Cris Tales is a Colombian JRPG, which I suppose makes it a CRPG, besides that’s already a factor. Gaming has too many acronyms. It’s a game that’s concurrently set previously, current, and future, and that’s extremely becoming – its ahead pondering narrative and characterisation is continually held again by some extraordinarily dated gameplay design.
Cris Tales does quite a lot of issues proper. While the triple-A scene turns into more and more homogeneous in its gritty, real looking aesthetic, it’s the indie titles which might be offering us with extra fascinating palettes. Cris Tales is one such indie. Each location is bursting with oranges and yellows and golden browns – all the wonder and vibrancy of The Princess and the Frog’s daytime scenes have been dialled up even brighter right here. Crisbell, our protagonist, illuminates every place with a whimsical and vibrant cartoonish design, whereas the darkish and spiky enemies supply a definite distinction.
Every new space you go to feels handpainted and cherished. Your hometown, a farming village, is crisp and easy, with plain white buildings and contours of flaxen corn swaying within the wind. As you journey by the forests, the game trades this all the way down to earth colouration for an explosion of greens. In the primary main metropolis, there’s an enormous hole between the tender beige and thick browns of the poor slums, and the a lot cleaner pearls and gold of the wealthy district. This district additionally takes us out to the coast, the place we see the clear blue of the game’s pure shores.
I may speak in regards to the game’s artwork type all day, however (un)luckily there’s extra to the game than that. Its central mechanic, letting you play previously, current, and future, largely works, though the extra thematic it turns into as a story system, the extra of a gimmick it turns into in battle. Outside of fight, it’s a superb thought, and one executed pretty properly. In fight – already the game’s weakest space – it simply drags the expertise down even additional.
Let’s begin with what works. Gameplay sensible, the time journey mechanic is used cleverly in quite a lot of methods. For instance, when you plant a seed previously, you’ll be capable of climb a tree within the current. You’ll even be confronted with selections within the current that distinctly affect the long run, and collectibles or clues to sure aspect quests shall be locked previously. You are requested to restore two homes, however solely have supplies for one. In the long run, the home you don’t restore will collapse.
The time journey is especially spectacular when you think about it thematically. When we go to this metropolis with its elegant pearl mansions and picket brown shanty cities, it looks like a typical gulf of wealthy and poor. We’ve seen all of it earlier than. When we return later, the long run imaginative and prescient of the shanty city is underwater, whereas the wealthiest residents stay excessive and dry. Nothing has modified in the actual world, however the stakes are raised. Change the route of the long run, or all of the folks right here, everybody struggling daily to get by, will both be useless or displaced.
Unfortunately, fight isn’t this layered. More typically than not, the enemy shall be weaker in both the previous or the long run, so Crisbell’s first transfer shall be to ship them there. No techniques are wanted for this – in the event that they’re on the left, they go to the previous, and the appropriate to the long run. Occasionally, you’ll want to mix assaults – for instance, when you use a water assault then ship them to the long run, they’ll rust.
That’s probably the most irritating factor in regards to the fight – on the floor, it sounds very intelligent. Combining time journey and standing results to multiply their injury? This shouldn’t be a system that has been phoned in. But it fights towards itself far an excessive amount of. As a flip-primarily based RPG the place sure bosses can utterly disable sure celebration members for a flip, it might probably take perpetually to set these combos up – particularly when Crisbell spends the early components of the game doubled up because the celebration’s healer, and should select between therapeutic or time magic. It additionally doesn’t assist that enemies aren’t seen within the overworld in any respect, that means avoiding fight when you’re on low well being – or full well being and about to retry a troublesome battle – is inconceivable. Fleeing is an choice, but it surely’s unreliable.
Aside from Crisbell, gamers can both heal with potions or by sleeping in tents, each of which price cash – tents price an extortionate quantity within the first half of the game – and are considerably onerous to return by out within the wild.
The first main boss is one of the best instance of this. It assaults with two claws: one on the left, one on the appropriate. Each may be despatched to the previous or the long run, however spending a flip to analyse every claw reveals that solely sending the left one to the previous really weakens it. So you assault this claw and get it all the way down to empty well being, and it spends two turns therapeutic itself with somewhat orb. You have to assault this orb to kill the boss, however meaning repeatedly defeating a claw for the prospect to struggle the orb.
Meanwhile, the boss can disable one among your three-man celebration for an entire spherical, and Crisbell will possible spend a minimum of a 3rd of the encounter throwing her flip away to heal. Another celebration member specialises in poison assaults, which the boss is resistant to. Oh, and these claws use charged assaults, which require you to both waste a flip defending – one thing the disabled celebration member can not do – or take the hit and have Crisbell heal them. I ultimately felled the boss, however not earlier than dropping and realising that, regardless of finishing each aspect quest obtainable to this point, exploring the map for chests, and infrequently fleeing from battle, I’d have to degree grind to face an opportunity of going the gap.
Playing Cris Tales is like studying an particularly lyrical Paulo Coelho novel, besides each ten pages or so, somebody slaps it out of your palms. Then you realise some pages are out of order, and it’s worthwhile to flick by the seemingly random sample earlier than you proceed. Also, some pages are so smudged and occasional stained you possibly can’t learn them, and some pages haven’t been translated in any respect. When Cris Tales works, it’s a beautiful expertise, and there’s an amazing game in right here someplace, but it surely sabotages itself at each flip. I’ll be protecting an in depth eye on Dreams Uncorporated – however Cris Tales is a close to miss that appears to the long run, whereas clinging too onerous to the previous.
Score: 3/5. A evaluate code was supplied by the writer.
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