Roleplaying games have changed drastically from the last few decades. With the introduction of 3D graphics, voice acting, facial recognition and other advancements in technology and even a change in our cultural outlook on video games, they’ve come a very far way since their earliest roots.
Tokyo RPG Factory, developers of I Am Setsuna attempts to recreate that old feeling of early generation JRPGs, and especially influenced by the classic JRPG Chrono Trigger. Does it deliver a video game experience that hasn’t been seen in a very long time? Undoubtedly.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind about I Am Setsuna, and that should ultimately decide if I Am Setsuna is worth buying.
Are you a JRPG Fan?
It is an important distinction to make between regular fans of Roleplaying games, and specifically fans of Japanese Roleplaying games. The differences are both numerous and subtle, but for simplicity’s sake we’ll say that there is a certain degree of aesthetics, gameplay, character design and plot differences between the two, that may appeal or not appeal to certain players.
If you are a fan of JRPG games, then you might be able to enjoy I Am Setsuna, as it is the very definition of a traditional JRPG, with little to no modern video gaming influence that can be seen. If not, then this game might not be your cup of tea, and may not even be your best foray into the genre, unless you were specifically looking for an older style of JRPG.
Are you a fan of Chrono Trigger?
The most obvious game that I Am Setsuna takes influence from is Chrono Trigger. Everywhere from the mute protagonist style, the simplistic story telling elements, gameplay and even some character design choices can be traced back to Chrono Trigger. It goes without saying that if you didn’t enjoy Chrono Trigger, then you would be hard pressed to enjoy I Am Setsuna.
With that said, if you enjoyed some elements of other JRPG games during that same period, notably Final Fantasy 4 and 5, Secret of Mana, and Breath of Fire, then you might be able to acclimate to I Am Setsuna.
Do you want a mellow and a softer gameplay experience?
This might seem like an odd question to ask, but it is a very prevalent theme in the game. I Am Setsuna has a generally very tranquil feel. That is not to say the game is not engaging, but between the snow-covered fields you traverse, simple yet sincere characters you meet, and the melancholic piano tracks lends to this overall feeling of serenity.
There are some obviously high tension points in the game, notably during boss fights where you will need to be on-point lest you find your party annihilated, but in general you can sit back and enjoy the story without being too stressed out.
Do you want to try a different, old-school gaming experience?
One of the more notable things about I Am Setsuna is how different it is from contemporary gaming experiences. With most video games being released with micro transactions, in-game product placement, DLC, shoe-horned online components, I Am Setsuna bears none of the hallmarks of modern video games.
If you were looking to try a gaming experience that has a simpler, but focused game experience that doesn’t try to take you away from what really matters in a video game, then I Am Setsuna may be a good choice for you to pick up.
Is I Am Setsuna worth buying?
I Am Setsuna is available on a lot of different platforms, PS4, PSVita, and PC, so chances are that you have some way of buying it digitally on Steam or the PSN store. But the real question is, should you spend the money on I Am Setsuna? We would say it’s definitely a yes. The style is nice, somewhat refreshing, and features an amazing soundtrack to flow you through the game.
If there’s anything to take away from these points, it should be that I Am Setsuna delivers an old-school gaming experience, free of fluff that borrows lots of influence from SNES and PSX era JRPGs. If that sounds like something you are interested in, then you can’t go wrong with giving I Am Setsuna a shot.