Chronus Arc is an old-school style JRPG from Hit-Point and KEMCO that first released on mobile devices all the way back in 2013. In 2015, it came to Nintendo’s 3DS, and now here towards the end of 2018 KEMCO has brought it to Xbox One, PS4 and PS Vita, with the game also coming to PC and Nintendo Switch this year as well. So it’ll be on everything by the end of the year.
Chronus Arc is all about the nostalgia card. It looks like a Super Nintendo era Final Fantasy game, albeit one spruced up with some modern capabilities, and plays like the typical JRPG of that era. If you miss those days, and don’t simply want to replay the classics, then you might can find enough enjoyment from Chronus Arc to warrant spending $15 on it (as a PSA, it is cross-buy on PS4 and PS Vita, so if you have both of those systems then you can play it on both).
The story is largely uninteresting. You play as Loka, who sets off on a quest to find and rescue your teacher Teth who has been kidnapped by Geppel. You’re also out to get the Chronus Fragments, which were stolen by the same folks who captured Teth. These fragments are needed for a special occassion that only takes place once every 10 years called the “Time Rewinding.”
You’re joined on this adventure by Loka’s childhood friend, the Princess of Kiribay, Sarna. Joining your party is also Kuril, “the Super Magic Girl,” who is essentially a pop star and is looking for her father.
Much like the story itself, none of these characters are interesting. You’re not to going to grow to like them, and you’re not going to hate them either. They’re just generic JRPG characters that are as bland as it comes. Essentially the characters just seem there because well it’s a game, and thus you have to be controlling something.
On that note, it’s time to talk about the gameplay. Chronus Arc doesn’t rock the boat here. Gameplay is pretty standard for the type of game this is. You move your character around the world and randomly get sucked into a turn-based battle pitting your party of three up against up-to-five enemies.
The turn-based battles have all the basics covered. You can choose to use your standard attack, a special to buff yourself or a party member, use a magic attack, defend, or use an item. You can also try to retreat if you know things are going to be dicey.
That’s what you’re going to be spending the overwhelming majority of your time doing. It’s pretty mindless, so thankfully there’s a fast-forward option to make combat go up-to 3x faster.
Not all of your battles are going to be random encounters though. There are dungeons where you’ll only enter combat if you bump into an enemy moving around the dungeon. The hit radius here can be a little wonky, which means you might find yourself entering combat when you were trying to avoid it.
The dungeons often have puzzles in them to open doors; these puzzles are generally simple things like pushing boxes and carrying vases onto switches. Inside the dungeons you’ll also find shimmering tiles that you can interact with that will give you materials. You can leave the dungeon and come back in to farm materials, which you’ll need to upgrade your weapons and armor at a blacksmith in a town. You’ll also need gold to do that, and you get that from winning battles.
You better enjoy the mindless combat, because you’re going to be doing A LOT of it. Chronus Arc is a grind to level up to get your stats up. The enemies outpace you in leveling if you’re playing normally. You go from killing enemies in one hit to dying in two hits with no warning. So then you have to backtrack a little bit, and spend time either farming a dungeon or walking around aimlessly to trigger the random encounters in the area you can handle all the while getting a tiny amount of gold and even less amount of XP.
I’m not sure what happened in the almost two weeks the game has been out on PlayStation, but when I first started playing the game there were a series of add-ons that you could purchase for it on the PlayStation store that seemed to really explain why the game has enemies outpacing players.
The add-ons, which are no longer available (they appear greyed out in game under the add-ons section) were essentially paid for cheats. They did things like XP x3, Materials mined x3, damage dealt to enemies x2, full restore of health and mana after every battle, and the cheapest of them all completely disabled battle encounters. Nevertheless, these don’t appear to be available anymore.
The biggest issue with Chronus Arc, besides the overall blandness of it, is the intensive and repetitively boring battle grinding. It’s simply not fun to play. I’d go as far as to say that it is a chore. And for a game that has an uninteresting story, forcing you to continuously grind a mindless activity to continue through it simply isn’t going to fly with most gamers.
As a cheap mobile game, there may be some enjoyment here in short bursts. But to sit down for a long session playing it on a PS4, walking around trying to get sucked into a battle to earn a minuscule amount of XP over and over again is just about the least amount of fun one could have.
Chronus Arc is bland, boring, and completely forgettable. It ticks a few boxes of nostalgia pretty well, but the fact remains that you’d be off going back and playing one of the classics or any number of retro inspired indie RPG’s over this.
It’s not necessarily bad, in fact I think there’s a very small niche audience that would enjoy it. But for me, and I would guess a majority of gamers, this just isn’t worth ones time or money.
Chronus Arc gets a two out of five: FORGETTABLE.
* A PSN code was provided by the publisher for review.