As long as we spend some time in the store, checking out the games in the “Coming Soon” section, Cris Tales is a name that resonates in the ears. It’s been there for years, with players eagerly awaiting its release. It must be said that thanks to the charming trailers revealing an original artistic direction, he knew how to arouse genuine curiosity. As of July 20, Cris Tales is no longer a permanent resident in the “Coming Soon” section of the store, and is now in the “Recent Editions” category. Opportunity to check if this game developed by the Colombian studio Dreams Uncorporated and SYCK managed to achieve its goal: to offer players a magical adventure.
Cris Tales introduces the young Crisbell, who finds herself despite having powers that allow her to manipulate time. With the help of time witch Wilhelm and a small orange frog, the protagonist sets out on an adventure heavily inspired by the JRPG classic, the cult Chrono Trigger clearly being the most obvious source of inspiration. The first two hours of the game will be especially encouraging for the player: He will quickly discover the amazing direction and artistic direction of the game, in a unique graphic styleWhich will make him want to advance and make an effort to go forward to follow the adventures of these comrades in an old-fashioned delirium. The character design is charming, and the English dubbing immediately invests the player in the narration, especially thanks to a simple but innovative concept: the possibility of seeing the past, present and future at the same time on the same screen divided into 3 triangles of the same size.
Great gameplay and tons of great ideas…
The idea behind this concept of split screen during exploration phases is simple: The player can see the various developments of the world around him from a time point of view. And inevitably, he will be able to act on this by sending the frog Matthias in the past or future in order to change the course of planned events. Thus, if a house is destroyed in the present, we can send Matthias back to the past to prevent the situation. If a tree has just been planted at the present time, Matthias will go and gather the desired fruits in the future. These situations are particularly interesting and are the flavor of exploration. On the combat side, we’re on a similar pattern, which plays on this idea of temporality: Thus Crisbell can summon a crystal from the past or the future to generate a full set of game facts that lend true authenticity to the title.. Therefore, if you poison an enemy from the past and bring him back to the present, the enemy takes all the cumulative damage of the poison at once, causing massive damage. It’s innovative and fun, and after many hours of gaming, this system doesn’t tire at all. however, Cris Tales delves into the little details that make the original experience somewhat positive and less appealing to the player.
… spoiled by the harmful imperfection at the end
In general, Cris Tales has few concerns that one might consciously choose to ignore if on their own. But these little worries adding to each other make the overall experience less appealing after a few hours. Let’s stay in combat gameplay: the player has the ability to press button A at the exact moment you hit his character to instantly generate a second button, like Paper Mario for example. Unfortunately, the idea is not well integrated into the program and seems a bit hollow to use. Especially since some characters literally require the player to press button A to generate several additional attacks, sometimes with results that seem a bit random. But for now, we can consider this flaw as a detail.
No, the real issue with Cris Tales is the load times (for info, we were able to test the Switch version, but according to various comments, the issue also affects the PC and console versions). Indeed, the encounters of the game are random and old-fashioned, without any possibility of knowing if the combat is taking place in the area we are in. A bit like the old Final Fantasy. The problem is, in every fight, a 10-15 second payload is fired across a white screen. There are many random encounters. After a while you fear them, not for fear of losing to a powerful enemy but only for that reason. Moreover, sometimes, it is impossible to distinguish if we have changed the region or if we have just started a random battle, because the loadings are exactly the same whatever the game mode. Fire special music to inform the player that he has just entered into a battle, somewhat similar Pokemon. For all of these reasons, which hinder the overall player experience, Cris Tales is really missing in the end.
Cris Tales has huge potential. Schematically, artistically and even at the level of narrative and concept associated with temporality, it can easily be considered a real success.. The characters are lovable, and the combative action and visual appeal make this a small nugget that every old school RPG fan should appreciate. Unfortunately, there are small flaws that get in the way of this sweet dream by significantly hampering the player experience, from loading times, too many and too long, which can quickly drive most players crazy. Despite everything, we cling to the hope that these fears will be corrected, so that everyone can enjoy the true fun that is Cris Tales.