Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
|Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles:
The Crystal Bearers
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (ファイナルファンタジークリスタルクロニクル クリスタルベアラー?) is an action-adventure game for the Wii, first announced to the public at E3 in May 2006 and was released on November 12, in Japan and on December 26, 2009, in North America.
The game takes place in the world of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles at a time when magic is banned, but some people are still born with such powers and are called "Crystal Bearers". In this time of imbalance between technology and magic, a group of friends must fight against a threat to the Crystal Bearers and to civilization itself.
The game was well received in Japan, with praise for the games well-written story and characters but criticizing the games map system. Western reviewers were not as positive, citing as a negative that the game was less of a traditional RPG and more like an action adventure game.
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Like its GameCube predecessor, Crystal Bearers features fully real-time combat, but unlike its predecessor, this game focuses on single-player, free-roaming, action-adventure gameplay. Enemies and regular civilians apparently are able to show emotion or status effects via symbols hanging over their heads, such as hearts for attraction or musical notes for satisfaction. The producers have suggested that enemies do not necessarily grow stronger as the game progresses, but that they gain a wider variety of tactics and abilities instead. It has also been shown that some enemies have the ability to hurt fellow creatures also opposing the player. This is part of a reaction AI system, in which different creatures react in unique ways to other creatures nearby and to the player's attacks. Telekinetic abilities feature heavily in the game. The player is able to perform different combat actions via telekinesis, including moving certain enemies against their will, making them use their abilities against other enemies, and utilizing various objects as telekinetic projectiles. The player is also able to perform some type of reaction element with creatures that will affect them in different manners. To further the telekinetic gameplay, the player is able to utilize his abilities to interact with the environment, such as to activate switches or grab onto ledges and other objects from a distance via an energy-based grappling hook; furthermore, he is able to perform such actions as moving civilians against their will. Civilians also share a trait with enemies in that they are able to attack the player when irritated by his actions.
Unlike other RPG oriented Final Fantasy games, this game, being an action adventure, does not have a leveling system; instead, the player can customize Layle's stats using accessories that the player makes using monster drops and other items that are found while exploring. The player can also increment the character's maximum HP by clearing miasma stream fights and collecting the myrrh of each area. Exploration and free-roaming are heavily focused on this game to the point that only 4 out of the 15 bosses in the game are actually needed to progress through the story and the rest are scattered over the world for the player to look for on his own. Based on the most recent video trailers and the general setting of the game, fighting in the sky is also a feature of gameplay. Quicktime events will also appear throughout the game, forcing the player to take necessary actions with the controller during certain events, such as aiming the remote and shooting demons while falling through the sky. It has been commented that while most of these events are for mere enjoyment, some must be completed in order to advance the story. Other gameplay aspects as hinted at by the trailers, including participation in minigames, traversing the land on chocobos (which can ram through enemies and some background objects), riding on trains and swimming.
The game is set far into the future of the Crystal Chronicles franchise, taking place in the same world as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, populated by four races. During the war, the tribe of the Lilty apparently banished the Yuke into their own dimensional world. There was a time when "swords have changed to guns" and the arcane arts are outlawed by the Liltian Kingdom. However, some people are born with the power of magic inside of themselves called "Crystal Bearers". Any bearer has her or his random crystallized body part like an eye or a small part on the skin. In March 2008, an official advertising article about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates noted that the Nintendo DS installment "sets the stage" for The Crystal Bearers.
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1000 years have passed in the events of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, the destruction of the Yuke Crystal during the Great War, with its Tribe suffers with apparent annihilation, and the Lilties triumph over against them in the world as they bring it into a new age of science and reason through machines called "crystal reactors", with the use of magic outlawed and rule over the Clavats and few Selkies who comply to the new order. In the new era of imbalance exists a rare breed of powerful beings called "Crystal Bearers", whose magical abilities have led them to be feared and scorned by the public. Layle is hired to escort the new passenger airship Alexis, the pinnacle of Lilty technology and a symbol of their current dominance. As "Alexis II" is besieged by a horde of monstrous birds, Zus, Layle jumps off of Keiss' escort ship and shoots down the Zus with his sentry gun. As Layle lands on the deck of the ship, a portal opens and Layle uses his telekinetic powers to pull the mysterious Yuke named Amidatelion out from it, and nicknames her "Goldenrod". The Yuke takes the Alexis' crystal shards with a strange piece of crystal called a "Crystal Idol". Layle fights her, but she rides on one of the zus to escape. After Layle steals the Idol, the loss of the crystal shards forces Layle to fly the airship, with his own crystal powers fueling the reactors and safely crashlanding the ship in front of the capital. After the incident, Keiss and Layle pursues Amidatelion. However, as the game progresses, Layle learns that Jegran's power is threatening everyone in the world.
- Layle (レイル Reiru?) Voiced by: Makoto Yasumura (Japanese); Darrel Guilbeau (English) - A Clavat mercenary and one of the eponymous "Crystal Bearers". His crystal located on his right cheek allows him to use telekenetic gravity powers to manipulate himself, any objects and others.
- Belle (ベル Beru?) Voiced by: Chiaki Takahashi (Japanese); Elle Deets (English) - A brown-haired female Selkie and a camera photographer, who finds to exchange information for her own benefit, stows away on the Alexis' maiden voyage to encounter sensitive information on Jegran as bounty and decides to travel with Layle to make a fortune off him, but she remains defiant and continues to pursue her next story.
- Keiss (クァイス Kaisu?) Voiced by: Noriaki Sugiyama (Japanese); David Vincent (English) - A red-haired male Selkie and Layle's partner. Unlike other ones, he devoted himself to the Lilty kingdom, works directly with Jegran to rise up the ladder before being a military colonel.
- Amidatelion (アミダテリオン Amidaterion?) Voiced by: Atsuko Tanaka (Japanese); Caitlin Glass (English) - A lavishly decorated Yuke and one of the "Crystal Bearers" who is seemingly the last of her race, nicknamed "Goldenrod" by Layle. She uses her power to bend space and summons monsters, like Bahamut. Her goal is revive her race and the "Crystal Principle" to restore the Yuke Tribe's crystal, but after aiding Layle, Jegran turns her into a crystal statue.
- Althea Sol Alfiraria (アルテア Arutea?) Voiced by: Noriko Shitaya (Japanese); Carrie Savage (English) - A Lilty with spectacles and the princess of the Lilty Kingdom with a crystal idol on her chest. Her mother died when she was young, and her father turned into statue by Jegran at the "Alexis".
- High Commander Jegran (ジュグラン Juguran?) Voiced by: Ryuzaburo Otomo (Japanese); Michael McConnohie (English) - The Lilty's High Commander, who attempts to conquer the kingdom by turning it into a military state through his power of the crystals. One such attempt made him a "Crystal Bearer" after an accident with a crystal reactor crystallized his arm, giving him the power to turn anyone into red crystal statues and that creates a wave of radiation that harms the Crystal Principle. He kept his power a secret while acting on scheme, but everyone learns that Jegran is responsible for betraying them. Jegran develops a god complex as he attempts to rewrite the Crystal Principle, using his own Bearer powers.
- Cid (シド Shido?) Voiced by: Shinichi Kotani (Japanese); Doug Stone (English) - Lilty Kingdom's former engineer and Bridge Town tinker.
- Vaigali (バイガリ Baigari?) Voiced by: Naomi Kusumi (Japanese); Joe DiMucci (English) - Leader of Selkie Guild who sold information for the highest bidder, with a grudge against Lilties and dislikes Keiss' turncoats even more but Vaigali made an exception in Cid's case whom he aids as patron. Jegran turns Vaigali (who sacrificed himself to save Belle, Keiss and Layle) into a crystal statue at the Aerial Prison Interior.
- Blaze Voiced by: Matthew Mercer - A fiery Clavat bearer and formerly Layle's worst partner who chases him and Belle to the Rivelgauge Monastery and leaves, before Jegran turns Blaze into a crystal statue.
The Crystal Bearers is intended to be a more "single-player experience", as opposed to the GameCube installment which focused on cooperative play. The game director stated he wants a more "world weary" protagonist, and wanted him to seem rugged, which influenced the hair design of the character. The game is intended to feature a more "mature" design to help bolster the heroic structure of the story. The game director wanted to make "an exhilarating tale of this great hero set against sweeping blue skies", which influenced many decisions in game design and story. The game's existence was announced at E3 2005 and at E3 2006 a short pre-rendered teaser trailer was included within a Wii games compilation video. In May 2007 a new trailer including gameplay was released and a few interviews with the developers were given. Since then no further information about the game has been given. Crystal Bearers has had no presence at recent Square Enix events or on the Square Enix website (the Crystal Chronicles developer blog has not made mention of Crystal Bearers since June 6, 2007") coupled with the developers of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King refusing to comment when asked about the status of The Crystal Bearers at the Game Developers Conference of February 2008, stating only that the public should "wait for a press release." In November 2008, in response to a section in the next month's issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly stating that the game had been "quietly canceled" Square Enix released a statement confirming that the game had not been canceled and that they fully intend to release it, although no release date could be given. A trailer for the game was packaged with the Wii version of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time. It shows the game in a further state of development, and displays game characteristics such as combat, magic, puzzle solving, and an overworld, as well as traditional elements of the Final Fantasy series, such as the Cactuar and Bahamut. At the end of March, an official teaser site opened up. In Japan, a commercial for the game aired with the song We Weren't Born to Follow by Bon Jovi playing in the background.
On its first day of release in Japan, The Crystal Bearers sold 26,000 units, which is about 34% of its initial shipment in the region. The Japanese version sold 43,705 units by its second week of release, and over 54,000 copies by the end of the year.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers was praised by Weekly Famitsu, saying the game's plot elements were well done: one reviewer stated "The way the story develops, along with the unique characters and world setting, is brilliant. There are lots of little details to everything." However, the publication criticized the game's map, finding it difficult to pinpoint the player's location with respect to the surroundings.
The game received mixed and generally less favorable reviews from western outlets. X-Play gave a negative review, while Game Informer and IGN faulted the game for being an action adventure rather than an RPG. However, GameTrailers and Nintendo Power reviewed the game more positively.
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Layle: I'm the escort. You called for me.
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