Never having played Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the Gamecube, I was pleasantly surprised at how fun a hack and slash Final Fantasy game could be. I thought that there would be no way to make the magic system work, since I'm used to the traditional turn-based style menus and being able to take my time and pick which magic I want to use.
At first, skills and magic seemed cumbersome to use. Most of the dungeon exploring is done using the d-pad and face buttons to move and attack. If you want to use a skill, you have to press the R trigger, wait for the battle screen to appear on the touch screen (this only takes half a second) and then touch the enemy within range to use the skill on him. I was clumsy at that in the beginning, but soon it became second nature.
As for the magic, it's even easier. Having the different elemental magic (fire/blizzard/lightning/cure/etc) handy on the touch screen meant I could switch between what magic I wanted and just press X and drag a target ring to the enemy. Upon releasing X, bang, the enemy gets hit. It sounds like a lot of work, but it flowed smoothly in the game. I got good enough where I could round up the enemies in roughly the same spot and hit them all with one strike of magic.
The majority of the game takes place in dungeons — because of this and the fact that all fighting is in real time, I felt like I was playing a Zelda game instead of a Final Fantasy one. The dungeon layouts were interesting and didn't feel like just a series of rooms connected together. The way triggers in one room interacted with another and the way you can be walking on the floor of one room, and then later on a bridge over the same room reminded me a bit of Ico and its vast castle.
I haven't gotten any insanely phat loot yet, but there are plenty of treasure chests to get to even if they contain everyday items like healing jars or money. I keep getting to hard to reach treasure chests, thinking there will be something good inside, but so far, I've been disappointed.
As for the bosses, the first couple ones are pretty easy. You can use the same tactic for them: stay behind them and mash away at your attack button and use magic and skills to attack them when your finger gets tired. I hope that the rest of the bosses aren't so easy.
I have to admit that I didn't think I would like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles because I'm a fan of the more traditional turn- based play, but I'm glad I was interested enough in this to give it a spin. I haven't played a dungeon crawler in ages, but this game reminded me how satisfying it is to explore room after room looking for loot.