Final Fantasy The Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers Hands-On

We skydive, fly an airship, and ride a Chocobo in this surprising addition to the Crystal Chronicles series.

We weren't sure what to expect when we went hands-on with The Crystal Bearers at Square Enix's booth. After all, it's been years since the game was first announced, with nary a whisper heard from it since, which makes its presence on the show floor a welcome surprise. And yet, even after going hands-on with it, we're still not sure quite sure what to make of it. But we do know this: It left us hungry for more.

In a stark contrast to most Square games, The Crystal Bearers immediately launches into an action-packed sequence just after the game's protagonist, Layle, bails from his aircraft and skydives toward another...while still being attacked in free-fall! Thankfully, being one of the "crystal bearers," he's fully equipped to blast the attacking enemies right out of the sky. It's basically an on-rails shooter at this point, but a visually distinct one. It lasts for only a minute or two before Layle successfully touches down on an airship below. An unskippable (and far too long) cutscene sets the stage for the next action sequence: piloting the now-nearly-out-of-control airship through a canyon to safety. Doing so was as simple as tilting the control stick left or right, yet despite the simple controls, the visuals combined with the constant chatter of our teammates made the sequence surprisingly engaging.

Having piloted the airship to safety, we finally gained full control of the character as we explored the local town. It was here that we were really able to see the extent of Layle's powers. As we ventured through town, we were able to grab almost any character or object by pointing at it and pressing B, at which point we could then toss with a quick flick of the Wii Remote in the desired direction. Although this action isn't completely unique to The Crystal Bearers, it's the first time that we've seen it respond with such accuracy, which makes it pleasantly fun to simply toss objects around (with special apologies to the poor child we tossed down a flight of stairs...repeatedly).

Unfortunately, our travels were cut short when we had to hop aboard a Chocobo as we tried to escape a group of enemies riding similar feathered fiends. Once again, the game reverted to an on-rails shooter, although now we also had full use of Layle's powers, which let us perform some pretty nifty attacks, such as throwing enemies at one another, or tearing down local monuments to crush our foes.

After we defeated our attackers, the demo came to a close. What we saw excited us, but it also makes us question how much it represents the final game. The demo gives the impression that The Crystal Bearers is primarily an on-rails shooter, whereas we're pretty sure the final product will offer a much more balanced experience between on-foot exploration and shooter segments. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more on The Crystal Bearers as its release approaches.

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Discussion

99 comments
artemfb
artemfb

"The demo gives the impression that The Crystal Bearers is primarily an on-rails shooter, whereas we're pretty sure the final product will offer a much more balanced experience between on-foot exploration and shooter segments." He never said it was going to BE a rail shooter game, just that the demo seemed to indicate that it was. I think, Breda, we have to stay tuned for a better demo which will be more representative of the final product - because apparently here, the demo was quarter cutscene, quarter RPG, and half rail shooter.

JoePiervincenti
JoePiervincenti

Willy, didn't you notice that he also said that again, when he got on the chocobo, it played like an on-rails shooter again? that's where that came from...

Breda_valley
Breda_valley

agree with willy here... calling a FF game a balance between exploration and a shooter really doesn't give a good description of this otherwise really nice game... so guess we're staying tuned for a better review or preview?

Willy105
Willy105

"The demo gives the impression that The Crystal Bearers is primarily an on-rails shooter" OMG. Did Gamespot literally just write that? There's one shooting segment, at the opening scene of the whole game. That's it. The rest is an adventure/RPG game.

Lennah
Lennah

uh huh...This seems...different...

thetruesage
thetruesage

We shall see. I have had issues with this series in the past, mainly the cartoony visuals and the occasional pet peeve with the combat system. I'm not saying that they are bad games, just that I would expect more from a Final Fantasy game. I do have high hopes for this game though.

Thadster5
Thadster5

Sounds awesome, but I'm going to be careful with this one, because it sounds so much like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. That one was hyped waaay more than it deserved.

Cicatraz_ESP
Cicatraz_ESP

I enjoyed the first, though I only got to play it by myself :(

z827
z827

...I wonder what happened to the kid whose being tossed down the stairs XD I feel like asking whether it's a Clavat,Lility,Yuke or (One more race...what's the name again?)

umbrielle
umbrielle

I laughed when they said they tossed a kid down the stairs... repeatedly. Took me a moment to remember that child abuse is not okay.

leoleez
leoleez

sounds cool, but totally different than what I thought a Crystal Chronicles game has to offer. Excited about the whole thingy about it looking like a Final Fantasy game, with long cut scenes.

Wa_Wii
Wa_Wii

I can't wait for this game! I'm all hyped up about it! I love shooting games and if this game is as interesting as it looks, I'm sure Square-Enix will make more money!

arturo2005xp
arturo2005xp

The first one for GameCube was really really great if you played it with other 3 users, the graphics and spacialy the music was great but, playing it alone was not the same. This looks very interesting, hoping to see more about this new CC.

suspektz101
suspektz101

Yeah I've never played the Crystal Chronicles games at all but this looked good and had me interested. So I'll wait and see for myself when this actually comes out. Looks pretty cool though.

eldin4444
eldin4444

Oh well really dont know what to expect I'm not a big fan of the CC series but this one seems to be good I hope so at least, but the on rail shooter and on foot segments scare the hell out of me, dont sound like anything good to me.

666_Laventine
666_Laventine

MY GAWD! Another Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game on console? "LUDICROUS I SAY!" Not a very big fan of CC games. Now if they were handheld game exclusive, different story cuz I can pick it up and play on the go. If they must make it on Consoles add Online especially if your trying to get a focus on multiplayer. But wait a minute..... O-N-R-A-I-L-S-H-O-O-T-E-R.... On rail shooter?! "God, I know you say that you love all with equality, but thats just a bluff huh? Oh ho ho ho! I'm on to you big guy in the sky

E3Abe09
E3Abe09

Yes Another FF Game but i'm not going to buy a Wii just for this game

logos12thman
logos12thman

I thought the first one was alright but I wouldn't mind checking this game out.

hydn631
hydn631

The first one was an amazing game, i hope this one can live up to it, and that square enix doesn't forget how shweet choosing your race in the first one was.

Jhraxlin
Jhraxlin

I hate on rail shooters.... -.- Though I do like the picking up of objects and throwing them! =P

koko854
koko854

I have the first one the grafics stink i hope that just isnt the movie parts

Sudarinho
Sudarinho

ooft check out those graphics O____________O

Darthkaiser
Darthkaiser moderator moderator

On rails shooter? Oh boy.......

coolhuman
coolhuman

thi s is awesome game!!!! cant wait!!!!!1

linky12
linky12

I HAWE NOW SEEN THE DREAM O_______O CAN'T WAIT CAN'T WAIT XD

FusionRain
FusionRain

sexy wii game hope the story and controls are just as nice as this game looks (for wii that is)

rockstar_7
rockstar_7

Finally, Square Enix provides a proper FF crystal chronicles game for the nintendo wii Great graphics! FFcc 'My life as a king' was a failure!

rafaelmejor
rafaelmejor

i love final fantasy christal chronicles games!

jamesAboy19
jamesAboy19

its not an on rails shooter, why is everbody caling it a rails shooter?

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

All I can say to this is "lol". As if the crystal series in FF didn't fail hard enough...it's like square is TRYING to make it have the worst games possible. Probably part of their grand scheme to make people hate crystals and chronicles of any time...the reason for it is still unknown, but I'm sure it's evil.

Bobzfamily
Bobzfamily

A rail shooter? In the FF universe? Does the game have any RPG aspects in it at all?

bigman_9221
bigman_9221

I really hope this game stays interesting throughout the story and so on. I was kinda bored with the first CC game (GC). I enjoyed the 1st one and all but I really think I am gonna enjoy this method of making your surrondings your weapons, love those kind of stuff.

wogboypaul
wogboypaul

i cant wait for this game.. a rail shooter, i really dont think so, well i hope not, but since its ff, im willing to play it anyways.

The_Milton
The_Milton

hmm on rails??? looks like monado will have to hold my rpg craving off.

Nuoi
Nuoi

I just noticed... What's that shining thing on his face? It wasn't there before, was it? There are so few good RPGs on Wii. *Sigh. And why do they all look very terrible? Why can't they look like this one? :P I know Wii is far behind PS3 but I didn't expect PS2 graphic on those RPGs on Wii (ToS for example). I wonder when will this game be released, and when will it come to US. =.= On 2nd thought, if you see more pictures, this game probably doesn't look that good though, but still good.

Treifla
Treifla

this was probably game number 2 on my list of games i purchased the Wii for, i was afraid they had forgotten about it

Kbs64
Kbs64

I'm sure its not just going to be a shooter. Square Enix is far to talented to limit themselves in such a way.

Treifla
Treifla

I'll still never understand the hatred against DoC, I just figure people picked it up with the wrong idea in mind, and they would rather express anger against the game, because it's easier to admit they didn't look into it before buying. or the original CC for that matter, it was an amazing game, i guess people just hate it when Square takes a final fantasy game and makes it anything OTHER than turn based strategy

DMLSLAT
DMLSLAT

Shooter? I don't think Square's playing to its strengths there *cough Dirge of Cerberus* but I doubt that's the focus of the main game. I'm keeping track, even though Crystal Chronicles has disappointed me pretty much at all times. The original wasn't bad, but since then... Lame. Hopefully this'll change its bad history? And I'm not surprised the Wii can provide graphics like this- look at Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Conduit... It's just devs are lazy. Square, however, is not, thank God.

gmax
gmax

So life's not all easy being a crystal bearer.

zell1
zell1

Final Fantasy for the Wii I sure hope its better than the other two.

no1gamefan
no1gamefan

The game looks good. I might add this to my collection.

creativeminded
creativeminded

Seems to be coming alone nicely and i doubt there will be too much shooting parts as that's not FF style. Hmm unless I am mistaken and I'm very confident I'm not, this is a Wii exclusive JaredTrotterboy.

chappy_man
chappy_man

nice looking game for the wii there

JaredTrotterboy
JaredTrotterboy

dude ausome! and its for 360. definitly a must get for me.

jhjsaat
jhjsaat

Really if you do not like cut scenes do not play this game :D

XPunkXManX
XPunkXManX

Gotta love Final Fantasy, deffinetly gonna have to buy looks very intresting.