Chrono Cross is probably the closest to video game perfection one can achieve.
Story: Chrono Cross' story is quite a fascinating one. A silent blue haired youth named Serge is flung from his homeworld into a alternate reality of his own world where he died 10 years ago among other things. Soon enough he meets up with Kid, a feisty bandit sheila with a score to settle with the villainous cat man Lynx. There are many twists, turns and changes of fate that will keep you hooked. The characters range from dark to noble and downright bizzare. In fact the characterization is so good that you will find yourself not caring that some characters are simple filler because they are so charming that they really don't feel like it. I have a few complaints however. One of them is that the sometimes it could be a bit more clear. You will feel at times like you are being led from point A to point B for no real reason. Also the games ending was a little unsatisfying. These however are minor blemishes on the otherwise great plot.
Gameplay:10/10 Whats one of the great things about this game is that it takes removes everything you don't like about RPG's. Random encounters? Gone. Instead you see enemys on the overworld before you fight them and have the option to avoid them. Don't like having to manually heal characters between battles? In Chrono Cross the game does it for you. After each you have the option to completely heal your characters. Supposedly the game searches through your inventory for items to heal your characters but I've never noticed this.
The icing on the cake is that this game has one of the best battle systems ever. The battles are turn based but they have plenty of real time elements. You are given a series of points called stamina points sort of similar to an ATB gauge in the Final Fantasy series. However, unlike the ATB gauge which completely depletes as soon as you select an action the stamina gauge will only deplete a little every time you attack. You have the option of selecting weak, strong and fierce attacks each more stronger then the other but each depletes more stamina. Elements however will completely deplete your stamina points. This gives the game a unique real time feel. The elements I mentioned earlier are the games equivalent of magic with a few key differences. For example you don't have any MP so theoretically you could use elements as long as you want. However, once you use an element it is gone for the rest of the battle. Thankfully, you have a finite amount of element slots so you can have more than one element. There are much more features to the battle system that I don't have time to mention that you will have to see for yourself.
Graphics:10/10 The visuals in Chrono Cross are simply something to behold. The characters look great and the bizzare, elaborate monsters are hardly ever pallete swapped. The games environments are perhaps the best ever in an RPG with a colorful and surreal look that is like nothing you ever seen. The animations are also smooth and elegant giving the characters tons of life.
Sound:10/10 The musical score is simply one of the best I've ever heard in a game. It is full of diverse influences from Celtic to African. Some songs sound like Yanni while others sound like the music from Titanic but all of it is amazing.
The one problem I had with the sound is that there was no voice work. Although perhaps given the quality of voice work video games had at the time it might be for the best and given the lively detailed dialogue you can almost hear the characters voices in your head. Despite the lack of voice work, to give the sound of this game any less then a perfect score would be just unfair.
Value:10/10 The game is two discs long with plenty of secrets including, new game+ mode, multiple endings, a branching story and the most playable characters outside of Suikoden or Pokemon making this one huge game.
Overall:10/10:Chrono Cross is simply video game nirvana, an exemplary game that doesn't as much revolutionize the RPG genre as much as perfect it. If you happen to see this game in the local used game bin buy it. You'll be happy you did.
+Outstanding battle system
+Lots of stuff to do
+Great story with lovable characters
-Disappointing main ending
-"Whats my motivation again?"
-No voice acting
-It isn't cheese