When you think about what games from this era that we'll still be playing ten years from now, there are a number of titles that come to mind immediately. Super Mario Bros., GoldenEye 007, Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Chrono Trigger, Contra, Phantasy Star, Dragon Quest, Metal Gear, Castlevania, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater all come to mind as obvious choices. But in making this list, you quickly realize that there are only one or two games released each year that are of a high enough quality to achieve such longevity. Chrono Cross, Square's PlayStation sequel to Chrono Trigger, is one of those games.
Most games are particularly impressive in one category or another, but Chrono Cross is impressive in all of them. Chrono Cross has one of the most incredible soundtracks ever heard in an RPG - a genre known specifically for its fantastic game music - or any other type of game. The introductory theme, for instance, can still be clearly recalled by many players almost six months after finishing the game. The gameworld itself is widely varied and visually stunning, and the characters that populate the Chrono Cross world are especially noteworthy. Every one of the 40-member cast of Chrono Cross has his or her own uniquely crafted character model and amazingly well animated basic and special attacks.
As reviewer Andrew Vestal wrote in his review, "There's even a miniquest or special requirement for every character's best skill - that's a lot of extra adventuring! Even more surprising is the amount of unique text in the game. There is no dialogue spoken by 'assorted other party members.' Every character has his or her own reaction to and take on the story's events, expressed in his or her own special dialect, speech pattern, and dialogue style. Moreover, many exchanges are only found by having certain characters in your party. If your opponent has a history with one of your members, the two of them will hash it out before you fight. If one of your members has had an experience they feel pertains to the situation at hand, they'll share it with you." These elements provide a staggering amount of replay value to an RPG that already has an extra+ mode for you take on after you beat it the first time.
Even seemingly minor gameplay innovations like the ability to quickly heal all your characters at end of each battle make you wonder out loud while no one has ever thought to include such things in an RPG before, and they'll seem conspicuous in their absence in any you'll play afterwards.
Every element of Chrono Cross gives the impression that its designers have done the best job possible to max out the capabilities of the game system. The game's only real drawback can't even be held against it in a quantifiable sense - its story was not quite up to that of Chrono Trigger, something that speaks highly of the original game without detracting from its follow-up. Even still, they're both games you'll still find yourself playing ten years from now and beyond.