Throwback Game Comfort Foods

Originally published on Trevor Trove on July 23, 2016

About a month ago, I tried a format out to delve into my first impressions of Doom and Overwatch.  This week I added Song of the Deep and I Am Setsuna to my collection so it feels like an appropriate time to return to this style.

Why Did I Buy?

Song of the Deep: When it was first announced, Insomniac Games was already happily on my list of quality developers since Sunset Overdrive is easily my favorite Xbox One exclusive title. Then when Ratchet and Clank hit the PlayStation 4 a few months later, it secured them as a developer I want to continue supporting. So even though the Metroid-vania style game isn’t necessarily something they’re known for, I wanted to dive in (oh god, unintentional pun) and give Song of the Deep a shot.

I Am SetsunaI often point to Final Fantasy VI as my favorite game of all time. Classic JRPGs from that era sometimes feel abandoned. So when I first heard that I Am Setsuna was very much a modern homage to Chrono Trigger, sort of in the same way Bravely Default was built in the style of the early Final Fantasy entries, it shot to the top of my anticipated games list.

First Impressions?

Song of the Deep: The art design and look of this game is absolutely stunning. If feels very much like an underwater-themed version of last year’s Ori and the Blind Forest – no surprise as they both embrace the elements of the modern-day Metroid-vania. And the story feels, at least in the first hour or so, like Child of Light, sharing the same “daughter searching for a lost father” themes. An incredibly calming title, I often find myself simply admiring getting lost in the background as the whole game feels like I’m watching this little submarine float around in a giant fish tank.

I Am Setsuna: Only a couple hours into I Am Setsuna, and I’ve already caught references to games such as Final Fantasy XChrono Trigger, and my favorite Final Fantasy VI. The initial plot seems very much influenced by the story of Final Fantasy X as you join Setsuna on a pilgrimage to sacrifice herself in a parallel to Yuna’s journey. The combat feels just like Chrono Trigger: an active time battle where enemy position on the screen can effect what attacks will or will not damage them. And frustratingly, just like Chrono Trigger, position is locked so it’s more about random chance than moving around the field to capitalize on these tactics. And the opening credits image of main character Endir walking through the snow was a direct callback to the open moments of Final Fantasy VI, where we see Terra, Biggs, and Wedge in their Magitek Armor doing the same.

What’s Next?

Song of the Deep: I haven’t had much time to play either game this week but I should be able to delve in and give both some dedicated time this weekend. I’ll boot up Song of the Deep when I’m just feeling the need to relax and continue along Merryn’s journey.

I Am Setsuna: Meanwhile, I Am Setsuna will probably take first position as I’m a bit more eager to see how this throwback to the games of my childhood plays out.

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