on November 8, 2015
Chrono Trigger is a true classic that is regarded by many as one of the best RPGs of all time. It is my personal favorite, and I still consider it to be the greatest RPG ever made. It is the RPG by which all other RPGs should be judged by, in terms of gameplay, story, sound, and overall quality.
[If you do not want to read through the ENTIRE review, you can read the last paragraph where i briefly summarize some of the higher merits of the game]
[You may skip this first paragraph if you want to get to the review proper]
The Premise of the story and plot is centered around the concept of time. It is the year 1000 A.D. You play the role of Chrono, a spiky-haired teen who lives with his mom and cat in the kingdom of Guardia. At Guardia's Millennial Fair, he meets Marle, the king's tomboyish daughter. Together, they go to see Crono's friend Lucca's new invention, which is a transportation device that will beam someone from one pod to the other. Marle offers to try it out, but the mysterious pendant she wears reacts to the machine's energy, and she is pulled through a portal opened up by the pendant. Crono goes through the portal to try to bring her back, and ends up 400 years in the past! Thus begins a long journey to stabilize the time stream and put the universe back in its working order before the day of the apocalypse.
If that does not sound interesting to you already then rpgs just may not be your cup of tea. This is merely just the prologue of the story. The main party of characters will grow as you travel across many time periods, and even alternate time lines in an attempt to save the future from the past. The plot becomes very rich and deep, which makes it very easy to get into and create a truly immense world for the gamer to delve in to.
The gameplay in Chrono Trigger is some of the best in any RPG. Ever. Being an RPG, it has the same basic formula of other games in the genre during the SNES era. There are two parties, and you take turns attacking each other. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. Like some other RPGs, the battles are not random. Instead, you see the enemies on your screen before battle, and you can avoid them if you please (Grandia, Secret of Mana, and others use similar systems). When you begin a battle in Chrono Trigger, the first thing you will notice is that the parties aren’t lined up in straight lines across the field like in so many other RPGs. During the fight, your characters will move all around the field, which makes for a more realistic experience and even adds to the strategy. The next thing you will notice is the bar below each of your character’s names. This is what is referred to as an ACT bar. When a character’s ACT bar is fully filled, they can perform an action. In Chrono Trigger, the three actions are Attack, Tech, and Item. Choosing attack will have your character unleash a standard attack on an enemy of your choice. Item will have them use an item. Now that the obvious is out of the way, let’s move our focus to the Tech option, and the real innovation of Chrono Trigger. This is one feature that really sets this game apart from anything else out there. The Tech option opens a list of special attacks (all character specific) that can be used by your character. You can wait until your other characters have filled their ACT bars and unleash a bigger Tech attack. Combinations of different characters have different Tech attacks, and each attack has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, Crono and Frog can perform the X Slash attack together after they have both learned certain Techs, while Marle and Crono can perform Aura Whirl together. As each character learns new Techs and the game progresses, new Dual Techs and even Triple Techs will be added to the list. This adds a lot of strategy to the game and makes the battles very intense. Although the amount of 3d animation effects will not live up to games like Final fantasy VII or Final fantasy IX, obviously because these are from the 16 bit era. But during their time, I can’t stress enough that Final Fantasy VI and chrono trigger are two games that really pushed the power and the boundaries of the SNES in regards to graphics.
The graphics in CT are absolutely wonderful, perhaps only being passed by those found in Seiken Densetsu 3 for the title of best looking SNES game. Everything is gorgeous. The character designs done by Akira Toriyama give the characters an anime look and feel to them. The environments in the game look very detailed, colorful, and extremely fitting to the atmosphere. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself gazing at the rich 2D world in awe. This is what 2D games should look like. Chrono Trigger sets a benchmark for all SNES games, and all 2D games in general. Every single person, house, enemy, and blade of grass has its own touch to it. It brings the story to life in a way that can’t be matched.
Chrono Trigger is also relatively short, which helps when playing through multiple times. There are many side quests in the game. I guess you can say that’s one flaw if I had to put any complaint at all on this title, is it’s a bit short, in comparison to most Final fantasy Games like IV, VI, VII, VIII, and IX. Most of them aren't necessary to finish the game, but you can get some very valuable items if you take the time to complete them. But being a little on the shorter end gives you more of an incentive to want to replay the game multiple times to unlock all that extra content.
Speaking of extra content, Chrono trigger has an immense amount of extra stuff you can do either during game or post end game. There are so many extra side quests an stuff to accomplish, probably not as much as Final fantasy XII but still very close to it. Each little extra scenario also comes with its own plot threads that help resolve some character background story and adds to the plot, it’s not just a bunch of typical fetch quests, or hunting monsters.
Chrono Trigger shines in all aspects, but one area where it really shines is music. Famed Composers, Yasunori Mitsuda who also worked on Chrono Cross by himself and Nobuo Uematsu come together to bring you the best music of any game and of any generation that will live on in your memory for years to come.
Out of all my years of playing video games, I've never played a game with better music than Chrono Trigger with the exception of Final fantasy VI. [See my review] Comparing and contrasting musical scores from both games is just extremely difficult for me. Both of them are absolutely stellar, any fan can tell you this rather they knock the game because their a western audience fanbase and they think all jrpgs fall into niche cliché category, lots of little minor faults that people point out all the time in video games, especially a small niche genre like jrpgs are accustomed to a lot of hate and debate. There is no denying MUSIC is absolutely both of these games strongest aspects If anyone tells you different or is argumentative and debates this matter, from my personal point of view most likely they are trolling. Every song in the game is well-done, and many of them are simply masterpieces. There are a large variety of musical styles in the game, and each song fits perfectly with its situation, conveying the feeling that it is supposed to just like the phenomenal scores used in Final fantasy VI and other games from the “Black Mages”
Magus's theme is dark and foreboding, perfect for his character. The song playing while in Guardia Castle is one of my favorites, with a triumphant feel to it. The music playing during major boss battles conveys a sense of awe, importance, and urgency. The imfamous Frog theme during the opening of his characters and the poetic lines of dialogue he uses gives you a sense of a strong personalized character with great leadership qualities much like Cyan's theme in Final fantasy VI. (I do want to stress for those that are probably wondering, the frog dialogue has been changed in the DS version of this game. It no longer has that poetic ancient eastern fantasy dialect that the original had) The regular battle music is catchy, like many of the songs. The over world map themes are actually some of the best in the game, better than most other games. The music is so good that I actually have the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, and I highly recommend getting it if you can.
Chrono Trigger's replay value is another thing that i absolutly can't forget to mention, for a number of reasons. There are about 12 possible endings you can get, depending on what you do during the game. Playing repeatedly again just to get all the endings alone is worth it. A great feature that adds to the replay value is “New Game +” This feature at the time was a very unique idea only implemented in a very few selection of games, in fact im not entirely sure if chrono trigger was the first game to implement this feature, it very well could have been but it became so popular that now a days it’s pretty much used in almost any mainstream title of this generation and last generation and has diverted into various other genre’s of video gaming. This makes playing through again and getting all of the endings a lot easier. Same with Chrono cross for the playstation. This is also necessary in order to get some of the endings, which I won’t spoil.
Chrono Trigger excels in all areas; its gameplay, its story line, its character, personality, graphics and sounds. If that weren't enough, there are twelve different endings you can watch, so there will be a lot of replay value to look forward to and a ton of end game content that make sup for the rather shorter main story. There's very few flaws in this game, that I would go as far as saying it's flawless. The game feels so comfortable, that it molds into you. And the battle system feels so polished; comparing from a visual point of view from many other games on the snes it’s clear which game has the better graphical quality. you'll never get bored of it. The beautiful cast in Chrono Trigger is unforgettable, and when departing with them, you'll feel kind of sad that the game finally ends.