Chronus Arc may be a rather bland JRPG experience, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do.
In all the years that I have been playing video games, my favorite system of all has to be the Super Nintendo. I loved that console growing up, and as an adult I’ve loved it even more as I’ve played some of the best Japanese role playing games of all time on the system, such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. So when Chronus Arc was announced for the 3DS, I definitely had to give it a shot. There aren’t many games like it on the 3DS, so I wanted to see if I could capture those memories that I had playing RPGs on my Super Nintendo. Chronus Arc fills the nostalgia meter, but it leaves you with little else.
The story of the game deals with Loka, who is on a quest to find his teacher after he is mysteriously kidnapped right before the Time Rewinding ceremony, which helps old, broken weapons become new again. Throughout this journey he’ll be accompanied by characters such as the princess Sarna and the idol Kuril. The characters aren’t annoying, but they aren’t interesting either. They’re all just kind of bland. The reason they join Loka is also pretty weird in that there is no real explanation, but they just kind of want to join him anyway just because. It felt like to me that most of the story was just the backdrop to the gameplay, which is fine, but is also weird since the Time Rewinding aspect of the story is interesting. The characters revolving around it, however, really aren’t. Another issue with the story was the dialogue. There is some weird verbiage here and there that makes you question how the translation was done. Nothing extreme, but enough that it was noticeable.
The gameplay itself is a typical turn-based style that can be seen in many RPGs of the era the game is inspired by. You have three people in your party attacking enemies, some will be weak to certain magic your characters learn as they level up, and so on. The game borrows elements from Chrono Trigger, and even in recent eShop titles like Dragon Fantasy in that there aren’t any random battles; you can just tackle on enemies whenever you’d like. This is a big plus for me as it’s fun to just take your time and not worry about having to face random enemies just as you’re getting to a boss or a treasure chest. The enemies do get uncreative fast as a lot of sprites are recycled, but that can be found in many RPGs.
Another good feature is the quick travel feature you can do on the overworld map. I love this because even though RPGs encourage you to explore large maps, it can be a big hassle, especially if you’re just trying to get to the next destination. You can also exit a dungeon at any time by simply pressing R. This is very much an RPG for someone who wants the JRPG experience, but might feel overwhelmed by older titles that don’t have these options.
Chronus Arc is a very competent RPG in that it does nothing wrong, but it doesn’t stand out in any way. To be perfectly blunt, it did nothing for me in terms of telling a story and it’s probably an experience I would forget in a few weeks. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, however, and I would recommend it if you’re looking for an old school JRPG experience during a rainy day or boring weekend. It’s not a revolutionary title by any means, but in terms of nostalgia value it accomplishes what it set out to do.