July 30, 2020

With the world what it is right now, going hands on with pre-release games can be pretty hard to organise, but with so many of the bigger conferences all cancelled for the year, publishers and developers are looking for new ways to us to check out their games early. Thanks to Square Enix, we were able to check out some extended never before seen gameplay from FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition, the upcoming remaster of the Gamecube classic. While we couldn’t feel how the game responded in my hands, we were still able to get a good impression of the game.

The footage we saw covered three main facets of the game: character creation, a single player level and a multiplayer level. Those last two will be the main focus of our preview, but we’ll give you a quick run down of the game’s character creation system. There’s nothing too in-depth here, with character creation largely being around selecting your character’s Tribe and therefore archetype. Clavats are humanoids that are well-rounded characters, Lilties look like halflings and are the game’s tanks/warriors, Yukes are tall-slender creatures that are great with magic, and Selkies are more humanoids that are faster than the rest. The Tribe you choose will form the basic for how you play the game, so co-ordinating with friends to ensure a good spread will go a long way.

Once character creation was done, it was right on into gameplay demos that showed off exploration and general combat, before ending in boss battle. We got a good view on a range of the combat mechanics in the game, with the single player demo centred around a Clavat who quickly switched between physical and magical attacks on the fly. While it was impossible to tell how the controls felt, the combat looked quick and responsive, if a little simplistic by the standards of today. There’s no rolling or quick dodging, instead everything is through physical positioning and manual dodging.

We also got a good look at one of the big new additions to the game: Spell Fusion. Described by game director Ryoma Araki as a system implemented ‘so that even people playing online can experience the same fun and satisfaction of timing their spellcasts together’, Spell Fusion allows players to combine their spells together to devastating effect. In multiplayer this is done dynamically by players timing their spellcasting to bring their spells together in bombastic effect. It made for some dynamic action on-screen that looked super fun. It didn’t look quite as dynamic in single player, where you need to utilise the in-game menus to set a combination, but it’s still something you can do to change up combat.

As far as how FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES  Remastered Edition looks, while you can definitely see the game’s legacy as a Gamecube game, it certainly doesn’t look bad. The environments are interesting to look at it, if a little bit simplistic, and there’s some good use of colour across them. Character and enemy models have also gotten a good bump in detail, looking much clearer and more defined than the original game. It’s not the biggest of upgrades and there wasn’t too much to compare against, but it was still better look. There’s also a whole bunch of English character voiceovers that didn’t exist in the original release, which definitely help with the immersion in the game.

There’s only a month to go until FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition releases and it’s pretty clear from what we saw that the game is pretty much ready to go. While we wished we could’ve gotten to feel how the game played, what was there looked engaging and fun, even if it seems to obviously be a product of its time. The combat looked responsive, the environments looked fun and the Spell Fusion system looked dynamic and bombastic. We can’t wait to go hands on with the game and see just how it turns out when it releases for Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on August 27th. For more information, check out the official website.