Cris Tales is an absolutely gorgeous game that's heavily inspired by classic RPGs such as Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, while also managing to put its own unique spin on things. The game’s protagonist, Crisbell, is a young orphan who acquires a magical time crystal which shows her a vision of the future where her small town gets destroyed. This leads to her setting off on an adventure to try to change the future and save the world.
The crystals of time allow you to see into the past as well as the future. Being able to see the destruction in the future helps to bring home what you’re fighting against, while looking into the past can show you how things came to be. It’s a pretty neat mechanic which also means that whenever you complete a quest in the present, you’ll be able to see its outcome on the future. It makes the actions that you take feel much more worthwhile and meaningful.
It’s also a really useful mechanic during the game’s turn based battles. An early boss fight sees you fighting against an enemy with a huge shield that blocks your attacks. Using a water attack to soak it and then warping that enemy to the future causes the shield to rust, leaving the enemy vulnerable to your attacks.
It’s definitely a novel concept but getting the best use of it relies on enemies being in the right position on the battlefield as well as using allies' abilities to set up a useful chain of attacks. During regular fights it mostly feels easier to just wallop enemies with normal skills and abilities.
You’ll steadily gain access to new characters throughout your adventure. Not only are they wonderfully entertaining during the story, but they also have unique abilities in battle that can really mix up how you fight. It keeps the game feeling fresh and interesting throughout the 30 or so hours that it takes to reach its conclusion.