A Decidedly average Action-RPG. Though, that's not exactly a bad thing.

User Rating: 7.5 | Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time DS
In the course of my review I will abbreviate the title of this game to FFCC:EoT or just Echoes because the title is way too long. Now then, FFCC:EoT is a multiplayer-centric Action RPG, meaning that you go around and press 'A' (a lot of times) to kill things, ideally with other people and not your idiot AI friends. There is a story, but it's not the point of the game. We'll get to that a bit later. Admittedly, there is a magic system in place besides the "press A to kill things", but the only conceivable use I found for it was healing myself and freezing enemies. But there are different actions that your chosen character can do when you press A. Echoes has 4 different races that you can pick from. They boil down to your standard classes: balanced fighter, high speed but low defense archer, magic guy, and tank. I picked the low-defence (wow, I am spelling defense like they do in Dragon Quest 5. Guess what I'm playing now?) archer race (Selkie) and filled out my AI friends with the other races.

Now ready to go on an adventure centered around crystals and 1000 year old cats, I found that FFCC:EoT is fun in a mindless sort of way. It's fun to hit things, the puzzles aren't too hard, and you equipped items change the appearance of your character. With hundreds of items to try, it's hard not to be tempted to try them all. However, when adventuring offline you're stuck with your AI friends. They have improved since FFCC: Ring of Fates, but not by much. They still get items stuck on their heads and then run away when you try to grab it off them, and when standing on giant buttons that need the entire party to advance, they will suddenly get claustrophobic and jump off it. I managed to complete the game using only the AI controlled characters, so the AI does not render the game unplayable. As for online multiplayer, the big draw for the game, it's ok. You rarely get matched with more than one other person and the preset messages are limited and awkward to use. Lag is a large problem too, especially for a non-host. I noticed when visiting someone else's system that my jump's lagged behind my actual button press, causing me to fall about 10 times into lava while my ally could only watch from the other side.

So the aforementioned story is alright. I mean, compared to the first DS Crystal Chronicles, this one is coherent. The story boils down to there is one crystal left and it breaks so you have to put it back together to find out about the origins of your village then you have to go save the world because some crazy old immortal guy wants to bring back an old civilization. Makes sense. There are some voiced cutscenes, which oddly look like they weren't pre-rendered, but they were. Maybe they did that to keep the style consistent, but when someone's talking and their mouth doesn't open at all it's kinda weird.

Let's see what else is there… graphics are typical SquareEnix eye candy, music is better than the previous FFCC, level design is ok and there are few save points but definitely not designed with AI players in mind (causing some frustration to the human playing the game), and the voice work is passable but what's with the evil guy having a quasi-German accent? There is a hard mode, and a very hard mode and they are actually hard. I found the Hard mode to be more frustrating though, as I would die really close to the end of a dungeon but since there are no checkpoints (not even one in the middle), I would die and oops, there goes an hour of progress. Maybe that was just because my AI partners kept doing stupid crap and dying on me.

Should you play it? If you know other people who would play it with you sure. Or you like the press A to kill stuff kind of action RPG. People who can't stand repetition should probably avoid this.