Now here's a game that leaves one with mixed feelings. After years of gamers asking the question, "Will there ever be a Chrono Trigger sequel?" the answer is now an indisputable "yes." However, with Yuji Horii and Akira Toriyama (Dragonball Z) not even remotely associated with the project, you have to wonder how many people will actually care about Chrono Cross, a sequel that might be a sequel in name only. While there are millions of Chrono Trigger zealots out there who will be glad there's a sequel at all, there's more reason for concern other than the mere lack of the original creative team.
First of all, let's begin by describing the game. Graphically, the game is fully 3D, with polygonal characters and polygonal backgrounds without a sprite in sight. The battle system is, to put it very very roughly, like a slow version of FFVIII's. Yes, there are a lot of differences, but in the end it doesn't scream of innovation.
Now that you have a vague idea what the game feels like, let's address the annoyances. The character designs by Akihiko Yoshida, while not horrible, are simply generic and sorely lack the spark that Toriyama always provides. Perhaps it's because Toriyama-san is focusing his efforts on Dragon Quest VII that he cannot lend his talents to Chrono Cross. But whatever the case may be, the lack of Toriyama-designed characters is deafening. Secondly, the "action" seems like generic dungeon-wandering. While you can see your enemies, if you want to cross their path, you still have to face them. When you enter a battle, a dramatic sweep of the area (like any FFVII or FFVIII battle), such as a useless glance at the surrounding scenery, precedes every battle. This is something most gamers will wish they could just skip, as it gets aggravating after the first few times.
While not too much is known about the storyline at this time - and yes, this is only a demo - the result is still very underwhelming for a game that gamers are have such high hopes for. Perhaps the final product will scream of innovation and excitement, with a storyline to end all storylines. As it is, however, Chrono Cross doesn't exactly inspire.