Parents' Guide to

I Am Setsuna

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Soulful storytelling with steep learning curve.

Game PlayStation 4 , Windows 2016
I Am Setsuna Poster Image

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Patience is the key when it comes to enjoying this complex Japanese RPG. Though it's easy enough being pulled in by the pretty watercolor graphics, sticking with it long enough to understand what's happening takes a good amount of work. Contrary to what the title implies, I Am Setsuna isn't about one girl; it's about a group of friends, all with different skills and personalities. That means you don't have to learn to control one character but many. You also have to learn how to combine these characters to best strategic effect, and this is where the difficulty lies.

The problem stems from absorbing the Momentum system, which provides all manner of combat bonuses if you can figure out how and when to use it. This aspect isn't demonstrated very well, and minimal on-screen feedback leaves you wondering if you're doing it right. In addition to that, the equipment system is absurdly complex. It slams you with an exhaustive list of abilities that can only be bought if you have the right combination of about a million materials (things you find while adventuring). Once you've bought these abilities, you then have to figure out what the heck their so-called benefits mean by interpreting a host of acronyms. It all makes sense eventually, but you have to be willing to play long enough (say, six hours) for it to sink in. Once you get it, though, the game becomes highly rewarding, thanks to a sensitive, thoughtful storyline that celebrates friendship and loyalty while questioning the wisdom of following convention for its own sake.

Game Details

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