“Inspired by FF9” is all I needed to sell me on JRPG tribute Alzara Radiant Echoes, but “Dark Souls composer” and “Genshin Impact artist” help too

By admin May16,2024

Alzara Radiant Echoes is a clear love letter to golden age JRPGs, pulling inspiration from the likes of Golden Sun and Lost Odyssey for a 3D turn-based RPG set in a Mediterranean fantasy world. Dark Souls composer Motoi Sakuraba is on board, along with Genshin Impact and Fire Emblem artist Yoshiro Ambe. And if that hadn’t already sold me already, developers Studio Camelia are also paying tribute to the best Final Fantasy game: FFIX, obviously.

Alzara makes no bones about the fact it’s heavily indebted to JRPG classics, throwing the likes of Persona, Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy X on top of its already teetering pile of inspirations. Its titular world is built on the familiar four-element foundations of Fire, Air, Water and Earth seen in the likes of the original Final Fantasy (plus FFIV), as well as bringing in another key inspiration for its elemental-based battles: Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The story follows element-harnessing hero Kayla as she forms a party with a group of companions (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) and Alzara’s resistance to help fend off an invasion from the neighbouring nation of Vedores. The setting pulls in real-world inspiration from southern France to Greece and Egypt, with players able to eventually set sail around the Taqsim archipelago and wider open world in a boat – because, of course.

Alzara Radiant Echoes hero Kayla runs through a Mediterranean-inspired town in the RPG
Image credit: Studio Camelia

So, all fairly familiar stuff, but Alzara looks like it will have the gameplay goods to back up its grab-bag of inspirations. Using elements in battles works much like the rock-paper-scissors combos of Pokémon or Persona, with certain elements being stronger against others and specialising in different combat techniques – whether the defensive Earth, offensive Fire, fast-and-furious Air or supportive Water.

How you arrange your allies will also play a role, with sticking them up front draining their resource of Echo – requiring exhausted heroes to swap out to the back row to catch a breather and refill their energy. Swap with a character whose Echo is full and they’ll jump in with an extra opening move, too. Swapping also allows those core elements to be combined into new elements, not unlike in Magicka (through presumably with less explosive chaos) – Fire and Air create Thunder, for example, while mixing Water and Earth will get you Plant.

There’s an equivalent of Final Fantasy’s summons in here too, with Legends being brought into battle by making offerings – a temporary stats debuff that will stack Favours, which can then be spent on powerful moves. How many Favours you stack determines the strength of the attack, in an interesting twist to the fixed cost of traditional summons.

Watch on YouTube

Alzara’s first gameplay trailer looks and sounds the part thanks to the presence of Souls and Golden Sun co-composer Sakuraba and the character designs of Ambe, who has also worked on Fire Emblem Heroes and Trials of Mana alongside Genshin. The art style and animation look very slick indeed, with the flashes of combat gameplay and puzzle-dungeon exploration very much tickling my itch for modern takes on turn-based battles and open-world exploration.

The game is already galloping towards its crowdfunding goal over on Kickstarter, with the aim of raising €100,000 to fund a release on Steam (and consoles) in 2026.

By admin

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