When Square Enix announced that they are going to have an independent gaming studio called Tokyo RPG Factory that will focus on making JRPG based on old school, 90’s era, I became static because finally, a true JRPG is coming out once again, and shortly, they announced that Tokyo RPG Factory’s first game will be called I Am Setsuna, and this game is inspired by SNES classic Chrono Trigger.
JRPG fans all over the world goes crazy because Chrono Trigger is one of the best JRPG’s out there and making a game inspired by it is definitely a sure fire hit.
…or does it?
Is I Am Setsuna lived by its hype or it is another reason why JRPG genre is dead in this today’s gaming era? Check out my review below.
I Am Setsuna starts with the player controlling the main protagonist named Endir, who is mercenary to were hired to kill the sacrifice Setsuna.
The game started in a snow covered island where Endir is in pursuit of Setsuna to kill her. Setsuna is a young woman who happens to be a sacrifice so that the monsters in the world will vanish. As the story goes by, Endir became close to Setsuna and accompany her in to fulfill her journey as a sacrifice. The story is quite similar with Final Fantasy X wherein the male protagonist is guiding his female counterpart in her mission.
In their quest to find the Last Lands and fulfill the sacrifice, they met all of the playable characters in the game like Aeterna, Nidr, Julienne, Kir, and Fides The Reaper. Together, they all protect Setsuna so he can finish her journey and temporarily stop the monster attacks.
The story of the game is simple and kinda JRPG cliche minus the love story. Most of the twists in the story are somewhat predictable if you’re already a JRPG veteran.
There’s not much to say about the graphics. Imagine it as your typical Nintendo 3DS JRPG, upscale it and play it in PS4. The details is nice and no frame rate drop, however, the game is all snow making the graphics boring. The snow also affects the design of the map as most of the places, houses and dungeons look similar wherein there will times that you’ll get lost.
As mentioned, I Am Setsuna is inspired by Chrono Trigger wherein the combat uses an Active Time Battle System where you will have to wait for the bar to get filled before you do some actions such as attack, tech, using the items, and combo moves. Similar to the combat system of Final Fantasy series when each characters will have to wait for their turn to make a move, in short – turn based combat, which gives the player, especially hardcore JRPG fans that nostalgic feel. Speaking of Chrono Trigger, what I love about I Am Setsuna is the combo move similar to Chrono Trigger where you can use 2 or three of the characters to perform certain combos to do damage to the enemies, plus the Momentum to make your moves more powerful, though don’t expect that there’s a big similarity between Chrono Trigger and I Am Setsuna because you’ll just get disappointed.
Sometimes, the battles get really frustratingly hard that it is impossible to beat some monsters even if you already did some grinding to increase your level and improve your weapons.
Also, as a veteran JRPG gamer, what I am missing in this game are casting the summons like in the FF series and getting some unique materials to make your weapons stronger.
What I also hate about the gameplay are the locked chests and you can only open it if you already obtained the Royal Airship called Diange and speaking of airship, you can only get it near the end of the game which makes you realize that the map is small and the game is short (finished it in approximately 20 hours).
I can say that one of the beautiful things in this game is the music. The music is heavily based in using piano and each rhythm and flow of the sounds fit the characters and every scenario. I also love pacing of the music wherein you can actually feel the joy and sadness of the game.
Overall, I Am Setsuna is an average and short JRPG. I can say that this game doesn’t belong to the most memorable JRPG in gaming history but I applaud Square Enix and Tokyo RPG Factory for making this game and reliving the old JRPG era.
If you’re a veteran JRPG gamer, you will enjoy this game based on the reason of nostalgia but if you’re new to this JRPG genre, I can say that don’t start with this game if you still haven’t played some classic JRPG’s from SNES, PS1 and PS2, but if you’re really want to try this game out regardless of your JRPG experience, I suggest that you wait for the price of this one to get lowered because $40 is too steep for this game.