The gulf in raw rendering power between Switch and PlayStation 4 means that Nintendo's hardware is unlikely to be receiving the latest current-gen triple-A blockbusters. However, less technologically ambitious titles still have much to offer - and these games are a closer for match for Switch's capabilities. On top of that, the new Nintendo machine's ability to double up as both home console and handheld can help to offset compromises in technology elsewhere: what you lose in terms of sheer processing power is mitigated by the ability to play whenever you want, wherever you want. Square-Enix's I am Setsuna is a fascinating example of what Switch can offer on multi-platform titles.
Originally released on the PS4 early last year and based on the popular Unity engine, I am Setsuna is an appealing attempt to recapture the spirit of the 16-bit era JRPGs, with a fairly simplistic but well thought-out visual style. There's some nice attention to detail here, with characters carving out geometry-based paths through the snow when exploring the game's wintery environments.
Steam bellows from chimney tops from village houses, while snowflakes gently fly through the air. Dynamic shadowing is also used fairly liberally too, with large bosses casting striking silhouettes across the surrounding scenery as they arrive and do battle. These little touches help to connect the player with the game world, and complements the use of simplistic visuals and gameplay that initially feels rather basic compared with modern titles.
Nintendo Switch has come in for some stick for having just five games available when it launches on 3rd March. Well, make it six.
Square Enix has confirmed Japanese role-playing game I Am Satsuma has joined the Switch launch lineup - it's also out on 3rd March for Nintendo Switch in Europe.
So, the UK launch titles currently are:
Tokyo RPG Factory's first game offers an elegant counterbalance to Final Fantasy 15. The teams behind each, steered by directors who first fell in love with the Japanese RPG as children, have laboured side-by-side behind acres of perpendicular glass in Square-Enix's new Shinjuku offices. But while Hajime Tabata and his battalion of developers hope to redefine the genre in the forthcoming Final Fantasy, Atsushi Hashimoto and his tiny squad (reportedly just ten in-house staff, supported by a few dozen contractors) want only to recapture the spirit and ambiance of the Super Nintendo and PlayStation RPGs of their childhood. One game is a forward-facing epic, and the other a wistful sketch. In this regard I Am Setsuna is a triumph, dispensing with the bulk and baggage of today's overblown specimens in favour of a simple fable told with clarity and care.
I am Setsuna
Publisher: Square Enix
Last year at E3 Square Enix teased an all new console RPG codenamed "Project Setsuna", and now the publisher has finally confirmed a western release for the title now called I am Setsuna.
The oldschool RPG will be coming to PS4 and Steam this summer, though sadly the Vita version won't make it to western shores, which is odd as it came out last month in Japan.
I am Setsuna is the debut title by Square Enix's new studio Tokyo RPG Factory. Led by Atsushi Hashimoto - a designer on Kid Icarus: Uprising and artist on El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron - the developer "aims to capture the narrative depth, impactful storytelling and masterful character development inspired by the golden era of Japanese role-playing games and bring them to current hardware and technology."
Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda teased an "all new console RPG" codenamed "Project Setsuna," at this year's E3 press conference. Now, that title has been unveiled as Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna or The Sorrow of Sacrifice and Snow. (Thanks, Siliconera.)
The following trailer only gives us a snippet of what to expect as it's brief and in Japanese, but we see it's some sort of oldschool turn-based RPG for PS4 and Vita. You also get to fight penguins in it.
The trailer teases an "early 2016" release date, though that's presumably for Japan.