I am Setsuna: the Ultimate Sleep Waker for JRPG Fans

A guest post this time, about an RPG in the classic JRPG style – a genre I know too little about and should remedy that…

I am Setsuna: the ultimate sleep waker for JRPG fans

Classic Japanese RPGs (JRPGs) are extremely popular even outside Japan now. Most JRPGs that were developed in the 80s and 90s have great storylines, upgradable weapons and armors, and customizable heroes – all of which were well loved by fans of the genre. This tried-and-tested formula of RPGs, however, got lost somewhere along the way. Thankfully, there’s a new game developer in town who is dead-set on re-introducing the beauty of classic JRPGs to today’s generation.

Tokyo RPG Factory’s I am Setsuna is a nod to the classic JRPGs that 80s and 90s kids loved playing. Apart from the fact that it has all the elements of a good RPG, I am Setsuna is a complete package on its own – a trait that most RPGs in the past shared. No premium items or DLCs need to be purchased by players to complete the game.

I am Setsuna is about a girl who is about to die. She needs to literally give up her life in order to save the world from being overrun by demons.

Setsuna belongs to a place called “Village of Sacrifice.” Every now and then, the village chooses a sacrifice, which must then go on a pilgrimage to offer one’s life to the demons. When a pilgrimage is successful, demons stop attacking people aggressively for some time. It was a pact between humans and demons that kept for many years – a pact that is seen to save the world from imminent doom.
Alongside Setsuna on her pilgrimage are several guardians that must ensure her safe arrival to the Last Lands, the place where the ultimate sacrifice must be made. The leader of the guardians is Endir, a mercenary who was originally tasked with stopping the sacrifice before she can reach the Last Lands. She is also accompanied by Aeterna, a mysterious traveler; Kir, a boy who is on a journey to find his purpose in life; Julienne, a princess who will do everything to save her kingdom; and Nidr, a former guardian who is looking for redemption.

The chemistry between the characters is interesting to say the least. Everyone has loveable quirks, even Endir who is the most unyielding among the group. Setsuna keeps the group together with her unselfish resolve to save the world, and Kir keeps the mood light with his childish antics and banter with “old man Nidr.”

I am Setsuna is obviously a game with a heavy setting. At the start of the game, players already know her destiny, which is death. The game kind of reminds gamers how painful it was to watch Aeris from Final Fantasy VII die. This begs the question: what is it with Square Enix’s obsession with a main character’s death? Is Aeris’ death not enough to make the hearts of gamers bleed? As if Setsuna’s destiny isn’t heartbreaking enough, the game is accompanied by constant heavy snow in the background and a depressing yet beautiful classical melody.

What’s great about I am Setsuna is that like many other classical JRPGs, it is mixed with some magic along the way. There’s something about being able to cast magic that makes battles more interesting, and there are games like Chrono Trigger and Star Ocean to prove that. Magic and magical combos are abundant in I am Setsuna, and players can mix and match character team ups to make battling enemies more effective.

Fantasy and magic are quite inseparable. Many JRPGs are fantasy-based by nature, which is why many games in this genre have a little bit of magic in them. Fantasy and magic work not only with RPGs but with many other successful genres as well. Casual titles, for instance, use fantasy themes to appeal to players, which is present in popular titles such as Pocket Legends. Even non-adventure titles such as Twinkle, a game that is hosted on the recreational site Pocket Fruity, use a fantasy spin in order to attract gamers who are not always looking for real life scenarios in their games. Simply put, a little bit of fantasy and magic goes a long way in making a video game extremely successful.

I am Setsuna is a must have for die-hard fans of JRPG who are hungry for some classic gaming. Perhaps the only drawback of the game is that it can be completed in a few hours but the story, game play, and artwork makes the game worth every penny.

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