Cris Tales isn’t rocket science, and any veteran (or even newcomers) will get to grips with it early on. Still, the first hour or so is a little frustrating as enemies are overpowering, and your skills are pretty limited.
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The following Cris Tales tips are to get you started, maybe save you a bit of time in the process. This isn’t a walkthrough, and I’m sure there are other guides out there that are more thorough, but this is what I’ve found out so far.
Cris Tales isn’t a difficult game, but despite the gorgeous family-friendly visuals, story and enchanting music, it’s not a game you can steam through unless your reflexes are good. Even then, you still need to hit reasonably hard, or lesser battles could take ages.
When in doubt, save at every opportunity. This isn’t Resident Evil, where you’ll miss out on rankings if you save so often, so use it to your advantage. Even if you do save every 15 minutes or so, as it stands, you can’t skip dialogue you’ve already witnessed, so save (ha!) yourself the hassle and do it regularly.
How do you save? There will be circular points where you can plonk your sword and rest up – it’s not something you can do from the menu, but save points are pretty generous.
Hold On To Your Tents
Following on from Cris Tales’ save points, while you can save quite frequently, you won’t replenish health, mana or crystal powers. To do this, you’ll need to be carrying tents, but note that they’re consumables, so once you use them, they’re gone.
An alternative, other than the obvious health potions and later spells/skills you can use, try staying at inns whenever you can, but scout the area first. In St. Clarity, there are two inns. Within the Walled City, it’s 200 marbles for a night, but near the entrance, when you first see the floods, there’s an inn on your right (after the forecourt) that costs only 50 marbles.
There’s no difference in the service as your party will be fully restored, so why not go for the cheaper option? Also, save on to your tents – they cost 10,000 marbles from the vagabond merchant…
Keep Crisbell Safe
Regardless of your favourite character, Crisbell is your leader and is a character you want to keep alive. Other than carrying plenty of potions into battle and being at a level where you have healing spells or Yucandras, invest in your gear.
Once you are in St Clarity, seek out the cat shopkeeper in the Walled City and purchase gear to improve your defence (and attack) to keep you alive longer. All surplus equipment can be passed through the ranks and later sold as later areas award better loot anyway.
Remember that the options in a battle aren’t just attack and defence, but you can switch to a defensive stance to take less damage.
Master Your Timing
Not a play on words, given the context of the game, but Cris Tales is an active turn-based title, so you can’t be caught with your pants down, picking your nose, or taking another swig of ale. If you don’t counter/parry attacks, the damage soon adds up, and what would otherwise be a cakewalk in any other turn-based game, these additional hits take a toll.
There aren’t any combos to learn; just press the action button at the right time. It’s relatively forgiving with the respond window, but sometimes you have to learn the enemy attack patterns. Sometimes a ranged attack can be disguised, and you won’t know until you’re on fire, poisoned or what-not.
This timing applies to attacks too. Sure, you can automate your offensive plan and keep spamming attacks and skills, but if you don’t press the action button at the right time, you may miss out on double the damage and critical hits. The best time to strike is the first frame where your player lifts their weapon. You’ll get it through practice.
Don’t forget: you’re a Time Mage, so master time. In battle, make good use of switching back and forth to the past, present and future. As you’ll learn in the tutorial, you can apply elemental damage then fast-forward into the future to fast track the effect. Remember that this can also undo the effect if you then go back in time.
This tactic can easily be forgotten, though and pending you have enough crystal power; you can easily dominate in a battle if you apply the right skills and shift to the optimal time. This leads to the next tip: learning about your enemies.
The Scan Skill
Willhelm will eventually learn the scan Yucandra, which allows him to get critical info on enemies noting their strengths and weaknesses. As can be imagined, many of these recurring characters are common in JRPGs with similar strengths and weaknesses – blobs, for example, are usually vulnerable to lightning, sometimes water and/or poison.
You’ll learn this through practice, but the best way is through the Scan skill. If you use the single skill, you’ll learn about that enemy based on their current timeline – i.e. if you use it during the past, you’ll get past info. Other than switching back and forth in the timezones, if you use the plant version and, if possible, fast track the skill, you will unlock all three states of the enemy.
Sometimes a future version will be stronger because they’ve mastered their skills, but other future versions may be weaker as that unit is now old and slower. One example of this is one of the wild animals that become physically weaker in the future state, but their magic power is stronger, no doubt because they’ve earned wisdom?
Synchronise With Syncros
Keep an eye on the Syncros meter (when unlocked) as it’s your ultimate move where you team up with another party member to perform a special elemental attack.
It’s worth learning which character to use for the Syncros attack as if you’ve got Crisbell selected, you can choose which party member to team up with. Other members will, by default team up with her automatically, but it’s always best to know what type of special they’ll perform.
There’s no guarantee that this is accurate, but I noticed the Syncros gauge was filling quicker with perfectly timed defensive moves – more so than the attacks.
There are chests located all over the place, and while they’re relatively easy to find, they’re also easy to miss if you storm through. Be sure to explore each area, but do so once you’ve learned the healing skills for both Crisbell and Willhelm.
Enemies will often respawn in those traditional random encounter ways, and if you’re wandering off too far without the option to save, you may find yourself getting killed on your way back. There’s no fast travel, and also remember that you won’t restore your health if you level up. I found this out the hard way.
Keep An Eye On The Timeline
Matias will be with you almost everywhere in Cris Tales, but sometimes he’ll be behind, so wait for him to catch up before attempting a time hop. As the story evolves, there will be Matias icons above NPC’s heads. This is to signify that there is an available side mission if you shift to the correct timeline.
Pressing X on a controller, you’ll be able to send Matias into the past or future, listen in on a conversation or make an observation, then shift back to report his findings. Note that he can’t travel too far away from Crisbell, so position her relatively close to where you want to investigate.
Just pay attention to the way the screen is split into three areas and look out for any significant differences as you could see a chest or item in a different timeline to you, but Matias can go there and retrieve it for you.
Don’t Lose Your Marbles
This tip applies to fellow grinding types. If you invest in a bit of time and perhaps sell any surplus gear you don’t need, you’ll soon accumulate enough wealth to invest in your weapons.
Once again, in the Walled City, if you visit the cat store, you’ll be able to upgrade your weapons up to a fifth tier with the Time Synthesis option. This could improve the attack, defence, speed and what-not, and of course, as you level up, the stats will be stronger (not scaling as such).
By level 12, I’d already maxed out Crisbell’s sword to True Sword of the Lady status, so it’s worth your time. Also, as per the tip to keep Crisbell safe, it doesn’t hurt to have her max out her attack as her skills are more support based than attack.
Talk To Everyone
This is dumb advice for a JRPG as it should be a given, but while side quests are optional, it’s worth talking with everyone to unlock new errands. Depending on the task, the rewards are often worth it for the XP alone, let alone some unique goods to give you the advantage.
Also, speaking with everyone will provide you with additional info should you get stuck. Of course, you can always press the Y button (depending on your set-up) to get a hint from Matias on what to do next. Remember to view your quests in the menu for further directions and a breakdown of what to do next.
Focus On Levelling Up
All these tips sort of link together, and as mentioned about mastering the action button during attacks and defence, make sure you put in a bit of time to run through a few areas to level up early on.
The game-changer for Cris Tales for me was Crisbell’s heal skill. Once that was unlocked, the game was so much more manageable and offered freedom to explore.
This guide was put together while playing, so not remotely exhaustive. I may update it in the future, or you can send me some info, and I’ll credit you with the deets. Nevertheless, here are some of the skills your starting party will earn. This is based on characters at level 15, just after fighting Enzo.
- Heal – targets one player and can be used out of combat. Unlocked at level 5.
- Celeritas – increases the speed of a target for three turns. Unlocked at level 9.
- Segnitas – reduces the speed of a target for three turns. Unlocked at level 12.
- Throw Yucandra Poisonous – poisons a single target. Unlocked at level 1.
- Throw Yucandra Restoring – restores health to a single target. Unlocked at level 5.
- Throw Yucandra Scan – reveals basic info on a single target. Unlocked at level 8.
- Throw Yucandra Explosive – deals fire damage to a single target. Unlocked at level 11.
- Throw Yucandra Antidote – cleanses an ally of poison. Unlocked at level 13.
- Throw Yucandra Evergreen – improves the targets magic attack for 3 turns. Unlocked at level 15.
- Water Bubble – single target, applies water damage and applies wet. Unlocked at level 1.
- Thunder Spheres – single target, summons two bolts of lightning damage for 3 turns with the proper timing. Unlocked at level 6.
- Fireblast – fires a small fireball at target for moderate damage. With the correct timing, applies burning for 3 turns. Unlocked at level 12.
These Cris Tales tips are only scratching the surface, but I’ve found, as a reader, that sometimes these early guides can be a little helpful and save a bit of time with a new game. Your playstyle will inevitably differ, but I hope some of it was of some use.