Embark on a journey through time and space. Encounter treacherous new lands and frightful enemies, whilst travelling alongside the weirdest team of heroes you’ll ever meet. All this, while trying to save the world from complete and total annihilation. This is Chrono Trigger.
Jump into the boots of our hero Crono, as he is accompanied at first by Lucca and Marle as they travel through time battling evil oppressors with the intent of world domination and destruction.
Chrono Trigger is truly one of those gems that not only remains a gem in one’s memory but also a jewel to play through again. Picking it up again after what is more or less 10 years, was as simple as jumping into any of the latest JRPGs. Dare I say, simpler. The game doesn’t hold the player’s hand in any way and yet, you’ll be more than capable of navigating to where you need to be to progress in the story. It’s also split into two main areas of play. The first starts you off in close proximity to the character and his surroundings. His house, a kitchen, an armoury within the kingdom’s castle. All of these areas viewed in finer detail compared to the open world map. Upon leaving your house, the camera will take on a bird’s eye view of your characters travelling across an over-world map. Much like the one you would see in JRPGs such as Ni No Kuni. Of course, unlike Ni No Kuni, this over-world map does not contain enemies. Instead, you’ll need to enter an area to initiate combat. What’s more, is that enemies are all visible on the screen, so there’s no chance of a random encounter and the player can try, in most cases, to dodge a group of enemies. Alternatively, you can also just run from the battle if an enemy cannot be avoided. Which brings us to one of the core mechanics of a JRPG, it’s battle system.
The battle system in Chrono Trigger is simple and yet grants the player a wide variety of skill-based strategy planning. Unlike turn-based strategy battle systems, this one combines turn-based with a timer. An active time battle system. So each character depending on their speed will have a timer bar within the status bar. Once each players timer bar is full they are ready for one of three options: physical attack, magical or skill-based attack or using an item. One of the best parts of Chrono Triggers battle system is that the characters can also sync up and perform special attacks. For instance, Chrono is able to team up with one of the game’s later characters and perform a double tech attack. This allows them to perform a powerful thunder attack together which causes an incredible amount of damage to the enemy. Of course, in order to use this attack or even a triple tech attack where all three players attack simultaneously, all their timers have to be loaded and ready to go. If anyone is slain before the next attack, you won’t be able to complete these double and triple tech attacks. This causes the player to not only think a step ahead of their enemies next move but also, forcing you to be more strategic on how to keep the players alive long enough to perform these incredible attacks.
Another interesting part of the battle strategy is that each character will possess an elemental advantage or disadvantage. And with the player only being allowed three active battle team members at a time, sometimes it is best to plan ahead before taking on a big boss battle. Some of the magic elemental’s included are Thunder, Water, Fire, Light and Darkness.
Apart from its battle system, the one thing that sets Chrono Trigger apart from other JRPGs of its time is the choices the player can make at every step within the game. The beginning of the game pulls this off perfectly, where every small action you make at the fair will have consequences later on when you’re “judged”. What’s more, is that the game grants players the joy of freedom. And this is offered quite early on in the game. There is, of course, a path you’ll need to follow to proceed to the end of the game, but with the game possessing multiple endings, its actually scary as to how easy it is to finish this game without completing a ton of character development side quests. But then again I guess having access to an ability like time travel can do this to a group of highly motivated individuals.
All in all, Chrono Trigger is a real Blast from the Past, literally and figuratively. An incredible story combined with a memorable soundtrack. Filled with superb character development alongside some emotionally enthralling plot twists, and a large cast filled with robots, cavemen, technologically advanced humans as well as dinosaurs. Whether the player travels to the past, present or future within the game, the core mechanics remain the same but the setting itself changes in ways you can only expect from advances of technology or the legends of magical times from the past. Released over the years on multiple platforms such as the PlayStation, Nintendo DS, PC, iOS and Android devices, there really is no excuse for you not to play this masterpiece over and over again. Chrono Trigger takes the title “Back to the Future” to a whole new level. A blast from the past that I highly recommend for everyone.