I try not to get too hyped or excited about games given how many times I’ve been burned in the past. Still, there’s something about Cris Tales that just has me completely amazed by its presentation, mechanics, and uniqueness of this RPG adventure. From its initial reveal, I’ve been hooked. Maybe it’s the character’s awesome haircut or the turn-based battle system, I don’t know. What I do know is that this is a game that should be on your radar, and if it’s not, then maybe I can shed some light on what awaits.
Cris Tales introduces us to Crisbell, an adventurer who sets out in the land of Crystallis. Her goals revolve around putting a stop to a Time Empress and rewrite the future of the four kingdoms. On her journey, she meets companions who join her quest, including a frog named Matias. Each of these companions has a powerful skill that can be combined with Crisbell’s power to alter time. These time mechanics play a considerable part in the flow of gameplay in battle, and while exploring.
So let’s take a look at the various mechanics of Cris Tales. In battles, players can manipulate time. For example, players can poison an enemy and then advance time so they take all of the poison damage. Furthermore, players can use the ability to de-age enemies. The game encourages creativity when figuring out effective means for using these powers. However, not all enemies are affected negatively, as some can grow even stronger if they are aged.
During battles, attacks can be strengthened if players press a button at the correct time, which adds extra damage to the action. Players are also able to resist status effects if they guard an enemy attack by the same means. This forces the player to be invested in the battle and figure out the right strategy to use, depending on the situation.
Bosses in Cris Tales have ways to deal with time mechanics by moving to the opposite side of the party or by using an ability. Each boss will have a way to respond to Crisbell’s time attacks, so understanding their skills is part of the experience. These battles are also meant to challenge the player, so going in prepared is also something the should be kept in mind.
Players will use the time mechanic while exploring towns. The screen is separated into three different sections, revealing the past, present, and future. Using this feature allows players to see how characters and the environment changes across time.
An example of this could be a friendly character who turned evil in the future, which gives you the chance to alter their fate. More significant issues at hand are if the future shows the kingdom in shambles, which requires more analysis to figure out.
Thankfully, it’s possible to change these outcomes by completing side-quests. By taking on these additional quests, players can change the future and see how they’ve affected it all in real-time. This feature also gives Matias the spotlight as he can interact with different periods and collect information, or gather items that don’t exist in the present.
Choices make up a large portion of the gameplay. Players will have the opportunity to affect some story scenarios with their actions directly. One straightforward example is a man being attacked by wolves. Players can either help this guy or go about their business. However, that choice shapes the remainder of the adventure, and any possible quests that guy had for the player will be lost if he is not saved. Each playthrough can have subtle differences depending on these decisions.
Cris Tales borrows inspiration from some of the greatest RPGs available. However, it’s easy to see how this developer is adding in their own unique systems and ways of storytelling that we can only gush about as we uncover more about Crisbell’s journey.
Cris Tales is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC-via Steam on November 17. Also, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X at a later date.
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