Chrono Trigger is a classic 2D, top-down, turn-based role-playing game. You play as Crono, a young boy who sets off with his companions on a quest across time to save the world from impending destruction.
Pro Captivating storyline that centers around time travel
Chrono Trigger has an expansive and touching story that shows all the ways the world can change over time. You begin the story as the young man named Crono, exploring a fun festival called the Millennial Fair, when his friend Marie gets caught up in a malfunctioning time machine.
Crono's quest to find her takes him on a journey across several different time periods in the past and the future where he meets the rest of his companions; together they find out about the greater problem overtaking the world, and so they set off to stop the catastrophe. Getting to see all the ways the world changes across centuries has huge implications that you discover as you go along, with some really emotional moments that still hold up today.
Pro Battles happen seamlessly out on the field, with no random encounters
You don't have to worry about random encounters in Chrono Trigger. Enemies are all visible out on the field, so you can avoid them whenever you want to focus on exploring. And, when you do get into a battle, there's no transition screen from the field to the turn-based environment. Everything happens seamlessly, with your party members taking up formation and moving around to take their turns to attack on the available space around the enemy. This was pretty advanced for its time, and it's a mechanic that hasn't lost its impact over the years, keeping the game from ever feeling like a grind.
Pro You can obtain multiple different endings depending on your choices
Depending on when and how you tackle certain bosses, you can get quite a few different endings. There are more than a dozen or so endings to go after, each of which show outcomes that vary from one another in some intriguing ways. Some are quite funny, while others have more troubling implications or positive outcomes for certain time periods. Going after all of the endings can be a fun challenge.
Pro Quality art and music
Chrono Trigger has a wonderful art style and soundtrack that make the game worth going back to over the years. The 2D sprites are expressive and unique to each character's personalities, all as a nice fit to the funny moments and the more serious points in the story. Their original designs have a cool and colorful anime look, hand-crafted by the creator of the Dragon Ball series. And the music, despite the old SNES sound from the 1990s, is filled with meaning in a way that makes it obvious the composer poured his heart into each track. Everything is still worth a listen today, giving off a timeless and classic feeling.
Con Scripted battles go against the flow of gameplay
Even though there aren't any random encounters in the game, there are still the occasional battles that happen during scripted moments. These tend to break the flow of exploration and going about battles at your own pace, conflicting with the freedom you normally have to go wherever you want. As long as you know to expect these to pop up every now and then, it shouldn't be too bad.
Con The turn-based combat may be too easy for some players
The battles are pretty basic, with standard mechanics of characters and enemies attacking in turns, with various skills and spells that they have access to. If you're used to turn-based games, then Chrono Trigger might not be much of a challenge for you. There are some cool additions, like getting your party members to team up for flashy special attacks that do tons of damage, but this is still something most veterans would expect from JRPGs.
Con The game is a little short for an RPG by today's standards
For your first playthrough, it will probably only take you about 20 hours to finish. Since Chrono Trigger is the game that pioneered New Game+, it's possible to give it some leeway, as the play time is designed around you playing through the game again to get multiple endings. Still, if you're not interested in chasing after the other endings, you may feel unsatisfied with the game's length, though your mileage will of course vary.