Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King Review

A Final Fantasy game that will make you wish you were playing Final Fantasy.

____Monday’s North American WiiWare launch managed to completely overshadow the launch of the service in its native country of Japan. With a game like Lost Winds launching with the service in the west, gamers had a lot to be happy about. But what about that other game, with the really big franchise backing it… what was that again? Oh yeah, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles; I almost forgot about you.

____In all seriousness though, I really did completely forget about FFCC:MLK, I was just too attached to Lost Winds, beating it twice before I finally gave FFCC a chance. All that changed pretty quickly when I finally got a chance to play it though, because I can’t put it down now. Make the jump to find out more.

Story and Presentation

____FFCC, as I will be refering to it from here on out, takes place after the events of the original Gamecube title. You play the young king who arrives in an abandoned kingdom left by his father, in the land created by the Crystal Caravans. As King you must try to reclaim your kingdom which has been overtaken by Miasma, the same evil power from the original title. You will use the power of “Architek” granted unto you by the great crystal which adorns the center of your city, to build up your kingdom and attract citizens back to help your kingdom thrive. It plays out pretty well, with an occasional break from the daily hustle and bustle of running a kingdom happening, in order to show a quick cut scene. You are helped by your trusty royal aid Chime, an oddly well endowed (anybody else notice that?) Clavat girl who is always willing to help at the shake of a Wii-mote. Chime helps you in picking out things to build, as well as showing you the daily reports every morning — more on that later.

____As far as the presentation goes, it doesn’t get much better than FFCC. This is a game that will likely set the standard for presentation on WiiWare as it features clean menu options, a repetitive but still well done soundtrack and most of all it shows Square-Enix’s ability to make the most out of the limitiations of a system. It really is quite amazing how much they fit into the 43MB limit for this game. This game seems to have all the trimmings and then some, when compared to Wii retail titles; as a matter of fact I find it funny that the two third party games with some of the best presentation on Wii are both available on the downloadable service and not on retail discs. Doesn’t that seem like a problem to anybody, that Square-Enix and Frontier Developments have done more with 43MB than most devs do with 4 gigs on a DVD?

Graphics

____One of the first thing gamers noticed when the original trailer for FFCC was shown was how good the game looked. This was the trend setter for WiiWare, at a time when people thought the service would feature archaic graphics and dismal presentation, this game showed that a lot was possible for the service. That definitely holds up in the final product. Though most of the textures are kind of bland, they get the job done. But what really stands out is the high polygon count character models which at times look better than those from the retail Gamecube game. Characters are also very well animated, with townspeople and your close companions making personal gestures which really breathe some much needed life into them, unfortunately on some occasions they can also make them look a little bit robotic, but its forgivable. The only thing I can really dock them on is the unfortunate lack of variety in characters available right from the start. Though they tend to wear different clothes, all of the people are of the same race and look very similar. That is unless you shell out the money for the DLC which gets you 3 new races like Yukes, Selkies, and Lilties — not just the Clavats you start with. Overall there is little to no slow down throughout the game. General visual effects, like those that happen when a house springs up out of the ground, are all very colorful and really pop out at you, its a sight to be seen when you make a new building and you see all the pieces slowly build themselves up; from a flimsy frame to a solid brick building.

Gameplay

____Now I need to get one thing straight before i start; FFCC is fun, on occasion a lot of fun. Despite this I would not put it at the top of my list for games in the series. First lets take care of the basics. As you may know by now, this entry in the FFCC series is unlike the others — in a big way. It is instead of an action RPG, a city building strategy RPG. Think Final Fantasy slamming head first into Sim City and Animal Crossing and you’ll get the idea. As a game in that particular genre it is fair. You have the usual resource management, in this case money and “elementite”, a resource found in deep caves which is used to construct buildings. As the leader you must keep your citizens happy, that way they will give you more money in tithes. You must also commission adventures to go into deep caves and find elementite. This is where the management part comes in. Sending out adventurers costs money, for their salaries and to research weapons. In order to get money you need happy citizens, happy citizens require buildings like shops and Bakeries, as well as recreational facilities and parks, Buildings require elementite which is collected by the aforementioned adventurers; are you getting the cycle yet? It is all very engaging and incredibly addictive. I spent several hours on my first day just running through town talking to citizens and harassing a penguin that follows you around. Unfortunately though it is kind of shallow, unlike its action RPG counterparts the game doesn’t feature to much variety so for those who like to experience something new all the time, you may want to look elsewhere.

____At the beginning of every day, your trusty aid Chime shows you charts which high lite things like how much money you made and what your adventures spoils were on their Behest the day before. You will at this time be given the chance to set out one or more “Behests” which are jobs for your adventurers to undertake. After this you get to choose who goes on a mission. The adventureres will line up around the behest board waiting for your order. Some will show blue frowning faces floating above their heads, indicating that they need to go home and rest, while others will be prepped and ready. You should take into account the level of your adventurer, as well as their equipment levels, before sending them on a dangerous mission. You can put money into weapons research so that they will have a better chance at returning home safely. It all works well but I still would rather be the one going on the adventure and not the one barking orders.

____Despite this the game still shines. What it lacks in overall depth it makes up for in a stellar presentation. The management system is definitely well done and when your city really gets going it is very enjoyable. Overall this makes things fun but you do get that feeling every now and then that you are sending out your adventurers to play the game you want to play. On your adventurers stats it even teases you by saying that raising this particular stat will increase chances of blocking attacks, or make it easier to land melee attacks etc… it makes it sound as if you’ll get to see the action unfold, but you never will. On many occasions during cut scenes, the young king will even go charging for the gate ready for action. But alas his aids will quickly step in, telling him that it would be irresponsible to risk loosing himself and that he should let the adventurers have all the fun…sigh… It seems the young king wishes he was doing exactly what we wish we were doing in this game, getting in on the action.

Let’s wrap it up

____Despite the previous complaints I still recommend buying FFCC if you are into the genre, or you just love anything Final Fantasy; I’m sure those of you in that crowd have already bought the game though. The games slick presentation, as well as its fair gameplay mechanics more than make up for its shortcomings, even if I still wish I got to fight the monsters.

____If you do decide to get FFCC one thing is for sure, make sure you have a lot of time set aside to play it. Because like the games I’ve compared it to, it will have you hooked. The DLC even helps extend how long the game will last, I just wish it didn’t cost so much.

Final Score- 76/100

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One Response to “Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King Review”

  1. […] The Game Whisperer reviews the latest final fantasy game for the WiiWare downloadable games service.https://gamewhisperer.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/final-fantasy-crystal-chronicles-my-life-as-a-king-rev…Final Fantasy IX for PS – Final Fantasy IX PlayStation – Final …Final fantasy IX for PS – GameSpot […]

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