Review: I Am Setsuna

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Review: I Am Setsuna

Post by This Old Neon » 13 Sep 2016 16:20

I Am Setsuna
by J.C. Cawley and Rob Dunphy


"This Old Neon strives to publish reviews with at least two opposing voices: one largely positive or sympathetic, and the other more critical and demanding" (Review Policy). Both reviewers provide honest evaluations of the game; thus, a sympathetic review may not always be fully positive, and a critical one need not be completely negative. There will be intersections, overlaps, agreements, and divergences. It is the readers' prerogative to navigate these as they see fit. - JC

Square Enix created Tokyo RPG Factory specifically to develop the kind of traditional, turn-based role-playing game for which fans have been clamouring for years. The timbre is usually nostalgic lamentation: “Why are new Final Fantasy entries so different?” I Am Setsuna, the fledgling studio’s debut effort, aggressively positions itself as a throwback to the genre’s halcyon days. The risk inherent in this backwards-looking reverence is a tendency to emphasize form over function. Ultimately, I Am Setsuna is little more than a shallow, diminished imitation of the games it hopes to channel. - "Cold Comfort" - J.C.

From its initial announcement, I Am Setsuna billed itself as the spiritual successor to the golden age of Japanese role-playing games. Drawing huge influence from the heavyweights, most notably Chrono Trigger, it sought to bring the feeling of exploration and of saving the world with a ragtag team, to the current generation. Unfortunately, the Setsuna team took all the old conventions that have, for good reason, long been abandoned and brought them back front and centre. - "The Wrong Kind of Retro" - Rob

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Kong Wen
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Re: Review: I Am Setsuna

Post by Kong Wen » 13 Sep 2016 18:17

I didn't even get a chance to talk about how half-cooked the plot is. The game attempts to drop these big revelations on you as though they're meaningful plot twists, but the game hasn't done any of the work to "earn" the twist. When a certain character dies in Final Fantasy VII, it's an important part of multiple characters' development. Even if it's not done particularly well, it changes the direction of the game. It has weight and impact in the game world. When I Am Setsuna tries to pull off a big reveal, everyone just kind of shrugs and goes on their way.

This had the additional effect of making the whole game feel more like a first chapter of something bigger rather than a complete story in and of itself. There are no real turns in the plot. You set out to accomplish a goal, and that remains your goal through the entire game.
Over men and horses, hoops and garters, lastly through a hogshead of real fire.
In this way Mr. K. will challenge the world!

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Re: Review: I Am Setsuna

Post by Kreegs » 13 Sep 2016 23:44

I have never been a big fan of JRPGs, but this one doesn't sound like the one to break that trend for me. Very well written by both people. I got a very good picture of the shortcomings.
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Re: Review: I Am Setsuna

Post by Kong Wen » 14 Sep 2016 14:17

Kreegs wrote:I have never been a big fan of JRPGs, but this one doesn't sound like the one to break that trend for me. Very well written by both people. I got a very good picture of the shortcomings.
Yeah I don't think it's a game that's expected to break a trend for anyone. If you already know you don't like JRPGs, this is just going to be a distilled version of why you don't like them. If you're already in love with JRPGs, you're either going to be taken in by the pantomime or you're going to see all of its shortcomings right away.
Over men and horses, hoops and garters, lastly through a hogshead of real fire.
In this way Mr. K. will challenge the world!

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