, depending on the camera angles, especially when confronted by a large number of enemies or a boss. Of course, the rendering is very smooth for the closest shots, but as soon as you move away to have a better view of the battlefield, the frame rate drops suddenly. While the graphics have been updated, we had every right to expect the framerate to be corrected as well. It is hoped that there will be updates in the future to improve this aspect.
If the purpose of this re-release was to introduce Chrono Cross to a new audience, other elements could have been added to better support players. We must not forget that we are dealing with a role-playing game from the end of the PlayStation 1, which implies a certain rhythm and ergonomics that do not necessarily correspond to our current standards. In this situation, we would have liked this remaster not to include a tutorial on the combat system, especially since, as we described above, the latter is quite unique in its genre. Admittedly this is a 1999 game and it is very easy to find manuals on the internet, except they are not necessarily in French and in any case it is meant to explain its own rules, not to the player to find such basic information.
- A cult PlayStation 1 game finally available in Europe
- Smooth graphics that honor a unique DA
- Ability to alternate between the new visuals and those of the original
- The new options for gaming comfort
- A remastered soundtrack that’s still just as iconic
- Bonus Radical Dreamers Content
- An erratic frame rate, like on PlayStation 1
- No tutorial to explain the battle system
- Menus with perfectable ergonomics
If Chrono Cross The Radical Dreamers Edition allows a new audience to discover a cult PS1 game in good conditions, the latter could have been done better. On the one hand, this remaster benefits from updated graphics, an improved soundtrack as well as new accessibility options and exclusive content that makes it interesting for both beginners and those already familiar with the title. But on the other hand, between the lack of a tutorial, perfectable menu ergonomics, but above all a still unstable frame rate, this up-to-date update could have provided a better rendering. It remains to be seen whether patches in the future will allay some of its concerns to make the experience even more enjoyable.
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