Crystar is an action RPG brought by the FuRyu follows the story of Rei Hatada, who finds herself in purgatory, the place where all souls go to after death. It is a game that deals with themes such as despair, depression, revenge, hope, friendship, and how much is one willing to sacrifice for their ideals. The game does a fantastic job at story and voice acting, keeping all other aspects on decent levels and the only weakness being gameplay partially.
+ The plot expands with each chapter.
+ Characters with different personalities and designs give place to a cast with variety.
+ While simple, the gameplay is fun. It mixes well with the elements of the game and is effective.
+ Music is excellent, and it goes well with the atmosphere of the game.
+ Fun side diversions including side dungeons, quests, vestiges, trading through friendship points, and more.
+ Voice actors are splendid, with all emotions being authentic so entirely that they give the effect of them being real.
– The final parts of the game are a bit rushed.
– The gameplay is a bit clunky, giving a sensation of the low budget at times.
– Bosses are, for the most part, big sponges of HP. It makes them lackluster.
-The game is fantastic when it comes to the story but doesn’t stand out in any other aspect.
The story follows the main character Rei as she finds herself in purgatory. There she gets reunited with her sister when a big monster separates them. Rei proceeds to gather the strength to press on and finds her sister, but due to circumstances, she dies. With all hope lost, Mephis and Pheles appear. They explain that they are the managers of purgatory and offer Rei the possibility of bringing her sister back. All she has to do is gather seven ideas and become their executor, carrying out different tasks in purgatory.
The story starts simple but gets more complicated as the player progresses through the chapters. It presents a basic idea of the ego that people have and to the justification of actions. At the same time, it is accompanied by negative emotions to further enhanced the aspect of depression and despair the game follows. The game also introduces some light, joyful moments in contrast to its darker premise to balanced it out and avoid getting oversaturated by it.
Players play each chapter through a series of Ordeals, which are levels that they must beat to advance to the next section. Ordeals also have side missions, but these do not have an impact on the story, they offer more rewards or chances to level up more. It took me 21 hours to beat the game while barely doing side missions, and my leveling was perfect. Feel free to skip them as they can make the game more tedious if you do them all.
The game follows the structured that has is used in Drakengard and Nier games, with branches changing the story each time the game is clear. There are four branches, being A, B, C, and D. A is done by just beating the game once, B by beating twice, and C by beating it thrice. The player will be put into the next branch automatically, and they only need to hit the last few chapters again to witness the other endings. While this sounds tedious, it is worth to do it as the story changes exponentially, and those chapters get trimmed down to be shorter on the following branches.
I won’t spoil the story, but it is excellent. All lines of dialogue have an impact, and the actors do an incredible job of portraying feelings and emotions. Voice actors act with cohesion and a tone that follows whatever is happening around the characters. It features its fair amount of plot twists and character development. It is Crystar’s strongest point. The pacing is excellent until the last few chapters in-branch D, which are a bit rushed, but other than that, it is a solid trip.
Crystar gameplay is that of a dungeon crawler, players go into levels, beat enemies to their discretion, face off with a boss, and move to the next segment. The four playable characters have each their unique styles. Rei being a jack of all trades, Kokoro deals massive melee damage, Sen attacks with fast combos, and Nanana with long-range and low defense. Ultimately Rei is the best character, especially at higher levels. The other three styles are still functional, but they paled in comparison.
There is a mechanic in which a tear will fill in one of the corners of the screen. Charging the tear can be done in three ways: By receiving damage, with damage, or by crying. Crying is a mechanic in which the player becomes immobile and defenseless but can spend MP to charge the tear faster. Once the tear is full, the character will be able to summon their guardian. Guardians will attack along with them as well as allow them to unleash their unique techniques. Guardians can also appear to block damage or counter attack enemies when the player receives damage.
Whenever an enemy that glows in red is defeated, the player will get emotions from them. These are usually negative, depressive feelings that Rei must carry to receive sentiments and become stronger. It makes the game stand out a bit. Gives the player a message with dread from enemies that they defeat.
The game also features Rei’s room, in which there is a good variety of things to do. First, there is Ordeal, in which the player selects the level they want to play. Then there is Organize, which allows Rei to cry out to receive sentiments and fuse or modify them. Sentiments are weapons and armor obtained in purgatory through defeating bosses or unique stronger enemies. The catch is, you need two of the same sentiment to upgrade them and the materials. The materials are in levels in chests shaped like diamonds or bought at the store with essence, dropped by defeated enemies.
Yes, you can pet the dog Thelema by the way. You can also call Rei’s friend to hear their opinions and throughs on recent events. Choose different costumes, explore the glossary and bestiary, and finally listen to the game’s music.
The game is straightforward to run and is a stable 120 fps on most machines, if not all of them. I didn’t experience any crash, but I did get a frozen screen once on 21 hours.
The game can get tedious at times, especially if you do the side Ordeals. Bosses are a big sponge of health, and even regular enemies tend to be more dangerous but not by a lot. Dialogue options have no impact on the story, and the active character gets 100% experience while all others get 80%. You don’t necessarily need them all at the same level. You can have some of them 4-5 levels below, and they can perform well, but more than that is pushing it.
Cleaning around 50-75% of the enemies at each level should be enough, especially in the early parts. If you want to skip sections, do it in other branches. You should aim to reach lv 50 with Rei by branch D, however.
What makes it Special
What makes Crystar unique is that it has a fantastic cast of voice actors that make all the characters more authentic. It has a setting with dark emotions but concise messages. All dialogues have feelings with quality performance, and this keeps adding more to the plot of the story.
Crystar may not be a high budget game when compared to other action RPG’s, but it is a quality title. While it does not stand out in the long run, its great virtues hide in the development of the plot, which is full of exciting aspects and unexpected script turns. I recommend this game to everyone who enjoys a good story and to those that enjoy beating enemies up. If you played Nier, you might want to check out Crystar, the gameplay might not be the same, but the story is up to the task.
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