Review: I Am Setsuna Is A Classic JRPG Throwback

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Nostalgia is the word and the state of pop culture right now. I’m totally digging it. We have all kinds of expansions of movies, comics, music and games that call back to the 80’s and 90’s. If you stepped out of a time machine from the future right now, you would have to check your flux-whoozatwirl to make sure you were in the right decade. One of my favorite things about my nostalgic thoughts are all the classic RPG’s I used to play. It looks like I wasn’t the only one thinking about those either. Square Enix and Tokyo RPG Factory have released a classic turn-based RPG called “I Am Setsuna” that is an almost perfect way to revisit your long lost RPG adventures.

“I Am Setsuna’s” story picks from different story elements of classic JRPG games. The setting is a depressing one. The character you play as is tasked with traveling to a nearby village in order to assassinate a young girl named Setsuna. Once you arrive, you discover that the girl is an important character in the world that is destined for a sacrifice during a ceremony. This sacrifice forces demons out of the area for a limited time, until the next sacrifice is required. Recently the area has become infested with demons and their numbers only seem to be growing.

Setsuna understands her destiny and is perfectly ok with giving herself up for the greater good. Once your character hears this he agrees to be a guard and help escort her to the sacrificial ceremony.

Along the way, you meet a cast of characters that join your group and assist in delivering Setsuna to her final destination. As you would expect from this sort of RPG, the world is full of twists, turns and the like.

The game takes place in a desolate world covered in snow. And when I say covered I mean it is everywhere. If this were “Game of Thrones,” the tagline would be “Winter done come!” While the snow scape does help to cement the idea of how cold and desolate the world is, it also becomes a very boring thing to look at. From screen to screen, all of it begins to look the same. There are small chunks of time where you visit dungeons that kind of breaks up the monotony. Overall though, there is too much of the same thing from area to area when it comes to snow. Boring. white. snow. 

The combat system is a mirror of a hybrid “Final Fantasy VI” and “Chrono Trigger.” They aren’t trying to be vague about that fact either. Some spells and combo attacks are named after some from the before mentioned games. Combat is a turn-based, three party system. It consists of dealing out attacks while trying to heal and protect members of your part from dying. There is nothing groundbreaking, but that isn’t what we came here for is it? This is a classic JRPG with everything that you loved about them built right inside.

Abilities can be equipped and switched out to allow for variety in attacks. You acquire special abilities by collecting materials and selling them to a merchant. Weapons can be purchased and reinforced in order to give them special perks. None of the mechanics are going to be anything new but it does offer one hell of a breath of fresh and nostalgic air.

I’m hoping to see more of these sorts of games from Tokyo RPG Factory. I’m hoping for larger games with a larger variety of landscapes. The magic is definitely there and should be developed to give us more of the same with added bonuses.

I’m a fan of “I Am Setsuna.” It was hard to pull myself away from, I enjoyed the blast from the past. I’m interested to see what younger gamers think about it without the hindsight of the nostalgia factor goggles.

…offer one hell of

a breath of fresh

and nostalgic air.

Setsuna offers a great story full of emotional highs and lows along with some memorable characters. It borrows from all the right games to make all the right mechanical decisions. You get exactly what you pay for in both playtime and RPG elements. It was also a nice break from from first person shooters and 3rd person adventure. My eyes are going to be on Tokyo RPG Factory in the coming years to see what is next.

“I Am Setsuna” is available on PS4 Vita and Steam.

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