Month after month we of Akiba Gamers we try to cover the video game releases from Japan in the round, trying to tell you as much as possible about all those hidden gems that are too often little publicized. But we too need to make an exception to the rules when we find a title that, albeit Western, was largely influenced by Japan and some of his most iconic games. This is the case with CHAINED ECHOEStitle developed by Matthias Linda and published in Europe by Deck13 on all platforms. In this RPG with a traditional flavor we will be able to find some of the cornerstones of the JRPGs of the 90s combined with many really interesting and unique innovations and mechanics.
But will the developer have managed to fully capture the essence of the genre? Find out in our review of CHAINED ECHOES!
- Title: CHAINED ECHOES
- Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)
- Analyzed version: Nintendo Switch (EU)
- Type: JRPGs
- Players: 1
- Publisher: Deck13
- Developer: Matthias Linda
- Tongue: English (texts)
- Exit date: December 8, 2022
- Availability: digital delivery
- DLCs: nobody
- Note: the title is available for free to all subscribers of the Xbox Game Pass service on both consoles and PCs
We reviewed CHAINED ECHOES with a free Nintendo Switch code from Deck13.
The precarious peace that reigns on the continent of Valandis it’s about to be tested. After an accident that claimed the lives of the band of mercenaries they belonged to, Glenn And Kylian decide to set off in search of information on the mysterious artifact known as Grimoire. Arrived in the kingdom of fonset will join forces with Lenne And Robbwho are pursuing a lead regarding a conspiracy involving their kingdom, and later with the thief Sienna and the bard Victor. The group will in fact have to flee together after that a mysterious red-eyed demonic beast he will decide to attack Fonset, starting a series of events that will change Valandis forever.
Chain of Memories
Gameplay-wise CHAINED ECHOES fully sinks its roots in the classic JRPGs of the 90s while implementing innovative mechanics capable of making the title truly unique. One of the peculiarities of the game lies in the character growth systemin fact they will not level up by gaining experience at the end of the battle but they will only get Grimoire Shards after completing certain events. Thanks to the Grimoire Shards we will be able to decide whether to learn a new fighting technique, a passive skill or whether to improve the character’s statistics. If on the one hand this system will avoid having the player spend dozens of hours killing random opponents in order to level up, on the other we will have to be very careful about how to spend the obtained Grimoire Shards to avoid finding ourselves unprepared during the most difficult battles.
However, defeating enemies in the many game maps will certainly not be a waste of time. Not only thanks to them we will be able to obtain many precious objects and materials, but after each fight we will be rewarded with Skill Points (SP) which will serve to improve the skills of the characters. The SP earned will immediately affect the skills currently equipped, and the accumulated ones can be spent to level up faster a skill of our choice. The possibility of keeping a stock of accumulated SP is really helpful since it will allow us to easily improve even the techniques we have just learned.
Even during the exploration we will find some interesting mechanics, especially starting from the second half of the game when we will get the Sky Armor with which it will be possible to reach otherwise inaccessible places. The continent of Valandis will in fact be full of collectibles to collect, unique enemies to fight and hidden treasures to obtain to improve our team even more. In each area of the game it will be possible to see the enemies present, and it will be up to us to decide whether to fight them or try to get around them without being noticed. Defeating certain types of enemies or obtaining certain types of objects, however, will prove to be really useful since it will help us complete the Reward Board. In fact, each box on this board will concern a specific objective which, once completed, will give us rewards. Also by completing nearby boxes we will start a Chain that will allow us to obtain special items as extra precious Grimoire Shards.
Echoes of Valandis
Even the battle system of CHAINED ECHOES has some really interesting features, especially the system Overdrives. In battle we will be able to bring with us a maximum of eight characters divided into pairs, four will actively fight while the others will be in the rear but can be replaced at any time. Using certain actions or taking damage in battle will allow us to fill the Overdrive bar divided into segments of different colorsif we manage to keep the indicator on the green segment we will go to lower the cost for using techniques in battle and improve stats of our team. To influence the progress of the Overdrive it will be necessary to use specific skills, which will be highlighted during each turn. Very often the player will therefore find himself having to decide whether to sacrifice a turn to improve the state of the Overdrive or whether to sacrifice the Overdrive to complete the battle in less time but with higher costs.
But the Overdrive won’t be the only ace up our party’s sleeve. The developer has indeed implemented a great equipment system with which we will be able not only to improve the statistics of the characters, but also to provide them with precious passive skills that will prove to be really useful for our survival. The equipment obtained can in fact be improved in order to unlock slots to insert i Crystal, gems capable of guaranteeing bonuses such as the reduction of the damage of a certain element or the possibility of earning more SP at the end of a battle. But that is not all. Hidden in the game world will in fact be present i Class Emblememblems dedicated to the heroes of the continent of Velandis that can be equipped by the protagonists for obtain unique techniques in combat.
As we progress through the main story we will reach a point where we will finally be able to use the very powerful ones Sky Armorwhich will be essential to be able to defeat the most powerful enemies. There are different types of armor, each with a different role in battle also based on the weapon used. The more we use that type of weapon, the greater it will be the level of expertise with it, thus giving us the opportunity to use new wondrous techniques in combat. Increasing the level of proficiency will also serve to obtain bonus to armor statsand these will remain in effect even when we change the type of weapon used.
Vintage but not too much
From a technical point of view CHAINED ECHOES it is a real dive into the past and will allow us to immerse ourselves in those 16-bit atmospheres that characterized the golden age of JRPGs. The graphics sector boasts a pixel art curated really to perfection, starting from the creation of the protagonists up to the amazing animations in battle. The artistic direction chosen by the developer will not only delight all those players who remember the 90s with nostalgia, but it shows us once again how the 16-bit style manages to still be current and work perfectly for RPGs.
The sound sector is also really interesting, with a impeccably crafted soundtrack and of which we will not tire very easily. An element that could put some players off a bit is the absence of localization of texts in Italian. Although the English terms used are quite understandable and not too demanding, it is still an RPG in which there will be many lines of dialogue so those unaccustomed to the English-speaking language could find themselves a little discouraged.
Narratively the title manages to be extremely captivating. While maintaining some clichés typical of fantasy stories, Matthias Linda has created a plot full of twists capable of keeping us glued to the screen. One of the most interesting elements is without a doubt the characterization of the protagonists, whose past we will slowly discover so that we can better understand what drives them to fight. Also many of the sub-plots present manage to be really impactfuland some of them will even allow us to recruit new characters who will prove to be a great contribution to our team.
Who do we recommend CHAINED ECHOES to?
If you love old-fashioned JRPGs and appreciate 16-bit graphics, CHAINED ECHOES is exactly the product for you. The title developed by Matthias Linda indeed shows how even with limited resources, just make the right stylistic choices to create a small masterpiece. Of course, the absence of the Italian localization could discourage some possible buyers, but thanks also to yours reduced price it is a title that you absolutely must not miss!
- A very peculiar character growth system
- The Overdrive mechanics and Sky Armor are great
- All the charm of games from the golden era of JRPGs…
- …But it also keeps the sometimes prohibitive difficulty curve intact
- The political part of the plot sometimes gets a little too long
- Total absence of localization in Italian
Classic in the best way
It’s always nice to see how the impact of some of the most iconic JRPGs of the 90s is still relevant today. With CHAINED ECHOES the developer Matthias Linda He has made a real love letter to the genre, managing to create a product that manages to be faithful to the standards of the time and at the same time extremely innovative and current. Indeed, the developer has captured the essence of that era and poured it into a game that is striking in its uniqueness. Ultimately it is impossible not to praise the CHAINED ECHOES, which proves to be a very high quality product capable of competing with many current triple-A titles. Not to mention the price difference, which will surely delight all those looking for a unique product but can’t spend much.
#CHAINED #ECHOES #Review
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