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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition hands-off preview: No longer a fantasy

Journey into the world of Tipa to replenish the crystals that protect the land from dangerous miasma in this storied solo or multiplayer adventure.


Did you miss out on playing the original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles because you didn't have a GameCube or enough friends willing to go adventuring with you at any given moment? Worry not, adventurer. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition is here to make those dreams of your youth come true – or introduce you to a world of role-playing, enemy slaying, and puzzle-solving.

This updated version of a game that originally released 16 years ago is a remaster with goodies that should make even seasoned players turn their heads and pay attention. There's a lot to take in, especially if you've never actually played the original. With that said, Shacknews was given the opportunity to take in a hands-off preview session of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered ahead of its official debut. Our verdict? We're ready for our own adventure and can't wait for a hands-on look. 

Players are transported to a world called Tipa that was previously ravaged by a giant meteorite, with toxic miasma covering the entirety of the land. There are crystals scattered throughout the land that keep the deadly miasma from harming citizens, but they can't last forever. Groups of adventurers called caravans head out on journeys to find "drops of myrrh" to keep the crystals alive. Your own "crystal chronicle," as the caravans' adventures are called, will play out as you work to keep the land you love safe from the miasma. It's a very typical story for the Final Fantasy series, skewing toward earlier entries, but it sets the stage perfectly for this remastered version. 

If you're coming back for more after enjoying the game as a younger player, you'll be pleased to know that it's largely unchanged, with additional features that should make it a much more accessible experience for multiple players. While local co-op has been removed, you can play together across PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android with cross-play. That way, you and your friends can play together in a much easier manner, even though you can't crowd around the living room on the same system.

This ends up making it a bit easier, since it's accessible via smartphone. You can play online with up to four players you know or opt for matchmaking, which will pair you up with adventurers if you need some extra people. Some fans may not agree with this decision, but at a glance it seems obvious that these additional options should make it simpler to gather a group together, not harder.

But what's it all about? You're off on an adventure, of course. When it's time to get started, you can choose one of four tribes: the Clavat, Lilty, Luke, and Selkie. There are predetermined character types from each tribe that you can select, as well as their gender. Then you can select the voice that sounds best to you for your character. You'll notice right off the bat when creating your character that the game has, for the first time ever, an English voiceover option.

That's a boon for players coming in for the first time, and a surprising (but appreciated) addition. Incidentally, there's also new music from composer Kumi Tanioka as well as newly-recorded versions of "Starry Moonlit Night" and "Sound of the Wind." The game is also narrated by Donna Burke for the English version and Yae for the Japanese voiceover.

Following your initial character setup, you can choose a Home Job, such as Blacksmith, Miller, Tailor, or Farmer. Finally, choose a name and you're good to go out on your adventure. A typical gameplay loop consists of you heading out into the world and exploring the world map, with events taking place on the main road. After your exploration phase is complete, it's time to spend some time in the dungeon. Defeat bosses and you'll be rewarded with drops of myrrh. Each dungeon's deepest floor has an even tougher boss you'll have to face, which will net you even more goodies.

All the while, you need to make sure you don't stray too far from the Crystal Chalice the party carries, which is used to accumulate drops of myrrh. Get too far away from it, and the miasma will begin to damage you. In multiplayer mode, one player will handle the Chalice. In single-player mode, Mog will carry it for you and offer magical assistance from time to time. If it sounds like a lot to keep track of, that's because it is – but there's an element of challenge here that goes beyond your typical turn-based RPG combat seen in most games. You'll have to work together with your team if you want to succeed.

Combat is actually a real-time affair instead of turn-based. You can perform basic attacks, Focus Attacks for additional damage, defend yourself or party members depending on what kind of tribe you selected for your character, and use a resource called magicite earned from defeating enemies to cast magic. Each character has their own set of Focus Attacks, so you'll need to experiment with that as you progress.

There's another fun addition to combat as well: a Magic Timer that allows you to use "Spell Fusion" skills that will become more powerful if you cast them in tandem with friends while playing online. In multiplayer, you can cast alongside friends to unleash a powerful torrent of magic. In single-player, you can choose to fuse magic all your own via the menu. You could, for instance, collect three Blizzard magicite to cast Blizzaga. Unleash it all for a powerful attack on your enemies.

Outside of dungeons, you can head to town to buy and sell items at shops, fill out your diary and pore over its pages to keep up with your adventure, and read lettres (sometimes with items) from your family. You can read, reply, and even reply with an item of your own, depending on your preference, which will change the type of letters you receive.

Aside from the main gameplay mechanics, this remastered edition is rife with other tweaks, such as the "Mimic" mode that lets you change up your character's appearance as well as a swath of new gear and upgrade items. While adventuring, you'll notice that there's a mini-map that can always be viewed at the top right of the screen. If you want to go back and relive any particular scene, you can visit the Diary to do so. There's even a Quick Chat feature so you can communicate with friends easily

When the game becomes available, you can start playing the Lite Edition for free or opt to purchase the full game. The full, paid version will allow players to Host Lite players so that groups can play together. Lite players can play through up to 13 dungeons together with the Host, meaning you can try out a good portion of the game before you decide if it is or isn't for you.

From improved graphics to new English voiceover options, this upcoming release looks like a great way to kick off the fall gaming season for a series of willing adventurers. We're ready to jump in and start seeking out that myrrh. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition is set for release on August 27 on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android.  

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

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