If I had more time to play through Chained Echoes before the holidays hit, it most definitely would have made my top 10 list for the year of 2022. It’s every bit as stellar as you’ve likely heard so far, and something that is certainly worth checking out regardless of your platform preference. I’ve found it to be a perfect Switch experience, but I’d imagine that it runs extremely well on any console you might choose, and right now it’s freely available to play on Xbox via Game Pass. So definitely check out Chained Echoes, you will not be disappointed.
There are so many “retro homage” JRPGs these days that I tend to approach them with caution. Even when they’re made well, they rarely live up to the standards of the games that inspired them. Chained Echoes not only meets that standard but, were this released back on the SNES when Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI were flying high, people would have considered them comparable. It’s more than a homage. It’s a genuine and powerful contribution to the genre.
Unlike many modern 2D JRPGs, this is not merely a game that seeks to cash in on nostalgia for the golden age of JRPGs (Chrono Trigger, FF6, etc). It feels instead like it could have *been* one of those genre-defining games, not merely capturing their spirit but building upon it with impeccable taste.
Like the game Sea of Stars this is a must play game. I hope they keep releasing games like these every year. Its a nostalgic adventure that reminds me of Chrono Trigger and Super Mario RPG. 10 OUT OF 10.
Fans of old school 2D JRPGs, who would like something made today that resembles the great Super Nintendo and PS1 classics, need to play Chained Echoes. It’s a wonderful game. It’s more ambitious than the common indie throwback JRPG, but has many of their modernizations. Every single element of Chained Echoes is full of loving attention to detail. Hopefully Chained Echoes is a success and we can see future projects from its creator. I’ve already ordered a physical copy.
While Chained Echoes has the advantage of decades of distance from the games it looks to for inspiration, it’s a better experience in many instances than those vaunted games from which it arose. I prefer this combat, storytelling, and approach to progression and exploration to many of the JRPGs I grew up so enamored with playing. That’s the highest praise I can heap on a game so removed in time from the games to which it might be compared. Whether you currently count yourself a JRPG connoisseur or fondly recall the ʼ90s heyday of the genre, Chained Echoes is well worth your time.
Chained Echoes is an incredibly uneven RPG heavily inspired by the likes of Chrono Trigger and Xenogears. With bad writing, poorly thought out mechanics, and an overly complex… everything it can be hard to get through. Even so, there is a little fun to be found here, mostly near the beginning.
One of the most ambitious indie games I've played in a long while. The gameplay is balanced and fun. It's never too punishing with a learning curve that is understandable. You need to try and experiment to win battles rather than just grind and level up to beat a boss or a challenge. The story is rather fantastic. I think it might be a little rough around the edges but this isn't a huge production so bonus points for having so many fleshed out characters. Once the world opens up I spent hours upon hours just exploring the world. So many things to discover. So many fun additions that make this title special. I couldn't recommend this enough to RPG fans. This is obviously a love letter to the genre.
The game is a solid 7.5. At the beginning, and for the first few hours of the game, it was a 10/10. However, during the last 25% of the game, it became a mess with more of the same. The narrator couldn't handle it well, and the plot twists and character conclusions were lacking.
The pros of the game include the battle system, overall quality of art and sound, unique monsters, characters, and the experience of using the sky armors to discover the map is a 10/10.
The cons of the game include the fact that the story started off well but became confusing towards the end. Additionally, the combat became much easier towards the end, and some characters were introduced too late to be used effectively.
Overall, I really enjoyed the game, and it was a fun experience. For the price, it's a must-have if you enjoy JRPGs, despite some flaws towards the end.
Its a nice throw back to the 90's JRPG's with a very interesting twist on turn based combat using the overdrive system where you do more damage or take more damage and spend less TP depending on where you are on the overdrive bar. You can freely swap out teammates without losing a turn using the link system and to lower your overdrive bar if it gets close to overheat and the combat in general is just a lot of fun. The combat and overworld in general are very well done and enjoyable.
With all that said, while I didn't hate the general premise of the story. The way its played out leaves a lot to be desired. Its not bad per say, but its a bit of a mess.
I desperately tried to enjoy myself but oof, the writing was just so bad. The combat just felt too on rails too. I bought into the hype and good reviews but feel like I fell into the trap of something over rated. It's clearly not as amazing as everyone makes it out to be. Maybe the lack of exposure to what actual good writing is leading to people thinking this is good or I'm just spoiled. I'm a huge book nerd, I've read and reviewed hundreds of books just within the last few years, so I'd like to think I'm a pretty good judge of what good writing is like. This was not it, it felt cringey, dry, overly reliant on exposition dumps and poor pacing. You get overwhelmed with nouns of people, places and things that just arnt introduced in a way that allows a person to get attached to the world or being able to recognize what's in it.
Story is important for this game because in the first 10 hours for example, 7-8 of those felt like it was reading dialog or running to the next place to get to the next piece of dialog. Lots of mini cut scenes, so it's very obviously story driven but unfortunately nothing about it felt original. The characters fall into tropes and so does the plot structures and foreshadowing. It just is so predictable that i feel like an AI wrote it and plugged in just as much stuff that we've already seen done before.
I may be spoiled as I've played so many great story games and read so many books that my standard might be a little skewed but even without all that I think if anyone stepped back and looked at this objectively it really is just not good.
The gameplay pacing is also sorta bad. I just didn't like the combat system. It sorta played itself in a way with very clear choreographed moves and timing made super obvious. Some of the moves were also ridiculous and didn't make sense leading to be taken out of the immersion. For example why is an ultimate move a guy stabbing the ground and a mountain size sword comes out of the ground at the enemy? It just feels so poorly thought out because it doesn't make sense, why is he doing that? Why's the sword grow? Why after all that is the damage barely double-triple that of an average attack? It's giving characters powers for the sake of it with no explanation.
Worse part of the combat that made it all feel sorta automated was the heavy reliance on overdrive. Moves pretty much picked themselves depending on how it impacted the meter. There are some things you can do to play around with it but it felt like the game was telling me how to play exactly how it wanted me to instead of letting me experiment and try and figure things out on my own. The upgrade system is also very typical. It boils down to just numbers. It was more of a chore to sort through loot that was just chasing a higher number as the equipment barely made much of a difference other then making sure the numbers are higher at the first opportunity you get to increase it. I hate when games do this. I like when games make upgrading change a whole play style or make nigh and day differences so i feel more in control. This definitely does not do that, you're very much stuck with certain roles and have a lot of limitations, turns upgrading into a boring chore.
Exploration wasn't very good either, again felt like a chore as it rarely wad rewarding enough to go off the beaten path. I just did not enjoy the tedium of it all as it always felt like the game was on rails with what exactly it wanted you to do and go to. It gave the illusion of being open when in fact it's very much on rails.
Only thing that got me going was the art was really pretty as well as the good music.
The gameplay and writing though just isn't good. I can see some opportunity in there for something potentially good but the author relied too heavily on exposition dumps and didn't really finesse the dialog or plot structure to something more original.
SummaryTake up your sword, channel your magic or board your Mech. Chained Echoes is a 16-bit SNES style RPG set in a fantasy world where dragons are as common as piloted mechanical suits. Follow a group of heroes as they explore a land filled to the brim with charming characters, fantastic landscapes and vicious foes.
Can you bring peace to ...