Generally favorable reviews - based on 55 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 55
  2. Negative: 0 out of 55
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  1. Play Magazine
    The combination of the action, high adventure, quaint bustling towns and villages, Moogle wisdom (like the Yodas they are) and the best Square soundtrack since the SNES days add up to the most immersive overall universe I've experienced on the GameCube, if not on any next-gen console. [Feb 2004, p.38]
  2. While there isn't much story in this game (which seems like going back to the FF:1 days) the game is incredibly addicting.
  3. 100
    The multiplayer is the best reason to play the game. It’s not worth it for the one-player alone, rather for the great experience with a group.
  4. This is one of those games that you can sit down with three of your friends and really bond over. On many occasions we were yelling at each other over what was going on in the game, but when we managed to finally kill that boss, the reward was all that much better.
  5. Nintendo Power
    Crown FFCC the console king of multiplayer RPGs - all others are pretenders to the throne. Single-player moode is a rich experience, but it's dungeon-hacking party play that rules. [Mar 2004, p.116]
  6. Everything from the vivid backgrounds down to the little things like the water effects, the shadows, and even the way the myrrh moves in your chalice has been done so beautifully, it really takes your breath away.
  7. While the single player portion of this title might be dull, if you happen to have three other friends and have 4 GBA consoles between you all, this is the perfect purchase. Never before has a game that highlighted teamwork come along like this.
  8. The soundtrack of Crystal Chronicles matches the game’s unique artwork and visuals very well, making it seem even more, um, “magical.” The sound effects are decent, but are definitely overshadowed by the soundtrack.
  9. Computer Games Magazine
    While some may balk at the cost involved, it's a ton of fun to play (multiplayer). [May 2004, p.11]
  10. It simply feels more natural to select attacks, items and suchlike on the smaller GBA screen, and actually do the combat and exploration on the main TV screen - while there's even an added element of gameplay from the fact that each player gets a different map on their GBA.
  11. The game’s mechanics are a breeze to master, but still offer up enough intricacies to make playing the game more about skill than random button mashing and luck.
  12. netjak
    Like in any game requiring human co-operation, it’s only as good as the people you play it with, but for those who put the time and effort into getting the crew together on, say, a weekly basis, you’ll find a game worthy of the Final Fantasy name.
  13. With three or four players, GBA screens ablaze, this is nothing short of a tiny slice of gaming nirvana, and some of the most unabashed, undilluted fun to be produced for this generation of consoles.
    FFCC combines the instant appeal of adventures like Wind Waker and StarFox Adventures with the best parts of the FF universe...The best thing to come out of Square since "FFVII."
  15. A lavishly beautiful, unusually innovative, daring and unique breed of action- RPG that is sometimes a little too old-fashioned for its own good and occasionally marred by teething problems.
  16. If you have the people and equipment to play it, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is a great adventure that has no trouble standing out from the crowd of GameCube RPGs.
  17. While it is fun in single player it doesn’t even hold a candle to when you are playing multiplayer. The game can (and it does) get repetitive during some of the dungeons.
  18. Square-Enix has successfully implemented interconnectivity in a way that not only makes sense, but also works.
  19. The controls are weird and strange. Nevertheless, Crystal Chronicles is a charming game and a great addition to the GameCube library of RPG’s... for multiplayer gaming purposes only.
  20. The lack of an epic, driving story prevents the game from achieving the greatness of other Final Fantasy games.
  21. FF:CC will not disappoint too many gamers, it instead will simply expose them to another way that RPG videogames can be played.
  22. The storyline is nothing outstanding but it serves its purpose and sets the scene for the adventures and battles that are to follow.
  23. As with any role-player, there's a mess of shit to track: money, spells, elements, keys, letters, artifacts, trades, treasures, ailments, weapon parts, and your favorite foods (I like star carrots!). The multiplayer concept, like the game's pastoral setting, is much more elegant.
  24. The level of satisfaction you derive from Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles correlates directly to whether you look at it as a poor man's Final Fantasy or as the best damn game of "Gauntlet" you've ever laid eyes on.
  25. It's not for everyone--but, in the end, Crystal Chronicles can be a tremendously entertaining multiplayer game for those willing to work together to overcome some obstacles both in the game itself and in its design.
  26. Daunting as the setup might be, give Chronicles a chance and you'll likely get hooked. It's a simple, beautiful, and rewarding experience. [Mar 2004, p.124]
  27. Cheat Code Central
    It will appeal to "Diablo" and "Zelda" fans alike. It's pace is well-balanced and the action-oriented nature of the gameplay will ensure that it appeals to a wide audience.
  28. 80
    Throw out the multiplayer and other gimmicks, and it sounds like a basic action RPG, doesn't it?... FFCC's core gameplay is older than the hills, and The Game Designers Studio hasn't done much to keep the 25-or-so-hour experience very engaging for solo adventurers.
  29. A wealth of multiplayer gameplay, but only after spending yourself poor on hardware.
  30. A gameplay experience in the 20-60 hour range...That said, the debilitating single-player deficiencies, along with the outrageous hardware requirements for multiplayer caused my rating to take a significant hit downward.
  31. Crystal Chronicles is more a kin to the mana series rather than the Final Fantasy series.
  32. It's not for everyone – strange quirks such as the bucket-carrying mechanic and the expensive hardware needed to enjoy its multiplayer make it less accessible than traditional Final Fantasy games, but so long as you're not expecting an epic narrative, you'll enjoy what the first GameCube Final Fantasy has to offer.
  33. 80
    Soloing is a bit repetitious and slow, but gather some friends - and a whole lot of hardware - and you're in for one of the smartest, weirdest, and most magical four-player adventures you're likely to play. [Mar 2004, p.85]
  34. The multiplayer cooperative mode is the real reason to own Crystal Chronicles. Solving puzzles and overcoming foes requires absolute teamwork, and this sense of camaraderie is inexplicably addictive.
  35. 80
    It's not worth rushing out and buying four GBAs and link cables (you'll probably never use all that equipment ever again), but it's a must-have if you and your friends already have most of the required hardware and love multiplayer gaming. There's no other title quite like it.
  36. Save for a superbly annoying final level and boss, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is a quality game in most every respect...To play this as just a single player title is to do the entire effort an injustice.
  37. 76
    Something feels a little off. I don't know whether it's the lack of cohesive storyline, or that the gameplay elements were so surprisingly simple. Poor controls also plagued my enjoyment.
  38. The game's single player mode is void of any real entertainment values.
  39. 75
    The single-player game is too easy and the multiplayer game is too impractical. If Square had found a way to balance the multiplayer gaming, this would have been a fantastic title.
  40. I enjoyed playing the game even though it is more Diabloesque than like Final Fantasy.
  41. 75
    A fantastic multiplayer experience, though the necessary hardware requirements and rather clunky interface make it a title that may put some people off.
  42. The game may look impressive, but given a play test we can't help but be a little disappointed.
  43. While it has a fine single player component, the game only realizes its true potential if you go through the trouble of rounding up three friends with Game Boy Advances.
  44. If you enjoy hack and slash games you should have a good time with Crystal Chronicles...a great attempt at connectivity and a fun game as long as you have the massive hardware requirements needed to fully enjoy it.
  45. 70
    An excellent multi-player romp, but in single player, it’s merely a diluted example of the other games in the series. [JPN Import]
  46. While obviously lacking in the story department, neither the single nor multiplayer modes really capture the Final Fantasy zeitgeist, instead having more in common with action-adventure titles like Gauntlet or Zelda. [Import]
  47. Square have tried to give us a chance to tell our own stories through this game, but their rules and prerequisites are often too restricting and the rewards not always enough.
  48. Although many of its elements tie into the greater Final Fantasy universe, this is but a faint echo of what you hve come to know and love...There's little here that truly excites. [Feb 2004, p.104]
  49. 70
    The good things about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles are REALLY good, and the things that are bad really hurt.
  50. The graphics are outstanding, the teamwork aspects are unique and enjoyable, and even in single player there's fun to be had. On the other hand, using the Game Boy Advance can be a hassle from time to time.
  51. It’s not the worst game I’ve ever played in my life; in fact, it’s fairly decent, but it’s just so disappointing. Like all Nintendo gamers, I had high hopes for this game and we got a totally half-assed game.
  52. The bland single player holds it back, but things get much better when you play with friends.
  53. It offers one of the most beautiful worlds ever created on a console, heavy with atmosphere and wonder, laden with the treasures of the Final Fantasy heritage. However, it asks too much expense and hassle and it inflicts too many setbacks, frustrations and restrictions to come close to being a fair exchange.
  54. games(TM)
    Unfortunately, though the multiplayer game is certainly better than the experience offered by playing alone, it has its own flaws that turn what could have been great fun into something lacklustre. Perhaps if Square Enix had tried something a bit more traditional rather than being blinded by Nintendo's claim that connectivity is the way forward, this wouldn't have been the case. [Mar 2004, p.102]

Awards & Rankings

#9 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2004
#9 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 227 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 227
  1. Mar 22, 2015
    Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is a different approach to the famous RPG series of final fantasy. Letting the player decide your attributesFinal Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is a different approach to the famous RPG series of final fantasy. Letting the player decide your attributes and slowly build up your strengths throughout the game. Keeping the player constantly on their toes, fighting new, giant creatures and bosses. Hinting you about up coming things through several other crystal caravans. Full Review »
  2. Jan 14, 2023
    worth it and glad to play this game again. so much memories and nostalgia within this spin off game in the series.
  3. XV_
    Sep 23, 2020
    Crystal Chronicles is a testament oh how creativity and limitations led me to one of the most immersive experiences of my life yet and alsoCrystal Chronicles is a testament oh how creativity and limitations led me to one of the most immersive experiences of my life yet and also gave me some of my best memories playing with other people.

    [This is a multiplayer review]

    FFCC it is set in a world covered in Miasma (a poisonous and lethal gas) and Villages across this Medieval fantasy world send Caravans to venture in dungeons, forests, paths, etc. in search of Myrrh Trees, when a Caravan collect three drops of Myrrh from these trees they can restore the power of their village's main crystal so it can repel the Miasma from that zone for a year till its power vanishes and the process need to be repeated every year; this is the basic premise of the game. Contrary to almost any other Final Fantasy game which as a general rule they have a linear narrative, Crystal Chronicles goes with an open narrative, and it's focused on world-building rather than character building, but if you're open to this premise you'll not be disappointed by its simple but charming tone.

    Same with the narrative, its gameplay could be described as simple and maybe rudimentary at times, although I could say that its brilliance resides in its simplicity when playing multiplayer with the rather unused GBA connectivity of the Game Cube. In dungeons, every player have a radar that shows different things like enemies, treasures or to equip and unequip items, it also shows every player the objective of each player to complete, this could stuff like: kill your enemies with spells, pick up items, avoid physical damage, etc. At the end of each dungeon, every player sums their points to see who did their role the best and they're ranked accordingly, the winner gets to choose first from different artifacts that will increase their stats permanently so playing well while trying to keep the other players for making rack up their points is key to victory.

    The combat consists of three main actions: attack, defend, and casting spells, while spamming the attack combo (which has a certain rhythm for it to be executed) could be the easiest most of the time, the fun of playing multiplayer is to combine spells or charge attacks with the other players, these fusions can be tricky to pull off since they require perfect timing and positioning. When charging a spell your character will summon a magic ring and when releasing the button the spell will be triggered, to fuse a spell you need to have two to four rings positioned just right and be released at the same time, this mechanic is easily the most enjoyable aspect of the gameplay and if it's executed right it can make a Caravan almost invincible, at first is almost like a gamble but in time it can be a super useful and satisfying tool of destruction.

    Normally repeating dungeons to grind items or exp would be such a chore but FFCC gets away with it with its art direction and music. First and foremost the art direction is amazing, it has aged amazingly well, every location, dungeon, or character speaks volumes with just a glimpse of them, it has a lot of variety and it makes this world truly alive, not only they're flawlessly designed they are unique, the variety of levels is staggering, every place feels so detailed like a stage play.


    What truly steals the show to me, is the music, from the very beginning where you start your file and "Morning Star" kicks in (composed by Kumi Tanioka and sung by Donna Burke) you know that you're up to something special, Kumi Tanioka did an outstanding work with the music that is no short of a masterpiece, every song feels rich and crafted with the most care and detail that I can't think of someone disliking it, overall the game has this a little sad and nostalgic feeling or as one of the characters said: "You need rain for your crops to grow, so hopefully you'll have some rain in your journey" and the music captures this tone greatly, same as with the art direction, the soundtrack range is incredibly wide. As a little note, whenever you start a dungeon a brief narration kicks in that gives you some lore of the dungeon or the world, these narrations are also by Donna Burk which did a great work capturing a dreamy-fairy tale theme within them, they also become more personal till the very last one which is simply beautiful, so please don't skip them or at least heard them once.

    Of course, FFCC is not perfect by any means, certainly, it's two games at the same time, one for single player and the other for multiplayer. In single-player the experience is passable but all of the shortcomings from multiplayer become at times a chore and even a little hollow, but if you somehow manage to acquire 4 GBA with 4 link cables, you're going to have one of a kind journey with your companions, or at least to me I couldn't think of any other time (gaming or not) that I was more connected with my siblings than the adventures and adversities we have while playing Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.
    Full Review »