Chrono Cross is back after its original 2000 PS1 release with The Radical Dreamers Edition so here's a full review from a long-time fan; me.
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I have fond memories of playing Chrono Cross when it released back in the year 2000. I played it obsessively and even had the awesome strategy guide. There were so many things about this gem of a game that really sparked my imagination, especially after loving Chrono Trigger a few years prior. I remember finally returning to school after playing it over half the summer and discussing it with my classmates; I was happy to discover that they were playing it, too! I recall sharing a secret that I devised where you can duplicate items after finishing the game and that you can recruit a few super-secret party members by teleporting at a specific time and no one believed me. v1d30chumz 3-237-29-69
The first thing that blew me away about Chrono Cross was that it has a massive collection of playable characters and each one has a distinct way of speaking. Considering not many games back in the day had voice acting and Chrono Cross doesn't either, it was refreshing to be able to read dialogue with different accents in mind due to the colourful way that the text is presented. Decades later, I still love this aspect and many games have since copied this style which was undeniably unique for the time.
On top of featuring an excellent cast of characters, Chrono Cross also has enjoyable battles where you choose various levels of attack with the strongest ones having lower hit percentages but if you get lucky and land a hit, subsequent strikes will be likelier to hit. It's a very nifty system that's quite satisfying and I usually go for the good ol' 1-3-3. Meanwhile, the magic system where you equip spells to various levels then unleash them to exploit enemy weaknesses is a blast and makes setting up your party a satisfying endeavour.
There's also a lot of adventuring in Chrono Cross and playing it without a guide in 2022 made me kind of confused on a regular basis. Figuring out where to go and what to do can be perplexing and the decisions where you can miss recruiting characters is annoying, too. Besides this sort of retro baggage, Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition doesn't look all that great.
For starters, the backgrounds are similar to the original's while the character models are uprezzed which makes them stand out too much. Plus, some of them just look awkward with weird faces and such. I actually think the visuals are better in the original PS1 game. Oh, and there are occasional frame rate issues and they can be quite jarring, especially after cutscenes play and scenes load in.
In addition to the main event, Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition also includes Radical Dreamers which is a 1996 visual novel that sort of acts as a bridge between Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. Back in the day, I was envious that Japanese gamers got to play it and we've never received a localized port; until now, that is. To be frank, Radical Dreamers is an okay experience. It's primarily a visual novel and it's neat to see references to the 2 mainline games as well as get to know Serge and Kid a bit more. The writing is well-done and the music is wonderful so if you're looking to get lost in more Chrono, it's a very cool albeit odd and dated addition.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition brought back a lot of lovely memories and thankfully, Chrono Cross is still a great RPG all of these years later. The fact that you get an officially translated Radical Dreamers is rather peachy, too.
- + Chrono Cross is one of the best RPGs for PS1 and it's still great
- + Has an official translation of Radical Dreamers
- + Unforgettable cast of characters
- - Character models are kind of weird
- - Odd graphical performance issues
- - Some retro baggage hasn't aged well