I Am Setsyuna

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Thad
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I Am Setsyuna

Postby Thad » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:39 am

Ars Technica has called I Am Setsuna "a hollow, confusing ’90s RPG throwback", which is a pretty great headline.

I'm an hour in and the review's got a point. What the fuck is up with Japan's seeming inability to separate what was good about old games from what wasn't? Oh yeah, when people wax nostalgic about Chrono Trigger, it's definitely because they miss fucking save points. What the fuck, Japan. What. The fuck.

But the review's right about what it praises, too: the combat is solid. This is what I've been shouting about for the past twenty years: why has nobody ever actually taken Chrono Trigger's combat design and iterated on it? Well, finally somebody has.

It sure looks and sounds nice, too.

(Also, I'm seeing reviews that complain about the bland, generic characters. Ah yes, as opposed to the deep and well-developed characterizations of Runaway Princess, Nerd Girl, Robot Who Doesn't Want to Be Evil, and Cavegirl who Talks Like the Hulk.)

I'm enjoying it, and I hope the game succeeds and encourages more games in the 16-bit style.

Just maybe without the fucking save points next time. Jesus Christ, Japan.

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zaratustra
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby zaratustra » Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:34 am

Just because Chrono Trigger characters aren't very original doesn't mean they're not well characterized. I mean, any CT character, you have a good sense of how they'd behave in a situation the game doesn't show -- that's characterization.

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Esperath
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Esperath » Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:50 am

Crono - Will you take Crono along?
Marle - Rebel
Lucca - Build
Frog - Marshmallow
Robo - Fistful of Datas
Ayla - Smash
Magus - CRAWLING IN MY SKIN
pisa katto

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pisa katto

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Thad
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Thad » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:12 am

zaratustra wrote:Just because Chrono Trigger characters aren't very original doesn't mean they're not well characterized. I mean, any CT character, you have a good sense of how they'd behave in a situation the game doesn't show -- that's characterization.


And if that's your metric, then I'm an hour in and all three playable characters I've met so far have met it.

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Friday
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Friday » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:48 am

Crono - Will you take Crono along?
Marle - Rebel
Lucca - Build
Frog - Marshmallow
Robo - Fistful of Datas
Ayla - Smash
Magus - CRAWLING IN MY SKIN


Guile - CRAWLING IN MY wait nevermind
Poshul - Thpontaneouthry combuthted
Glenn - No, the other one
Kid - Oi mate u havin a go i swear on me mum
Harle - im a dragon rawr ;3
Leena - haha you thought i was gonna be the romantic lead? sorry all my unique dialog goes away after 20 minutes
Grobyc - Alucard
Funguy - hahaha wtf
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Büge
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Büge » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:19 pm

Skelly - I have a bone to pick with this side quest

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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby McDohl » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:00 pm

Pip - Leave on the bench, cause what the fuck is even his mechanic

Luccia - Nerd girl with a little Joseph Mengele twist

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Sharkey
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Sharkey » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:09 pm

I am still pissed that I used savegame shenanigans to get Harle back in the party for the ending. Everyone else gets a little farewell dialogue, she straight up has a blank text box.

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Rico
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Rico » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:37 pm

God, Basco's delivery is so good on that Zuko line.

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Thad
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Thad » Sat Jul 23, 2016 6:50 pm

I'm so glad they kept the Chrono Trigger combat system's tradition of having the directional buttons move the pointer in whatever the fuck direction they feel like.

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Thad
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Thad » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:33 am

I'm probably going to gripe about this game some more in the coming days, but before I do I should note that it's a good game, with a few bad decisions that prevent it from being a great game. (Some of these are, no doubt, due to budget constraints -- though the game is really very good considering its budget -- but others really do seem to be dumb, tone-deaf "well, they want a retro game, so that means we need to include a bunch of stupid 1990's bullshit, right?" calls.)

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Thad
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Thad » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:44 am

Thad wrote:
zaratustra wrote:Just because Chrono Trigger characters aren't very original doesn't mean they're not well characterized. I mean, any CT character, you have a good sense of how they'd behave in a situation the game doesn't show -- that's characterization.


And if that's your metric, then I'm an hour in and all three playable characters I've met so far have met it.


Of course, it probably doesn't hurt that Final Fantasy 10 did so much of the heavy lifting already (see thread title).

OHAI, enigmatic middle-aged tank with a big sword and one eye. What's that? You've been on one of these pilgrimages before? Well what a coincidence; so have I.

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Thad
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Thad » Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:13 am

On the other hand, this game really does offer a pretty solid roadmap for how to make a really polished game on a low budget without going the usual sprites-and-chiptunes route.

Don't have a budget for a lot of variety in locations? Make a strong thematic connection between your one setting and the story you're telling. (In this game it's snow/desolation, but you could do desert/desparation, jungle/untamed nature, caves/claustrophobia, or whatever.)

Don't have a budget for multiple instruments? You can do a whole lot with just one. (In this game it's piano, but guitar would work too, or flute, or violin, or harp.)

And of course it's a game, so mechanics are king. Setsuna goes about two degrees too far with its mechanics; taking Chrono Trigger and adding Materia to it isn't a bad idea, and I like how the Momentum system shakes up the formula a little bit, but then the Fluxation system feels like an attempt to slap Crisis Core's "random bonuses just happen periodically" system into the mix, except you have to equip items to determine which random bonuses you might get, and...it starts to turn into one of those things where you go "Okay, I probably should ignore this instead of even trying to figure out how it works."

On the whole, it's a pretty good example of a game that does a few things and focuses on doing them well.

Course, it's also a good reminder not to miss the forest for the trees; its interface flaws are glaring. I've already mentioned the save points; there's also the rather strange decision not to show the AoE zone for your attacks (which Chrono Trigger did, and which would be trivial to do). And you walk so slowly on the damn overworld. (I think it's because the models on the overworld are just zoomed-out versions of the models inside towns and dungeons, and they use the same walk animation with no speedup. But I'm not sure; it seems like the animation might be different, and if so, I have no idea what they were thinking.)

Also, I fucking hate text crawls.

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Thad
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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Thad » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:21 pm

Man, Stout Sheep is seriously the fucking worst.

Unskippable dialogue scene, followed by four consecutive battles, followed by *another* unskippable dialogue scene, followed by a party member joining you without any opportunity to change her spells or equipment, followed by a boss who can wipe out your entire party in two turns and who, when you get his health down, heals it back up halfway, ad infinitum?

I take back everything I said about this game being polished and professional. (Actually, I probably took all that stuff back the first time I ran into an impossible-to-defeat monster that looked just like a regular monster and discovered that running away requires an item.) That is fucking garbage, textbook-case how not to design a thing. If this were some kind of optional boss for masochists, yeah, okay; but it isn't.

Died twice. Third time, I managed to fight to a stalemate, use up all my potions and a bunch of my ethers, and about the fifth time he healed himself back up I said "fuck this shit" and quit. Not figuratively; I said "fuck this shit," out loud.

Since I am enjoying the game overall and would like to see it through to the end and not just quit here forever, I'm gonna hit some walkthroughs and see how that goes. But man, I am not amused.

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Re: I Am Setsyuna

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:52 am

Realization: Stout Sheep is basically every boss in Mighty No 9.

Hell, he's even named like a Mega Man X boss.

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