This title was reviewed on Xbox One, but is also available on PS4, PS3, PC, 3DS, Android, and iOS.
I can’t escape these can i? It seems every other week I’m hit with a KEMCO-published RPG. First there was Fernz Gate, then there was Revenant Dogma, then there was Asdivine Hearts. Now, I’ve been hit with Chronus Arc. But something’s different. Unlike the last 3 games, this one wasn’t developed by Exe-Create, instead being developed by Hit Point. Does Hit Point blow Exe-Create’s creations out of the water? Or will it falter in the face of the hat-trick of surprisingly decent RPGs, let’s find out.
Right away, the graphics here are way more impressive than those in Exe-Create’s outings. While those games had impressive art work, they were plagued with a stock RPG-Maker feel that really made them feel cheap. This is not the case here. Hit Point have managed to make the game a visual throwback to the old SNES RPGs, with 16-bit over-world sprites that look nostalgically fantastic. The art-work for characters during conversations is also great, but stands above Exe-Create as each one has different emotions when speaking, which is a small but well-done touch.
Like all KEMCO RPGs, the story here is weird. The idea is that an event known as a Time Rewinding occurs every ten years. The world ‘saves’ every 10 years before resetting back to the previous 10 years, with objects and other things being fixed or simply changed back to the state they were a decade earlier. It’s nonsensical but it makes for an interesting plot point. Your character is under training to become a Guardian for the city you’re in, but after your mentor goes missing during an altercation with a man, it’s up to you to solve what’s going on. The story is a little bit bland in the long run, but it does its job of carrying the game along.
The gameplay here is your basic Turn-based RPG flair, meaning that it’s very similar to the Exe-Create KEMCO RPGs. There are a few differences however, especially in how combat is initiated. World navigation works on somewhat of a grid, so everytime you move a space, enemies in the stage will move too. This differs from the random encounters of the Exe-Create games, and also allows some tactics in play, as you can actually avoid some encounters which is a nice touch.
However, the game plays it a little too safe. While the Exe-Create games had a neat little hook to help them stand out (transformations in Revenant Dogma, Curios and Team management in Fernz Gate, Rubix in Asdivine Hearts), this game is lacking in one. The only part that I really found interesting was the power ring you get early in the game, which allows you to solve puzzles. In fact, puzzles are a huge part of the game, differing from the more combat orientated Exe-Create games. That is a problem in its own right however, as puzzles are either too easy, or some are just plain annoying and pointless. There’s one explorative quest early on where you have to literally go around the town and let the princess say goodbye to everyone before you go on your adventure, and there’s another one where you have to ask people for clues about your master’s whereabouts, but only one specific person in a specific place who shares the sprite with about 10 other people in the map has the clue you need. The poor quest design and puzzles really bog the game down, making its generic and safe design all the more apparent. At least the combat has a fast forward button right?
Sound is also mediocre. Music, while enjoyable at first, gets repetitive quick, and when you’re stuck doing those 2 long and annoying quests I mentioned above, it’ll drive you downright insane. The game lacks voice acting, as expected, and sound effects are the same stock sound effects you’ve heard in countless other titles like this.
While it is visually fantastic compared to Exe-Create’s titles, Hit Point’s Chronus Arc falters on almost all fronts. Its story is bland, the sound is mediocre, and it lacks that hook that Exe-Create’s games have that make them stand out. The closest thing to a hook here would be the puzzles, but they’re too easy and sometimes the quests are too annoying to enjoy thoroughly. The game plays it too safe, but at least still works and the story does enough to push the game along. Maybe if Exe-Create and Hit Point could team up using Hit Point’s visual style and Exe-Create’s game design we could have an RPG winner.
Check the game out on the Microsoft store by clicking the image below: