Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition Review – A Dream Becomes a Nightmare
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition is an odd instance of a long-awaited remasters that fails to live up to expectations when it eventually comes. Chrono Trigger is regarded as one of the most recognizable JRPGs. It was created by some of the most brilliant brains in the JRPG business, and it is a collaboration that we can only wish for nowadays. It included the creativity of Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yuji Hori, and many other renowned Square Enix employees. It was the pinnacle of their careers, and it was well represented in the game. So, how do you follow up on such a renowned role-playing game? Chrono Cross is the solution. While its sequel has no resemblance to Chrono Trigger or its cast, it does provide a terrific JRPG with some interesting plot twists.
Chrono Cross, like Chrono Trigger, focuses on time travel and alternate realities. The plot is set in the same universe as Chrono Trigger, but with a whole different cast of characters. Unfortunately, the “Chrono” universe did not see another game following Cross. Serge, a young child, is the protagonist of the game, and he is attempting to uncover the mysterious circumstances behind his death in an alternate dimension. The investigation into what transpired leads to a larger plan involving the fate of the world. It’s a narrative with numerous twists and turns, each with its own set of unique possibilities.
Chrono Cross includes a plethora of playable characters, each with their distinct edge in combat. There are over a dozen characters to locate and recruit in the game, and it is simply impossible to complete all of them in a single gameplay. This is where the new game plus mode comes in, enabling you to replay the main story while maintaining some elements from a prior playthrough. Those who have played Chrono Trigger and are familiar with its numerous endings will be familiar with this functionality.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition is a remastered collection of two games. The major draw is Chrono Cross, but dedicated fans who have invested a lot of time in the “Chrono” series will be aware of Radical Dreamers, which never received an official translation from Square Enix. It was previously only available as a fan-translated release, therefore this is the first time Radical Dreamers has been made available in the West. It’s a prequel that bridges the gap between Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, but it’s a text-based visual novel rather than a game.
Speaking of the remaster, it’s such a mixed bag that I’m not sure where to begin. The game suffers from poor performance right from the start. I was playing it on a PS5 and was surprised to discover that it was missing frames in the first level even when there was nothing significant going on. It’s difficult to understand why the performance is so terrible. It makes fast-forwarding a bit difficult because the game struggles to draw frames cleanly, resulting in strange stuttering. This has an impact on the game’s main mechanics, such as combat and exploration.
How can you dissuade fans who have long lobbied for a Chrono Cross remaster? by making it available with inadequate performance While the game provides several changes, particularly in terms of visuals, it is difficult to overlook the game’s current performance. The frame rate does not even reach 30, much alone 60 FPS. I first assumed the performance claims were exaggerated, but even on a PS5, the game chugs around in important parts, which is unfortunate given how old it is. Square Enix is no stranger to remastering its games, but this may be their worst effort yet.
Leaving aside the performance issues, I liked the visual improvement. The updated character models and portrait artwork give it a little more modern feel. The backgrounds were pre-rendered in the same way as 3D games of the time were, and they were upscaled using AI. It’s not a flawless solution, but seeing them on the large screen makes a difference. Purists may play the game with the old appearance, omitting the new character models and artwork, but the game still displays at a higher resolution, giving it a better look than the traditional Chrono Cross release accessible on the PlayStation Store.
If this is your first time playing Chrono Cross, it is advisable to wait until the performance issues have been resolved. Although the load times have improved and the graphics have been updated, the performance is arbitrary and plain unacceptable in its current state. The option to fast forward in the story or combat is limited by a frame rate that already struggles to keep up with the action on screen. It works well in instances where we are going through lines of dialogue, but it is less acceptable in combat owing to performance issues. There is also the option to slow down the gameplay, which I thought unusual, but it may serve a function for people who require it.
Finally, I’ll state that Chrono Cross is still the same game I remember. It’s essentially a timeless story that serves as a decent successor to Chrono Trigger, and while I won’t go into specifics about how it relates to its predecessor, there’s enough fanservice for anybody who has played Chrono Trigger. The battle system is fun, albeit easily exploited, but the story is just amazing, and the large array of characters offers lots of replay value if you try to recruit all of them.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition Game Information
- Price: $19.99
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Platform: PS4 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher