Thanks KEMCO to for the review code
Title: Chronus Arc
Release Date: 10/30/2018
In this RPG adventure from Hit-Point, you take control of Loka, who sets out to investigate a mysterious man who caused the disappearance of his teacher Teth and the Chronus Fragments, which have the terrifying power to mess with time as we know it. Setting out with his friend Sarna, the two begin their search…
This is the earliest Hit-Point game I have reviewed so far, and compared to the usual, more modern works I praise, Chronus Arc does look a bit dated in comparison. The good news is that even for 2012, Hit-Point was still outdoing EXE Create when it came to the animations and overall presentation. You still have well-detailed 16-Bit sprites with decent animation, and the battle scenes and music fit the part too.
Lots of color is abound too, and while it definitely doesn’t look nearly as pretty as newer titles such as Justice Chronicles or Legend of the Tetrarchs, Chronus Arc still holds up pretty darn well all these years later, and shows that Hit-Point has had good talent with their presentation for a long while.
Per usual Kemco RPG standards, you progress through the story by completing basic quests, while also being allowed to take up sidequests during your journey. It’s still basic Point A to Point B work at heart, and a lot of things found in other Kemco RPGs are seen here too. You have weapons and armor that you can upgrade via crafting, a wide variety of spells and skills to learn via leveling up, party members to recruit, and lots of battles to face.
Yet like most Kemco RPGs, Chronus Arc still tries to do one thing unique to this game in particular, and that comes in the form of the many, many block puzzles you’ll be solving in dungeons throughout the adventure. Just like in a top-down action rpg like Zelda, you’ll be pushing, pulling, and moving blocks, vases, and other items to unlock doors or even find secret items and pathways. It’s not a unique idea to this game, of course, but considering that no other Kemco RPG uses these types of puzzles, it is new for these RPGs, and I felt the block puzzles worked decently for the most part. However, I do feel that there were moments where if the developers weren’t sure how to design or fill up a room in a dungeon, they’d just throw a simple block puzzle in and call it a day, since some of these dungeons are rather boring to play through with so much block pushing.
The combat is also typical of a Kemco RPG, this one being from a side view, unlike most of Hit-Point’s other RPGs which use a first person perspective. So just like all the other Kemco published RPGs with a side view, you know the drill, make your turn, pick your moves, and battle out with the opponents until one side is dead. It’s the same tried and true mechanics to the point I really can’t explain much else, since I’ve repeated myself on how these sorts of games play out many, many times before. Though you can change classes in this game, once you get certain items, but it’s a very grindy and drawn-out process to the point you may just want to stick with what you’ve got.
The only thing I can really note about Chronus‘ combat is the fact that of all the Kemco RPGs I’ve played so far, this is easily the most challenging on the default setting (mainly due to the fact that there is only one difficulty option). That doesn’t mean it’s bonecrushing, mind you, but the challenge level is enough that you won’t be able to just upgrade spam and instantly murder every boss or enemy you see, and there were quite a few times where I was caught off guard and died. Do note that you don’t get the option to retry a battle upon death, as you would in newer Kemco RPGs, so this game is an experience where you want to save pretty frequently to avoid losing too much progress upon a loss, but I found the extra challenge to be pretty fun and helped to make the game one that I focused more on strategy with than some of the other Kemco titles.
In conclusion, Chronus Arc is indeed a more dated RPG from Hit-Point. Yet, a lot of the tropes and common things that you have seen in a bunch of other Kemco RPGs are here, with crafting, quests, and material gathering, along with building your skills up and learning magic. The gameplay loop of Chronus Arc is well-balanced enough that the battles are fun, but the block puzzles can get a bit tiresome after a while, and the fact you’ll have to enter and exit certain dungeons to grind for materials at times can be pretty boring, so it’s not really that engrossing compared to Hit-Point’s newer titles, though I did notice that Chronus was quite a bit tougher than most of the other Kemco RPGs I played, which may be a plus for those who tend to find these games too easy.
Still, it’s a solid RPG experience, even if the story’s rather generic and not at all motivating, but the gameplay loop is still miles more enjoyable than most of the EXE-Create developed games, so even early Hit-Point had some RPG magic backing them. With that said, I’d only really recommend this particular RPG for the difficulty, since the other Hit-Point RPGs on PSN are far improved in gameplay, story, presentation, and payoff, to the point that this adventure serves more as a relic of the company’s history, but one that’s still functionally interesting if you’re wanting to play them all.
I give Chronus Arc a 6 out of 10, and you can find it on the PS Store here.