It has been almost two decades since the Final Fantasy series saw the release of one of its most unique instalments: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for the Nintendo GameCube. The game was revolutionary back in 2003 and redefined what a Final Fantasy game could really be. The original GameCube game proved to be so popular that it went on to spawn its own spin-off series under the Crystal Chronicles banner—with titles released on both the Nintendo DS and Wii. Differentiating themselves from the mainline Final Fantasy games, the Crystal Chronicles series were all set within the same world and followed characters and stories spanning two millennia. However, after the release of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, the series has seemingly been sidelined or forgotten by Square Enix. Although, that is all about to change with the upcoming Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition for the Nintendo Switch.
Thanks to Bandai Namco and Square Enix, we were able to get a look at this remastered edition of Crystal Chronicles; needless to say, from the moment I heard the familiar Kumi Tanioka soundtrack, I was transported back to 2003 when I first got my hands on the GameCube edition as a child. I was overcome with nostalgia for a simpler time, remembering hot summer nights playing Crystal Chronicles alongside my younger brother with our Game Boy Advance systems hooked up for multiplayer—taking turns carrying the Crystal Chalice and taking on monsters together. That memory struck me most about what made Crystal Chronicles so special: it was the first time you could play a Final Fantasy game with someone else by your side. The series was renowned for its epic single player journeys, and Crystal Chronicles was the first time the series explored the realm of multiplayer in a meaningful way—making it a focal point of the experience.
It is through that multiplayer mode that Crystal Chronicles lends itself so well to the Nintendo Switch system. Unlike the original game, which needed a very roundabout way of connecting Game Boy Advance systems to play multiplayer, the remastered version allows cross-play through online multiplayer—making connecting with other players simple and instantaneous. It is easy to join a friend’s Crystal Caravan and venture forth into dungeons together, experiencing what made the game so special all those years ago.
During our preview we were able to look at the character creation, which now has a lot more options available for customisation than the original version had. All the original classes and tribes remain, but there are different looks and features you can apply to your character to set yourself apart and create a unique identity within the Crystal Chronicles world. We also got to have a look at the River Belle Path dungeon and the Mushroom Forest dungeon, both of which are faithful remastered and improved upon visually. The game also features new additions, such as an improved mini-map overlay, character voice overs, a new quick chat feature for multiplayer, and tons of new gears and items to discover.
Alongside the Nintendo Switch version, the game will also be released on PlayStation 4, iOS, and Android. On top of that, it will release alongside a “Lite” version of the game—which is a free trial version that will allow players to experience the early stages of the game and possibly decide if they would like to purchase the full experience.
I for one am very excited to return to the world of Crystal Chronicles after all these years. The game is as groundbreaking now as it was back in 2003 and every bit as fun. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition is set for release on the 27th August 2020. So get ready to pick up the Crystal Chalice and journey deep into the dungeons of Crystal Chronicles Remastered. Also, for those wondering: yes, Stiltzkin the moogle is back!