Developed By: Matthias Linda Published By: Deck 13 Categories: RPG Release Date: 12.08.22
When I first heard of Chained Echoes earlier this year, it struck me as some sort of ambitious crossover between the likes of Final Fantasy and Fire Emblem. Those are two games that I really enjoy so I figured Chained Echoes would be no different, but my experience with the game ended up being even better than what I was hoping for.
For starters, the game looks really good for a game of this size. Chained Echoes uses 16-bit style graphics and many of the areas including buildings and sprites look really good. There are also some areas that have amazing looking dynamic backgrounds and there are other areas that have a lot of good looking movement such as flowing water or ultra moves.
The only concern that I had when it came to the graphics was that it was very easy to get lost. Sometimes it took too long to realize I was supposed to climb something because the texture was barely different. There were a few times where I wished there were better visual cues telling me where to go. However, the graphics as a whole were really good and they weren’t even the selling point for me to begin with. The three things that I was looking forward to the most were the gameplay, story, and music.
For a turn-based RPG, the gameplay of Chained Echoes is fantastic and there were two things that really stood out to me at the beginning. The first was that there was no long-winded tutorial like most games. I’ve played dozens of games where the tutorial locks you in for like 30 minutes where you’re only allowed to do what the game tells you or drawn-out stuff that the game holds your hand through.
With Chained Echoes, I was thrown right into the chaos at the very beginning. There were a few explanations here and there but you start the game right in the middle of a big battle and the mix of gameplay, story, and tutorial flowed smoothly. The other aspect that I really liked straight away was how quick the gameplay was.
There’s no waiting for a turn to end or watching a long battle animation before you can do anything. You attack, you get attacked, and the cycle repeats. It was easy to get multiple turns done in a matter of seconds because of this. The Overdrive feature and the ability to see enemies in the overworld also added a lot when it came to strategy.
The most impressive aspect of gameplay is the MASSIVE skill system. This system serves as both an extensive skill tree AND a leveling system. There’s a ton of skills that can be unlocked and freely changed and each one can drastically your characters strength. For example, I spent close to an hour focusing on Lenne near the start of the game. There’s a whopping 48 skills that she can learn, which are evenly split between action skills, passive skills, and stat boosters.
You unlock each skill using stars and once you’ve unlocked a certain amount, the next batch of skills becomes unlockable. The very first skill that I unlocked for her was Wind Thrust. Not only did this give her a new move to use, it changed her stats as well. Her HP was increased by 5 and TP, Attack, Magic, Defense, and Mind all increased by one each. This is a solid alternative to your average RPG leveling system. Oh, and there’s giant mechs too.
For a game that relies so heavily on skills and mechs, there’s also a huge presence of varying weapons to choose from. You can choose between sword, spears, bows, rapiers, guns, amulets, gunspears, katanas, great swords, knuckles, anchors, and cards. There aren’t that many games that gives you this many options when it comes to weapons.
For each character, you can pick and choose which skills you want assigned, level those skills up, and play with weapons and equipment, among other kinds of items. This creates the perfect scenario for any gamer who can never get enough when it comes to customization options. It’s very easy to get lost in character customization and making sure that your party is the way you want it.
As for the story, I don’t want to spoil anything but there’s a lot to process. In the first hour alone, you’re going to read a ton of dialogue that fills you in on some of the characters and the state of the world. It’s a really solid story too with a ton of good world building and character moments.
There’s so much to love about Chained Echoes between the RPG elements and story, but my favorite aspect of the game has to be the music. Eddie Marianukroh composed a soundtrack that meshes with the overall atmosphere of the game really well. Not only are the songs really good, but there’s a lot of them too, 50 in total, bringing the total runtime of the soundtrack to a couple hours. I also find it to be a really nice touch that you can purchase the soundtrack. You can get all 50 songs from Marianukroh’s soundcloud for $10, which is a great deal for that many songs.
On the surface, Chained Echoes is an amazing game, but one that offers you an even better experience overall the more you play. It’s also a very budget friendly game because it’s only going to cost you $25. That’s really good for 30 to 50 hours but if you really focus on grinding and on party development, you might even get more hours out of the game. This is definitely a game that you should be picking up.
Buy Now: $24.99
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*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review