TGS 09: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers Hands-On Preview

What We Know: Square Enix is bringing the Crystal Chronicles series to the Wii, but in a whole new direction. Crystal Bearers ditches the normal Crystal Chronicles format in favor of a much more action adventure based affair that’s one of the best looking Wii titles to date.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers Arrives December 26

What’s New At TGS: Players control Layle using the Wiimote and Nunchuck, and as a Crystal Bearer, Layle has a special magic ability to control and move objects, characters, and enemies by pointing at them with the Wiimote. Not only that, but he can grapple onto ledges and floating bars to traverse platforming sections. In the demo, while Layle and Belle are exploring an underground cavernous dungeon, they become separated, and Layle chases her down. I’m going to assume this demo takes place early on in the game considering the fact that the platforming is fairly basic. Point to an area you want to jump to and press A. Later in the levels, the platforms start to move and float around making navigation more difficult. It also doesn’t help that you control the camera with the D-pad, so if you’re jumping around and then your next desired location is in back of you, you need to stop, move the camera, and then jump slowing down the pace quite a bit.

The combat is also quite simplistic, just grab an object and toss it at incoming enemies. Upon reaching a room populated with a few baddies, all you have to do is nab a nearby boulder and whip it at an approaching enemy. A much more interesting encounter happened when while running down a hallway I set off a trap, which sent a moving skeletal demon platform towards me that had a door in the middle branded with an arrow on it. By locking onto the door it and jerking the Wiimote in the desired direction, the demons would attack, and by latching onto them would cause them to jab the platform. It was actually a pretty neat combat mechanic and I hope Square-Enix has gobs of things like this in the game to keep things fresh.

What We Want To See:  A deeper and richer combat system. Enemies were sparse and combat is a bit too easy, and I hope later on in the game there’s more complex battles. There was an over abundance of running through long halls in this demo, and I’d rather fight a lot more enemies, and keep the action going than just running. Yawn. Square-Enix is demonstrating  a solid presentation for a Wii title, but the combat, camera, and lack of battles needs some attention.

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