Chrono Trigger stands out among all games for being endearing, epic, and full of surprises. But one of the best things about it is how it interweaves time travel into the game’s narrative. In fact, many of the player’s party members hail from different eras. However, games that feature time travel mechanics don’t always put it at the forefront in this manner.
Some games use time travel mechanics only for combat while others pull a Back to the Future and have one or two instances of time travel. But other video games live and breathe time travel. Which ones do fans remember the most?
10 Quantum Break
This game came from the same studio behind Max Payne, Alan Wake, and the recent success Control. Remedy amped up the visuals for Quantum Break with next-level realism on their proprietary Northlight engine. Intense motion capture also contributed to player experience with distinct actor performances from Lance Reddick, Aiden Gillen, Shawn Ashmore, and others.
It follows Jack Joyce as he negotiates personal drama and the threat of time breaking. Apart from time travel and manipulation being part of the core plot, time mechanics play an integral role in the game’s combat system. For fans of Alan Wake or time travel, this game is definitely worth picking up.
9 Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
The remake for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a long-time coming and has a supposed release date of January 21, 2021. But the original game, released in 2003 for multiple platforms, set a high bar for action-adventure games. It is also considered one of the best platformers to date by many people.
It runs on the Jade engine and follows an unnamed prince as he tries to collect sand from a magic hourglass. He uses the Dagger of Time to do so as it allows him to manipulate time. Abilities like rewinding ten seconds, freezing enemies, and moving at lightning speed help the Prince achieve his goals. But will the remake live up to fans’ expectations?
8 Command and Conquer: Red Alert Series
Fans of old school RTS games will instantly recall the insanity that was the C&C Red Alert series of games. People who may not be familiar with the games might at least know the meme featuring Tim Curry yelling about space.
The games explore the possible, if peculiar, idea of the same outcome occurring even if the input varies. In this case, that means different people going back in time to prevent certain conflicts from occurring only to cause further war.
What’s interesting about the series is that players can be the Allies, the Empire of the Rising Sun, or Russia. Each faction offers a unique story experience.
7 TimeSplitters 2
Goofy shooters aren’t limited to those in the Borderlands series or games like Fortnite. In fact, they owe a great deal to the TimeSplitters franchise as a whole (Epic Games may owe more than others). While every game in the series is quite fun, many fans prefer TimeSplitters 2 the most.
Free Radical Design developed the first-person shooter for Xbox, PS2, and the Nintendo Gamecube for a 2002 release. Two space marines, Corporal Hart and Sergeant Cortez, must recover time crystals from a space station to help Earth stop the alien TimeSplitters. The aliens need the crystals in order to traverse time and ruin Earth by changing history. The game featured ten levels in story mode, as well as an arcade mode for up to four players. The total of 16 modes included Deathmatch, Capture the “Bag”, BagTag, and Team Deathmatch.
6 Shadow of Destiny/Memories
The game went by Shadow of Destiny in America but is actually called Shadow of Memories. Konami released the game for PS2 in 2001 but later ported it to Xbox and Windows in 2002. In it, players live as Eike Kusch — a member of a fictional town in Germany called Lebensbaum or Life’s Tree.
The plot has Eike traveling through time trying to discover who murders him. It features no attack mechanics, no health bars, or other more traditional action game elements. However, actions taken in the past can drastically change the future. Not only is time travel integral to the mechanics of this game, but also to the setting and story itself.
5 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Like C&C, the timeline of Legend of Zelda games can be difficult to follow thanks to the inclusion of time travel. Though not the only game to feature time travel in the universe, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time may still be the best one. After all, it is the game that officially sets up the three timelines (Adult, Child, and Fallen Hero).
Time manipulation plays a central role in the game with the ocarina being the tool by which Link traverses time. With rumors of a Switch release in the air, many fans are aching to relive the game’s epic story.
4 Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time
Though a new game is slated to release for the PS5 soon, Ratchet & Clank have long been in the time travel game. The beloved series released Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time in 2009 for the PS3 to much acclaim.
It tells the origins of Clank and features multiple time-oriented elements. One is the Chronosceptor that can restore a broken item. Another involves Clank recording up to four copies of himself for up to a minute doing something and then playing it back. This helps the player solve puzzles. But the Zoni construct known as the Keeper of Time or Great Clock is the defining part of the game. It is a must for anyone who loves platformers or time travel games.
3 Titanfall 2: Effect and Cause mission
Many fans agree that Apex Legends just doesn’t quite scratch the itch they have for more entries in the Titanfall franchise. Though the game featured a very short solo campaign, it had dozens of memorable moments. This includes the mission “Effect and Cause” where the player uses time travel.
In the mission, Jack Cooper (the player character) jumps in and out of the timestream to reveal the reason for the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) being on the planet Typhon. People interested in a new time travel experience might consider picking up Titanfall 2 just for this mission.
2 Legacy of Kain
This is another classic franchise that instantly grabbed the attention of many people when it launched. The first game in the series released in 1996, but the most recent game came out in 2003. The series did not introduce time travel until the second game Soul Reaver 2. However, the character Moebius the Time Streamer had been around since the beginning.
The series follows Kain, a vampire anti-hero character, and Raziel, something beyond a vampire and Kain’s former second-in-command. There is even talk of a remake in the works.
1 Chrono Trigger
Many gamers unequivocally view Chrono Trigger as one of the best video games ever made. Time travel is just one small part of this game that adds up to it being an incredible, irreplaceable experience. The game features characters from all time periods and with different personalities and backgrounds. This can include a character who should be a villain, but can instead be recruited. The game effortlessly ferries players through time periods full of unique lore that all connect to one moment in time: when Lavos practically destroys the world in 1999.
Robo may have the most unique story of all the characters in the game. The player can choose to leave him in a time to help regrow a dwindling forest. When the player returns in their own time period, they will discover a shrine dedicated to what they think is a now-defunct Robo. But fear not: Robo yet “lives” and can rejoin the party. Small moments like that are what make Chrono Trigger such an unforgettable game.
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