Review: Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition (PS4) – An incredibly mediocre remaster of a PS1 RPG that divides
For some, Chrono Cross is a classic RPG of the Playstation era, and it’s nice to see him relive all these years later. Although we would not say that it is also remembered that Final Fantasy VII to IX, or its predecessor, the legendary Chrono Trigger, it is always a title impregnated with charm PS1 – from its pre-rendered backgrounds Carefully designed at its striking soundtrack.
And here we are with Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition, a remill that gives us the game at a higher resolution, with better models of characters, more net menus and an improved musical partition – but fortunately not reorganized. At a glance, Square Enix did a decent work; He retained the aforementioned PS1 charm while increasing things for larger screens, without transforming the adventure of 35 hours into a blurred mess. But once you start playing, you quickly realize how much the game is poorly optimized, it works on PS4 or PS5 with backward compatibility.
This is true, Square Enix has somehow managed to destroy the frequency of images of Chrono Cross on modern material. All is supposed to work at 60 images per second locked – why not? – But the images are constantly fluctuating between what looks like about 10 and 45 frames per second. You can hardly walk on the screen without the frequency of images falling in an embarrassing measure – and it still worsens in combat.
Indeed, these performance declines can lead to significant input delay during the fight, which is just beyond a joke if you consider how slow the turn is slow at the start. Needless to say, remill frequency problems are dangerously close to destroy the experience – although entire pieces of Chrono Cross have not aged very well anyway.
As you probably expect a PS1 RPG with fixed camera angles, the controls are rather banned. Sometimes align your character to interact with the details of the environment or talk to the NPCs can be a frustration exercise. Worse still, in some places we have found that our movements stopped completely, to the point that we could not even walk in a straight line. It’s really a pity that this kind of thing has not been retouched or corrected to remill.
Chrono Cross, however, tells a quite interesting story. It is an ambitious tale, dealing with alternative realities and has a huge cast of characters for the most fun. Apart from a handful of filling episodes – lack of a better description – the plot is well punctuated, and as it is typical PS1 JRPG, writing is clear and goes straight to the goal.
That said, the procedures can become a little conferring later, when you jump between delays to progress. It can be difficult to track your current goals during these sections, as you are trying to remind you with which characters you have to discuss and what places should be visited. Chrono Cross does not have the many improvements in the quality of life that have transformed the genre over the last two decades – and it’s something that is painfully obvious here in 2022. Once again, it was an ambitious design In the 90s, but nothing has been done to update it..
Now, listen, we did not expect this remill reinvents Chrono Cross for a modern audience, but it is simply impossible to move away from the fact that the game is a slog from time to time. Take the elements system, for example. It’s similar to the Final Fantasy VII Materia, as the group members can be equipped with magical spells and capabilities of your choice – except that the menu of the elements is very difficult to navigate and that the follow-up of the elements Equipped is a little a nightmare.
Chrono Cross loves his alambic mechanics – a line that is encapsulated by his combat system that divides. For what it goes, we do not think that the fight is as bad as some criticisms have made it believe over the years, but it is a system that could lose one or two mechanisms and no doubt be better for him. Basically, you use standard attacks to accumulate energy, which can then be spent to release items. Awesome, fantastic, it works well. But then your standard attacks have a percentage of opportunity to touch, and use them drain your endurance, which is filled with varying degrees over the towers.
Because of how mechanisms become influenced by each other, battles can become fastily long. Missing a normal attack by pure chance can make you back a turn or two – or three if you suffer a blow between the two, forcing you to cure instead of inflicting all the damage for which you saved. There is a pleasant level of strategy in Chrono Cross, but it is buried deeper than it should be – trapped behind a repetitive design that gets tired well before the generic.
Fortunately, the remill has the opportunity to accelerate the entire game, which can be a boon when you have to fight regularly (even if it does nothing to mitigate the frequency problems of images). You can also activate the “combat boost” at any time, which makes your group invincible basically. A welcome option if you are here only for nostalgia.
Oh, and The Radical Dreamers Edition comes with – would you believe – Radical Dreamers. This is a text based on text that has never been published outside of Japan, and it connects somehow Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger. It is an extra good thought, and you can check it at any time via the main menu of the remaster.
Some parts of Chrono Cross really have not aged well, but it is always a charming and full of character that evokes the feelings of the golden age of the genre on PS1. It is a game that deserves better than The Radical Dreamers Edition, which, at least launch, is a terribly poor remaster. Paralyzed by image frequency problems, it is difficult to believe that a 1999 title can function as badly on modern material. Unless you are desperate by Nostalgia, we strongly recommend waiting to see if Square Enix publishes a hotfix to improve the package on PS4 and PS5 before buying.
- A good JRPG PS1
- Intriguing story
- Fun characters
- Fantastic soundtrack
- Radical Dreamers is a cool inclusion
- Frequency problems shocking
- The fight has a noticeable delay
- Menus and complicated systems
- A tedious gameplay design
Revision copy provided by Square ENix