JRPGs are a genre that can be very hit or miss for most gamers. Chained Echoes is a game that will most likely hit for lovers of the genre.
JRPGs can be contentious in gaming spaces. They’re not super accessible to most Western gamers and have a reputation for being repetitive or filled with overstuffed plots. However, many of the genre’s series have managed to cross the barrier, such as Persona, Kingdom Hearts, and Chrono Trigger, which all gathered incredibly loyal and excited fan bases.
Although finding crossover hits can be an uphill climb, there is still a subsection of gamers that has a deep, unrepentant love for JRPGs. With much of the market having shifted away from the classics, a game like Chained Echoes is destined to become an indie JRPG darling. The brainchild of Matthias Linda, Chained Echoes takes some of the best attributes of the genre and brings them back to an audience that may have been starved for content. Here’s why any JRPG fan should give the game a try.
Chained Echoes Has a Distinct Identity
From the get-go, Chained Echoes makes the player aware of its homage to Chrono Trigger and the bygone era of 16-bit Super Nintendo-style games. The colors are bright, the music is well-orchestrated and fun, and the whole thing creates a wonderful sense of nostalgia that is destined to draw in any gamer with fond memories of Final Fantasy VI or the aforementioned Chrono Trigger. It also maintains an identity outside the games and era it is referencing. Its story, wherein dragons are incredibly common and mechanical battle suits are regularly employed is relatively tongue-in-cheek, as it gently pokes fun at its predecessors and their often cumbersome plots. However, even that is done with such care and respect that it just adds to the overall experience of the game.
Chained Echoes is a JRPG made specifically for fans of JRPGs, with a sense of love and care that cannot be separated from the very core of the game itself. It doesn’t hurt that the turn-based combat mechanics are incredibly deep and satisfying while also allowing the player to see where encounters are rather than randomly generating them — one of the best gifts Chrono Trigger gave to the JRPG genre. The overheat and overdrive systems keep battles tense and add another layer of strategy to the whole affair, keeping the player engaged where turn-based combat often causes modern gamers to check out. Overall, the combat is rewarding and challenging in ways that are reminiscent of older games while also adding a modern sensibility to it.
As an experience, Chained Echoes is very easily a masterpiece of the genre. Its complex but fun characters add depth to a story that, while bleak at times, goes to great lengths to ensure the player that all is not lost. It creates a unique world for gamers to explore and dig into the mysteries of its 30 to 40-hour runtime, making it easy to get lost in the lush environments and the individual stories of the world around the player. It pulls from the games that came before it to create something wholly unique and engrossing with the story reflecting the fact that this is a title created for modern gamers to not just relive the glory of the SNES, but to bring a new wave of appreciation to this niche genre.
Chained Echoes Moves the JRPG Genre Forward
Chained Echoes is truly impressive for its sheer scope. Being the creation of a single man is not only an amazing feat, but it’s also downright stunning considering the quality of the game and the love on display. There are a few places where it can get clunky, specifically regarding the crafting and upgrade system, but it is a relatively minor nitpick for a game that is so overwhelmingly good. Chained Echoes is a game that was made with care and attention, built by someone who has a clear love of the genre. It is both nostalgic and incredibly modern and well worth picking up for any fan of the genre.