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Release Date: 8/15/00
Publisher: Square EA
Developer: Squaresoft
Genre: RPG
Console: PlayStation
Author: Tidus

The first thing I must say is that I didn't play Chrono Trigger. Chrono Cross was a game I was very skeptical about. He had played Chrono Trigger of course and was eagerly awaiting the sequel. So when I bought and loaded this game onto my system, I was skeptical yet optimistic at the same time. Let me tell you right now I was blown away immediately by the opening movie. This game is simply a great game and blends all the elements of a RPG together in a perfect mold. The story begins with Serge, "the silent protagonist" being transported to a parallel world of his own world and there he discovers more about his life and what role he plays in the grand scheme of FATE. The story starts off very mysteriously, but builds up to a very good story that even questions the role humans play in the grand scheme of life itself. I will not divulge any more about the plot except Squaresoft did a great job of connecting every little plot twist and character into the main storyline and making it one of the best storylines ever. It feels like you are reading a great novel except you're playing through it. Another very important thing that should be noted, the game has over 40 playable characters and it is truly an amazing task how Squaresoft was able to make every single character have its own unique personality and little niche in the story.

The graphics in this game are very good. They are a lot better than many other Playstation games and set a standard for all RPG's. There are also many of those beautiful FMV's you have come to expect from Squaresoft and they too are magnificent. Every character in the game has its unique personality and the graphics do a great job of conveying it. The graphics are all very detailed and the backgrounds are also nicely done.

One of the most important aspect in a game is the gameplay and Chrono Cross has great gameplay that is is innovative and unique. The battle system is a new one created by Squaresoft and consists of elements and stamina points. Each element has a base level and a level range. You can place the elements starting with their base level on the element grid. If you put an element higher on the grid than its base level, it takes longer to be able to use it, but the spell is stronger. There are 6 different elemental properties which are represented by 6 colors, black-white red-blue yellow-green. Each of these pairs work well against each other which means in battle if you are fighting a monster whose innate color is black, white elements would be more useful against him. Every character starts off each battle with 7 stamina points. Using a weak attack uses only one stamina point, has a high chance to hit the opponent, but causes less damage. Using a strong attack uses two stamina points, has a moderate chance of hitting the opponent, but causes more damage. Using a fierce attack uses three stamina points, has the lowest chance of hitting an opponent, but causes the most damage.

Every time you successfully hit an opponent, depending on whether you used a weak, strong or fierce attack your element grid increases by that number. The more you hit an opponent, the higher your chances are of landing a strong or fierce attack. Also, the more times you successfully hit an opponent; you are able to use higher-level elements on you element grid. Casting an element consumes 7 stamina points and if you stamina points are in the negative range, you cannot attack or cast an element. Also there are also tech, summoning and trap elements. As you can see the battle system is extremely complex, but I found that the best way to learn it is to play the game for a few hours. Even though the battle system is so complex, I am sure any novice gamer will understand it after a few hours into the game. It is definitely very original and once you understand it, it is one of the best battle systems you will ever experience.

Another overlooked, but very crucial part of Chrono Cross is its music. I love the game's soundtrack and I am sure you will too. Every piece in the game's soundtrack is good and the music always fits the scene. From fast battle music to slow sad music the music in Chrono Cross is top-notch. Even the sound effects are wonderfully done and the music in the FMV's blend perfectly into the movie. Not one piece of the music feels out of place and I like every single piece.

Chrono Cross is a wonderfully made masterpiece that is a must-buy for any gaming fan. It blends all the elements a RPG should have all into one game and surrounds them with a great story and interesting characters. If there is one game you will buy this year, make it Chrono Cross because you truly will not regret your decision.

Story- 9.8
Gameplay-10.0
Graphics-9.0
Sound- 9.5
Controls- 9.5
Overall- 9.8

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