We didn’t exactly get a new Xbox Windows Phone release this week, but Windows Phone 8 gamers DO get something new to play. Square Enix’s Chaos Rings, one of the highest profile games on the incompatibility list, is finally Windows Phone 8 compatible!
The game launched only for Windows Phone 7 back in March, hugely disappointing Windows Phone 8 RPG fans. Earlier this week it started showing up in the Store on Windows Phone 8 devices, but couldn’t actually be downloaded by most users. Just an hour or so ago, several of us managed to download it at last. The game's Store web page was down all week and just came back up as well. At last!
Four stories, one huge adventure
The story of Chaos Rings revolves around eight people who must participate in a mysterious tournament against their wills. The winners receive eternal life while the losers unfortunately stop living. Each of the four pairs has their own short playthrough (around six hours), and finishing everyone’s story opens up a conclusion to the entire tale. Plus some equipment earned from enemies carries over between those stories. On the whole it’s a clever way to make the game digestible for mobile audiences.
Graphically, Chaos Rings works much like Final Fantasy VII. In the overworld, backgrounds are pre-rendered and characters are 3D. During battles and cinemas, everything uses 3D graphics. The original game dates back a couple of years, but the character designs still impress. The Windows Phone version gets two black borders on the sides, as opposed to Final Fantasy's single larger border. Chaos Rings also has a fantastic soundtrack (only available on iTunes, argh) and Japanese voice acting (with English text, of course).
Square Enix’s previous RPG Final Fantasy had nothing but secret Achievements, so nobody could tell what the Achievements actually were without consulting an outside source like our guide. Chaos Rings thankfully has just one secret Achievement and it’s for fighting a boss after completing everything in the game.
The rest of the Achievements come from completing each scenario and maxing a character, which I’m told is relatively painless if you know what to do. Just make sure NOT to go through the Original Door after completing a team’s scenario, as you’ll miss out on that scenario’s Achievement.
We’ll go into more detail in our full review, after I’ve had time to play through everything for myself.
Not for the faint of wallet
Chaos Rings’ new Windows Phone 8 compatibility is nothing but good news for RPG fans. But people who think everything should cost a dollar or less are in for some disappointment with this one, as it’s the single most expensive Xbox Windows Phone game to date. At $9.99 it actually costs a dollar more than the iOS version, which isn’t too uncommon but still worth noting.
Considering the iOS version launched at $12.99, it could have been worse. We are talking about a big budget RPG that offers more than 30 hours of gameplay and could easily sell for $30 as a 3DS or Vita retail title (but it IS downloadable on Vita). If this one sells well enough, maybe we'll get the prequel Chaos Rings Omega and Chaos Rings II as well. What do the RPG fans in the audience think?
Chaos Rings – Windows Phone 7 or 8 – 775 MB - $9.99 – Store Link
Thanks to EasyPeasyJD, Mark Tepper, and everyone else for the tip!