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Anyone played this game yet?

It came out last month by a new rpg development team called Tokyo RPG Factory (as a part of Square Enix.) They advertise it as a throwback to 90s rpgs, with an obvious inspiration of Chrono Trigger.

I just finished it today and I absolutely loved it, it was just a blast to play. Its a little on the short side (though, that isn't always a bad thing. With getting older and having classes and work, sometimes its hard to sink 40 hours into a new RPG.) However, it has a fun battle system that is a definite throwback to CT with some new elements mixed in. The ability and flux system can be as deep or shallow as you want it; I actually spent a quarter of the game playing it one way, then realized I could be doing sooo much more so I switched things up on what I was using and how I was using it. As a first title from a new RPG dev team, I can't wait to see more from them.

Anyone else played it? Opinions/thoughts of it?
I haven't played it, everything I've heard about the game is that it's a bland throwback jrpg mashup of Chrono Trigger and FF10 but with even more boring combat than CT*. $40USD is way too much to risk on that so I'm going to wait for either a killer steam sale or a decent LP to see if it's something that tickles my fancy because everything I've seen and heard so far is "No".

*iirc it was something about mages being absolutely useless and two guys having some Browbeat move that is absurdly OP or something? Been a while and it's second hand info so I might be wrong on something here.
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
It's everything I want Square Enix to be doing, and it was a miserable failure for them financially. It makes me so sad. Now it'll be another ten years before they make another traditional RPG.
I don't know how far I am in (I just completed the cave east of Royburg).
Overall I think the game's average/fairly good so far.

-Character customization and battle strategies became fun enough after a few hours in.
-Progress is fairly fast.
-I find the premise very interesting, despite being predictable and that it sounded too much like FFX at first. I really want to know what will happen to/with Setsuna.

Some flaws in my eyes:
-Most playable characters, so far, are not very interesting.
-Enemies and bosses are too easy. I used less than 5 items so far and didn't bother with adding Flux to abilities. Buying accessories seems useless.
-Recipes were also useless to me so far. If you want to heal, just level up (levels rise really fast).
-While the setting is nice, it becomes redundant to look at more and more snow and penguins.
Looked uninteresting. I'll pass.

I mean, Chrono Trigger was nothing that special, so why would I blow money on a CT look alike?
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
I don't actually know anything about how good the game is, as I haven't played it yet. I just know it was Square Enix's test to see if making traditional RPGs could potentially be worth doing. And it lost them 2.5 million dollars (half the game's budget).

From what I understand, I Am Setsuna is basically just Chrono Trigger. Which is, astonishingly, something that no major developer has ever tried before, despite it being one of the top five most highly revered video games in existance. Mostly because Square held the patent on the ATB battle system until 2014.

If the comparison to Chrono trigger is true then I don't really see how anyone can like anything on this website but dislike I Am Setsuna. Due to the lack of popularity I want to believe it fell short in some critical manner, but the cynic in me thinks it failed purely because it's a traditional JRPG and Square Enix is right that menu-based RPGs are dead and no one wants to buy them.
The only things that feel like CT to me are the combined attacks and the positions of battlers with the ATB.
Everything else from character customization to the world and story is different enough from CT to make me forget that Setsuna is
inspired by CT.

From what I've played so far, I think that CT is a much better game.
I did my usual strategy with this game, I watched the very beginning of it and then hit some playlists somewhere in the middle and watched random encounters.

The very beginning had the problem that the characters didn't seem very interesting. Lucca and Marle weren't exactly deep and complex characters, but they still caught my interest way better than Setsuna and A-something. I may be wrong, but the characters came of to me as rather uninspired.

The random battles had the standard RPG problem; spam the same crap over and over. One player spammed attack while another player had one character who would spam Cyclone and one who would spam Lightning 2. If you're going to make a traditional JRPG, that's the tradition I don't want you to keep.
I'd say it copies Chrono Trigger almost to perfection. Sure the story isn't about time travel and the whole game is a snowy region so it lacks the high variety that Chrono Trigger had, but it still has hundreds of Chrono Trigger references up to cutscenes that could totally be CT cutscenes, just reskinned.

The battle system is also an almost exact copy up to the same skill names and combos and the fact that every single monster has a unique behavior pattern that requires to apply some tactic.

Where the game fails, however, is everything where it tried to do something new.

But let's take a look at each aspect one by one.

Story - The story has everything you need in your average JRPG. There's nothing ground breaking, but it is also nothing boring. It keeps you going, it has its good moments, it has no logic errors. Even though many complain about the game being too short, I want to note that it's not shorter than Chrono Trigger. I think 30 hours is actually the perfect RPG length. I Am Setsuna does not offer a New Game+, but after a certain point in the game you can revisit all previous locations again for additional rewards, new monsters and bosses, which actually gives you quite some optional endgame content.

Graphics - Graphics are pretty beautiful. The characters don't have any feet, but most of the time your walking in snow, so you won't see it. It also has a nice graphical effect that moves the snow to the sides when you walk through it. The downside is that since the whole game plays in snow you really only have very few sceneries: Snowy forest/village/mountain, ice dungeon, ruins. That's it, nothing else in the game. Luckily, it's still acceptable given the game's length.

Music - Now the game really made me miss the CT OST. I found myself humming the CT battle theme instead of listening to the actualy battle theme pretty often. The I Am Setstuna OST isn't bad, but it's so calm and the only songs with a notable melody stole that melody straight from CT. Yeah they really even partially copied the songs right from CT and just changed a note here and there, so it isn't 100% identical. Most of the time however, the OST is too calm and slow for me to actually really love it. I'd still say it's good.

Gameplay - Now here I can talk about a lot. The gameplay is mostly copied straight from Chrono Trigger, so I'll focus on the things that are different.

1. Spells / Combos / Spritnites
In I Am Setsuna, each 2-character combination has 3 combos and each 3-character combination has 1 combo. That makes up for significantly more combos than Chrono Trigger had (remember, you needed Crono or Magus for combos). Each character can also learn slightly more spells than in CT. And the spells and combos have more unique effects. They don't only vary in damage and AoE and element, they also have tons of special properties on them (especially status changes are pretty big in I Am Setsuna).
That sounds all great, right? It would be if it wasn't for the spritnite system. In Chrono Trigger you simply learned the skills by leveling up or getting far enough in the story. In I Am Setsuna you have to "craft" sprinites and equip them to have the spell available.
The problem with having to equip spells is that it makes it super hard to even get combos at all. UI options that would make it more comfortable like "Equip all sprinites needed for this combo" are completely missing. There's no visual information on what other characters and sprinites you need. The only thing you can do it open the compendium, which is HUGE and find the section that lists the combos. Here you can see which sprinites combos are needed. You can write those down on a piece of paper and then use that info to equip the right sprinites.
But since you want to switch characters around you have to do this OFTEN. Turning I Am Setsuna into a game where 50% of the playtime is menu browsing.
One thing they didn't copy from Chrono Trigger very well is the AoE effects. In Chrono Trigger you could always see in red which monsters the skills and combos would hit. In I Am Setsuna you don't see that, you have to guess which monsters will be hit.

2. Kill system and crafting spritnites
So I mentioned you need to craft sprinites. There is another system closely connected to that, the kill system. In I Am Setsuna, monsters drop different items depending on how you kill them. There is a different item for Over Kill, Exact Kill, Fire Kill, Water Kill, Light Kill, Shadow Kill, Time Kill, Debuff Kill, Momentum Kill and Link Kill. So whenever you encounter a new monster, you will want to kill with all those kill types so you get all the items. Because if you are missing out on an item, it means you can't get a certain spritnite which also means you will miss out on skills and potential combos. There are also support sprinites that basically work like accessoires, which can sometimes be mandatory to defeat a certain enemy.
While the kill system is mostly not that annoying if you concentrate on it (you can get several kills at once, just debuff the enemy and then use a multi-elemental combo and you already can get 5+ kills on a single monsters, exact kills are really the most annoying to get), it still means having to switch around characters and sprinites often even during a dungeon and that means even more menu browsing.
The system is not purely bad, however, and with I Am Setsuna's balance issues, it's actually kind of mandatory to have, because otherwise you'll just stick with a certain party and sprinites combo for the whole game and instant win every single non-boss encounter (because there are some all-hitting combos that can kill pretty much every normal monster in one hit). So you could say that the kill system helps keeping the combat interesting. It's really mostly the menu browsing between combat that ruins the fun.

3. Difficulty and balance
I Am Setsuna is a hard game. Much much harder than Chrono Trigger (which really is a pretty easy game). In Chrono Trigger, you had to find out the right tactics to win a battle, but you could learn the right tactic during combat. In I Am Setsuna a single wrongly used spell basically means instant death. The damage of all monsters is huge, up to the point where they can one-hit kill one of your characters. In I Am Setsuna you survive either by casting a combo that can instantly wipe the monsters without them getting a turn or equipping support sprinites and casting defensive skills to ensure you don't get wiped until your next turn. Boss battles are even more brutal, because they take very long, so the option to one-hit kill the boss doesn't exist. You often end up mostly casting heal and defensive skills only to get some damage in occasionally, making many boss battles drag on for very long. Also since you can't change Sprinites or Characters during battle, you often might just run into a battle that can't be won at all with your current sprinite and character setup. More often than not, the first attempt against a boss is just to see what skills he uses, then you have to let yourself getting killed (no soft reset available) and only then you can start to seriously tackle the challenge by putting the right characters and sprinites into your party.
Usually I like myself some challenge, so it isn't a problem for me most of the time, but there's one more thing: Dungeons have no save points except in front of the boss and some of the later dungeons can very well be 2 hours long. And those 2 hours are not just clearing the dungeon, to 50% or more it's menu browsing. Switching characters and sprinites so can get all the kill types. And imagine you worked hard the past hour to get all the kills, then get into a normal battle and realize your class and sprinites combination can't win this battle. You will die, game over screen. Restart from scratch, get all kills again, do all the menu browsing again. It can be really frustrating.
There are a bunch of unfair boss moments too where you can actually get permanently stuck (like a character member being force switched into your group without giving you the chance to change the sprinites the character has equipped, so you better had him prepared with the right sprinites 10 hours ago when he left the party).
So the game can be really frustrating at times, but most of the time the combat is fun. The lack of budget is noticable as each dungeon only has 2-3 different monsters, but they really worked hard and combined those monster types in so many different ways that it really ends up with no same encounter twice (it's like they read my guide on how to make encounters interesting when you don't have the resources to draw many monster sprites). Also each monster has a unique behavior pattern, Chrono Trigger style. Unfortunately you won't even get to see those behavior patterns most of the time as it's kill them before they can act usually. Though you will at least have to apply tactics on those "they kill you if you kill them" enemy types. And there are a bunch of unwinnable battles where you actually have to use an item to "run" (seriously, don't forget to bring fogstones).

Conclusion: I found the game pretty fun and was really happy to finally play another game that really felt like Chrono Trigger. It's mostly well designed and copies all the good stuff from Chrono Trigger almost to perfection. However a few of the "new" features the game brings can lead to quite some frustration.

I'd say if you really love Chrono Trigger, you will still forgive this game's issues and love it anyway. But if you are the type that doesn't think Chrono Trigger was the best JRPG ever made, it's likely you won't like I Am Setsuna all that much.

I'd rate the game 8/10 (or 4 stars in RMN terms).
I haven't played it, everything I've heard about the game is that it's a bland throwback jrpg mashup of Chrono Trigger and FF10 but with even more boring combat than CT*. $40USD is way too much to risk on that so I'm going to wait for either a killer steam sale or a decent LP to see if it's something that tickles my fancy because everything I've seen and heard so far is "No".

*iirc it was something about mages being absolutely useless and two guys having some Browbeat move that is absurdly OP or something? Been a while and it's second hand info so I might be wrong on something here.

I definitely agree that 40usd seems too much and usually I think I would find myself passing on that price tag, but I really didn't mind so much since its showing some support for classic JRPG's especially since they are so rare these days.

Yeah, there is a move called Blowbeat that is insane on most enemies (except for bosses. It still does its job to inflict some okay damage, but its not a one-hit kill like is usually is with mobs of lesser enemies.)

RyaReisender really nailed a lot of the game with that mini-review. Its got some flaws for sure, but I can honestly say I enjoyed my time with it. It was made by such a smaller team than your usual commercial RPG and they tried a few different things/took a few risks. I like to try and support that work and hopefully they make more games that fit the turn-based/ATB/CTB/whatever style. Its my favorite type of game and its obviously died off since the early 00's.

I personally liked the all snow setting, though I understand the opinion of it getting repetitive, but its something I haven't seen before. But I do have to admit that kind of stuff already appeals to me, I just love winter/snowy settings/ice caverns/etc.

The very beginning had the problem that the characters didn't seem very interesting. Lucca and Marle weren't exactly deep and complex characters, but they still caught my interest way better than Setsuna and A-something. I may be wrong, but the characters came of to me as rather uninspired.

Some characters didn't really catch my interest either, especially Kir. However, Endir (although he appears to be the flat silent hero at first,) Setsuna, Nidr and Aeterna were great and I was interested to see where the story took them. CT was like that with me too though, the only four that had my interest were of course Crono, Lucca, Marle and Frog until late game. The others that you get in the time periods (aside from Frog) were not very interesting to me.
The issue I have with the game so far (I'm not sure how far into it I am - at least a few hours) is that they copy CT too much.

What do I mean by that?

The music has basically lifted bits from CT music, making it hard to get emerged into the world when you're constantly being jarred out of it like "Wait, that part... isn't that part of the Black Omen? And that small piece is from the world map... >.<; "

They took the actual names of CT combination attacks which is incredibly lazy, in my book. Maybe one or two, sure, but there's more than that.

The pacing is a bit too fast for my tastes. Or at least, the game is too linear so far. It's very go here, go there, go here, go there, except more "small scene, boss, dungeon, boss, story, boss, etc". It's a bit annoying.

I do like some parts, though.

The story so far is pretty different to CT, which is nice. That might change but it's a decent enough story.

The battles are alright. I just have no idea how to upgrade your spell/magic crest things (I've got like, one upgrade).

I dunno, it's okay but the only things like CT are things they stole from CT and that's not how you should make a game that is supposedly inspired by a game.
I think it's ok to "steal" from a great game, especially if nobody else did it the past 20 years.

This game basically is Chrono Trigger 2. They just can't call it that because it's not about time travel.
I don't think it's okay to steal from a game straight out, even if it's a bloody sequel to it. Taking refrains from music from the game just made me wish I was playing CT instead. It's an okay game but it needed to focus a bit more on it's own identity. There was no need to follow CT since it has nothing to do with CT. I mean, there's a difference between taking the ideas from a game forward and making something awesome new and with it vs stealing select pieces of a game and shoe-horning them into another game in order to try and force a connection.

It would have been a much better game if they hadn't tried to fake the CT connection by using things from CT that didn't need to be used. Sure, use the battle system, sure add some other bits and bobs like the locked chests or found items, but actually lifting the music and skill names is too much. It's a pity because there were some tunes that were reminiscent of CT without having to steal actual refrains and melodies from the music of CT - it just created a really jarring, annoying effect of "Hey, I've heard this before but it's not right."

I like the game, but I would recommend waiting til it goes on sale if you want to get it because as much as it WANTS to be CT2, it's not and it shouldn't have been forced to try to be.
If you are taking ideas from another game, you need to know what ideas you want to take and why. In order to make a good Chrono Trigger like game, you have to figure out what made that game fun and should be transferred to your game. However, your game will be different in many regards so you also need to figure out what ideas are not compatible with what you're going for and has to be discarded. Then there are some ideas which can be used, but has to be modified, be it in order to make it compatible with your game, because the idea hasn't aged well and has to be updated or for another reason.

Nothing strange really, if you eat a very good soup, you can of course not just randomly take half the ingredients, toss in a few on your own and expect a great result. However, some posts give me the impression that this is what happened to I am Setsuna. Take a couple of CT elements, add a few on your own, toss it into a blender and hope the result will sell well.

I haven't played the game, but so far absolutely nothing, be it YouTube clips, SE's own trailer or forum posts, suggests that the CT elements have been chosen with good care.
Yeah, I Am Setsuna isn't perfect as the new stuff doesn't synergize too well with the CT stuff, so much is clear.

But that the skill names and themes are taken straight from CT is still something I'd put at the "Good points" side of I Am Setsuna, because those were exactly the things that made me happy because they gave me a nostalgic feelign

Some games are simply so good that you just want an exact copy of them with only the story being changed since you know the original one already out of your head after the 10th playthrough.
And that's fine, but personally it broke the immersion for me, especially the lifting of the music and names. Like I said, I don't mind a couple of names as a 'hey, shout-out' type thing, but the fact that this isn't a sequel to CT makes taking the actual music and using a whole bunch of the names really annoying to me because, well, it's NOT a sequel, it should be trying to show it's own diversity not stealing it's identity from another game. It had a good mix with the systems, and I like how it took inspiration in other areas but I put my foot down with using as many names as it did and taking as much music as it did.

I know people hate CC as a sequel to CT, but at least it had it's own feel and character, even if it had call-backs to the original. Setsuna feels like Breath of Fire V - wanting to be the sequel but missing the point entirely, so just slapped on some things in the hopes of appealing to a demographic by pretending to be part of that picture instead of seeking it's own identity.

That's one of the worst points of the game for me. The rest of it is pretty good, but I hated the fact it stole things that it didn't need to take from CT just to force that link. It didn't need to force a link. It was fine without doing so. Hell, it probably shot itself in the foot by trying to do that. I mean, if they wanted to get the musical feel of the game to be like CT, they could have hired the original composer instead of some copy-cat hack who took bits and pieces of the real music and slapped them into the game.

Frankly, I've started to play the game with the sound off just so I can be more immersed in it. Which is sad, because as I said, there's some really nice original music in it, but when the main tunes you hear have hacked-in pieces of the original CT music, it just destroys the immersion completely. It's like hearing One Winged Angel in an RM game - I don't care what awesome story was being told before that point, the moment that theme comes on you're reminded that another (possibly better) story exists that is linked to that song, which you could be playing instead.
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
are you saying that squaresoft committed squaresoft sin
I'm saying that if they wanted to make a sequel they should have just made a sequel, but even if Setsuna had been deliberately made a sequel, it is as bad a sequel as Chrono Cross was, if not worse. ;p

It's not a bad game, it's just got a lot of faults (boring characters being one of them, sadly) and shouldn't have had CT's name linked in any way to it.

They basically missed the boat on what made CT great (for the most part) and took only the 'easy' bits to replicate in order to try and force a 'feel' of linking to CT (doing the ol' "trying to make bank off a beloved game" dealio). Didn't work.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
No you're not, you're solid89, I mean it says like right there.
Sounds to me like you're just not liking the game. Boring characters, really?

Why shouldn't it have had CT's name linked to it? Why is it a bad sequel to Chrono Trigger? What made CT great for you that wasn't copied?

Like if before this game you'd have asked around what people would like to see, there would be a conversation like this often:
Q: What would you like to see?
A: Hmm, someone should make a game like Chrono Trigger again.
Q: So what was so cool about it?
A: The battle system of course! It was cool how every single encounter was integrated into the scenery and different, all required some strategy and there were those cool combos too.

I Am Setsuna is basically Square Enix's answer to this demand.

The fact that people just don't like it all that much now or don't even buy it because "$40 is overpriced for a 2D game", just shows that people really just don't know what they want. They might say they want a game like Chrono Trigger, but in reality they want to waste all their money on modern 3D super high-res graphic games and on microtransactions in addictive mobile games. People might complain about those all the time, but that's where their money goes anyway.

Now Square Enix can just rightfully say "Well, we tried, seems such games are just not popular anymore". It's sad.
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