RPG's on the DS-Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time

An ideal action RPG for the Nintendo DS.

After playing Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (Review coming soon...), I have been on a search for the perfect action RPG on the DS. One that has lots of content, online mulitplayer, a solid combat system, and a unique RPG system. While my search was a complete failure, I did find a few action RPGs that actually were fun. One of them is Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time. What makes it unique, besides the long title, is the fact that it's the only solid action RPG, with online multiplayer. This feature not only increases the playability of this great title, but also adds lots of variety to an otherwise basic RPG.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (I will call it FFCCET from now on because I am tired of writing this insanely big title.), foll0ws the story of your custom adventurer. You have the choice of four classes: Clavets, Lilties, Selkies, and Yukes. All of them look like childish midgets, but it adds to the charm. The story has your character finishing a coming of age ceremony, but after the festivities, one of the villagers gets a disease which will lead to her inevitable death. You are sent to find a cure, prompting a creepy German child molester, to destroy a crystal, resulting in your whole entire family disappearing. It is then your job to beat his ass inside out, and get back your family by finding the shards of the crystals. The story is basically an excuse just to go around killing monsters, but you probably will want to kill the German child molester to a pulp, since he wiped out your family after discovering about your sick village member.

The game has you going around to various locations with your basic hack and slash RPG formula, that has been done throughout the Crystal Chronicle series. This time around though, all the controls, combat system, leveling up, item management, and graphics have been refined. While their is the occasional quirk, it will take much more to stop you from playing this addicting title. The game does allow you to create an AI based team, giving you the option of actually controling members of the team. The AI has improved, but not by much, since they are pretty damn useless when it comes to puzzles, combat, or basic survival. They will assist you, but don't expect much from them.

The real hook however, is the multiplayer. Owning one copy of the game, allows players to access co-op online. This probably one of the greatest multiplayer feats I have seen in a VERY longtime. Playing online makes the experience ten times more enjoyable...unless the lag occurs. Lag is a bit of a problem when 4 players worldwide play co-op, since it seems to be WAY to much for the system. If you do keep the game continental though, you shouldn't encounter any problems though...hopefully.

The final flaw that stops this game for ever achieving the great recognition it deserves, would be the puzzles. Puzzles abrubtly stop the action, and when they take place during the action, they become archaic. They are usually simple, such as push a block on a lever, but when they become complex, it really slows the pacing of the game down, causing some people to actually want to stop playing. If you can ignore the puzzles, however, you will probably enjoy this game.

FFCCET is a great title for the DS. While it isn't going to win any awards, or ever match up to games such as The World Ends With You, it will entertain you for hours on end. While $30 is a bit much, it probably won't dissapoint you.

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