I Am Setsuna Impressions0 Comments
I Am Setsuna quietly snuck up on western audiences over the past few weeks in a way befitting the game's understated nature. Developed by Tokyo RPG Factory and published by Square Enix, I Am Setsuna is a return to form of sorts for the JRPG giant, with tones of the classic roleplaying games of yore laced throughout.
I Am Setsuna is set in a world that has been plunged into eternal winter, and Setsuna, the game's namesake, is on a quest to save her world by sacrificing herself (Final Fantasy X, anyone?). Tokyo RPG Factory cites Chrono Trigger as its biggest influence, although I caught traces of Chrono Chross in the soundtrack's mournful orchestral notes and hints of Final Fantasy IX in the icy dungeon and tiny castle town I had the chance to explore in my time with the game.
Your party is comprised of three people, although the game features a wide cast of characters, and you can switch in fresh party members at any time. Each character I had the opportunity to play with had their own diverse set of abilities, all of which are pretty typical of the genre. One character specialized in red mage-esque buffs and debuffs, while another was a melee character with monk abilities. Meanwhile Setsuna, the lead character, had healing abilities.
Combat is heavily modelled after Crono Trigger's ATB system, and you're seamlessly plunged into enemy encounters much in the same way as the classic time travel romp. I Am Setsuna has some extra tricks up its sleeve, though, with the addition of timed abilities that are unlocked if you let your SP build to a certain point. These bonus abilities can add buffs, healing, or add extra power to your attacks. It definitely lends the battle system a modern touch, preventing players from getting too bored with random encounters, a common JRPG complaint.
When you're not dungeon crawling, you'll be travelling through towns and other landmarks to advance the story. I Am Setsuna is melancholic in tone, but this atmosphere of sadness is not overbearing. What stuck with me the most were the feelings of nostalgia I was struck with almost as soon as I picked up the PlayStaton 4 controller. If this carries over to the full game, Tokyo RPG Factory and Square will have succeeded in their mission to create a classic JRPG throwback. I Am Setsuna lands in the west on July 19 for PlayStation 4 and PC.