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CHAOS RINGS Review

By , on April 20, 2010


CHAOS RINGS
Download on the AppStore
5 out of 5

PROS

  • Multiple story-lines.
  • Dungeon difficulty selection.
  • Complex fast-paced battle system
  • Amazing art and audio direction.

CONS

  • Puzzles side-quests act as frustrating road-blocks.

VERDICT

For a game that would otherwise cost three times or more on another console, 'Chaos Rings' isn't just value for money - it's an amazing JRPG experience with a solid, intriguing story that's worthy of its developer's pedigree.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info
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Chaos Rings is the latest JRPG published by Square Enix for the App Store and with a pedigree developer like Media.Vision at the helm, this is more than your average RPG. This is certainly no light-weight game and your pocket will definitely feel the pinch, but if you're willing to take the dive you'll be rewarded with a complex and beautiful experience that's easily one of the best new RPGs available for your iPhone.

The game centers around characters who have been partnered up to partake in an event called the 'Ark Arena' which is overseen by a shadowy other-worldly figure. Combat for each pair quickly evolves in to a complex system of choosing your attacks to create the maximum effect. Each character can attack separately or as a pair for extra damage, however paired attacks run the risk of both characters taking damage from enemy attacks. Battles are fast paced and players are quickly punished for picking their strategies badly, but in turn this also makes random battles easier to breeze through if you get them right. New abilities and effects are found by defeating enemies and equipping their 'genes'.

The graphics are simply some of the best on the iPhone and looks like a distilled version of Final Fantasy VIII which is no big surprise thanks to Ysuke Naora working on the character designs. There are four stories to play through, with each one taking up around 4-6 hours to finish.

Without a doubt, Chaos Rings is a must buy for any JRPG fan and is worth every cent of its hefty price.

Screenshots

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Comments

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Ghost8167 3 years, 4 months ago

Why does this game say its on sale for $3.99, but when i attempt to buy it the Apple store has the game marked to $12.99?!?! This is so frusterating 
 

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Muh4mm3dD0t 3 years, 7 months ago

Fantastic game.  I bought it before the Top Games of 2010, but I hadnt played it deeply and though it was repetitive and boring.
After seeing the success it achieved on AppSpy, i decided to give it another try. Im happy i did. 
The graphics of it are amazing, and the scenary is absolutly stunning. There are also cool weather effects, that you could disable if you wanted to. The monster designs and the level designs are awesome. Im suprised this could play on my ancient iPod touch 2nd Generation. If it had only been released now, im sure the graphics would be even more astounding on Retina Display.
The story line is gripping - with up to a total of four different stories you will need to play each one to find out the story for another character. This may seem boring and repetitive - but trust me, you'll want to find out whats been happening on the Ark Arena.
There are numerous amounts of Genes that allow variety in the way you play. With single and pair attacks to either defend or completly demolish your opponent.
The puzzles are a bit annoying, but they do give you some peace for a bit while you try and work through them. There not that difficult, but you will need to do some thinking.
The map system is actually not all that bad as i had previously thought. I thought it was a maze like system. It sort of still is - but its not all bad.
I have a few suggestions for the SQUARE ENIX developers though. 
The environment graphics are stunning and make you want to screenshot each one to use as a wallpaper. But the characters are the complete opposites. They have jagged edges and are not very high quality. This especially shows during cutscenes, where the room looks great, but the bad character quality just leaks through more and doesnt do justice to the rest of the game.
Granted, this game was released in April 2010 and there have been many more graphical advancements made on the iPhone using the Unreal Engine etc. If the game was recreated now with a upgraded SQUARE ENIX engine it would be even amazing. With retina display SQUARE could do so much more.
There may be a HD version available but i dont have a HD iPhone/iPod/iPad so i cant judge it. It may be a million times better. I think SQUARE should leave behind the older generation of devices and develop on iPhone 3GS/iPhone 4/ iPod touch 3G/ iPod touch 4 and iPad. I will miss playing their brand new breathtaking games with breathtaking graphics (and character graphics) but it would be better.
Another thing i noticed is that when fighting a monster, whenever the monster 'Threatens' it roars. But there is no sound. This sort of kills the experiance of battling the monster. Also, after defeatening a huge dragon monster by the narrowest of margins theres no groan of pain from the monster despite it probably roaring in pain. When the monster finally tumbles to the ground - there's no sound at all and it sort of takes away the achievement of defeating the beast. It makes the battle's more empty when there's no foe sounds.
There aren't a big variety of monsters either. Sure, in Final Fantasy I & II there aren't that many and they are instead improved types of the predeccessor - but in Chaos Rings they are all the same strength and just change elementally. There is about fifteen different types of creatures. Only fifteen. And thats including bosses. We need a bigger variety of monsters! Not just the same monster painted in blue.
Another thing I noticed is that all magic attacks are the same, and involve you raising your sword into the sky with a ring of light bursting at your feet. Sure theres a few different looking spells, but most of them are the same. And due to the fact theres no noise from the monster you cant hear them howl in pain - or hear the magic hit them. There are only 2 levels of attacking spells in each element. There are loads of field skills aswell, but most of the genes are the same as another gene with one different ability.
Each gene should have a exclusive ability. Im not 100% sure yet as i havent mastered every gene. With only three elements, there is not a wide variety of spells and gene types. What happened to Earth and Lightning? You may call 'Mowe' Earth, but then wheres Wind? Theres hardly any spells simply. This is a shame as it dents an otherwise amazing battle system.
The map system is ok, but the moving around in teleporting crystals just seems limiting. Stick to the crystals if you want, but make it more open roam. One road will take you to a puzzle which you must do repeatedly, and the other will  take you the right way. There is again not enough variety to do what you wish. Theres only two paths, one to the puzzle to stop a fire wall or something, and the other which takes you to the fire wall.
A more open roam style like Final Fantasy would do amazing. Instead of opening the door in Ark Arena and being forced to choose which dungeon you would like to visit, let us open the door and walk around looking for the dungeon we want to visit and exploring the area. Final Fantasy I & II does this effectivly, using open world roaming to explore new areas but still retaining the maze like navigation in castles, towers and caves. We may be on a flying ship, but we should atleast be allowed to explore the other ends of the ship instead of one side where the shop resides and the other nothing important.
Also, when buying a new sword you do not get to see the sword, armour or jewel. There are only about five different swords, five different pieces of armour, and five different jewels. Sure if you count the other characters it would be 20 a piece, but there identical apart from names. There are about 20 different items. Just 20 in a epic JRPG. 
You should be able to view the sword when buying it, and also see it when you are equipped with it battling monsters. Your clothes should change aswell when equipping armour. There should be more different weapons, armours, and jewels that could have special effects and have element contained within them to add variety. With only three elements there still wont be enough, thats why you need five. The story may not fit this though, as it is relatively short compared to other SQUARE ENIX titles (although it will get you a minimum eight hours on each character.) Because theres no other towns or shops apart from that weird monster on Ark Arena, theres not enough space for this variety which is why open world roaming is a dependancy. 
When levelling up, you should be able to get skill points or something similar to allocate to a skill of your preference.
Simply put, there is not enough variety in monsters, genes, spells, elements, maps, weapons, armour, jewels, items and levelling. Theres just no variety to simply put the simple. 
But  theres aren't drawbacks (apart from the monster sounds paragraph) and instead i am making suggestions to perfect this almost perfect game. It does what it does the best in it's catergory by far despite being almost a year old now on outdated hardware. With updated hardware - SQUARE ENIX should be a powerhouse and will make perfected games. I cant wait for there next release. Im not a big fan of the retro style remakes that Final Fantasy I and II are. I hope SQUARE make a completely exclusive game for iOS - or otherwise release the same game that is on DS or PSP on iPhone.
Looking forward to the future. My final verdict on this game is 9/10, albeit i only have completed one character story line out of the four available. Fix up monster sounds in the next update - it would be a definite 10. Implement my suggestions in the sequal to Chaos Rings (*gasp*) it would 1) Be a instabuy 2) Be worth £7.50 3) be 100/10 and 4) Blow the competition out of the water and make Infinity Blade look like 'Ow My Balls.'

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rekz 4 years, 1 month ago

I bought this JRPG based on the volume of great reviews.  At first I reviewed it in iTunes at 3 stars b/c of the endless grinding play.  This can be a very frustrating game b/c the combats are so similar.
If you want to do a 'solo attack' on 'monster a', you have to select that every time -- even when there's only a 'monster a'.  I find this kind of repetitive button pushing annoying.
That said, the game is beautiful and my understanding based on the reviews is that the story is complex.
Personally, I don't find it complex but linear, and I don't find character development interesting *in ANY way*.  When you find a new item, guess what?  It either works for char A or char B of your 2 person team.  They only get 1 'weapon type' each to chose from (probably b/c the animations stay the same & don't reflect changes in items) ...
But you do get a lot of different genes... which don't seem to really do much different from my POV.  OK, I admit -- some genes let you blast an enemy with a magic based on one element, and another gene lets you blast an enemy with another element, and some genes let you make an enemy vulnerable to an element... but to me it's all the same, over & over.
Therefore, to me there is little adventure here, more it's an endless clickthru of menus and moving a character down a *VERY NARROW maze* with little options and no side-quests to speak of.  There IS a map, but it doesn't seem to make much sense either.
I wanted to like this game.  Now, I'm just glad I got in during a sale.
rekzkarz.com

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andrew 4 years, 1 month ago

Welcome to 90% of JRPGs :)