: Is I Am Setsuna The Ultimate JRPG Love Note?

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Is I Am Setsuna The Ultimate JRPG Love Note?

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So here I was, thinking I had 2016 pretty well mapped out in my mind. From a gaming perspective, I mean.

I'll probably be done with the unbelievably excellent Ratchet & Clank next week and then I'll be lying in wait for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (May 10), Doom (May 13), and Mirror's Edge Catalyst (now June 7).

I figured if the second expansion for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Blood and Wine, really does come out on June 7 (as previously rumored), I could spend a nice leisurely summer playing that. It's supposed to be 20 hours long, ya know. But then I saw that the Chrono Trigger-inspired RPG, I Am Setsuna, had landed a western launch date of July 19. Well now, that throws a monkey wrench into the works, because I seriously doubt I'll finish all those May games and Blood and Wine by the end of June. In fact, I know I won't.

And yet, I think I might have to play I Am Setsuna. I have heard claims from developers and publishers about how so-called retro/traditional RPGs will remind us of days long gone. Except most of the time, these games are only "retro" in terms of visual display; yeah, they've got a spruced-up old-school look. But the gameplay is very often just more action, as even indie developers seem loath to go anywhere near a true turn-based mechanic, as if it's some sort of disease. One of the few examples of a game that sort of transported me back in time was the great Child of Light but for the most part, "retro" doesn't always pertain to the gameplay. In fact, from what I've seen, it rarely does.

And yet, I Am Setsuna really is turn-based. Toss in the traditional structure, right down to the party that runs around with one member following the other, the towns and forests and dungeons, the inventory and menu screens, etc, and yeah, this actually looks like a slightly modified yet certainly prettier version of those classic SNES and PS1 RPGs many of us knew and loved. Perhaps this really is the ultimate JRPG love note and I wouldn't be surprised if I played it for a long time. We'll see...

4/22/2016 Ben Dutka

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Comments (17 posts)

Temjin001
Friday, April 22, 2016 @ 10:13:35 PM
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Just before I was about to roll my eyes and move on I decided I'd better check some videos out. To my surprise this looks pretty damn good.

Maybe FFXV will crash so hard they'll scale themselves back to something more like this. That wouldn't be so bad.

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bebestorm
Friday, April 22, 2016 @ 10:51:01 PM
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The release date is actually July 19th it was announced today and Star Ocean is the one that releases on the 28th of June. I've watched some gameplay on Playstation Live looks very promising!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 12:13:21 AM

Yeah, I saw. July 19 is better for me, anyway. :)

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bebestorm
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 8:22:04 AM

Im happy there's plenty to play this summer because usually it's nothing!

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ethird1
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 12:32:55 AM
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Good coverage. I will have to check into this.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 2:19:28 AM
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Looking at the gameplay trailer, yes it seems fine. They're clearly going out of their way to make this a throw back to classic JRPG's. Upon looking up more information on the game, I found out how much so.

The main character is called 'Hero'... Yes, that's right, meaning he suffers for silent protagonist syndrome! This is the biggest feature that really ruins a JRPG for me. I simply cannot stand playing as this avatar which has no input to the scenarios and has everyone talk around them. Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii was an extraordinary game, the best JRPG experience I have had in years, but the sequel ditched the cast from the 1st game and made you play as 'Hero'. I bought a Wii-U in prep for the game and upon finding that out, I sold it. It really is that big of a problem for me.

Final Fantasy IX is my favourite game of all time and the funny thing is it's probably the worst FF from PS1 onwards in regards to the battles - Sadly due to technical restraint it is a little slow paced. However, while I need a combat system which flows, it is actually probably the least important feature for me. What I seek for in JRPG's is an adventure, I feel the medium is the best way to experience adventures, following a party on their quest as they venture out into the world. Getting involved with all the characters and their personal motives and what they learn on their travels. This is precisely what Final Fantasy XV is offering, even with the action based combat, featuring one controllable character the story is true to the spirit of what a JRPG should be. I will take action JRPG's like Final Fantasy XV, Star Ocean, NieR over a throw back like this any day.

Persona is a very interesting exception, I think the game simply has so much flair that I can just get by the notion of Silent Protagonist Syndrome. Interesting to note on the Anime Adaptation of P4, the main character actually speaks. So, I am hoping in Persona 5 they have finally learnt how integral a main character who is actively engaged in the experience is. Pardon the rant, but I feel the Silent Protagonist issue is simply a poor gameplay mechanic which needs to be eliminated from JRPG's - Unless their MMO's... which I don't enjoy etither.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 10:28:09 AM

Interesting that you can't stand the silent protagonist thing. It never bothered me much though I can't say why. Maybe because it felt a little more like I was experiencing the story as opposed to somebody else...?

As for combat, it's critical for me. I still say FFVII flowed the best and offered the most amount of imagination and creativity when it came to prepping a team, but it could just be because it hit the high notes of what I value in a fighting system. :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 3:46:40 PM

Silent Protag never bothered me at all either, works great in Persona and Suikoden. You are meant to map your personality onto them.

Of course, if you don't have one, then you won't get it. ;) Obviously it would have been a monumental task to have him be quiet for the whole Anime. Wouldn't make sense to build tension because you aren't playing him, he's playing himself in passive entertainment.

Reminds me I gotta see that. I never did because I was not allowed to finish P4 thanks to a bizarre difficulty shift in the last level that makes the game impossible to go any further in.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/23/2016 3:49:18 PM

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berserk
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 8:07:32 AM
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So many game try to say they are like chrono trigger and none EVER have any kind of combo system like it ( yeah not many but still feel that way ) .Tired of that %$?& . Even chrono cross could nt do it ...

Not a single one i can think off did it better/more fun .

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berserk
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 8:28:58 AM

Seem i talked to fast . I did more research and there are combos like in chrono trigger . About time another game had something like it .

Last edited by berserk on 4/23/2016 8:29:16 AM

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berserk
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 8:23:25 AM
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Also nope , Bravely default was/is the Ultimate jrpg love note .

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berserk
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 8:30:36 AM

Well , maybe now if i can manage to tolerate the piano music for a long time .

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 3:45:22 PM

Yeah but that's on a loser pompous system not worth money.

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xenris
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 1:17:35 PM
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Chrono trigger is probably my favourite SNES JRPG. This looks like more of that, so sign me up.

I was actually going to mention this game in the comments somewhere as I wasn't sure if Ben had it on his radar yet.

But here we are, I'm excited for this one.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 3:44:34 PM
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I'll take it!

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Banky A
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 6:27:38 PM
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I'll take one sir.

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shadowscorpio
Sunday, April 24, 2016 @ 4:07:22 PM
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In Love. I'll be purchasing this one.

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