Thursday, September 10, 2020

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game Complete Edition (PS4, XB1, NSW) Announcement Trailer

Updated since I mistakenly had PC listed in the platforms of the title.

It's baaaaack~! The once-delisted game is making a grand return to current gen platforms in a big way with all the DLC included, as one would expect from a game with a bonus subtitle of "Complete Edition"! It's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game Complete Edition, and it arrives this holiday season to a gaming platform near you. 

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake (PS4, XB1, PC) Announcement Trailer

We move on from a new franchise from Ubisoft to an old, familiar friend with Prince of Persia, specifically what Ubisoft is calling a remake of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The original game launched on PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox gaming consoles back in 2003, so it's nice to see Ubisoft revisit the game after all this time. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on January 21st, 2021.

Immortals Fenyx Rising (Multi) Official World Premiere Trailer

Immortals Fenix Rising is officially the new title for the previously revealed Gods & Monsters from last year. The game is no doubt inspired somewhat by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and that's A-OK by me. The vivid, colorful, vibrant Greek world of Immortals looks sensational, and we won't have to wait too terribly long to journey through it, either, as the game launches on all major platforms (and Stadia) on December 3rd, 2020.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Hotshot Racing (NSW) Review

We zoom and vroom deeper into September's month of reviews with a game that launches tomorrow on the Nintendo Switch eShop, among other platform storefronts as well. It's Hotshot Racing, and here is SuperPhillip Central's review!

An arcade racer with style on the hood and substance under it

Like so many genres in gaming that used to be up there in both quantity and popularity, the arcade racer is one that isn't in most big developer wheelhouses nowadays. Thus, once again indie developers are taking the lead. Hotshot Racing is a mix of Virtua Racing's low-polygon visual splendor with the drift-based racing of games such as Ridge Racer. It's a combination that delights as much as it dazzles, offering a simple enough control scheme for beginners to become acclimated with while also possessing enough depth for arcade racing game veterans to enjoy. It all adds up to one engaging arcade racer.

The main mode of Hotshot Racing is its Grand Prix, offering four unique cups, each with four different races. The four cups in Hotshot Racing's Grand Prix mode are spread out across four unique environments: Coast, Desert, Jungle, and Mountain. Each cup has a race in each location with varying track layouts, time of day, and weather. The winner of the Grand Prix is decided by the driver who possesses the most points at the end of the four-race series, and points are handed out based on position in each race. If you've played any Mario Kart game (or pretty much any racing game with a Grand Prix mode, for that matter), this is hardly a foreign concept.

Nearly every screenshot for this review was taken in handheld mode.
A great feel when it comes to handling and control is also no foreign concept to Sumo Digital, one of the co-developers of the game, and this fact continues with Hotshot Racing. Between cornering tight turns by pulling off impressive drifts and the general feel of driving each and every racing vehicle in the game, everything controls well in Hotshot Racing. There's a little sensitivity to drifting that takes some getting used to in the first several minutes of the game, but by a full race or two's completion, you'll be drifting like a pro.

And you'll need to drift like a pro, too, as Hotshot Racing can be a tricky game when competing against the computer. Most of your time as a local player will be spent in the previously described Grand Prix, and while the Normal and Hard difficulties aren't too terribly taxing, it's the Expert difficulty where one careless mistake can cost you not only the race but the cup as well. It can be quite frustrating, but at the same time, highly rewarding when you finally overcome the odds and the competition to stand at the top spot on the podium.

Once you've grown acclimated to it (which won't take too long), drifting feels sensational.
Apart from the Grand Prix, there is a single race option to explore, offering standard arcade-style races where you choose the location and amount of laps. Additionally, there are two special modes to choose from, both survival-style events. One has you avoiding pursuing police cars controlled by other players, where taking damage will eventually result in you blowing up and becoming a cop car yourself. The player with the most money at the end of this mode is considered the winner. In order to get money, you need to either cross checkpoints or, if you're a cop car, destroy players to inherit their cash pile. The other mode is likely inspired by the movie Speed. You have to keep your speed over a certain, perpetually increasing threshold and make it to the finish line. Checkpoints in this instance not only increase the speed limit you need to drive over, but also partially heals damage to your car. Both modes are fun, little time-wasters, but they failed to really hold my attention for too terribly long.

Hotshot Racing offers automatic or manual transmission.
The latter is best if you want even more of a challenge.
No, the meat and potatoes, or the gears and tires, if you'll pardon the clunky race car analogy, is the Grand Prix, and this mode won't last you too terribly long either. For each of the eight drivers in the game, there are four exclusive race cars they drive. By completing certain in-race requirements when driving a given vehicle, you'll unlock new skins, parts, and more to purchase with the game's currency. This adds some replay value for single player, if you need some motivation to continue playing and the stellar racing mechanics and fast speeds aren't enough.

As for the racing mechanics, when you drift, you slowly build energy in your boost meter. Once it has filled one of the notches, you can unleash a boost to soar past the competition or better yet, maintain your lead. You can also gather energy by slipstream-ing opponents. However, you lose energy in your meter when you collide against walls, so there's a good reason to not go completely hog wild when racing. There's a strategy to using boosts, too. Obviously straightaways are terrific for unleashing them, but also if you find yourself slowed down from a crash, they're a great way of getting back into the race as well.

Building some boost energy while drifting through downtown. My kind of evening!
Unfortunately, the AI doesn't really have to worry about getting back into the race because there's definitely a high level of rubber-banding on display in Hotshot Racing. While I appreciate the developers and designers of the game to get clear inspiration from classic racing games for most of the features in Hotshot Racing, rubber-banding was one they could have removed and I wouldn't have minded. Races always come down to the last few seconds due to how the computer sticks and stays neck and neck seemingly always, no matter how many boosts you use.

Aside from that big negative about the game, one of the qualities I adore about Hotshot Racing is that most modes outside of Time Trial can be played with up to four players locally for some split-screen action. I was only able to play with one other player locally, but I can happily state that it was a smooth as silk experience. Outside of the incredibly enjoyable local play, there is online multiplayer for up to eight players. I was unable to play this before the actual game's release tomorrow myself due to a minimum player limit before races can begin. Here's hoping, though, that there is a long-lasting community attached to the game.

This local multiplayer screenshot was taken while my Switch was docked.
I briefly mentioned the low-poly graphics of Hotshot Racing, but it's worth noting how lovely and striking the visual style really is. It makes seeing obstacles and turns simple, while also rewarding players with a smooth as silk frame-rate, whether playing docked or handheld on the Nintendo Switch. Environments look divine with large draw distances, and meticulously detailed tracks with numerous objects, buildings, and more scattered around them.

When it concerns the sound, Hotshot Racing features a hype-inducing announcer, as well as voicework for all eight drivers in the game, whether contextually within races or during their Grand Prix endings. The music wasn't a memorable spot for me in Hotshot Racing, but that's probably because I was too busy listening to the gears shift, the engines roar, and focusing on trying to win each race. I did notice that every track's final lap version got more vigorous and changed up notes and accompaniment considerably, making for a immensely more intense conclusion to each race than without it.

Not mentioned in the body of this review, Hotshot Racing's
Nintendo Switch version features optional motion control steering.
Delivering thrills, chills, and arcade racing entertainment of yore (complete with some unwanted old school sensibilities like rubber-banding), Hotshot Racing succeeds at bringing a stellar arcade racing experience to the Nintendo Switch (and I assume other platforms, too, when it releases on those). The driving and drifting mechanics are structurally sound and more importantly, they feel wonderful when playing. Hotshot Racing crosses the finish line with a gorgeous low-poly art style and enough under the hood gameplay-wise to back it all up.

[SPC Says: B]

A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (NSW) Announcement Trailer

While Zelda fans like myself await more news on the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (perhaps we're waiting with bated "breath"?), a new game set in the world was announced this morning. It's Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a Dynasty Warriors-style prequel showing in-depth the happenings taking place 100 years before the events of the original Breath of the Wild. The latest installment in the Hyrule Warriors series arrives on the Nintendo Switch on November 20th.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume Seven

With this being Labor Day here in the United States, it seems like a prime opportunity to talk some laborious challenges in gaming that will definitely prove your e-cred. After all, we all know that e-cred is obviously the most important type of cred there is. But seriously, all kidding aside--these five gaming tasks will get your heart racing, thumbs sore, and temper flaring with how difficult they are to properly achieve. The weak and squeamish need not apply, as it's time for Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume Seven!

Check out past installments of the Toughest Tasks series and let the community know which ones you've managed to tackle!

Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four
Volume Five
Volume Six

Becoming "Infallible" - Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (PS4, PC) 

We begin with a game that's been perfect for a pandemic--words that I never thought I'd have to utter on this blog in my lifetime--it's Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, a PlayStation Plus extra from last month turned gaming phenomenon. As the name implies, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout features multiple rounds of elimination-style games where the aim of the game is to be the last player standing out of the 60 that start. With each round, there is a threshold of qualifiers, and that number becomes smaller and smaller until the final round where only one player can become victorious.

Becoming the winner against 60 players is already a challenge as it is, but in order to achieve the name of "Infallible", a player has to become the number one player five episodes in a row. In essence, this means surviving the first four rounds of each episode AND ultimately winning the fifth... FIVE TIMES.

Getting this challenge done legitimately means you're one of the toughest Fall Guys around, as there is an intrinsic randomness to the game already. You can't control what other players do, and they're most likely gunning for the top spot as well, if not the "Infallible" achievement too. Good luck winning just one episode or luck out and somehow get a second episode win, but there's nothing more deflating than having a streak of four wins end in a crushing elimination.

Earning the 100% Ending - Paper Mario: The Origami King (NSW)

Paper Mario: The Origami King released in July, and was overall a terrific, humorous, and clever take on the Paper Mario series. I found myself yearning to play through the game, discovering what surprises the game had in store for me, thoroughly exploring each and every area for secrets and collectibles, and even liking the battle system overall. However, even as a lover of the latest Paper Mario game, there was one thing I just couldn't bring myself to do as I lack total patience: earning the special 100% ending. I won't spoil the contents of said ending, so no worries there.

Regardless, in order to get this final touch to The Origami King's ending, you must get every collectible trophy in the game. Most of them are happily and enjoyably found throughout the game world, but it's the ones for reaching certain milestones that are the hardest to acquire. Easier milestones for trophies include collecting a certain amount of coins or participating in a specific amount of battles.

The most challenging of these milestones, however, revolve around specific mini-games and events in The Origami King. I'm talking specifically about a late-scenario game show-esque event that requires you to do a perfect run of it, as well as a battle training mini-game that also necessitates a speedy and perfect run as well. Without getting into the nitty gritty of both, I can just say that if you aren't a fan of the ring-based battle system in The Origami King or get stumped easily, this won't be a pleasure cruise for you. The game show itself requires not just a photographic memory (or constantly taking screenshots to remember precise details), but the ability to quickly maneuver all three rings to provide answers in a timely fashion. Not easy, and certainly nothing that is worth getting too fussed over. I happily viewed the little extra in the 100% ending on YouTube instead, and I'm sure plenty of other players did the same.

Getting 200% Completion - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (NSW, Wii U)

Ah, SuperPhillip Central has seldom been a site to rest on its laurels, so let's not stop at 100%--let's double it up! For many players, even the most seasoned of platforming fans, the terrific Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is an already difficult game when they're just running through it normally. But, when the adventure has been completed, and the Snowmad villains have been forcefully removed from DK Isle, that's when Tropical Freeze really heats up as a platformer.

Enter Hard Mode: the final obstacle between a player and their 200% save file. By beating every level in Tropical Freeze, this mode unlocks, offering the same level designs and bosses featured in the base game. There's a banana slamma' of a difference, however, and that's that you only get one heart to work with in each level. Get hit, and you're dead. With no checkpoints and no offerings from Funky Kong to help you out this time around, this is one Kong-sized challenge. This is especially so with the rocket barrel levels and the boss battles, the latter of which were already difficult and lengthy affairs as they were! Regardless, if you can manage to beat the game via Hard Mode, not only will you be rewarded with some cool, extra concept art, but you can proudly proclaim that you're the top banana of the platforming bunch.

Achieving All Pure Platinums - The Wonderful 101 (PS4, NSW, Wii U, PC)

Platinum Games titles are well known for generally having scoring systems included, and some mighty big rewards for mastering the various gameplay systems involved. The Wonderful 101 and its recently released Remastered version are no different in this regard. The top rank in the game is a Pure Platinum, earned by being rated highly in three categories: Time--how quickly you clear a given mission, Combo--how many consecutive hits you deliver to enemies in a mission, and Damage--how little of which your team of Wonderful Ones take in a mission.

Just doing one Pure Platinum run in a given level (that is, getting all Pure Platinum ranks throughout a level) is tough enough. Try doing it for every level in the game on every difficulty. Throw in the designers' "wonderful" way of changing up the gameplay systems from a standard action game to superfluous stuff like shoot-em-up segments or Punch-Out!!-like boss battles, for instance. On top of that, so many levels in The Wonderful 101 are so lengthy that it can be agonizing to have to repeat a Pure Platinum run attempt just because you took a hit in one particular mission, especially if it's near the end of the level. Still, if you're able to come to terms with the highly complex, deep, and ultimately rewarding combat of The Wonderful 101 and manage to succeed with this truly taxing gaming task, you are definitely "one-stoppable".

Becoming a "VS Master" - Everybody's Golf (PS4)

Golf is a sport of patience and persistence. You'll need both to get the most difficult trophy in the happy-go-lucky golfing world of Everybody's Golf. The "VS Master" trophy requires you to beat every "Versus" character in match play, not once but twice due to their "revenge" versions. Many of the characters are challenging enough to compete against, especially when there are specific rules tied to them, such as taking stroke penalties for landing in the rough or in a bunker, for instance. The difference with the "revenge" variants of Versus characters is that if you lose against them, they will not be able to be re-challenged for literal days.

Furthermore, some Versus characters are secret, and they only challenge you after completing certain in-game tasks, such as sinking a specific amount of birdies, completing a certain amount of tournaments, and so forth. The hardest of these without a question is sinking not just one condor (which is one condition to unlock a secret Versus character) but THREE (which unlocks another). Only a handful of holes in the entire game offers the opportunity to sink a condor, and these require specific weather and wind conditions to have a shot in Heck to get a hole-in-one on these aforementioned handful of Par 5 holes. While free play is certainly an option to practice and pray that your driver is true, it's still immensely based on luck to score three condors, much more actually beating the challengers that come your way. As you can see, this is one gaming challenge and trophy that separates the pros from... well, "everybody" else!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition (NSW, PS4) Review

SuperPhillip Central starts off this new month of reviews with a recently released remaster of a Nintendo GameCube game from 2004. It's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition, and SPC has its in-depth review ready for you, looking at the home console versions of the game.

O keepers of the crystal...

I have fond memories of breaking out my indigo Nintendo GameCube, putting my copy of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles into the system's disc tray, hooking up four Game Boy Advances via link cables to my GameCube, and playing the game how it was meant to be played--with four players on one TV screen. Oh, wait a minute--no, I don't! Next to nobody I knew or had heard of had four friends with each of their own Game Boy Advances, with link cables, who also gave a Chocobo's feather about Final Fantasy, much less a spin-off. But, that's what Nintendo and Square Enix figured with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles in 2004.

Now, sixteen years later and some change, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is back, but no longer is the multiplayer anywhere near as inaccessible as it was on the GameCube. With online play and a plethora of new features, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition brings the oft overlooked spin-off in the Final Fantasy series to more platforms and more people.

Random events such as this occasionally happen when wandering the world map
in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition.
The world of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is blanketed in a cover of deadly miasma and creating a horde of monsters in its wake. The only protection from the hazardous mist is that of giant crystals at special settlements. It is there that crystal caravans set out, one for each respective village and town, and bravely enter danger and monster-filled dungeons to collect drops of myrrh to fill their chalices. A full chalice brings a year's safety to a settlement from the wrath of the miasma.

Settlements like these are safe from the miasma's ill effects...
AND they serve as great places to buy, sell, and craft new equipment.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles puts you in the role of a custom created caravaner, given the duty of venturing into dungeons around the world and collecting drops of myrrh. Collecting three drops of myrrh results in the current year being complete and a resulting festival at your village being held. When a specific dungeon's myrrh is collected, it will be empty for two years, meaning that you can't just pillage the same dungeon to collect myrrh over and over again. Though you can return to a completed dungeon for treasure.

Dungeons in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition feature the aforementioned miasma blanketing the entirety of them. The sole sector of safety is the area around a crystal chalice that each caravan possesses and uses to fill with a drop of myrrh, earned from defeating a dungeon's boss. Go outside the field of protection that the crystal chalice provides from the miasma, and you'll find your character quickly succumbing to the harsh elements.

In solo play, Moogle generally serves as the carrier of the crystal chalice.
They will occasionally offer to help with spell fusions as well.
In solo mode, you get a partner Moogle to help carry the chalice, but obnoxiously, the Moogle will occasionally proclaim that they're tried from carrying it and move much more slowly. This results in either you taking on the role of carrying the chalice or taking a breather from moving around too much. Either way, it's a tedious aspect of the game. In multiplayer, depending on how many players are in the party--up to four--the role of the crystal chalice carrier can change often. When monsters appear, the chalice can easily be dropped so all players can engage with the enemy.

Speaking of combat, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles never had the most complex or deep battle system around, and this element stays true in the Remastered Edition. Some might call it slow, basic, and a bit plodding, but there's a slight level of charm and sophistication to it--and dare I say, simple satisfaction derived from it. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition utilizes a command ring, which you cycle commands via the shoulder buttons. There's a basic attack, and as you pick up Magicite from defeated monsters and from discovered treasure chests, magic spells that get added to your repertoire of commands. Attacking is as simple as hitting a button. Hitting it with the right timing can result in a three hit combo, which deals more damage than simply striking an enemy three times with a single blow.

That Goblin picked the wrong day to mess with my Clavat.
Stronger focus attacks and spells can be cast by holding the attack button, and moving an area of effect ring over to your desired position and then letting go of the button. While these obviously take more time to unleash (and can understandably leave your character vulnerable), they can dish out damage well and provide elemental-based pain too. In solo mode, you can fuse together magic on the command ring menu to create much more powerful and potent spells. Two Fire magic when fused will become the stronger Fira spell, for instance, while Raise and Thunder fused together make the undead wish they were just plain old dead with the Holy spell. Multiplayer requires teamwork and proper timing to fuse spells. When one player starts conjuring an area of effect spell, which causes a ring shape to appear on the ground, another player or series of players need to put rings on top of the first player's ring. With proper timing and a compatible spell, a spell fusion will take place.

Magic can be used by itself or fused together with devastating results.
Of course, enemies won't just stand there and take the world full of pain you wish to give them. They wish to reciprocate on their end. While you can defend against their strikes, I found it more useful just to run out of the way, as there is no designated "Defend" button. Instead, you have to cycle over in the command ring to the "Defend" action, which is highly inconvenient and cumbersome as all get out.

Enemies use their own attacks and myriad magical spells--some which can temporarily freeze, paralyze, or otherwise make you unable to move for a temporary period of time. My "Game Overs" were generally a result of me getting stunned over and over again, and taking damage in the process with no ability to move, even with shaking the analog stick furiously to more quickly come out of my character's stupor. Frustrating. Otherwise, my deaths simply resulted from being overwhelmed by too many monsters at once. Fortunately, the Remastered Edition of Crystal Chronicles features an auto-save function and makes "Game Overs" hardly end of the world-inducing. You simply can continue from the area of the dungeon you perished in, and pick up from there without much in the way of punishment.

Monsters don't fight fairly, so keep an eye on your health!
Dungeons in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition take place in a wide array of locations: from a forest of mushrooms and a cozy riverbed path, to a lived-in monster-sized mansion and a dried-up sluice. There are plenty of opportunities to go off the beaten path most of the time, and this will result in unique discoveries in the form of treasure chests containing items of value. At the end of each of the dozen or so dungeons in the game is a boss which stands between you and your much prized drop of myrrh for your chalice. These bosses aren't too strategic in their encounters--as you can usually just pummel them a bunch, then after you've taken enough damage, retreat to safety and heal--but they serve as a nice way to cap off all the exploration and battling of smaller monsters you do in the dungeons leading up to them.

Familiar Final Fantasy foes big and small stand in your party's path to collect drops of myrrh.
You don't level up or gain experience points from defeated bosses or monsters in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition like you would in a traditional action RPG. Instead, you acquire artifacts from treasure chests and from beaten bosses, which bestow effects like increased strength, defense and magic, as well as added health and slots to your command ring. While the artifacts you pick up in a playthrough of a dungeon count towards your stats, it's only temporary and for that dungeon. Once you actually beat the dungeon, you only get to choose one of your collected artifacts to keep for a permanent stat boost. You need to replay dungeons to collect more and more artifacts for your character to get stronger and stronger in the game. In addition to artifacts, you can acquire materials to craft equipment in the form of weapons and armor to further strengthen your characters. This is paramount for completing harder dungeons, such as the final dungeon, as well as beating more challenging versions of dungeons, including the all-new post-game dungeons. The latter features new enemy types, new boss variants, new artifacts to collect, new materials to build new equipment, and different aesthetics altogether.

Multiplayer is of course a major component to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. It was in the original, and it is now in the Remastered Edition. The original was incredibly inconceivable to realistically find four players with four Game Boy Advances and four link cables to have a full party with, so with the advent of online play in this remastered version of the game, it's much easier. Though, to be honest, it's not as enjoyable as I would have liked. For one, there is no local multiplayer to speak of, which is quite disappointing. The only option for multiplayer is online with players being able to host their own rooms, locked to only friends or with anyone, and where they can select which dungeon they wish to play. The other option is that they can join games via lobby or ones already in progress.

Online play features cross-play with owners of the Switch, PS4, and mobile versions of the game.
I do have gripes with how rooms work. For one, once a dungeon has been completed together, there is no option to change dungeons without disbanding the group. You can replay the dungeon, but you can't select a new dungeon to play. Secondly, there is no voice chat to "speak" of (see what I did there?), instead you have to use pre-made text inputs. You're also at the mercy of your party and the chalice holder in online games. If the person with the chalice wants to just storm to the finish of the level, they will do so, leaving you without much opportunity to scour and explore the dungeon for treasure and other goods. Additionally there are the issues of not being able to skip boss introductions online, Moogle mail segments, or myrrh tree ceremonies. The latter only allows the host to collect the drop of myrrh.

This particular screenshot shows all four character classes available in Final Fantasy
Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition, each with their own benefits and disadvantages.
With all of these issues, it might seem like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition's online play isn't that enjoyable. For me, it actually couldn't be anymore the opposite. There's something to be said about having an easier time running through dungeons as a group instead of the occasional tedium of slogging through them solo with nothing but a whiny Moogle. Furthermore, it's more fun to collect artifacts with other players, though you are essentially competing against each other, despite Crystal Chronicles being a co-operative game overall. There are bonus points that each player earns from doing a challenge specifically assigned to them. Many are easy like inflicting or taking damage, collecting items or money, etc., but some require defeating enemies a certain way. The player with the most bonus points at the end of a dungeon gets the first selection from the list of artifacts earned from the dungeon, followed by the player in second place, third place, and finally fourth place.

Like the "Remastered" part in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition would lead you to believe, this GameCube cult classic has received some upgrades since we last saw it almost two decades ago. Higher resolution characters and environments are featured, as is brand-new voice acting, mostly used in the absolutely pace-breaking caravan scenes that occur randomly and "more often than I wish to see" throughout the game. Some new and rearranged music tracks have been included, added to an already superb worldly and rustic soundtrack. Seriously, I can't say enough good things about Kumi Tanioka's compositions with the original Crystal Chronicles. All isn't well in this remaster, though, as I do regularly suffer through slow-down when I emerge from loading screens into different areas of dungeons. Other than that, performance is pretty solid.

A humongous giant versus a small Clavat. I'm liking the Clavat's chances here.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition is a better version of the 2004 GameCube original, though that didn't take TOO terribly much to accomplish. Multiplayer, while immensely imperfect (and perhaps that's putting it a bit nicely), is much easier to organize and find a party of four players to enjoy the game with. Even in solo play, there's a fine level of fun to be found. For action RPG veterans, the combat on display in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles will most likely be a bit too basic and boring, and for those new to the game, the structure might be too confusing to understand without some outside help. Still, for fans of the GameCube's only Final Fantasy game, there's a lot to like about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition. Just don't expect it to totally live up to your decade-old nostalgia.

[SPC Says: B-]