Chaos Rings III is a pretty big departure for the series. It's a much brighter game, and it takes its cues from the likes of Phantasy Star Online and, to some degree at least, Monster Hunter.
It's still a traditional, huge, single player JRPG mind. There's still a wibbly bibbly story to play your way through, and a cast of characters who all appear to have trouble flattening down their hair.
After a brief playable intro, you're dropped into the shoes of your protagonist. He's not particularly angsty, which makes a nice change. You give him a name, talk to your family for a bit, then head out in search of adventure.
The game is structured around a central quest hub. You get an adventurer license, make some friends, form a party, then go out into the field to whomp monsters, pick up loot, and complete missions.
Battles are random and turn-based, and pretty similar to those you'd find in Final Fantasy VII. The big difference here are the Genes you can equip your characters with. These are essentially collectible cards that give you magical powers.
Each Gene is based on one of seven elements and so are the monsters you'll fight. Each element has strengths and weaknesses against the others, and the Gene you have equipped defines which element your character is tied to.
It makes for some interesting stat juggling as you gain more Genes, and having a balanced team can really help you out of some sticky situations.
Hip to be square
Alongside the story mode there's the Battle Coliseum. Here you take on waves of bad guys and bosses to earn more XP and extra loot. It's perfect if you want to jump in for a quick fight without toiling through the story.
There's an awful lot to do here, and it's surprisingly compulsive too. You want to nudge the story along, engage with the interesting cast of characters, and see what different combinations of genes can actually do.
Some might be upset that it's not the Chaos Rings that they remember, but this is a deep and engaging mobile RPG experience that shows Square Enix is still the master of the genre.