Cris Tales is a pretty and colorful game but it’s more than just about its looks. Gameplay-wise, it has a lot of unique mechanics to enjoy and an intriguing world to explore. However, due to its old-school nature, it can be a challenging game to get through at times. In many ways, it’s because the game doesn’t do much to hold your hand, for better or worse.
After spending hours exploring everything Cris Tales has to offer, we’ve assembled 12 of the best nuggets of wisdom we wish we knew about before venturing forth.
Write S*** Down
I hear you groaning from across the internet void but you’ll thank me later. Cris Tales, for all its amazing art, doesn’t do much to help you remember where places and characters are. And it’s a tall order to try to commit to memory every poor sap that gave you a side-quest. So, do yourself a favor and write down names and places, especially when you’re given a task to do.
Master the Parry
I bashed my head enough times on the first boss in order to deliver to you this message. Get used to the blocking mechanics of this game. All you need to do is time your button press to the enemy attack’s animation ending. It becomes a bit tougher with projectiles and spells but you’ll get it. And you have to if you want to survive the tougher encounters because forget about soaking up big hits. Cris Tales will punish you severely for foolishly thinking your endless supply of healing items will save you.
Use the Time Mechanics
This may sound like a big DUH, especially to those who have just started Cris Tales. The game heavily promotes its time mechanics. However, it’s easy to treat the game like any other RPG and just try to power through with classic methods and skills. It’s important to understand that Cris Tales’s battles are balanced around using Crisbells ability to send enemies into the past and future. Even if it’s sounding a bit complex, taking it one step at a time will greatly amplify your enjoyment of the game and reduce your frustration.
Time Your Attacks
Another important timing mechanic (see what I did there?) in Cris Tales is one that’s straight out of Final Fantasy VIII. By pressing a button just as your character’s attack is about to land will tack on more damage. Aside from being a way to make combat more engaging, it’s also crucial for racking up more pain on enemies. It even works with spells, which gain more chances to inflict their debuffs and deal critical damage. Suffice to say, get in the habit of doing timed button presses during each attack.
Don’t Bother Grinding
Despite my trepidations with the game’s penchant for random encounters, one of the things Cris Tales gets right is not expecting you to grind. While it helps to build up your numbers, it isn’t necessary to overcome even the most challenging bosses. It’s best to treat them like puzzles you have to solve via Crisbell’s time manipulation. Combined with the earlier tip about parrying, smart use of abilities is the key to progressing through Cris Tales.
There is No Auto-Save
No, I didn’t totally forget to save after a certain boss fight – except I totally did, and I’m warning you not to do the same. Cris Tales is too cool for auto-save so you’ll have to manually save your progress. I advise you to do so every chance you get before you end up regretting it. It’s also important to remember to activate the various save points denoted by the small round patches of soil scattered across the world.
Explore Everywhere You See
There are a lot of hidden stories and stuff in Cris Tales. It’s possible to miss out on several side-quests and equipment pieces if you don’t go off the beaten path. Once you arrive in a new town or area, do some exploring around and talk to everyone in sight. Not only will this give you some more insight into the world of Cris Tales but it can also net you some gear that’ll improve your combat effectiveness.
Experiment with Your Party
Every party member you acquire has a specific role to play. We know Crisbell is all about time manipulation and support. Cristopher, Wilhelm, and the rest of the characters you assemble also have their unique traits and strengths. Trying out their various skills as you level them up and combining them with past and future activations can reveal some powerful combos that’ll make defeating tough foes a lot easier.
Inns over Tents
Tents, while amazing for healing up in the field, are a pricey commodity. Compared to the inns of Cris Tales, they’re too much of a gold sink so don’t bother buying them. The game throws you a few your way which is better saved up for bigger exploration areas. Going back to town to visit an inn doesn’t take too long and will save you gold you can use to buy more crucial in-combat items.
Don’t Buy Items (at least early on)
Cris Tales can feel quite tough while you’re trying to get to grips with parry timings and the time manipulation powers. It’s tempting to want to use the limited items the game gives you in the beginning. However, I urge you to resist that temptation. It’s better to just reset a battle and try again rather than attempt to give yourself more breathing room. The game throws enough items your way to help you get through some of the early boss battles, so save them for then. Once you have enough gold in your coffers and battles begin to get more complex, you’ll have a lot more reason to raid the shops.
Scanning is Your Friend
One of the abilities that make Willhelm an incredible character is his scanning plant. By plopping this little guy down, you can inspect foes to see their health, weaknesses, and other bits of important combat information. It’s not so much a crutch as it is part of the learning experience. As you explore and learn more about the world, you’ll get to grips with identifying enemy types. This will gradually take you to the point where you won’t need Willhelm that much, though his poison attacks are still pretty strong.
Stock Up Before Venturing
Once you’ve passed the first few hours of the game, you’ll have enough gold to start stocking up on items. Now here’s the important bit: buy before heading off to the next dungeon or enemy-infested area. Like we said earlier, tents are terrible purchases and some of the later areas have enemies that’ll give you quite a bit of a beating. Having items on hand that are enough to get you into and through a boss fight is crucial to avoiding extra trips back to the inn.
Speed Up is Cheating
The time counter in Cris Tales, which is the bar on top of the combat screen, is a crucial UI element. It tells you whose turn is coming which can greatly help with timing your parries. It’s also important when used alongside Crisbell’s Speed Up skill. This nifty buff will bring a party’s member’s next turn forward, meaning you can potentially have them do their thing multiple times in a row. A good example is Cristopher’s lightning skill which can inflict Stun. And we like Stun a lot when we can do it multiple times in a row.