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Review: Chrono Trigger: Steam Edition

by onMarch 20, 2018
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When you embark on a noble quest that is the discovery of ancient console RPG, there is a name that comes back constantly, as an echo launched by thousands of enthusiasts branded by their unforgettable experience. That name is Chrono Trigger, and no one that played it can forget this game with its great storyline, charismatic characters, the timeless challenges and its innovative time travel gameplay mechanics. And so out of nowhere in March 2018, Square Enix drops a surprise, releasing Chrono Trigger on Steam. An unexpected delight?

Well sadly, it’s the complete opposite, because it’s not just a simple port of the mobile version, which in itself is adapted from the Nintendo DS version (and obviously ported from the Super Nintendo original release in 1995). When you do get to read the Steam version description, it even notes that there’s a remastered soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda himself, mouse and keyboard compatibility, two new dungeons, and an automatic saving system. Seems like a decent update no?

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If we find all of the updates that were added in the numerous ports like multiple localization languages, I must confess that this is one lazy port of the iOS version of the title that was released in Japan in 2011. The worse part is that there’s a hideous filter that does not even hide the 2D tiles, whose edges are so pronounced compared to the Super Nintendo version, that almost seem like visual bugs. The charm of the original is just stretched out to nothing, with 480p cutscenes. Even if you don’t take into account the untouched graphics, the menus which are a better fit for a mobile device don’t work well on PC. The user interface is too big in general, the font is illegible in a way, and the fact that they aren’t even expanded to 16:9 ratio is just wrong.

Another major issue with this adaptation to the PC is the rise of bugs. I mean cmon, why would this title crash during gameplay randomly? I also discovered later on that the game runs better on an emulator than the actual publisher PC port, which I deem ridiculous on their part. The thing is, I don’t get Square Enix’s intentions with this version of Chrono Trigger, which is by far the worst release to date. It’s a shame considering the game is not bad at all, but on the contrary is one of the best JRPGs of all time. After the previous Secret of Mana (which didn’t work at all for us) and numerous lazy port of Final Fantasy games to mobiles, I’m really starting to worry for the future of other so-called remastered and ports from Square Enix.

Chrono Trigger: Steam Edition was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Square Enix. The game was tested on a PC running Windows 10 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 960 fitted on a 5th Generation Intel i7 4720HQ 3.2Ghz CPU and topped with 16GB of RAM, as well as a Surface Pro 3 for touchscreen gameplay. The original title was released in 1995 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published (click here for more information about our review policy).

What we liked

• A dynamic combat system
• One of the best JRPG ever made
• Decent lifespan

What is not fun

• Catastrophic porting on PC
• Weird graphics filters that make the game uglier than an emulated version
• Weird menus
• Technically unstable

Editor Rating
 
Concept
6.0

 
Graphics
5.5

 
Sound
6.0

 
Playability
4.0

 
Entertainment
4.5

 
Replay Value
5.0

Final Score
5.2


Our final verdict
 

Chrono Trigger's Steam edition was quite a random surprise from Square Enix this year, but not the right kind. A mere port of another port, I cannot advise the game on PC in any shape or form, due to numerous technical bugs and in a weird way a downgrade to the previous mobile and Nintendo DS versions.

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