With a plethora of amazing games being released on every console over the past few months it is possible that you may have missed the launch of a little gem named I Am Setsuna. The best way to describe I Am Setsuna is to say that it is very similar in gameplay and mechanics to Super Nintendo Classic JRPG’s such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy II and Secret of Mana. If you are looking for something other than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to play on Nintendo’s brand new console, then I Am Setsuna may be the game for you.
I Am Setsuna is a game that has a very beautiful narrative that is further strengthened by its very charming setting. You begin the game playing as the main character, Endir, and you are given the mission to carry out the assassination of a young girl named Setsuna. When you meet Setsuna you are quickly convinced to join her on a quest to recruit family and friends to fight off the demons who have entered the world and to find out who is pulling the strings to everything that is going on. The plot may seem very vanilla, but it is packed full with a heap of characterisation and deep dialogue that makes playing through this game a treat.
In I Am Setsuna you take control of a party of individualised characters who each have their own skills, abilities and proficiencies. You traverse through the worlds locations in the manner of a top down point of view. You engage in battles through contact and not random encounters, these are very interesting and fun as you already know who you are going to fight before going into battle and allows you a miniscule amount of time to prepare.
The battles in I Am Setsuna use a mechanic called “Active Time Battle” encounters, and are something that is taught well in the tutorials and something you will become quickly accustomed with. During these encounters your methods of attack are either your basic attack with allows you to use your melee weapons and magic, or your tech attack, which is an attack that enhanced or enabled by items that you have found or have been given throughout the world. The ability to combine the basic and tech attacks of different characters offers up an interesting dynamic that keeps the game fresh, as you can defeat enemies using numerous strategies.
Another feature that makes the battles enjoyable is the “Momentum” special gauge, this allows characters to gain buffs. The buffs can range from health boosts or increasing your chances of a critical hit. Something that was very annoying about the games battles is your inability to defend yourself, whilst minor it would have been nice. As per other RPGs the world is littered with a wide range of items and gear that you can find or buy in shops, this allows you to slightly alter your party and can steer them slightly in a specific direction stat wise.
The art style of characters and buildings in I Am Setsuna are very mediocre, this can be justified as the game does not require very high end graphics to get across its story and in a way it actually adds to the charm that the game has. It should be noted that the Nintendo Switch version only runs at 30FPS as opposed to the PS4 version which runs at 60FPS, in my experience playing the Switch version the frames per second did not really have an effect on my play through as I had no issues.
The music in I Am Setsuna provides a lovely backdrop to the world, it isn’t too provocative and further adds to the overall experience. The game sadly does not feature voice acting which would have been a nice addition.
I Am Setsuna is a charming homage to the classic generation of JRPG from the past. This release of I Am Setsuna gives the added bonus of portability, something that gamers outside of Japan have yet to experience, due to the game’s Vita version being an exclusive to the country. The Switch version does not feel like a lesser version at all, it offers players a stable framerate and a more than solid choice controls. You will need to watch out for battery life as you get lapped into hours upon hours of gameplay as you delve deep into the story, but if you’ve been spending time with Zelda you already know this. I Am Setsuna is a solid Switch launch title that offers owners of the console a honest game with a loveable story and enjoyable mechanics.
- Excellent game to play on the go.
- Amazing characters and dialogue.
- Fun battle system.
- Graphics are mediocre.
- No voice acting.