Disappointing franchise filler
For crusty curmudgeons who dismiss videogaming as a waste of time, Crystal Bearers an experience where fruitlessly squandering hours of your life is an integral part of the experience is the perfect ammo to justify their prejudices.
From the fact theres no proper map to use when navigating the sprawling landscapes leading to many hours of aimless wandering to how battles take place under a strict time limit, but with no onscreen counter to let you know how much time you have left and if theres any point continuing with the skirmish in hand, this Wii take on the Final Fantasy franchise is a frustrating time-thief that will cruelly erode your precious evenings and weekends, but without the sense of reward you feel when cracking a particularly tough console challenge.
But it isnt just tedious time-wasting that makes Crystal Bearers a disappointment. Despite being the latest in a long line of stunning FF games, Crystal Bearers ditches the epic role-playing of its forebears in favour of a more action-packed experience, but with shallow combat thats repetitive, unsatisfying and lacks the depth of other FFs, made worse by an awkward interface that doesnt make best use of the motion controls when targeting items and enemies. The story also fails to match the giddy heights of quality storytelling seen in other Square Enix titles and focuses on a nondescript, half-arsed hero who lacks the charm of other FF protagonists through the years and the myriad mini-games that punctuate the swashbuckling are by-and-large cruelly simple and quickly become an inconvenient distraction from the main task in hand.
Slick presentation and great visuals go some way to salvaging Crystal Bearers from the scrap heap but, overall, this Wii edition is a blight on the flawless face of Final Fantasy, made worse by the fact it took almost five years for the developers to shove this title into stores.