Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Tokyo RPG Factory
Release Date: March 3rd, 2017
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Steam
I am a giant fan of old-school, turn-based RPGs. They really are some of my favorite types of games. Imagine my excitement in hearing Square Enix was brining one of their more recent titles in that same vein to the Nintendo Switch. Admittedly my expectations were pretty high for I Am Setsuna; unfortunately most of my expectations weren’t met.
I Am Setsuna takes place in a world where monsters are constantly and increasingly attacking humans over time. The only thing that can hold back the monster attacks is by having a sacrifice travel to the Lost Lands and giving up her life to maintain order. Setsuna is that sacrifice and you must protect her on her journey along with a variety of characters that will join you throughout the story.
On face value, the game sounds amazing. It plays like the Final Fantasy games of old with an ATB gauge for turns, leveling, equipment, magic, and more of that goodness we’d want. The game even looks beautiful at first with lush environments .
Then you dive deeper into the game and that mirage starts to chip away. The environments look beautiful, until you realize the world is apparently in perpetual winter and everywhere looks the same from start to finish. The constant snow makes the game look bland after a while. The characters themselves show promise, but never become overly memorable. Character development happens sporadically, smacking you in the face when it happens. Some reveals get the proper build up, most don’t, and some you expect never actually come. The story has a few holes that never get fully resolved.
I’ve played many RPGs that are much worse than this. Yet I haven’t played many that feel like they squandered their promise as much as I Am Setsuna. Unfortunately in the Switch’s still young life there really are not any other RPG options beyond this and Breath of the Wild. You’d probably be better off to pass on this and just play more Breath of the Wild.