[ Introduction ]
Rei and her sister Mirai are dragged into the Purgatory with no reason why. Once they have regained their form, the pair set off home only to be attacked by a huge monster. Rei wants to protect her sister and unlocks her hidden power. While fighting Rei’s powers are unleashed, she accidentally kills Mirai thinking she is a monster. Rai distraught at what she has done cries and two demons seize their chance to control Rei and get her to do their bidding.
Overall I really enjoyed the story it has plenty of meaning to the tale.
[ Gameplay ]
Crystar is such an easy game to pick up and play, making it accessible to most players. There are a few mechanics that could seem daunting, but they are simple once used.
The games flow generally goes; Rei’s room, phone call, upgrade etc., pick Order, fight though the level beat boss, some story cutscene, repeat. The way the game is set up keeps gameplay and storytelling flowing at a gentle natural pace. With so much story and background to cover, the flow stops the feeling of being bogged down with the story.
The games action parts are done when taking an Order these are split into five levels. Orders are given to Rei by the two protectors of Purgatory. For Rei to save her sister, these two demons have made her their Executor, she is tasked to hunt down and kill Revenants.
The Revenants are souls who have started to devour other souls and have changed to something evil and are not wanted in Purgatory. With each of the boss Revenants, Rei destroys she gets one step closer to her sister. While in Purgatory, Rei has to defeat each Revenant she meets, to grow stronger by gathering EXP to level up. Also, Rei will gain torments these are the death cries of stronger revenants she defeats these slowly eat away at her.
The battle system is simple; there are light and strong attacks, jump, dodge and special attacks. Stringing together combos of up to three attacks with either light and strong attacks or a mixture of both is the main form of dealing damage. By pressing R1 and the corresponding special attack button will perform a variety of attacks, for instance, a circular spin attack that has a knockback effect. Special attacks are unlocked at specific levels as they level up. Jump and dodge are used to avoid Remnants attacks. As well as these there are the Guardians. These are activated by filling up the teardrop bar on the HUD. Each attack that lands will add a tear to the bar once full it is possible to enable the Guardian. Doing so will increase the speed, health and attack of the Executors and allowing of a powerful final attack.
On the HUD are two bars HP the amount of heath the character has if 0 the character is incapacitated if all are its game over. HP is recovered with items or level up. SP how many times special attacks can be used if too low special attacks cannot be used. SP is recovered with landing attacks. Rei will be joined by other Executor these are displayed on the hud and can be switched on the fly by the arrow keys. Each of the other Executor has their own motivations as well as attack style.
Once the Order is complete, it is Back to Rei’s room where we can now make the Executors stronger. This is done by Catharsis, where Rei cries for the torments she has inside of her, creating Sentiments. Sentiments are equipable items to make herself and the other stronger. Fit is possible to fuse two of the same Sentiment together to create a stronger version of it. As well as modify these are random stat boost of bonus that can be attained on a Sentiment, These do not come free to fuse or modify Sentiments. Materials are needed; these are found in Purgatory in chests or from fallen enemies and can be purchased from the peddler (for a fee), money is gained from fallen enemies. Once the upgrade is complete, equip it to your chosen Executor and feel the power.
While in Rei’s room, it is possible to listen to the music tracks that have been unlocked, make phone calls where possible as well as check out the Memoirs of the Dead. This is a book filled with all the Revenants that Rei has encountered. It also gives a short description of three Memoirs of their past lives, providing some insights to the Revenants. Crystar is one of the games that just work with doing what it needs to do to keep players engaged and wanting more.
The only issue I have is the levels are very linear with a path from A-B set out with a few offshoots here and there. Other then this the game does everything right.
[ Visual and Perfomance ]
CryStar has a strikingly bleak look to it from Rei’s white ghost-like skin to the Purgatory that is broken and disjointed. I get the feeling that the design of the world is to give that otherworldly feel and that sense that Pergatroy still resembles our worlds. Our worlds? I say this because each level looks different. When a person is dragged into Purgatory, the world around them is dragged in also, a recreation at least. This makes every level more personal not only to the character but to the player.
The use of colour is as I say bleak, especially when looking at Rei she killed her own sister, so guilty and the colour has washed away from her world. Colour is used to show the overall feeling of the world you are in.
Overall I love the art style and think it is different enough to stand out in a crowd.
I didn’t come across any significant bugs while playing the game ran smooth.
[ Sound ]
The sound design in Crystar is decent lending very well with the overall feel and mood of the level or the current situation.
Even though the music in-game is not at the forefront of the level design, it still leaves an impact on the overall feel. Along with this, each track can be listened to in Rai’s bedroom, there are some surprisingly melodic and relaxing melodies.
The sounds effects are good, more so for the special abilities, these sound great mixed with the visual style I love using the Guardian Mode just for this alone, not to mention the overpowered attacks.
The game is voiced throughout in English and in Japanese, each cast does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. I do play this in English for no reason at all, but the Japanese voice acting is exceptional especially Rei’s emotions.
Crystars sound design is outstanding, I would definitely listen to the music out of the game.
[ Conclusion ]
Crystar is an easy pick-up and play ARPG, with a fascinating story. There is a diverse character roster to meet, each with there own backstory as you try to save your sister’s soul.
The level up and equipment systems are familiar enough to understand, but the functions are different enough to feel almost new. I would have liked a more open world to roam around, that is just a personal grip.
I would definitely recommend this game for any ARPG fan, the story and character building is excellent with enough action to satisfy most players.
If you like this review check out our review of Metal Wolf Chaos XD HERE!