Tonight I finished FFCCCB, my 11th game of the year; which ties the number of games that I beat last year. I started playing The Crystal Bearers in the beginning of the year shortly after its Dec 26th release date. I put in a couple of good nights and got about halfway through the story. I was impressed that Square Enix was able to put together a game like nothing that I have ever played. Heavy on story, with hints of Zelda, and mini games weaving everything together. I hesitate some to say that the game is pushed forward by mini games given the bad taste in my mouth left by the so many shovel ware mini game cash ins on the Wii, but the way they are used is often times a clever used of the games mechanics and fits well to what is going on in the story.
The subtle blend of mini games, cut scenes, and boss fights are but only one reason I enjoyed playing The Crystal Bearers. I gladly welcomed the return of an interesting world full of the Clavats, Yukes, Selkies, and Lilties, fantastic music and areas full of flavor that I was used to form previous Crystal Chronicles games. Added to this game was character driven story that didn’t have the angsty coming of age that so many Square Enix titles have; instead Layle, the main protagonist, has already gone through his awkward teenage years and is fairly comfortable in his own skin, this makes the story far more interesting from the get go. This outing is lighter on the RPG elements than it’s relatives, there are ways to increase Layle’s heath by clearing an area of enemies within a given time, using enemy drops you can make accessories that increases Layle’s Crystal Powers; which are not unlike telekinesis. Beyond that you have all skills available to from the start. There is no all powerful sword to unearth from an ancient civilization, and you don’t later discover that Layle is some kind of diety with immense dormant abilities.
Even with everything I enjoyed from The Crystal Bearers; there were still somethings that I think could have been done better. The biggest issue was lack of polish but at the same time I understand most developers aren’t willing to put money into something that they are not sure will sell. The voices were good, occasionally someone says something that doesn’t quite fit the mood of the scene. The graphics are good but it would have been nice to have some more detailed character models for some of the bigger cut scenes. There was also a missed opportunity to utilized the Wii Remote in new any ways, but all in all The Crystal Bearers was a worthwhile journey.
All pictures used in this blog were taken with the in-game camera function.