Honest Review: Chrono Trigger


Look, I know I've called this game a bunch of names like "overrated graphical showoff-fest" and "Baby's First Fantasy VI" that, although extremely justified, simply did not sit very well with the ginormous population of nostalgia-crazed cave dwellers (that aren't myself) on TheTopTens. As I personally fear that my attitude towards the game may have caused said people to actually believe that I genuinely dislike the game...well, to put it bluntly, no; that's not it at all.

Anyway, let's get started, shall we?

GRAPHICS: Am I allowed to reuse the already-severely-overused stock phrase known as Sweet Ever-Loving Jesus? Because that's honestly the only phrase I can think of to adequately describe how...ahem...TIMELESSLY gorgeous this fracking game looks. Although I quite flagrantly DESPISE its art direction, Chrono Trigger truly is a 16-bit graphical showcase that makes Final Fantasy VI look (keep that word in mind: LOOK) like stale bread by comparison. The characters and enemies alike are animated UNBELIEVABLY well, especially during combat, and the amount of detail that Square Enix managed to cram into such a simplistic cutesy anime look as the one that this game has is truly a testament to how visually talented the company is.

SOUND: I am literally speechless. I can no longer speak. I can only type. Story of not only my life, but also my personal reaction after hearing this game's soundtrack. Now of course, Final Fantasy VI-IX, Mother 3, Undertale, Xenogears, Xenoblade Chronicles and Bowser's Inside Story all had easily JUST as good of music in their own right (cough, this observation is totally not directed at htoutlaws, cough), but even though this game was actually made considerably AFTER FFVI and is actually nowhere NEAR as good as that game was in my opinion, the musical score for Chrono Trigger was just overall vastly less cheesy and pretentious and just generally fit the atmosphere of the game a lot more thoroughly and convincingly...as for whether or not the instrumental composition of the music is overall more emotional and moving, however, that really just depends on which songs from Final Fantasy VI you're talking about. In conclusion, both soundtracks are equally amazing and thus deserve equal credit and recognition together.

STORY: Now this right here is undoubtedly this game's most immediately obvious indication that graphics and sound design really AREN'T everything after all (cough, totally not a jab at htoutlaws ranking this #1 on the Best Video Game Storylines list over games like Xenogears and Mass Effect), as the plot to this game is honestly INCREDIBLY bland. Memorable, yes, but still as generic as cheese pizza regardless.

To summarize the plot without having to...sigh..."spoil" anything about it for all of you poor saps that somehow STILL haven't played this flipping game yet, it's pretty much LITERALLY just a page-for-page, heavily abridged remake of the Final Fantasy VI storyline but with aliens, gothic cults and time travel thrown into the mix. Combine that with characters that (personality-wise) are the absolute most ridiculously banal cookie-cutter stereotypes that you could possibly imagine, and what you get is basically just a really weird mixture between mostly all of the least interesting parts of FFVI and Earthbound, and worse yet, without even having the latter's borderline irresistible charm to make up for it. I'm sorry, but I simply CANNOT understand how this particular aspect of Chrono Trigger gets SO much praise when video-game storywriting on the level of Xenogears (BY THE SAME EFFING DEVELOPER, NO LESS) also exists in its genre.

GAMEPLAY: While I certainly will admit that this aspect of Chrono Trigger is infinitely better than the actual storyline that drives it for sure, it is still nothing short of downright insufferably overrated in just literally every single way that I can possibly think of. Let's start with its so-called gameplay "innovations", shall we? Its complete lack of random battles was already done years before by Earthbound, its real-time turn-based combat was already being done by Final Fantasy since at least FFIV (FFII in America), and its teamwork attacks...well, okay, I suppose those actually WERE new, but they still really aren't as interesting of a gameplay mechanic as they're frequently made out to be. They're really just there to make the combat (even) flashier and easier.

Speaking of flashy and easy, seriously, could this game POSSIBLY be any easier even if it tried? Heck, it literally makes even the likes of Earthbound and Super Mario RPG look difficult at times. Granted, Final Fantasy VI could also be made insultingly easy if you set up your characters the right way, but at least that was merely a very clearly defined OPTION in Final Fantasy VI.

In conclusion, Chrono Trigger's combat flows incredibly beautifully but definitely could have benefitted from requiring at least a LITTLE tiny bit of actual strategy (think lategame Earthbound enemy encounters, for instance), or at the very least, actual player SKILL rather than just menu-navigating SPEED (oh, and also, seriously, Square Enix, was there REALLY no way to make enemies properly scale themselves up to your characters' levels during New Game Plus? Not even on the DS version of all things? Are you seriously KIDDING me right now?)

OVERALL: I honestly don't know how to feel about this game. It's not that I inherently DISLIKE the game (not counting New Game Plus and the fact that nearly every single one of its alternate endings is complete garbage), just that it very clearly has barely ANY fundamental differences from Final Fantasy VI besides being ridiculously easier (than a game that is already widely considered to be CONSIDERABLY too easy if you know what you're doing, no less) and simpler (than a game whose storyline was already darned near the absolute most shamelessly, outright parodically and self-awarely clich├ęd good-versus-evil-fest in the history of anything ever)...

and yet for some unspeakably asinine reason, many of its fanboys hold it onto this ridiculous heavenly pedestal and make it out to be an angel that can do literally no wrong, all the while treating the VASTLY superior Final Fantasy VI like complete and utter worthless garbage by comparison just because it's from the FF series (cough, DEFINITELY not talking about htoutlaws here, cough)

In conclusion, a great game indeed, but only deserving of the exact same score I generally give to all of my other favorite RPGs now that I've finally broken out of my stupid "instant 10" phase. 9/10