Testing Chained Echoes – A JRPG par excellence

Testing Chained Echoes – A JRPG par excellence

With Chained Echoes, a role-playing game was released at the beginning of December, which wants to connect to genre greats like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy. These ambitions were already revealed to us in an interview we had with creator Matthias Linda some time ago. Now we've finally ventured into the adventure ourselves and we'll reveal below how good Chained Echoes really turned out in the end inspire

© Matthias Linda

Already in the first minutes of the game you will notice that developer Matthias Linda has done everything to connect to the classics of the JRPGs. The entire look, the characters and the game world literally scream nostalgia and the story itself also fits perfectly into the picture. You take on the role of the mercenary Glenn, who more or less accidentally activates a powerful weapon, resulting in the deaths of countless people. On his own odyssey of enlightenment and reparation, a team gradually forms around him. Everyone pursues their individual interests and goals, while the common destiny gradually unfolds in the larger context.

The themes of war and power are omnipresent. It is precisely this war that needs to be fought off with your troops and that is definitely not an easy task. Again and again you will come across people who are hostile to you or who spin their own schemes. This makes for a really exciting story that has a few surprises in store, but takes a while to fully unfold. But then you get a prime example of interesting characters and stories that you don't find often.

A powerful troop gradually forms around Glenn
© Matthias Linda

The focus of the game is the exploration of the game world, which knows how to inspire with very different facets. From meadows and forests to deserts and mines, you get everything you would expect from a JRPG. However, the individual scenarios are not simply lined up next to each other, but are wonderfully interlinked through tunnel systems or the later journey with the airship. In addition, all areas are not only provided with travel points, which allows you to quickly return to known places, but you can also hope for a number of secrets. In addition to hidden treasure chests, you can also keep an eye out for buried treasures or discover secret tunnels that house items that are just as valuable. But the unique enemies, as known from the Xenoblade series, for example, are particularly interesting. These not only differ significantly from regular adversaries in terms of appearance, but also have enormous strength against regular opponents such as humans, animals or zombies to the test. Chained Echoes follows familiar territory with a turn-based combat system, but comes with its own tricks. For one thing, your characters don't level up. After successful battles you will receive some skill points with which you can improve your active and passive skills, but the upgrade takes some time. On the other hand, you only get points for new skills after boss fights. As a result, there is no real grinding in the game. This makes for a pleasant change, because the number of fights never gets out of hand, so that each is challenging and motivating at the same time. The fact that you are completely healed after each fight without having to do anything also contributes to this. Thanks to visible enemies in the game world, you can also deliberately avoid some conflicts by sneaking past opponents.

The fights are the focus of the game alongside exploration<

© Matthias Linda

Another trick in the combat system is a constantly increasing or decreasing bar, which oscillates in one of two directions depending on the selected action. This is divided into three levels, which are divided into a "normal form", overdrive and overheat. Your goal should be to be in overdrive mode for as long as possible, as your stats will increase here and you can land more powerful hits or take more attacks. However, if you get into the overheat area, enemies will do more damage to you. This sounds complicated at first, but after a while it becomes very pleasant. Above all, this means that you combine different actions of your troops and never rely on the same approach in battle, since only a balanced choice of skills and actions favors the overdrive mode. Personally, I had my difficulties with this at first, but now I find the combat system to be an interesting change from known procedures.

It is also worth mentioning that your characters can play in pairs with each other. can form teams. Since you only ever have four active characters in battle, you can assign a partner to each one, who takes their place at the push of a button. This provides further tactical refinements, since changing the characters also affects your overdrive bar. But also the individual skills, equipping and improving your clothing and weapons, unlocking powerful combat suits and the possibility of unlocking different character classes make the entire combat system an intense experience with countless tactical opportunities that allow a lot of individuality.

An all-round successful adventure that is completely inspiring

From a technical point of view, not only the chic look has to be emphasized, which also inspires with objects moving in the wind, but also the sound completely convinced. The full range awaits you, from cool pieces in battle and in action-packed situations to quieter sounds. Criticism could be expressed in the area of ​​the German translation, since some passages have minor errors or completely missing translations, which is only marginally important. On the other hand, a handful of situations in which doors and conversations could not be carried out directly in front of the object or character, but slightly offset, was annoying for me. But that too can easily be corrected in the future with a patch.

All in all, you get a JRPG with Chained Echoes, which not only appeals to greats like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy, but even manages to connect to them. A thirty-hour adventure awaits you, in which you can easily invest many more hours. The large game world with its interesting characters and extensive areas invites you to do so.

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