I Am Setsuna is a tribute to the ‘90s JRPG
The ‘90s played host to many of our favorite Japanese role-playing games, like the Final Fantasy series and Chrono Trigger. The turn-based battle systems, the world maps, the emotionally triggering stories, and the distinctly designed characters of those ‘90s JRPGs, a lot of us hold those things dear to our hearts. That’s why Square Enix launched Tokyo RPG Factory, a new game studio hoping to bring back that ‘90s JRPG feel to 2016. Tokyo RPG Factory’s first game is I Am Setsuna, a game inspired by Chrono Trigger and story that tugs at the emotional heart strings.
I was able to play a bit of the game at PAX East 2016 and if you’re nostalgic for those old school games you’ll most likely be sure to love this one.
Setsuna is a young woman who is tasked with saving the people of her land. The portion I played really didn’t delve too much into the story, so I really didn’t know the overall “evil” she and her party were battling. I already had three members to the party so the three of us just traversed the snowy landscape until we came across a fort. In talking to the characters in the fort, it appears they were lied to and betrayed by someone they trusted about some sort of pilgrimage.
Once I left the fort, I visited another area which looked like a town that was destroyed and abandoned. The town was full of monsters and I was able to get a first look at the battle system. The battle system is completely inspired by Chrono Trigger. It is turn-based and each character has their own specialties and roles. Setsuna, Endir, and Aeterna, the characters in my party, all have a basic attack, followed by a Tech or Combo ability (in some old JRPGs, they would call it Magic), which can range from summoning lightening to launching a cyclone attack which would hit all enemies. Then, of course, you have the Items where characters can take a sip of potion or ether during battle, or other items to get rid of statuses. You know, your basic JRPG items.
After I made quick work of the monsters in the abandoned town, I returned to the snowy map and made my way to an icy cave. The cave had even more monsters so I went through a number of battles before I arrived at a giant turtle-like creature with a tentacle snout. The characters I was playing with were pretty powerful so I didn’t have too tough of a time with this boss. Although he had a poison attack that he was able to hit a couple of us with, big attacks like Cyclone, Lightning, and Aerial Strikes from my characters were able to take him down easily.
Overall, the nostalgia is there. As someone who really enjoyed JRPGs in the ‘90s, Tokyo RPG Factory definitely nailed the feeling of the era. Although I didn’t get much time with the game or to dive deep into the story, it’s a game that I believe most old schoolers who are wishing for these types of RPGs to make a comeback will enjoy.
I Am Setsuna will arrive on July 19 for PlayStation 4 and PC.