Review- Cris Tales
Cris Tales is a role-playing game developed by Colombian indie game studios Dreams Uncorporated and Syck and published by Modus Games. According to the game developers, they envisioned the game as being a confession of love that was “Inspired by timeless JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Valkyrie Profile, and modern classics like Bravely Default and Persona 5”. The opening scenes of Cris Tales brings the player into a beautifully crafted world that isn’t that dissimilar in style to the early years of the JRPGs genre. One of the hooks that Cris Tales uses to draw players into its world and the story it will weave is the usage of the ability to see the past, the present, and the future.
Cris Tales is a beautifully woven story of a young orphaned girl named Crisbell who lives in the Narim orphanage under the watchful eye of Mother Superior. Following the opening scene of the game in which it appears to be in the future where you learn about the game’s mechanisms; The player is transported back in time to Crisbell working in the gardens of the Narim Orphanage where she proceeds to pick up a rose for Mother Superior, it is snatched from her by a yellow frog wearing a top hat named Matias. Matias leads Crisbell on a journey through Narim, one of the kingdoms in the world of Crystalis to the Narim Cathedral, where Crisbell has an experience that unleashes her powers. Following her experiences in the cathedral, Crisbell is told by Matias to visit his friend Willhelm, who is what is known as a time mage, who explains to Crisbell what time mange is and what Crisbell’s powers are.
Crisbell takes the player on a journey that is infused with touches of Colombian culture and architecture which comes from the influence of the two Colombian game studios Dreams Uncorporated and Syck; this leads to a world that is beautifully put together and draws the player in even more as the story progresses. The developers have created a world with a cartoonish, anime style of graphics that makes the player feel like they’ve picked up a little golden book that kids used to have on their bookshelves and jumped into the tale of whatever story that book was.
Cris Tales is a turn-based role-playing game, along with the ability to time jump, both on the map and in battle. this had the ability to affect the gameplay. Crisbell as well as Matias, Cristopher, Willhelm, Zas, and JKR-721 are playable characters who have unique abilities that allow the player to have different abilities during the fight scenes. The gameplay predominately consists of Crisbell being able to manipulate time hence her ability to see the past, the present, and the future. This is shown by the screen is split into three sections, showing the present in the centre, the past on the left, and the future on the right.
During the battle, Crisbell can summon the crystal powers to send enemies to the past or the future, altering their characteristics, in which the player can use it to take advantage. The battles are carried out using commands to select attacks, skills, or items, in addition to making the precise pressing of buttons during attacks, allowing doing more damage to enemies or receive less damage, this leads to being strategic in how you choose to attack during the battle scenes. The controls for the gameplay are easy to pick up and quickly master which enables the player to absorb themself into the story of Crisbell and her friends.
One of the strong points of Cris Tales is how the developers have incorporated time travel and time manipulation which drives the actions players can choose to do. Because playing as a time mage, Cris Tales involves a lot of time-based shenanigans, both as a plot device and as a gameplay hook. It is the usage of the screen split into three sections to signify the importance of the past, present, and future, this allows you to appreciate the world of Cris Tales and the journey that Crisbell and her companions and how the choices you make in the present scene can have consequences in either the past or the future.
Another thing that is in Cris Tales favor is the length of the gameplay, with the total game time clocking in at an impressive 30 to 40 hours to truly complete Cris Tales. In an age where games are focused on multiplayer and battle royale-style games, Cris Tales reminds gamers that there are still so many single-player campaigns with amazing storylines waiting to be told. Growing up as a player with a Hearing Impairment, single-player games, and great stories is what created the gamer I am today, and Cris Tales has left a mark on this reviewer.
There are some downsides to Cris Tales that detracts from the game is the fact that when exploring the world around Crissbell, people and locations around the characters don’t highlight the important people and locations to interact with; whilst it is important to explore the kingdoms in the world of Crystalis; some form of notification or highlight places and people of importance would assist players in making decisions in how they approach the story.
Another downside is the battle scenes and bosses themselves, in the early phase of Cris Tales, the battles and enemies that you face are exciting and the first few boss fights enable you to witness some amazing finales for the battle sequences, but very quickly the battles can start to become stale, stagnant and predictable which means the combat component of Cris Tales draws you away from the amazing story that the writers have created during the development of Cris Tales. There is another detraction from the amazing storyline of Cris Tales and that is the combat system is that the fights in the game can go for over 10 minutes and sometimes up to 20 minutes of attacking and healing whilst you try to strategically attack and defend against the enemies that you are facing, the length of the battles can drain the enjoyment of the game purely due to how long it can take to win so that the game and story can be progressed.
Cris Tales is a game that would be suitable for those who have kids that can understand the concepts of how actions from the past as well as the present can affect the outcome in the future. It is a game that you can feel comfortable playing in front of your kids and other family members as you explore the world of Cris Tales and watch Crisbell’s story unfold. Be prepared to put in the hours to progress the amazing story to its conclusion whilst understanding that the battles can be time-consuming, energy-sapping, and can detract from your overall enjoyment of the game.
J for One More Game
9 – Amazing – as near to a 10 as you are going to get without it being a 10. It’s an amazing experience that just requires that little something else to make it a masterpiece. Your hard-earned cash and time would be well spent here.
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Cris Tale was reviewed on an Xbox Series X. It is also available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
The publisher kindly provided code for this game. All thoughts on this game are ours and ours alone.