Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is a spin off from the mainline series. Rings Of Fate is a prequel to the Crystal Chronicles spin off games. It focuses on twins Yuri and Chelinka who are on a quest to stop a strange and powerful red crystal from being exploited by a mysterious force. They are joined by their father’s close friends Meeth and Al who are also their teachers. The crimson moon is a corrupting force and Green Crystals are what protects the world from it. It is up Yuri and Chelinka to stop the Red Crystals from the Crimson moon being used to spread darkness in the world.
Rings of Fate contains many of the themes seen in Final Fantasy games such as crystals, heroic struggles and self sacrifice. It also adds new themes of its own such as familial relationships. The game introduces other races that coexist with humans such as Selkies, Lillies and Yukes.
The relationship between Yuri and Chelinka is a stereotypical brother sister relationship. However due to dire circumstance, the bonded and turned into close friends.
The story and characters are unoriginal and cliched. You can see these types of characters in any other anime or video games. The villain of the story is just evil for the sake of being evil and is no different to Kefka in Final Fantasy 6. It is not as long as any of the Final Fantasy games that was released but it can take a while to beat the game. There was a fair amount of entertaining moments and the occasional dirty joke slipped. It takes a while to get used to the controls of the game and much of it is mainly touch screen based. You can view a map of the locations you are in and this comes in really handy especially when exploring dungeon. You can find chests and they can be refilled anytime you revisit a dungeon.
While the voice acting is serviceable, the dialogue was cheesy and it appears little effort was made for this aspect of the game. The graphics are decent and have a fair amount of detail in it. The artwork was well made. I experienced a few drops within the framerate and the occasional slow down. The CGI cutscenes is the most impressive visual part of the game. The music is serviceable but nothing more.
The combat of the game goes for a real time action approach in contrast to the more turn based style of the previous games. Enemies are placed in different areas of the dungeon map in contrast to random encounters. You get more party members when you progress through the game. The camera is also placed in an overhead approach to work with the hack and slash and touch screen mechanics of the game. It can be pretty easy even more so than Final Fantasy 3 or 4.
Each character has their own different combat style and special abilities to use in combat. You can switch between characters by touching their icons. The special abilities are based upon the race of the characters. Yuri uses a sword and can use his own special ability to deliver massive damage to enemies. Gnash is more agile and can double jump to reach hard to reach areas. He uses a bow and arrow to attack enemies from distances. His bow and arrow is also used to hit targets to activate switches that can be used to open up new areas. Leveling up also gives you more special abilities for your character to use in combat such as charge attacks or increased chain attacks.
You can craft weapons and armor and find accessories to equip with items dropped from enemies. Finding scrolls will you lead to unlocking more creations for weapons crafting. There is a good amount of weapons, armor and accessories to find, buy and equip for you and your party members. The Moogle Store is something of a blackmarket in the game where you can buy expensive slot increasements or stat increasements for holding more crystalites or raising strength, defense or magic.
Killing enemies will give you dropped items that can be used for crafting, xp and spell crystalites to cast magic like cure. The magic itself is different than in the mainline games. You have to combine two users using the same spell to cast a more powerful version of it. Once you run out of crystalites, you cannot use the spell unless you find more.
Teamwork is a key component of this game. Al can use his magic to summon blocks to jump onto from platform to platform. Meeth can use her alchemy to create crystalite spells and use the pot to roll from place to place and even break through walls. You need to place one team member at another area and have another teammate carry out a task like reaching a hard to reach area or to access a certain spell. By holding down the L button you lock down the ring where you want to cast the spell in case you want to use it to trap enemies. Dungeons are designed in game for the purpose of working together. Problem solving as a team is an important part of the game and key to winning.
Some doors have keys that can only be found by either wiping out an entire room of enemies or using a magicite crystal such as fire or lightning. You have to find switches and open and close one path to lead to another path. You have to push blocks and sometimes you need to find a switch to open a boulder to clear the rubble away to form a new path. Blocks can also be used to go across ledges. Al is a Yuke, a race of creatures that have enhanced magical abilities. He uses a staff to cast different spells on enemies based on the crystalite currently being used.
Boss fights happen at the end of each dungeon you visit and with perfect timing, they can be very easy. All you needed to do was dodge at the right time and hit the enemy at the red crystal. For the most part, the bosses all had their own unique strategy so repetition was not an issue. However, the bossfights were not that exciting.
Green crystals are used as savepoints in the game and they also restore your health and revitalize downed teammates. Moogles can be customized in anyway you like and finding stamps will allow you to get more customization options for your moogle. You could trade your moogle between friends to customize.
There was wi-fi for the multiplayer features of the game but Nintendo took down the wi-fi system so you are unable to visit it. But what could be told is that there was a story mode with co-op gameplay that took place after the events of the game.
There were some odd design choices in the game. Backtracking is very prevalent and objectives are not fully clear as in Final Fantasy 3. This can often lead you to being confused and unsure on how to proceed. Another issue is where you go to one black smith for weapons and another for armor instead of just one store.
Platforming is slippery and sometimes arrow targets are placed to points where you have to balance the slippery platforming and at a little too far away distance where your shot is not always accurate. The teammate A.I can be unresponsive at times and you are often going to be calling them back in case you need help. Sometimes they stand in your way blocking your path.
The game is decent but with too many flaws to be really good.
It gets 3 stars out of 5.
So Final Fantasy fans can find some enjoyment from this game.