GDC 2016: Hands-on with Tokyo RPG Factory’s I Am Setsuna

I-am-Setsuna

Last week, Square Enix announced that it would be releasing Tokyo RPG Factory’s I Am Setsuna in North America and Europe this summer on the PlayStation 4 and Steam. While I didn’t think I’d have a chance to play the game until much later (outside of buying a digital copy on the Japanese PlayStation Store), I was very happy to find out it was playable on the show floor over at the Unity booth.

I Am Setsuna is a combination of everything that was great about Square Enix (aka Squaresoft) back in the ’90s. This “Golden Age” of JRPGs would see innovative release after release from Square with titles like Final Fantasy II (aka FF IV), Final Fantasy III (aka FF VI), Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Evermore, and even Super Mario RPG. Tokyo RPG Factory does a great job of recreating that old-school style while being developed for a current-gen system. It sort of gave me that feeling that I was playing a port of a game I played a very long time ago with updated graphics and visuals. It isn’t a bad thing; just more of a nostalgic feeling.

The battle system draws heavily from Chrono Trigger, featuring an Active Time Battle System. Entering a battle is a quick and seamless transition without ever entering a loading screen. One thing that Chrono Trigger received a lot of praise for was the addition of Dual and Triple characters techniques, where placing the right combination of characters would let you perform these special moves and deal massive damage to your enemies, and that’s something you can enjoy in I Am Setsuna.

I Am Setsuna has some beautiful locations. While I spent some time exploring the world map on my airship Final Fantasy VI style, I came across a very interesting place. A lone grave in the mountains, it reminded me quite a bit of Toma’s grave from Chrono Trigger, but it was actually the visuals of the lone grave high in the snowy mountains overlooking an ocean that really drew my attention as the snow fell. If this one spot looked great, what else could we expect to see?

I got a good grasp of the game from around 20 minutes with the game. It flowed really well and most importantly, the game was fun. It’s not the sequel to Chrono Trigger (not counting Chrono Cross) we’ve been waiting for, but it’s a great in between that may fill that void for now.

Here is a video of some gameplay footage I was able to capture from the show floor, and let me know what you think of the game so far.

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