Chained Echoes PC Review

Chained Echoes is a fantastic throwback to the old SNES generation of JRPGs, so if you loved those games, you’ll probably love this one.

By LCLupus, Posted 15 Dec 2022

Chained Echoes is an old-school, 16-bit inspired JRPG in the vein of SNES classics like Chrono Trigger and the early Final Fantasy games. This game is, through and through, a love letter to those old classics, and if you’re itching for some JRPG nostalgia, then you will probably adore this title. However, for everyone else, let’s discuss it a bit more.

The basic mechanics of Chained Echoes are the same as you have seen many times before if you’re at all familiar with these kinds of games. You get yourself a party of adventurers with differing combat talents, all of which have their own narratives going on, and you guide them through a journey that will see them attempt to save the world from even more violence and bloodshed.

Chained Echoes, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, JRPG, Role-Playing Game, Turn-Based, NoobFeed

The combat system in Chained Echoes is turn-based but has a few extra bells and whistles than your average turn-based system. There are, of course, the usual aspects. For instance, you cycle through party members, deciding whether to use skills or ordinary attacks, and essentially play every encounter as if it were a small puzzle as different enemies have different strengths and weaknesses that affect the best strategy to defeat them.

This especially comes into play when dealing with the boss enemies you encounter, where each boss has some kind of quirk that makes them unique in some way. For instance, a kraken boss relatively early on that regenerates limbs. So, you need to figure out the best way to destroy all of the limbs at roughly the same time. Basically, think of it like fighting a hydra and needing to determine how best to destroy each head without more of them simply growing in its place.

Each encounter gives you a good deal of information about each enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, and this information plays into your strategy. This can also lead to instances where certain enemies are simply not best tackled by certain party members, such as small flying enemies that your archer repeatedly misses, so it would be best to use the other party members to better maximize your chance of actually killing these annoying critters.

Furthermore, each party member in Chained Echoes has special abilities that allow them to deal certain buffs to fellow party members or enemies, such as lowering damage for enemies or buffing regeneration for allies. This means that every party member has a role to play in your adventure, and there are times when certain characters simply won’t be all that useful, and other times where they’ll be immensely useful.

Chained Echoes, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, JRPG, Role-Playing Game, Turn-Based, NoobFeed

However, Chained Echoes has some rather different mechanics too. Namely the overdrive system and the Sky Armor mechanic.

The overdrive system is a combat system that encourages you to play both aggressively and defensively depending on where the overdrive bar is at each moment. The overdrive bar starts at zero at the beginning of every encounter, and with each attack, use of a skill, or damage taken, the bar starts to fill. Once you move into the green phase of the overdrive bar, your attacks become more powerful, and you take less damage. Essentially, this is a morale system for every encounter. The better your party is doing, the better they will function within the battle.

However, if you take too much damage or inflict too much damage too quickly, you can go into the red side of the bar. Once you go into the red, all those perks disappear. You take more damage, and you inflict less too. The only way to get out of this situation is to select the skills and moves that the game tells you to select. You can also do things like switching out characters for others or defending yourself. This is a great variation to the usual turn-based system you would ordinarily find, and it shows that Chained Echoes is willing to try some new things, although similar systems have been done in the past.

Then you get the Sky Armor mechanic. Now, Chained Echoes is in a fantasy setting. There are swords, magic, castles, princesses, et cetera. However, there are also mechs. Why not, right? These mechs become available later in the game and they change things up substantially. Before them, you had to run around the world with a, thankfully, fast run, but with a Sky Armor, you can literally fly over the map, reach places that were inaccessible before and fight enemies that were far too tough to fight without a big mech covering your weak, fleshy body. It’s kind of like the Power Armor from Fallout 4, where you can get into a set of it at almost any time and change up the way the game is played.   

Chained Echoes, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, JRPG, Role-Playing Game, Turn-Based, NoobFeed

In addition to all this, the overall progression system in Chained Echoes is quite different to usual. There are no random encounters, so there cannot be any XP grinding. Instead, you gain levels through certain events and battles rather than filling an XP bar with each encounter. This means that Chained Echoes is fundamentally more linear in design.

This shouldn’t be much of a problem if you’re a big JRPG fan, as they do not tend to be as non-linear as many western RPGs, but it may be off-putting to some because XP grinding is extremely common in JRPGs in general. However, it does allow Chained Echoes to explore a more linear, story rich narrative that mixes adventuring, world ending dangers, and political intrigue.

Chained Echoes should also keep you entertained for quite some time as it should take over 30 hours to complete, and for the price point, that should be a great value proposition. It’s long, and there are various additional systems to add to the complexity, like some crafting mechanics and heavier overworld exploration, so this game should be perfect for those looking for their nostalgic JRPG fix with some modern sensibilities tossed in for good measure.

Overall, Chained Echoes is a great throwback to the old JRPGs of the SNES era, and for those who loved those sorts of games, this one is definitely worth your time. This game is also for those who are not looking for a nostalgia trip though. This comes from someone who does not ordinarily enjoy JRPGs, but Chained Echoes is chockful of content, systems, and loads of great characters and complex mechanics. You’ll probably love it if you do or don’t love those old-school JRPG classics.

Justin van Huyssteen (@LC_Lupus)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Deck13
Developer(s): Matthias Linda
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: JRPG, Turn-Based
Release Date: 2022-12-08

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