There is an incentive to endure it, however, in the form of Myrrh fragments, which extend Layle's health in much the same way that Heart Pieces extend Link's. In order to do this, all the enemies in a given area must be disposed of in a given time frame, and the Miasma Stream from whence they came sealed. This time limit is never made visible, and should you fail, all the monsters will simply disappear, forcing you to wait until they return to have another go. It's a strange feature, and only succeeds in adding more irritation to the already incredibly frustrating nature of battle. Outside of combat, Layle's powers can be used for all manner of shady shenanigans, from shaking down shopkeepers for a few extra gil, to opening the doors of girls' dressing rooms on the beach. There's certainly a lot to interact with in the game, and nearly everything that you can point your Wii-mote at can be picked up and thrown around.
Although the game forgoes many of the mechanics associated with more grown up role-players, Crystal Bearers still holds onto a few shreds of its heritage. As mentioned, there are no weapons or armour to speak of, but Layle has three accessory slots which can increase attributes such as defence, speed or attack distance. There's also the (somewhat shallow) customisation, which allows you to create new emblems for Layle to wear with pride on his clothes. I'm currently rocking around town with an emblem of my own wanted poster on my back, but that's just how I roll.
Another nice addition is the medal system; an in-game achievement system that rewards skill in mini-games, impressive moves in battle, or innovation in item creation. As well as making combat slightly more bearable, completionists can add a considerable amount of extra time to the 10-15 hours the game would otherwise offer, because there is certainly no shortage of medals to hunt down.
The game packs a lot into its comparatively short lifespan, with Chocobo racing, fishing and treasure hunting side-quests all making the cut. Putting the boredom of combat to one side, Crystal Bearers is a rich and accomplished adventure RPG, with an abundance of varied features tied up in a detailed and gorgeous world. Zelda fans may want to check it out as they wait for Link's next outing, as Crystal Bearers offers a very similar experience.
Underneath its myriad of flaws there's something endearing about Crystal Bearers. I fell in love with the game world, enjoyed the company of the characters, and lost hours to the distractions the game had to offer. Just don't fall into the trap of comparing Crystal Bearers to other Final Fantasy titles; you'll only be disappointed. Take it as it is, and you'll enjoy a side of Square-Enix that hasn't been seen before.
VideoGamer.com Score7 Score out of 10
- Gorgeous game world and entertaining characters
- Tedious combat
- Not quite as lengthy as Final Fantasy fans would expect