Week #5: Chrono Trigger

The lazyhandheldman’s weekly handheld game recommendation is inspired by subreddit SBCGaming’s “Game of the Month”. Today, my recommendation is Chrono Trigger.

Chrono Trigger

Release: 2008 (based on Chrono Trigger SNES version (1995))

Original console: Nintendo DS

Developer(s): Square Enix

Publisher(s): Square Enix

Genre(s): RPG, JRPG

Series: Chrono

Recommended handhelds to play: Nintendo DSi XL, Nintendo 2DS

Best for

  • Any JRPG fans who want a masterpiece

It is undeniable that Chrono Trigger is one of if not the greatest JRPG of all time. Growing up playing mostly NES and Game Boy Advance, I skip the SNES version of Chrono Trigger, though I’ve heard a lot about this title. But even when I finished tons of RPGs up until now, I must confess that playing Chrono Trigger is one of its kind and I enjoy every moment of this game.

Do you like animation made by Akira Toriyama (author of Dragon Ball Z manga), unique and engaged RPG combats and perhaps the most driven time-travelling story? Whatever your answer, any gamers who love JRPG genre will love Chrono Trigger for sure.

Even common RPG fans should not avoid the game because it is not that difficult, and you can always adjust the difficulty from “active” to “wait”, which is basically the same as normal JRPGs.

  • People who feel boring and easy when playing classic JRPG

If you need a challenge for your JRPG taste, Chrono Trigger is your best bet. Active mode is clearly different from most RPG games you can find from that era, and not to mention there are a lot of tricky boss fights. In the end, both Chrono Trigger and its successor – Chrono Cross, are pretty more difficult and engaged than the rest.

With the combat is in the same screen as the environment, Chrono Trigger will be a lot more interactive to battlefields
  • People who love Nintendo DS system

Clearly Nintendo DS system is a jewel in the whole gaming history, and I must confess that I mostly play and replay NDS and 3DS systems at the moment. The NDS version of Chrono Trigger is always considered to be the best version, mostly because of additional content that you don’t want to miss. And an on-the-go version of Chrono Trigger at that time? Perfect!

At the moment, you can easily use a retro handheld emulator to play the SNES or PS1 version of Chrono Trigger. I don’t want to mention the disaster in the PlayStation port with unplayable loading time, but the original SNES version still remains the “best” (subjective) way to enjoy Chrono Trigger for many people. I understand that you may enjoy the convenience of save states and fast forward feature in a retro handheld emulator, but you should consider that you will miss the video gallery and a short additional content from the DS system.

Worst for

  • People who can’t stand retro turn-based RPGs

Because I can’t find a good reason to hate Chrono Trigger, I may come up with the idea that only people who hate turn-based RPGs will deny this game. Actually, Chrono Trigger is more like an action RPG game, which is different from the classic Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, but if the whole genre isn’t your style, you may hate it.

Recommended handhelds to play

My weekly recommendation today is the DS version of Chrono Trigger, so basically I only recommend either Nintendo DSi XL or Nintendo 2DS to enjoy the game. Nintendo DSi XL is always the best way to enjoy a DS game, with pixel-perfect IPS dual screens. While the Nintendo 2DS doesn’t have such big and crispy display, it has C-Pad (a concaved analog stick) for moving your character, and I think the 2DS is the most comfortable handheld to hold at the moment.

There are too many retro handheld emulators that can play DS system well, but they pack dual 3.5-inch screen in a maximum of 6-inch screen, and I don’t really enjoy trying that. After all, I always recommend using the native handheld for its own system, unless you want convenient features like save states or fast forwarding. If it’s the case, I recommend using a Miyoo Mini Plus and emulate the SNES version of Chrono Trigger.