Games I Completed in 2016 #5: Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna (I am Setsuna)
I play Chrono Trigger every year. No sequel could do it justice for me at this point, but when I found out Square Enix was releasing a game which draws heavily from Chrono Trigger I just went out and bought the game. I knew nothing about it other than its name, publisher and developer, the last of which was the least helpful because as far as I understood, it was a new group put together by Square Enix to make RPGs. Their first one has set the bar pretty high. I am currently waiting with bated breath, but not too bated because I am a little out of shape and would prefer not to die before their next game releases.
The first battle versus some sharp-toothed penguins made it clear that this was drawing heavily from Chrono Trigger. Entering the first town and finding some Athenian Water, the revive item from Chrono Trigger, drove the point home even more. When you see your third party member wearing a froggie styled hood, you may even begin to worry that they are trying too hard. But it's in your best interest to keep playing.
The game draws so much from Chrono Trigger but also builds on it. Positioning was sort of important there, but Setsuna brings it to another level. Again, you do not have actual control over where your characters end up on the battle field... kind of. Some skills will result with your character stopping in a different place after they use the skill, and this can result in some favorable or non favorable positioning.
So those skills. There are a lot of them and I would almost say there are too many because there are a lot I did not use, but then again I was completely satisfied with the ones I picked and hey, maybe someone else will like different ones. They come in two varieties, actions and passives. Actions are of your standard variety, Fire, Cure, Jump and so on. But like Chrono Trigger before it, I am Setsuna allows for dual and triple abilities. But since your characters equip abilities instead of learn them, you have more flexibility over how your party turns out. Then again, unlike CT you're not going to have all of them for "free". You will have to choose.
As the battle rages on, your characters will charge up a special bar which can be triggered during actions. Besides buffing basic attacks, they also change how abilities act. The titular Setuna has an ability that simply does some damage, but when boosted this way it also does a full party heal. Your accessories also affect how your abilities are further buffed and these can add on to your character's abilities, customizing them further.
It sounds like a lot and I did mess with these systems but I never felt like I had to focus on them so much that if I did not the game would be impossible. That's not to say the game was a cakewalk - many a boss battle had me on the edge of my seat.
Let's round out the rest. The soundtrack is beautiful. The snowy environments are beautiful, although I can how some might get tired of that if visuals are ranked high on one's personal wants. The story suffices. It didn't blow me away like some of SE's other new series in recent years. (Hi, Bravely Default. Love you!) But I enjoyed it enough. For a ""budget"" RPG, I sure felt like I got a hell of a value for my money and my time.