Overall - 70%
Cris Tales isn't going to set your world on fire, but it proves to be good turn-based RPG comfort food. If you don't mind titles that drag a bit, this one is for you.
After multiple delays, the world of Dreams Uncorporated, SYCK, and Modus Games’ Cris Tales is finally here. Did these delays help improve the game, our should it have stayed in the oven a bit longer? Check out our review and find out.
Cris Tales Review
Cris Tales kicks things off by introducing you to the main character Crisbell. She is an orphan who has been tasked with finding a rose for her superior. However, as it turns out, a bizarre little frog has taken it and you have to track him down. Fast forward a bit, and you find out that you are the chosen one, as is typical in a turn-based RPG. The unique twist is that you can see the past, present, and future at the same time.
With no idea how to control your powers, you meet with a Time Mage who helps you learn the basics. Upon returning home, your village is under attack by goblins, and you help to defend it. During this process, you learn how to manipulate time during battle and out of combat. However, after the fight, you have a hard choice to make. Do you save the orphanage, your home, or the apothecary that provides medicine to the whole town? I can’t tell you how long it took me to beat because the clock kept going while in rest mode, but it is a very long game.
Let me explain the whole past, present, and future thing real quick since it might sound confusing. While moving around in certain areas such as a town, your screen is split into three triangles. The left is always the past, the center is always the present, and the right is always the future. Through this, you get to see buildings, people, and events take place from various perspectives. It might sound annoying, but you get used to it quickly. You can also see any effects you have on the future right away, which is fantastic.
Crisbell cannot do anything about the past or future on her own. Instead, the frog Matias can jump between the future and past to get new info or even retrieve items for you. He has to be very close to Crisbell to do this, which can be irritating since he is so slow. Sometimes you are far ahead and try to go into the past, but Matias hasn’t caught up yet so you need to wait for him. I would have preferred to keep him in my pocket or something, so I could use him when I wanted. You generally only wait a few seconds, but the seconds begin to add up when you do it 50 times.
Another irritating thing about the past and future is how you need to sometimes collect items. Early on, there is a side quest that requires you to find some blueprints in the past. You are told this by the quest giver and the guy with the blueprints. Naturally, I went to the spot, used Matias to go into the past, and interacted with the blueprint box. No dice. So I had to interact with the ruined blueprints in the present, which I knew were destroyed, and then go into the past and get them. Little time wasters like this are common in the game, and I really started noticing them late game.
Let’s get into the combat and how the time-shifting works. During a fight, you can use your time powers to reverse time or speed it up. The left still has to be the past, and the right the future, but both sides have benefits. Turning the battle to the past could make an enemy weaker due to their younger form. You can also plant magic sprouts that will grow when you break the time shift and harm the enemies. The future has the opposite effect, obviously. You might accidentally make your enemies stronger by aging them. However, if you poison them first, or set them on fire, and speed them up, all of that damage is combined for a massive hit.
All of that works well on regular enemies, but the bosses are a bit more tricky. Most of them are immune to many debuffs, such as poison, slow, or paralysis. I cannot explain in words how much I despise games that make bosses immune to half of your effects. It screams lazy to me, like they couldn’t figure out how to make it so you wouldn’t smash the boss to pieces without handicapping you first. There is some solace in the fact that each boss is weak to one effect; you just have to find that effect. Also, you can scan enemies to find their weaknesses, which helps. However, sometimes bosses are immune to the scan, which even as I write this makes me shake my head. Don’t take away my abilities because you can’t figure out how to counter them correctly.
One other very annoying point to this game is the padding. There is so much back and forth it is sickening. Nearly every time you get a side quest, you need to go somewhere you just left. That or you drop an item off, and the NPC is like, thanks, but what about this item now? Do you mean the item in the place I just passed by? That would have been good to know on the way home. Side quests are meant to increase the length of games – don’t get me wrong – but this is such a prominent time padding mechanic it hurts. I started skipping side quests because of it.
I was playing the title on the Nintendo Switch, and it looks gorgeous and sounds great. I did run into a crash, though, which is rare on the Switch. The game also drops in its framerate in spots, like certain cutscenes or open areas. Thankfully, it didn’t get too bad in combat, but I noticed it a lot in other spots. Switch Pro, where art thou?
Cris Tales isn’t going to set your world on fire, but it proves to be good turn-based RPG comfort food. If you don’t mind titles that drag a bit, this one is for you.
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