Game of the Month: I Am Setsuna

I Am Setsuna     July 19th     PS4/PC

If you’re anything like us, there are few gaming genres that you look  back on as fondly as the classic role playing games of the 16 bit era. Games like Final Fantasy VI, Illusion of Gaia and Chrono Trigger hold a special place in our memories as some of our favorite games that we played growing up. Unfortunately they’re also a style of game that has become all but extinct in recent years. So when Square Enix (creators of the Final Fantasy series) say that they’re creating a brand new development studio to make these types of games again, they immediately have our attention.

setsuna1I Am Setsuna is the first game from new developer Tokyo RPG Factory and they’ve made it clear that if you’re a fan of those old school RPGs, this is the game for you. The game is very much in the style of those classic Squaresoft titles and they mention Chrono Trigger in particular as an inspiration.

The story follows Setsuna, a young girl with mysterious powers passed down to her from her mother. The people of the island on which Setsuna lives must make a sacrifice every 10 years to an evil being in order to keep the peace, but when the fiend grows angry ahead of schedule the people must decide who will be the next one to be sacrificed and Setsuna is chosen. Now she, along with a group of escorts to protect her, must travel to the very edges of the world to sacrifice herself and save her village. The tone of the game is definitely very foreboding, with a sense of melancholy as you work towards your goal. Hopefully though the game will break up the seriousness of the situation with some humor now and then.

Gameplay will be immediately familiar to those of us who spent countless hours with RPGs of the 90’s. Players will explore the world and travel between towns using an old school overworld map and will even gain access to an airship (!!!) to help them quickly travel between locations and discover hidden areas. Combat is where the game shares the most in common with the aforementioned Chrono Trigger using an Active Time Battle System for enemy encounters. Players will decide between the usual commands of Attack, Magic or Item and then wait for that characters meter to fill back up before getting another turn. It’s all very old school and familiar for veteran RPG gamers.

Square Enix and Tokyo RPG Factory are banking on I Am Setsuna filling an untapped nostalgic need for old school role playing games. From what we’ve seen so far in trailers and feedback from the already released Japanese version of the game, they definitely seem to be on the right track and considering how popular those games were during the 90’s we’re guessing that there are plenty of older gamers who will be excited to play. Hopefully the younger generation of gamers will find it just as appealing and we can look forward to a resurgence of classic JRPGs.

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