(http://www.thecrystalbearers.com/Rated Teen by ESRB.  Not counting the portable or WiiWare titles, The Crystal Bearers is the second title to be released after the original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the Gamecube. Crystal Bearers was first announced at E3 May of 2006, making its development time about 3 to 4 years. Like the original Crystal Chronicles as well as predecessors Ring of Fates and Echoes of Time, the gameplay style is third person action adventure. But unlike the other titles of the series, the battle party comprise of the main character alone as supposed to four characters.

(http://www.thecrystalbearers.com/Rated Teen by ESRB.  Not counting the portable or WiiWare titles, The Crystal Bearers is the second title to be released after the original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the Gamecube. Crystal Bearers was first announced at E3 May of 2006, making its development time about 3 to 4 years. Like the original Crystal Chronicles as well as predecessors Ring of Fates and Echoes of Time, the gameplay style is third person action adventure. But unlike the other titles of the series, the battle party comprise of the main character alone as supposed to four characters.

 

Presentation:

The story takes place within the Crystal Chronicles’ universe, a long time after the events from the original. Although not much is said about during the game, there was a great war that drove one of the four tribes of Crystal Chronicles, the Yukes, to appear extinct. The Lilties is now the dominant race of the world. With their heavy emphasis on technology and the disappearance of the magically inclined Yukes, there are but a few people who can use magic. These magic users are called Crystal Bearers, often feared or alienated by the public due to their unusual and powerful abilities. The game’s young protagonist, Layle, is one such individual. Perhaps because of his abilities, Layle shows a practical confidence in a refreshing contrast to many protagonists of the main Final Fantasy roman numbered entries. The supporting casts of The Crystal Bearers also show quite a bit of personality, making their interaction with Layle entertaining.

 

Graphics:

It is quite unbelievable that The Crystal Bearers is a Wii game from the graphical stand point. The vast world is seamlessly connected without any load time when Layle travels from zones to zones. As expected of SquareEnix, everything in-game from character models to the monsters and the environments are incredibly detailed. The monstrous bosses that tower over Layle are especially terrifying. However, they are also particularly tricky with the camera control. With the slow-moving camera assigned to the D-pad, it takes a bit of mental adjustment before looking around becomes comfortable. But fortunately, normal navigation and combat can be easily handled using just the center-camera function mapped to the Z button.

       

Sounds:

The music of The Crystal Bearers is an odd mix, some resembling the classic Final Fantasy soundtracks while the upbeat tracks are more outlandish. Overall the songs are well orchestrated, fitting and immersive for the individual areas and situations despite the large variety of themes provided by all the different music. The voice acting cast had done a decent job delivering their lines and shaping the adventure. But there are moments where the player would care a little more if it had more believable and enthusiastic voice works.

 

Gameplay:

Although different crystal bearers possess different magical talents, it just happens that Layle’s power resembles that of a Jedi. The player will utilize Layle’s force, well, gravity manipulation powers throughout the game. Whether it is combat or free exploration, the player aims with the Wii Remote to target an object for Layle to telekinetically lift up or throw. The real time combat of The Crystal Bearers is much like those others in the Crystal Chronicles series, except that Layle never directly damage anything. This special rule to Layle’s fighting is quite refreshing, as it diverges from those of traditional Action RPG. It is entertaining to discover various enemy abilities by holding them over Layle, or simply throwing them against each other. Although entertaining and refreshing, SquareEnix served the game well to limit the combat to a minor role to save it from being repetitive. The other parts to this game are taken up by mini-games and cutscenes. While the cutscenes are obviously there to delivery the story, the mini -games are there just for fun. Whether it is fishing or assisting girls bumping each other off a floating platform, they stay fairly relaxed as they have no real impact on the story or gameplay.

 

       

 

Innovation:

The Crystal Bearers does not feature any headache-inducing RPG elements; hardcore RPG fans might be disappointed if one was looking for heavy experience, money, or item farming. But in place of that is a simple equipment system that allows Layle to wear 3 pieces of accessories that can augment his few stats. The accessories can be bought from shops, or be made from materials gathered from the world or looted from monsters. Moreover, especially strong accessories can be created under certain circumstances. The straightforward equipments and interactive combat system here differentiate The Crystal Bearers from the average RPG.

 

Longevity:

With the lack of an objective pointer or even a mini-map, a lot of time will be spent figuring out where to go next since the game’s HUD only includes the health bar and radar; although it is not necessarily a frustrating feature as the game’s beautiful scenery and lively towns are worthwhile to get lost in. On top of that, many of the game’s hidden medals maybe unlocked while Layle is randomly exploring the towns and the wilderness. Besides being able to conveniently replay the numerous mini-games, there is also more to be done in new game plus after beating the game the first time.

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