I could barely remember my first encounter with Chrono Trigger, came from an old flash game called Super Smash Flash, developed by McleodGaming. I was curious of the origin of the Crono, so I looked him up on websites to see what game was in. I have heard about the game being critically acclaimed in one issue of the Nintendo Power magazine, but initially, I wasn’t interested and moved on to other games like Pokemon and other Nintendo games.
As the years scrolled by, I began to grow a fond love of Square Enix’s games like Kingdom Hearts and Bravely Default, realizing how high quality their RPGs are. So I went back to try Chrono Trigger in an online emulator. What I experienced was very memorable, but the eventual slowdowns the game had on my laptop led me to stop playing Chrono Trigger entirely. That is until this year.
As I grew more fond listening to the game’s soundtrack on YouTube, I always asked myself, should I get back to playing Chrono Trigger? I wanted to play the entire game to see if Chrono Trigger is really a game that deserves its extremely high praise. After playing through JRPGs like Undertale and MOTHER 3 last year, I wanted to give the game another go. And so I bought the game on the Wii Shop Channel and played through its entirety. Here is what I think.
Chrono Trigger is a truly amazing RPG. One particular aspect I noticed greatly in my second play-through was how much freedom you had with exploring the world around you. You could progress through the story or you could explore something else and play mini-games at the Millennial Fair again and that freedom always felt amazing Consistently, the soundtrack is amazing, the story is great, and the gameplay is very fun and varied as well.
What new stuff can I say about Chrono Trigger that hasn’t been heavily analyzed by people yet? I do have one, but unfortunately it is a negative complaint. I do feel it is a very important complaint to address, I feel it needs to be shared for those that say it is a game ever with no major flaws whatsoever. Spoilers will be shown below, so I’ll warn you if you have not played the game yet.
Through getting hints from Chrono Trigger guide I had, I learned that I actually missed the opportunity of obtaining Magus (a major character in Chrono Trigger’s story) during the crash of Zeal’s people. I also learned that there was a New Game Plus mode that I could earn if I beaten the Black Omen quest and then the Final Battle Chapter. New Game + lets you pass on your characters’ stats in a new run, and so I decided to press forward and not restart the game, considering how much progress I made with character stats and how many hours I put into the game.
I was already at the Fated Hour chapter, where I had full freedom and had the choice to do the side quests in the game, but I chose not to because I felt my characters were powerful enough to progress through the story. Most side-quests were just weapon upgrades anyway. I decided to do the Black Omen chapter in 12,000 B.C., knowing that it would be at its weakest state.
It was extremely challenging to beat, but through knowing very well of my characters’ moves, strategies, and abilities, I was able to beat the chapter with characters around the level 40s. It felt extremely rewarding to stop Queen Zeal’s plans and fight the outer shell of Lavos, but then came the Final Battle chapter. When I was in Lavos, I prepared myself at the save point, equipping my characters with items that raise their stats to their maximum potential, ready to face what’s coming next.
I fought Lavos’ second form, and in its first turn it instantly killed my team. It led to another story sequence of the world being destroyed by Lavos. The game gave me a message of “The Future Refused to Change” and restarted to the title screen. I tried to beat the boss a few more times, but lost constantly. I realized that I’m semi-forced to do those side quests to make my characters more powerful to resist Lavos second form’s first attack. That pissed me off.
Not being able to beat the game without doing the side-quests brought my amazing experience to a screeching halt. Story-wise, I already felt satisfied enough with the resurrection of Crono and the overall experience was already an exciting hype train for me to bother with the side-quests. And again, I already felt powerful enough to progress through the story.
And I am aware the side-quests do have some interesting non-filler stories to tell, but I also wanted to beat the game now just to get the conclusion done and play New Game+ to try to obtain Magus and explore all the possible endings. I thought the game would give you the freedom to choose any path you’d like, but not in this situation. There were many conflicting feelings around my head right now, that I stopped playing the game for a while.
Eventually, I did beat the side-quests and I was powerful enough (Around the level 50s) to beat the two forms of the final boss, but it was disappointingly pretty easy. I mean Queen Zeal herself was already very hard with her constantly putting my characters at 1 HP, putting me at a position to use my character’s strongest healing move.
But compared to Queen Zeal, the true form of Lavos does not have as much threatening nor interesting attacks to make much of a challenge. I was hoping the final boss would be creatively similar to Magus, where you carefully choose magic spells and physical attacks to beat him, but it wasn’t. It was pretty disappointing.
The story ending itself was very heartwarming, and seeing the characters leave to their appropriate time periods was sad to see. But after that, I honestly could only think of that moment where the game stopped me to do side-quests as the credits rolled. That moment still burns in my memory today. I’m not sure if I could play the game again for what I have been through.
Chrono Trigger is still truly amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I’d place it behind MOTHER 3 and UNDERTALE as the 3rd best video game of all time even if it has one major flaw for me. I still recommend giving Chrono Trigger a try or another go if you played it before. I just don’t feel that Chrono Trigger is the best game ever made as most people say because of one particular way of playing Chrono Trigger. That’s just my story I wanted to tell. Let to know your opinion. Do you disagree on particular aspects?