Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Rings of Fate
Nintendo DS
Reviewed: 03/24/2008

When compared to its GameCube elder, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is noticeably similar, yet on the whole, quite a different game. Noteably, it keeps the multiplayer aspect while not making it a massive pain in the ass.

One area where Ring of Fates beefs up in comparison to its ‘Cubic forefather is the story. There’s been more depth and characterization added this time around. Those that value a game’s story may be surprised and perhaps even impressed at the jump this particular area was given, and it’ll likely be welcomed as a positive change.

Screen Shot
Mutiplayer combat is so, so good.

At heart, the combat feels like many action RPGs, and those with any experience will be able to pick up Ring of Fates and kick fools in the ass with minimal assistance. The game makes use of the touch screen in these fights, with special attacks being executed via touchscreen. This is pretty cool overall, but the thing of it is, the top screen shows the fighting action, so with some characters, the top screen has to quickly shift down to the bottom one, allowing the player to do what touching needs to be done for the special in question; then the battle will quickly jump back up to the top screen. It all seems so disorganized. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen with every special.

Ring of Fates‘ 12-hour (or perhaps less) length is usually fine for a portable title, but with the strides taken to improve the single-player aspect this time around, it seems a bit of a waste of overhauling effort on the parts of the developers. (Oh well, I’m just here to play it.) But even with the cool stuff to do when playing alone, the best fun is had in multiplayer mode. Using local connectivity, up to four players can jump in and dungeon crawl together. Indeed, all must own the game and have a DS to play it on, but the fun had, depending on your personal situation, is probably worth the minor hassle of setting up. A big bummer about multiplayer, however, is the fact that more players equals more slowdown when lots of enemies are present. With two players, there’s virtually no lag; with three and four, the framerate takes a step back. Silly that this is happening on locally connected devices, really.

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You’d need TWO bowls of screenshots to get the same amount of fiber in a holy crap I can not make this joke work here. What the hell was I thinking?

When playing solo, real friends are replaced by AI-controlled characters, fitting modern trends of society. The amount of customization and control the player is given over his compu-comrades is great, but it’s a little disappointing that some more work wasn’t done in programming their strategies. As it is, the AI characters commonly shirk basic tasks like healing themselves or raising a fallen friend. Their actions, or lack thereof, at times reminded me of a game I heard of in college called “Stand There and Take It.” One must wonder how many difficult encounters would be less so if the game allowed for a human player to take control of a story character within a friend’s game, hence making the story mode into a multiplayer affair. That could’ve been interesting.

Graphics here are quite impressive. The character and world designs preserve the look and feel of Crystal Chronicles, which is fine. Musically, the game is well off, but it’s not world-rocking. The voice acting is kind of obnoxious and overly kiddy with some characters, though this is expected in a title intended to appeal to a diverse age range and given the fact that the story’s characters are in fact children. For those afraid of getting swirlied, headphones come extra recommended.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates comes as a recommended pickup. Its single player mode isn’t asontishing, and in fact can get frustrating with that dumb AI, but it is worthwhile. Like the game before it, where the real fun is, and where lasting value lies is within the multiplayer mode. Though the framerate issue will plague multiplayer mode nearly as much as the AI issue plagues single player, both still come out fun overall.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Very Good
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Very Good
Story Average
Graphics Excellent
Sound/Music Very Good
Replay Value Good
The Verdict: 7