So, hopefully you’ve read the review for the DS version of Echoes of Time. If not, read it here, as it’s probably required reading for this review.
This review has been a really hard one to write for one big reason. That major, glaring reason is that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time for the Wii is exactly the same as the DS game. When I say exactly, I mean to-the-letter exact. The graphics didn’t even receive an upgrade, and your screen is divided in two so that one acts as the touchscreen from the DS version.
With that in mind, does that mean that the Wii version isn’t worth getting? What’s the best platform to play Echoes of Time on? Blowing up DS graphics is not a kind thing to do. When Echoes of Time is on the DS, it looks great. When you make it twenty times larger, you see every little flaw in the graphics, every stretched-out texture, and every jagged line. The charm of Echoes of Time still shines through, but couldn’t they at least have upgraded the graphics at least a little bit? Graphics like this do the Wii no favors. However, if the graphics take a hit from being on the bigger screen, the sound actually comes through a little better. For the record, I don’t play my DS with headphones, but I also use only the stock sound that comes out of my Samsung TV. Even with that little difference, the music that already sounded good on the DS sounds much better on the Wii. Echoes of Time would have played far better on a regular controller than the Wiimote + Nunchuk setup. Here’s why: You use the Wiimote as a pointer on the status screen in much the same way you would use a stylus on the touchscreen. So, let’s say that you accidentally move the Wiimote pointer over the status screen and start trying to attack. Instead of attacking, you’re now selecting items on the status screen. In order to avoid this, you have to remember to tilt the remote toward the left side of the TV, which can be difficult to do during the heat of battle.
The button placement can also be a little awkward. While I had no problems remembering which button was which on the DS, the Wii button placement was just a little less intuitive. I can’t really venture a guess as to why this was the case, but it just didn’t feel as good. Echoes of Time plays exactly the same as its DS counterpart. You run around killing things and levelling up while solving puzzles as a group. There really isn’t much difference between the two versions. I told you this was a hard review to write.
That, in a nutshell, is what makes this game fairly disappointing. This doesn’t really fall under the “Gameplay” area of this review, but I need to fill some space in this part anyway. Look, Square Enix, we appreciate the bone you threw Wii owners in making Echoes a cross-platform game, but there’s a difference between throwing someone a bone with a little bit of meat on it and a bone that’s parched and fossilized.
Please, by all means, keep doing cross-platform games like this one. It’s a great idea. However, next time, throw in a special dungeon. Bump up the graphics. Something. Anything. The stigma around the Wii is not going to be erased with a game that looks like a cheap cash-in, a lame port. It needs a more concerted effort on the part of developers like you to clear that up.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Now, I’m not saying that this Wii version is bad by any means. There’s value in spades if you count the multiplayer, which I most certainly do. That’ll be covered in part three of this review extravaganza. Suffice it to say, a fun online action RPG is definitely a good thing, and that’s what Echoes of Time is.