Playing Chrono Cross can be a bewildering experience, and that's not a slight at the game's graphics, music, gameplay or even its story. It's just amazing that the same company that released some of the most forgettable RPGs this summer could also release such a worthy sequel to one of the best Super NES RPGs ever made. Let me start off by saying I agree with practically everything Matt says. The graphics, both the FMV and backgrounds are remarkably well done. In what has to be a first for Square on the PlayStation, the CG does not become a distraction from the gameplay, and the in-game environments are full of life and activity as opposed to the static backdrops in the recent Final Fantasy releases. I agree with Matt that Chrono Cross' battle system is a lot more involving than any other Square title, and its feel is so new and balanced that I hope it is makes more appearances in other Square RPGs. I also liked that the storylines branched off in fairly unique directions while maintaining an overall engaging storyline.
If there are any blemishes in the game, they lie in the storyline and characters. Square took a very commendable route in trying to tell the story with two alternate planes. As any sci-fi fan knows, what happens in one time plane can have dramatic impact on the other. The same holds true in Chrono Cross. However, it seems that with all the jumping back and forth, the developer lost focus along the way. Certain points in the story feel tacked on -- as though they were added on the whim of a developer too enthralled with the "multiple realities" premise to heed whether or not it was appropriate. It isn't horrendous by any means, but it is noticeable. Another negative lies with the extensive number of party members. Having the selection is nice, but their sheer number means that many of the characters are not deep or interesting. I personally found a few to be pretty worthless.
All that aside, the game is one of the best RPGs I've played in a long while, and it's without a doubt the best I've played on the PlayStation. It's an example of a great mix of graphics, music and story. It may have taken Square's experimentation with Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII to learn how to make use of the PlayStation and CD-ROM technology, but it seems they finally got it right.