|So we got our copy of FF:CC, our four GBAs, our four GBA-to-GC link cables, and sat down to enjoy some groundbreaking new co-op action RPG action from Square. And indeed having inventory functions on the separate GBA screen does help unclutter the main game screen (something that "Champions of Norrath," entry 390, could use some help with). What this game seems to lack, however, is plentiful ass-kicking.|
It's not that you don't beat up monsters, because you do. And it's not that you don't have lots of spells and things, because it seems like you do. But there's a lot of, well, baggage you have to carry around, quite literally in some cases, and it distracts from the ass-kicking. Whereas in Champions you have to stop butchering things to fiddle around with inventory management, in FF:CC you have to stop butchering things to solve key puzzles, to talk to Moogles or other damned irritating cute creatures, or to fiddle with your over one dozen GBA menu subscreens.
Let's talk about the subscreens. They really should have let you flip through these any time with the GBA's shoulder buttons. But no. You have to toggle over in to GBA control mode, leaving your character standing idle, just to do something as simple as flip from your inventory to your map screen. Bah! And speaking of the map, why doesn't it show an actual, like, map of your surroundings in hostile areas, rather than just a black screen with four colored dots showing your team members? Knowing where you stand on a blank screen relative to your equally-lost teammates is not really that helpful.
But that's not the worst. The worst is "The Bucket." You see, for some reason the world is poison, or something, and you can only survive out of certain safe village zones by staying within a bubble of free air (you know, I didn't really bother paying attention to all the text about this, or with talking to the seemingly endless amount of talky bystanders, so I could have the back story on this all wrong, but who cares) generated by a bucket-like contraption carried by one of your team members. This means that at pretty much all times one of the four players is "bucket carrier," lugging this damn hunk of metal around above their head, unable to fight or do anything actually fun or useful. This also means that if you stray out of the bubble generated by the bucket, you start to take damage. This also means that I hate the bucket.
I hope that whoever invented and/or approved the bucket has been fired, or has at least had the game design part of their brain formatted.
Sound and graphics are, of course, superlative, although I have to say that the overly dainty, slow and cutesy art style doesn't suite my tastes when it comes to action RPGs: I want to run around and smash big nasty things with my big kick-ass weapon of DOOM! And you do that here, but it doesn't feel the same when you're whacking weirdly beautiful and bizarre fantasy creatures with your cute or freakish character's ornate and glowing pixie-dust want of whatever, while being cheered on by those damn Moogles, and while carrying a bucket on your head at least 25% of the time, unless you're a bucket-shirking jerk, in which case your buddies will grow to hate you.
Bear in mind, of course, that I have only played this game for about an hour and a half.