Everyone's got them up on pedestals and all that, and yeah - really good games but nowhere close to FF7/9, xenogears, terranigma, etc.
The main problem with both of them, although CC is by far the main culprit, is that the story isn't artfully worked into the game the whole time, a la FF7, but rather you're given oodles of freedom to do whatever you want and then at hugely obvious pre-determined points you have to sit through 10 minutes of plot being stuffed down your throat.
This isn't so bad in CT because the characters are what really drive the game along, but CC gives into the fun of collecting hundreds of characters in lieu of really developing and getting to know a few intimately. Your're switching character so often that you just don't care anymore, 'cause it's not like you've spent the whole game with one group who you get attached too. Sure, they all have their own backstory, but it's not the same as getting into all the subtle nuances of character over time and so forth.
Plus there's no attachment to Chrono or Serge because they DON'T FREAKING TALK! What's up with that? Trying to make the gamer feel as if it's them in the game? Doesn't work. Silent protaganists are NOT enigmatic and interesting. They're damn boring. Has no one worked this out? I'd rather have a complete prat like Squall as the hero than some random '...' guy.
Frog/Magus and Kid/Harle were awesome but I coulden't give a monkey's uncle about Chrono or Serge. They don't do anything.
CC is by far the worst of the two though. It's gorgeous and fun eye-candy, at the expense of character and story development. Yeah, there's definatley a great story there, but as in a good book it needs to be revealed in stages. I was none too thrilled to have two thirds of the plot dumped on me 2 minutes before the final battle. That far away from the end I couldn't care less.
Arguably both games are great and refreshing for the immense freedom they give to the player, but they suffer from it. There's often too few hints on what to do next. If you do want to just get going it leads to long and frustrating searches for the next place you're supposed to be at, and it just gets boring.
Nobody ever got hurt from a little structure kids.
heh, my rants are long and annoying.
I don't care.
*bashes chrono and serge*