JRPGs have a well-established history of cramming amnesic protagonists, catastrophic world-compromising events, and a shit-tonne of mindless fighting into one neat little package. Like EastEnders. Pale Echoes [Steam page] is no different but wants to woo you with an intriguing twist to its combat, adding nifty puzzle elements to its square-gos. Out next month, it wants to teach you about the power of memories.
Through a series of mysterious events (for what JRPG in the genre’s history doesn’t kick off shrouded in uncertainty?), the world has died. Schorl, the last surviving human, and Spinel, the last member of magical group Saerii, join forces to uncover what exactly happened and to try and put things right. What sounds interesting and different is how Pale Echoes works its combat around its narrative.
Schorl and Spinel can time travel (obviously) between the world as it is now and the world as it was prior to the cataclysm. By conversing with folk in the latter, the pair uncover memories – echoes, as they’re known – from the recently departed which they collect and use in the present. When echoes are taken into battle – the new world is typically crawling with ne’er do wells and monsters and such – the deceased are brought back to life and take your place in the fight. Each revitalised character has a different skill that helps combat in a variety of different ways which in turn facilitates a degree of turn-based puzzlery to each set-to. What’s more, each memory can only be used once and each fight must be concluded before you’ve run out of memories.
While it remains to be seen how this plays out in practice, it sounds like an interesting and neat way of adding a unique spin to the well-worn genre – particularly its turn-based combat elements. Pale Echoes is due for release via Steam on December 10th.