Chained Echoes Review
Attempting to harness the nostalgia of past generations to craft a gaming experience that feels familiar yet new is a monumental task. Many developers have tried in recent years but few so rarely stack up. Though much of Matthias Linda’s early development came from cutting his teeth on unfinished RPG Maker homages, roughly 4,600 people put their faith in the developer. His project raised €163,222 (about $174,219 as of this writing) for the promise of a pixelated JRPG that captures everything people love from the best the SNES and PlayStation era of the genre has to offer. Since the fundraising campaign for Chained Echoes wrapped up in May 2019, Linda and his assembled team have been toiling away to deliver on that promise, and now gamers finally see the fruits of that labor pay off.
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After opening moments that are a clear homage to Square Enix’s Chrono Trigger, players are drawn into a conflict on the continent of Valandis in the world of Eldrea. It is a land that has known little else but war among its three ruling nations for over a century, and one of the game’s focal heroes, Glenn, is pitched into the center of the conflict. Unwittingly, the young man triggers a cataclysmic event that forever changes the course of the war and leaves him equally scarred from the countless lives he feels responsible for taking. Pressing further into the tale introduces other vital players in the game’s events by controlling or bumping into them. Eventually, these heroes come together, filling out a broad roster and providing insights from all walks of life for players to explore. On the surface, Linda has created a seemingly straightforward tale that slots perfectly into the usual JRPG romps of the weak battling the strong and gods toying with the fates of mere mortals.
However, Chained Echoes delves deeper, touching on very human elements – foibles and all – that could only result when gods-given magic, eternal beings, and story threads…