Developer: Tokyo RPG Factory
Publisher: Square Enix
I am Setsuna is an excellent JRPG with a superb story, enjoyable combat, and terrific character development.
The story is about a girl, Setsuna, on her journey to be sacrificed to save the rest of the world from monsters. I really liked the story. It’s very interesting, and even though there were a lot of predictable parts, I kept wanting to continue playing to find out more. Once I started playing it, I just didn’t want to stop, and I actually stayed up all night playing it until I finished it.
The game has a lot of combat, and all of the combat throughout the game uses an active time battle format where different characters attack at different speeds, and you can use timing to plan out your attacks appropriately. I like that you can see the time progress until your attacks are ready, but I do kind of wish that the enemy attacks showed up as well, (similar to the combat time bar in Child of Light). I also really like the momentum feature during combat. As you take damage and use your abilities, you gain momentum, which allows you to trigger a momentum boost during combat with your abilities giving them an added effect. Using these momentum boosts was extremely helpful once you figure out how to use them correctly.
- beautiful piano soundtrack that fits appropriately with what’s going on in the game
- gorgeous visuals; the added detail with the snow falling, and the paths each character makes in the snow as they move look great
- character development is fantastic; the characters are adorable, and they each have their own unique personality, with their own perspectives of the world (characters feel real, and their actions feel genuine and believable)
- excellent story full of hope and sorrow – you can tell that a lot of time and effort went into creating it
- there are quite a few achievements, and several locations you can visit that aren’t part of the main story, so there’s definitely a lot to do if you’re feeling up to it
- combat is enjoyable, and the leveling process is paced nicely; boss fights are interesting, and some of them certainly felt like an accomplishment after finally beating them
- good amount of flexibility in how you go about building your party and character loadouts with items and spells
- couldn’t get the Xbox One controller working properly (probably due to drivers), so keyboard was used instead, but you can only look at and edit your keybindings before launching the game, so it’s very inconvenient
- can’t save everywhere – you can only save the game at specific save points you find, and in some areas of the larger map while you’re travelling between towns
- dialog options are merely an illusion of choice, and the outcome will be the same regardless of what you choose
- the worst part of dying during the boss fights is that you have to sit through all of the character dialog before the fight before trying again, and there’s no way to skip it quickly (an auto save at the start of the fight would have been nice)
- there are a good amount of creatures you will encounter, but several of them seem to be just stronger, reskinned versions of some of the enemies from earlier in the game
As you defeat monsters, your active party characters gain xp and level up. Your party can only have three characters at a time, but you can change them at any time as long as you aren’t in combat. Each character has its own weapon type, and special class only spells. All of the spells are purchased using various loot drops.
You earn loot drops based on how you kill monsters. It’s neat that you’re encouraged to vary what actions you take to kill the enemies in order to get different loot to buy spells with. Early on in the game it does cost a good amount of gold to keep up on purchases, but as the game progresses, and you are able to finish mobs with a variety of attacks, you will have a lot more gold than you know what to do with.
Purchasing consumables and upgrading your items is an absolute must, especially for some of the boss fights which felt a bit like they were a gear check. I did get stuck on a couple of bosses, and I had to backtrack, to get a few more levels, buy better gear, and a lot more consumables, in order to beat them.
I played for over 18 hours, but at least 4 hours of that wiping to a couple different bosses. The game takes itself very seriously, but it has a lot of heart, and it’s a great game overall. The price tag on the game may seem a bit expensive at first glance, but I have zero regrets about the purchase. I definitely recommend it to those looking for a solid JRPG experience.