Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Chained Echoes

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chained_echoes.png
Chained Echoes is a Retraux Indie Eastern RPG developed by Matthias Linda and published by Deck13. It was released for PC via Steam on December 8, 2022, with PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions as well.

The game is set on the continent of Valandis, dominated by three kingdoms, that have been locked in a war for 156 years. Eventually, after a great catastrophe shakes the continent, countries agree to sign a peace treaty. But merely a year after that an unknown force strives to begin the war anew. The story follows several unlikely heroes, who eventually join forces in order to stop the new threat.

The game has a demo version, that covers the prologue and the first chapter. See also the game's Kickstarter, Steam, and official site.


Chained Echoes provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: The Sky Armors all have weapon proficiencies that cap at level eight and require only a small amount of SP to reach, compared to regular skills. Raising a proficiency grants new skills for that weapon type as well as permanent stat bonuses. Thus, it's easy and recommended to just stomp early-game enemies with your Sky Armors and max out their proficiencies in half an hour.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Vaen were an ancient group of Nhysa mages that sealed themselves into a dimensional rift and granted themselves immortality in order to help humanity overcome an ancient evil that was sealed away. However, over eons, they became complacent and abusive, even wiping out most of humanity in the past in order to better control its development (and also, as they reveal to the party later, to strengthen the seal keeping the Harbinger of Destruction within the Maelstrom), and now Gwayn and the Order of Leonar consider the Vaen a greater threat than the evil The Chosen One was supposed to deal with.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • The prologue chapter follows a young mercenary Glenn, and the first chapter jumps between Rebellious Princess Lenne, famous writer Victor, and con artist/thief Sienna. After Sienna's segment, all of the characters end up crossing paths at a peace treaty signing and are forced to work together when things go awry.
    • The sidequest "A Will to Live" briefly takes control away from the main party, and instead gives it to Raphael, as he tries to single-handedly save the young girl trapped in a cavern with him.
  • An Aesop: "In the end, all that matters is the person we have become." Said directly by Victor to Glenn concerning him trying to balance out his first incarnation's bad acts with the good acts of his other lives, but this moral can also be applied to numerous other characters, such as Frederik willing to be remembered as a tyrant if it means world peace, and Kylian earning a chance at redemption in the Epilogue.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Recruiting Kayn Sivar into your clan enables you to buy purely aesthetic upgrades for your Global Airship. The game specifically states that there is no mechanical benefit for this, and these purely aesthetic upgrades are not cheap.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Towards the start of Act 2, the player gets their own base, and can recruit people from across the continent to provide helpful bonuses such as tracking how many treasures remain in an area or guaranteeing specific crystal types from gathering points. The automatic first recruit is a fortuneteller that can locate other recruits, and if there aren't any recruits available when you pay her for her service, she'll give a full refund.
    • After reaching the east side of the map during the trip into Glenn's mind, Robb will note that it appears that all 3 of the fragments you have been using to traverse the west half will be needed to continue. This might be useful as it initially seems you will have to leave some fragments behind to get to where you are, so you now know it's possible to go get them back.
  • Anti-Grinding: This game has a stat growth system where party members do not earn experience points in battle. Instead, they gain SP points, which are used to upgrade skills. The equivalent to a level up in this game is acquiring a grimoire shard, which is obtained by defeating bosses. These shards are used to acquire a new skill or get a certain stat upgrade. Even if you do pick a skill, you will get some stat increases upon purchase but those are minuscule. SP, on the other hand, is given out in minimum amounts by defeating enemies and only by beating certain enemies and bosses along with taking advantage of the rewards board system can party members start raking in SP.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The active party consists of up to eight characters, with four fielded participants that can swap with a linked reserve member as a free action. Any other recruited party members will not participate in battle.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Grand Grimoire, a crystal that, when shattered, absorbs all life (human, plant, and so on) within a thousand meters into itself to repair itself, with the exception of the person responsible for breaking it. Glenn activates it without knowing its purpose in the prologue, and it soon after ends up in the hands of Valandis' leaders as a weapon of war.
  • Beast Man: There are plenty of people who look like anthropomorphic animals, but no one bats an eye on them.
  • Calling Card: A few chests in the game, rather than actually having any treasure in them, only contain an insulting rhyming note from a "BB" about how they got there first. One of the Optional Bosses required to obtain an elemental tablet turns out to be this thief, an armored man named Boutrous the Boisterous.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • Towards the end of Act 1, Frederik is aghast to learn that Matthye tried to kill his Morality Chain sister to cover up his actions at the peace treaty, but as Matthye is meant to be their sole survivor of the incident, it would be suspicious to have him executed immediately after delivering his report. Telling their citizens that Matthye lost an eye and an arm during the peace treaty fiasco, on the other hand...
    • At the end of Act 3, Gwayn recovers Kylian's crippled body and the Grand Grimoire after Kylian's Sky Armor is shot out of the sky. When June asks why he saved Kylian's soul despite all of his betrayal, Gwayn simply states that if Glenn fails to kill the Vaen, Kylian's past proximity to Glenn means he's the best choice for a back-up plan. However, Kylian's body is beyond saving, so Gwayn bonds his soul to a suit of knight's armor.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Magnolia and Maddeleine are both introduced in sidequests that can be undertaken as early as Act 2, and both end up playing very important roles in Act 4's main plot; the former helps the party enter Glenn's mind and deal with his Chained Echoes to wake him from a coma, while the latter unlocks the door to Nhysa, the final dungeon.
  • Choice-and-Consequence System:
    • In the game's opening sequence, Glenn can talk to one character about whether to retreat in a dangerous situation or fight until their last breath, and another about whether or not to utilize dynamite in an upcoming battle, both of which will affect what happens during the skirmish.
    • Partway into Act 3, control briefly swaps to Amalia as she walks around Hermit Isle and asks the rest of the party about their cooking experience in order to prepare a meal for them. The player then chooses whose advice to take when preparing each course, which will affect the quality of the final meal, as well as the quality of the item that can be received from the regular chef if talked to afterwards.
    • The sidequests "A Goblin's Dilemma" and "Falfalaran Sings the Fairy" both involve choices that can change how they unfold; in the former, there's consequences if you kill the Goblin that seemingly killed a young girl before learning that the goblin WAS the girl, and in the latter, either you let the Fairy Queen kill Redhat and his underlings before she decides to kill the party as well, or you kill the Fairy Queen first and Redhat's crew dies while trying to harvest fairy hearts.
    • In a fairly novel twist, you actually get to build your own boss through this system. In a mansion within the outskirts of Magic Academy Nhysa, you are asked four questions. The answers to each determine certain facets of the boss. You choose if Memory was earth, wind, fire, or water elemental based on its color; if it fights with physical skills or magical skills; if it can resurrect itself; and if it focuses mostly on attacking randomly, attacking everyone at once, or makes ample use of status afflictions.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character No two recruitable characters can wield the same weapon, with one exception: both Kylian and Raphael use Great Swords. These characters also contrast each other, in that Kylian betrayed the party for the Order of Leonar in order to achieve his ambitions, and Raphael leaves the Order of Leonar and can join the party to discover his own.
  • Corrupt Church: One revelation in Act 3 is that the Order of Leonar is responsible for raising the majority of the world's monsters and secretly unleashing them upon the rest of the world, so that fearful people will seek out their faith for salvation. The Order themselves have their own version of events, in that they're trying to gain energy for the Grand Grimoire so it can be used to defeat the Abusive Precursors, and decided to harvest it from monsters rather than through human sacrifice, with those that broke out of containment and threatened innocent people being complete accidents. And then it swings back to being utterly corrupt with a third perspective in the final Act: said Abusive Precursors, the Vaen, are sealing the Harbinger that the Chosen One is meant to defeat in the Maelstrom where all soul energy cycles through, and the Church wants to summon the Harbinger by draining the Maelstrom of enough souls (by creating life like the monsters) for it to break out.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The end of Act 2 has one occur between just three of Taryn's Elite Four against Nabrelia's entire army: the first of Taryn's commanders freezes the ocean and causes the Nabrelians to abandon their ships, the second uses fire to melt the ice so the Nabrelians have to drop their heavy gear to avoid sinking, and then the third electrocutes the ocean to kill all of the exposed Nabrelians in one fell swoop.
  • Deal with the Devil: Such deals are done with a masked spirit who shows up to those in grave desperation.
    • Ba'Thraz is able to use telepathic abilities and the ability to summon weapons in battle due to making a Pact and receiving a "Curse" of Steel in return. It is revealed that he made this pact to save himself and his son from bandits in exchange from his limbs, which were made from the armor his sonís soul is confined in when he made the pact moments before.
    • BaíThrazís son also made such a deal out of desperation to live after being severely wounded by bandits. He gives up his whole body in exchange to have his soul sealed in a suit of armor, which is damaged moments later and forcing BaíThraz to make another pact to save his son by reconfiguring the sealed armor into artificial limbs for BaíThraz to wear.
    • Amalia made a Pact with a Curse of Healing in order to survive when her country was taken over. Act 3 reveals that the price she paid was the majority of her lifespan.
    • Matthye makes a Pact of his own after his attempt at Taking You with Me fails, in order to stave off death long enough to try and kill the party again. However, the power of the Pact is dependent on how much is sacrificed, and with little left to give at this point, it's not enough for him to survive their rematch.
  • Disney Villain Death: In The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, Whyatt tries to kill the party for killing his Pope, but when he tries to take an enhancement serum, Eva shows up and saves the party by knocking him back and off of a bridge into the dark depths below.
  • Downer Beginning: Regardless of the advice Glenn gave his fellow mercenaries, the prologue ends with Glenn activating the Grand Grimoire without knowing its purpose, accidentally killing everyone in the area aside from himself and Kylian.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The sidequest "Into the Maelstrom" has the party, on the bequest of a Soulseer named Magnolia, magically enter the mind of a comatose man that threw himself from the roof of his house in order to discover what mental malady prevents him from waking up. It turns out he fed his own daughter poison to spare her from the horrors of Frederik's war, and planned to join her in death.
    • In Act 3, the Sova (a tribe of birds) realize that their oath with the Order of Leonar was built on a lie, in that the Order saved them from the same monsters the Order unleashed. They then sabotage the Order's laboratory where the monsters were being created and, with the exception of the unaware Egyl, all commit suicide to atone for having broken their oath.
  • Early Game Hell: The early game is brutal, largely as a result of Kylian being your best healer. His healing ability is potent, but it only targets one character - most enemies and every boss have at least one group attack that hits all party members. Combined with most boosts to stats coming from gear and not level-ups, and it's difficult to get a good HP, defense, or mind score for a while. You do get a group-heal ability from the Cleric class, but it is weak, and you have to master it before you can spread it to other members of your party. Victor getting Healing Hymn is about the point where the game softens up, but the Flower Fields of Perpetua still stand out as one of, if not the, hardest areas in the game, even with Healing Hymn, largely because of the sheer damage output of the King Owls, Sporemen, and Scorpions. It's not until sidequests open up and Amalia joins the party that the game calms down a bit.
  • Exploiting the Fourth Wall: One Optional Boss, the Randomage, first casts Twisting Winds to mess with your Overdrive gauge, and then Twisting Nebula to hide it. He'll then collapse from the party's attacks soon after, with the usual boss victory explosion...only for it to be a Fake-Out Fade-Out, as he then casts a spell to drop the Overdrive bar onto the party before standing back up to continue the fight.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The game opens with shot-by-shot reenactment of Chrono Trigger opening sequence, until "Glenn's mother" punches him in the face and he fully wakes up, showing the player that he's in a warship, en route to some kind of mission. This sets up the game as quite a bit more serious than your typical SNES RPG.
  • False Flag Operation: The first chapter has a meeting to discuss a peace treaty suddenly interrupted by the assassination of the chancellor of Lenne's homeland. The perpetrator, Matthye, turns out to be a general of their army, who had been ordered by Lenne's brother Prince Frederik to give them pretense for war by any means necessary. He also has no qualms with killing Lenne and adding flame to the fire.
  • Forced Transformation: In the sidequest "A Goblin's Dilemma", it turns out that nearly all of the land's Goblins were originally humans that were transformed against their will. Late in the game, the player can find and destroy the totem maintaining the spell, changing everyone back to normal.
  • Foreshadowing: There are plenty of minor but notable scenes early in the game that hint at major twists later down the line. For example, the various flashbacks glimpsed through the Maelstrom at the end of Act 2 not only hint at the cost of Ba'Thraz and Amalia's Pacts, there's also a glimpse of a young Victor with a green-haired man that gets explained at the start of Act 4.
  • Functional Magic: Focusing more on the 'inherent magic' side of things, magic is something someone is born with as their soul moves through the Maelstrom, the magical whirlpool of souls that pushes a soul into a new, living being as it is born. The number of souls and the number of magical souls is finite, however; back in the days of the Magical Academy of Nhysa, magic was considered more common, but the truth is simply that, as more people are born, less people will have magic by comparison. Steps are being taken to make magic usable via devices to compensate; Sky Armors have Elemental and Aether cannons that allow them to tap into the forces of magic even if the pilot is a Magically Inept Fighter such as Sienna or Glenn with proficiency on par with any proper magic user, and various cities make use of magic for lighting or, in the case of Marylea,to fly using special flying, magical rocks.
    • Among the cast proper, only a little over half of the playable characters have what can be construed as 'proper' magic; Lenne, Tomke, Victor, Raphael, Magnolia, Ba'Thraz, and Amalia. However, Victor comes from a time where magic was common, Raphael's magic is somewhat underwhelming without Class Emblem application, Magnolia is an inherently magical being, and Ba'Thraz and Amalia fall outside the spectrum of being magical people, as their magic is entirely derived from their Pacts with a mysterious entity. The only two characters from the modern time period the game takes place in that have completely normal magic that both follows the conventional rules of magic and is powerful enough to be used for combat and outside applications are Lenne and Tomke, and even Tomke carries something of an asterisk considering his three primarily magic attacks are locked behind his terrible memory problems. Lenne and Tomke being the only modern playable characters who follow the traditional rules of how one gets magic in the setting reflect how magic has been perceived to 'die off' over generations next to the ten other party members who either have special circumstances or no magic at all.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Early on, Glenn comments on it being warm when a fire-based monster shows up, to which another character responds that it's VERY hot. Guess what element Glenn resists by default?
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: An example that initially plays itself straight but then later is averted. The Dayajir FD Sky Armor is stated to be a cutting edge Sky Armor that's better than anything else available. Despite that, it's one of the first enemies you fight in the game on foot, and you successfully defeat it. That said, it's ALSO an endgame Sky Armor that has multiple steps to unlock that serves as one of the best Sky Armors in the game.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The game starts with Glenn sleeping in his bed, and his mother coming to wake him up. And that sequence itself turns out to be a dream. He's actually taking a nap before a battle, and "mother" is actually another mercenary who came to wake him up.
  • Gratuitous German: The game was developed in Dusseldorf, Germany, and utilizes various German expressions and terminology in the English translation, such as calling a short sword a "degen" and referring to mercenaries as "Doppelsöldner".
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: The fight against Randomage has them hop backwards a bit for each new phase, leading to the battle ending with them accidentally hopping off the edge of the landmass they were on and standing in midair for a few moments before realizing their situation and falling.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The Vaen outright taunt the party in the lead-up to the final battle over this, saying it isn't fair to call the Church "white" or the Vaen "black" even if the party has mostly the same intent as the former, as the Vaen are ultimately just trying to protect humanity from the Harbinger that the Church wants to unleash.
  • Guide Dang It!: During the mission to save Amalia, if you complete the entire mission while avoiding all non-mandatory fights, you will get a Healer's RAM for your Sky Armors. Issue is, it never actually tells you that there's a reward if you can avoid all enemies. The only hint you have that something might be available is the fact that there are roundabout paths that let you bypass the enemies. And worse, this is the only place in the game you can actually get the Healer's RAM.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: In the first half of the game, the focus is entirely on the conflict against Taryn as Frederik's forces spark a war in Valandis, with the party trying to destroy the Grand Grimoire before it can be used to take any more innocent lives. However, once the party learns more about their own history, the second half of the game instead focuses on destroying the Vaen, to the point that only two of Frederik's elite commanders are actually fought and the Grand Grimoire plays a vital role in saving the world.
  • Healer Signs On Early:
    • Kylian makes much of Act 1 beatable, since he's the only character who starts with a healing ability. He's also part of the starting line-up of characters, with Glenn.
    • The first Class Emblem you can obtain is the Cleric emblem, which can grant any character the skills to revive a fallen ally and heal the entire active party. While later Emblems require obtaining a rare item and then presenting it to a hidden statue, this one is presented in a tutorial soon after all of the various introductory protagonists come together to form one party.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Exaggerated as six party members in the game use swords. Glenn uses typical single handed swords along with a shield. Kylian and Raphael use two handed swords. Victor uses a rapier while Sienna uses a katana. Egyl on the other hand uses a gunspear, which looks a lot like a sword.
  • Heroic RRoD: It's an actual gameplay mechanic. Each move used charges a special gauge, which starts to provide bonuses when filled enough. However, should you charge it too much, and the party will "overheat", which allows the enemy to counter with a powerful attack. The gauge can be lowered by using moves of certain types or defending, but that may lower it too much and deprive you of said bonuses.
  • His Own Worst Enemy:
    • The Vaen really have no one but themselves to blame for people eventually deciding to kill them all in spite of the role they take in keeping the Harbinger locked away. The original justification for the Vaen to routinely cull a majority of the population every few centuries was to fuel the Harbinger's cage with the ether in the souls of the departed long enough for technological progress or exploration into ancient ruins to create or find a weapon capable of killing the Harbinger. As Lenne points out, however, their vanity and fear of humanity becoming powerful enough not to need them and consequently do away with them meant that with each apocalypse, they also intentionally set back the standard of living and tech level of whatever century they blew to high heaven. This meant that, eventually, the Order of Leonar considered them a worse problem than the Harbinger itself, because the Vaen's own efforts were shooting themselves and the rest of the world in the foot. If they hadn't reset the tech level each time they culled humanity, it's much more likely the Vaen would have been seen as a Necessary Evil that didn't need dealing with.
    • Ultimately, the same could be said of Kylian. Kylian is a brilliant man who can claw his way out of any bad situation and come out ahead, but he ultimately screws himself over time and time again by getting too greedy and too ambitious for his own good. Despite being the epitome of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, people frequently trust him anyway and give him the power and prestige he wants. Whether it be by selling out Lenne to Nabrelia, betraying the church to get riches and power beyond compare with Taryn, or trying to achieve god-like power from Gwayn, it's always ultimately Kylian's own fault that he loses whatever he stood to gain from just taking his winnings and being loyal to someone or something besides himself.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In both battles with Thoma, they will throw a bomb onto the field and hit it to move it closer to your party. The problem with this plan becomes obvious when you realize that you outnumber them three- or four-to-one in these fights, making it easy to turn the tables on them and cause massive damage with their own bomb.
    • Matthye notes to Frederick that Lenne is the most honest person on the continent - which Frederick immediately turns around on him by pointing out that Lenne just accused Matthye of trying to murder her. Matthye tries to claim Lenne is lying only for Frederick to ask if he's actually accusing her of being a liar.
  • HP to 1:
    • If you attack the plant monster Saliva in the Rohlan Fields with fire, they will reduce the HP of all members of the group to 1.
    • Later on in the end of Act 2 we have June and Gwayn, who really don't want to defeat you. One of their fake attacks reduces your HP to 1, and the only way they can actually kill you is with a one-damage attack that takes multiple turns to charge up.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Every character has an "ultimate" weapon, which requires first obtaining a "rusty" weapon via exploring dangerous areas or completing hard challenges, then obtaining a Soul of Farnese through similarly-hard challenges, and then actually combining them to unlock their potential at a special smithy only unlocked close to the end of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. There's a Steam Achievement awarded for collecting all twelve.
  • Inn of No Return: The White Rose Inn, whichs seems to be an ordinary inn, but is actually run by a Mad Scientist that uses the place to abduct passing travelers so he can experiment on them, which almost always results in their deaths.
  • Interface Screw: "Twisting Winds" is an ability known by a select few bosses that changes the Overdrive bar, so the player has to more carefully manage it rather than alternate between going all-out and then holding back to prevent Overheat. The Optional Boss Randomage takes it a step farther by then obscuring the bar with Twisting Nebula, though the Overdrive and Overheat notifications are still displayed.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Upon entering a new territory for the first time, its section in the Reward Board unlocks, showing what you need to do in that area to gain the best rewards. For Shambala, one of the missions involves a character the party hasn't met yet, who joins midway through that area. And the fact that Nhysa has a board at all is a spoiler, as its front door can be reached as early as a sidequest in Act 2, but said door doesn't open until it becomes The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • The weapon inventory section indirectly spoils that there are 12 party members.
    • Kylian's skill list also counts. Although it has as many skills as every other character's, there's one crucial difference ó after a certain point, none of his skills are named. Instead, they're replaced by question marks, spoiling that he leaves near the end of Act 1 and never returns.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Throughout the game, the same nameless Merchant keeps popping up in dangerous areas the party is exploring in order to do business with them. This includes onto enemy airships, ancient ruins, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, and even Glenn's mind (courtesy of Magnolia).
  • Involuntary Group Split: Right as the party is about to first enter Lenne's homeland, they're attacked by Row in a Sky Armor, wanting to take Lenne hostage in order to use her as a bargaining chip against her warmongering brother. When his mech explodes, it blows up the bridge they were standing on, splitting the party into three groups: Glenn and Lenne, just Sienna, and the remaining three.
  • Job System: Throughout the game are statues that can be prayed to with Sacred Water in order to receive a Class Emblem. Equipping an emblem allows a character to wield some job-specific Active and Passive skills, such as the Cleric emblem bequeathing healing skills and improved magical defense, and the Shaman emblem bequeathing offensive magic skills. Mastering the skills allows the character to keep them even if a different emblem is equipped, but a character can only equip two Active and Passive Class skills at once. Alternatively, the space used for Class skills can be used to equip more skills unique to the character.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind:
    • The sidequest "Into the Maelstrom" has the party, with the help of Magnolia the Soulseer, explore the mind of someone that was Driven to Suicide and fallen into a coma.
    • Act 4 starts with Magnolia sending the party into the mind of Glenn, who's become overwhelmed with both his own failures and the realization that his past life was the heartless Van, and also fallen into a coma and needs their help to reawaken.
  • Julius Beethoven da Vinci: While Victor has kept roughly the same identity during his Long-Lived life, Gwayn is known to have used one other alias: Nalkilber the monk, the sole person that knows the truth of Reina's Tomb.
  • Little Red Fighting Hood: One endgame Optional Boss required to obtain an elemental tablet is the Assassin Girl, a red-hooded assassin who can summon a Grandma Assassin and a Wolf Assassin doppelganger to fight alongside her.
  • Limit Break: Ultra Moves are powerful moves that are charged by fighting enemies. The gauge is shared by the whole party, and carries over between encounters.
  • Living Shadow: One Optional Boss required to obtain all of the elemental tablets is Chel, whose shadow Twi'Tone is one of these and fights alongside her in battle.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Final Boss is one, as the gate of the Vaen is located at the bottoms of the remains of Nhysa, and once the Vaen are destroyed, the already-fallen academy city ends up collapsing further, necessitating a quick retreat.
  • Long-Lived: Both Victor and Gwayn have lived for eons. Also, the goblins live longer than humans, which turns out to backfire when you revert them back into humans.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: The game prominently features Sky Armors - humanoid mechs about five times the human size, that can fly.
  • The Mole:
    • Kylian is a secret agent from the country of Nabrelia, only revealing the fact when he tries to kidnap Lenne to use as a bargaining chip in his country's upcoming battle against her brother.
    • In Act 2, after teaming up with Amalia's resistance forces, it turns out they have their own mole problems: Heinlein has been giving Commander (formerly General) Matthye information on their movements because he was raised to be the perfect servant, and considers Frederik to be his "master" instead of Amalia after his forces took over their land.
  • Morality Chain: Lenne believes she is one for her brother Frederik, believing that their best chance to prevent him from starting a war is for her to return home and talk him out of it, and that her directly siding with his enemies would push him past the breaking point and make peace truly impossible. While she fails to convince Frederik to stop the war, he does punish his own general Matthye for trying to permanently silence her.
  • Morton's Fork: Lenne eventually does reach her brother Frederik to try and convince him to stop the war, telling him all of Matthye's crimes in the process. Right after, Frederik confronts Matthye, glad to have pretense of war but upset at the news that Matthye tried to kill his sister. When Matthye denies this to avoid punishment, he's then accused of rebelling against the throne by claiming the princess is a liar. Due to Can't Kill You, Still Need You, Matthye's not killed, but is still punished with the loss of an arm and an eye.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong:
    • General Matthye believes in Frederik's ambitions, to the point that he takes actions that contradict Frederik's other commands to him, such as trying to kill his interfering sister Lenne.
    • The end of Act 2 shows that Torman is this for their own nation, attempting (but failing) to kill Cameron and keep Valandis in Frederik's control because the alternative is his own leader giving control to Nabrelia in exchange for their military ousting Frederik.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: There are some entities that despite appearing otherwise, are labeled as plant monsters by the game. Most mysterious and most vile of all are the Vaen. In the final battle, they aren't labeled as ethereal beings or potentially undead, but plant. In the game's cosmology, this makes sense because plants can be recipients of the magic in the Maelstrom, empowering them and frequently giving them a will of their own - all plant entities the party meets, unfortunately, are murderous.
  • Never Found the Body: In Act 4, during the sidequest "A Will to Live", Raphael informs the party that, despite surviving the crash of Marylea himself, he has no idea what happened to his fellow inquisitor Eva that was there with him. Later, Eva does show up in time to save the party from Whyatt.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Upon reaching Marylea in Act 3, Glenn experiences Past-Life Memories in which a jealous Van accidentally stabs Lenne and watches her and Timothy take part in a ritual to carry their Echoes to the next life, and comes to the conclusion that he's Timothy's reincarnation. At the end of the Act, he's forced to confront a contradiction in his memories, and it plays again, now adding an outraged Van pushing Timothy out of the way, and letting him bleed to death, in order to take his place in the ritual.
  • Opening the Sandbox: The first act of the game comprises the first half of the story and is quite long and very linear. While you can go off the beaten path and complete tasks on the reward board, you do spend most of the time locked into a sequence. It's only after beating Mount Rydell early in the second act does the game truly open up. You gain a home-base in Hermit's Isle and you are encouraged to recruit new members to your clan from all over Valandis. Sienna's airship is available allowing access to new areas, but the biggest game-changer are the Sky Armors. Now you can maneuver and even fly through previously-visited areas in mechs that can outright destroy enemies intended against an on-foot party. Dedicated sidequests that let you recruit secret characters also become available.
  • Optional Boss:
    • Throughout the game are unique boss encounters, many of which require specific conditions to be met before they appear in an area, that can be slain for rare forging materials and Reward Board quests.
    • In the game's final act, the party can access some new areas as well as locked-off sections of previous areas, most of which lead to a boss guarding an elemental tablet. By obtaining all six tablets, the party can then fight the game's Superboss, God King Gaemdriel.
  • Our Humans Are Different: In the world of Eldrea "human" is just a blanket term for all sapient races such as the Lizard Folk Lisvan, with what in the real world are consider human known as "hyoms".
  • Past-Life Memories: An "Echo" occurs when a person's soul reincarnates into a new body and carries over some residual memories.
    • This most prominently affects Lenne, whose past lives include the Holy Mother, making her The Chosen One to finish what that past life started.
    • Glenn later believes he was Timothy - Lenneís then-lover - in a past life, only to later realize he was actually Van, the Jerkass who tried to keep them apart.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: On the cliff above the Seaside Village in southwestern Rohlan Fields (accessed from Basil just to the north), there is a group of five Pigear enemies. They are right next to the area's fast travel point, and they respawn when you fast travel. They give between 5 and 25 SP per battle, which can be used to quickly max out your on-foot abilities and Sky Armor weapon skills.
  • Sand Worm: One such worm shows up as a boss of the underground caverns, sticking its head out the soil to attack.
  • Secret Character: There are four recruitable party members that join through completing sidequests rather than through the main plot:
    • Tomke, a goatman that eats enemies to gain skills, is recruited by going to Arkant Achipelago in Act 2 and completing his sidequest.
    • Mikah, a martial artist, is recruited by recruiting her grandfather Tomke and then raising your clan to Rank 3.
    • Magnolia, a Soulseer whose main skills have her draw a card to deal randomized damage, is recruited by completing the sidequests "Into the Maelstrom" and "Falfalaran Sings the Fairy".
    • Raphael, a High Inquisitor encountered during the main story, is recruited by completing the sidequest "A Will to Live".
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with several main threads unresolved: Amalia has less than two years to live, and Ba'Thraz goes searching for a way to break their Pacts. Kylian as a True King and Lenne as the new queen of Valandis stand before a long journey to find a weapon to defeat the Harbinger, one that may take multiple lifetimes. Although the credits imply Raphael and Eva will guide the Church into a better future, Markas and his followers are still at large, and working to summon the Harbinger.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Act 2 ends with the Taryn valkyrie Maria killing Lenne for going against her brother, and three gods arising from the sea and sacrificing their own lives to turn time back a few seconds, letting Glenn save Lenne's life so she can fulfill her duties as The Chosen One.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Fake-Out Opening sequence references Chrono Trigger, by having Glenn being woken up by his mother, with the house having the same layout.
    • The "Horn Lizard" enemy has an attack called "Tail Whip" that decreases your defense.
    • The quest when stepping into Tormund for the first time is called "Killing in the Rain".
    • The achievement for beating Act I is called "Act Racer".
    • The opening section of gameplay, showing four different characters (discounting Kylian and Robb, who act more as supporting characters in their given sections) and establishing how they eventually came to run into each other in Farnsport's newest church as a demon attacks, takes heavy inspiration from the Wild ARMs series. It's especially similar to Wild ARMs 3, given half of the party meets in the middle of a stand-off before teaming up to deal with an entity causing chaos. (Janus' gang in Wild ARMs 3, the Forgotten Mantis in Chained Echoes.)
    • Sienna's Ultra Move is more or less Baiken's Instant Kill from Guilty Gear X or XX.
    • Victor's section in the first chapter is one big reference to Millennial Fair from Chrono Trigger, including a race, where you can bet on racers and take hints from an NPC.
    • One of the bosses you encounter is named the Giga Drill Breaker..
    • One of the Unique Monsters is named Gol D. Waterfly.
    • Yet another Chrono Trigger reference in Marylea, where a teacher states that the three ancient Sky Armor models that all others were based on are named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, similar to Trigger's Three Wise Men (Gaspar, Melchior, & Belthasar). Which of course, are the names of the Biblical three wise men.
    • Tomke's animation for successfully eating a monster and gaining their power is taken straight from Popeye, including a little jingle that plays each time Tomke does it. And given his yellow slicker and use of an achor, Tomke truly is a sailor man...
    • The combat UI shares a lot of similarities with Octopath Traveler, including the bar establishing character turn order, and the combat 'loop' plays similarly to Octopath Traveler and its sister series Bravely Default, going out of its way to incentivize the use of the 'defend' command to empower the player; in this case, by allowing the player to work the Overdrive Bar's cursor back down to the lower end of the Overdrive section, which cuts down on skill costs, enhances damage done to enemies, and decreases damage done to the party. Both Octopath Traveler and Chained Echoes also have a boss whose main gimmick is screwing up a part of the game's UI; Simeon hides the turn order in Octopath Traveler while Randomage hides the Overdrive Bar and later hits you with it.
    • Randomage, a late-game Optional Boss, is also very clearly a Red Mage from Final Fantasy, specifically the version from Final Fantasy XIV. Enchanted Combo is heavily inspired from that Red Mage's own melee combo.
    • The Sky Armor frame Kerberos is basically Barbatos from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. The great sword weapon having a unique sprite(a giant spiked mace) on it confirms it.
    • The Sky Armor palettes ADAM-00, 01 and 02 are the same set as EVA units 00, 01 and 02 from Neon Genesis Evangelion respectively.
    • One of Magnolia's attacks is called Chaos King.
    • Final Blossom, Mikah's strongest attack, is almost shot-for-shot Heavenly Peaks Descent from Live A Live, only lacking the part where Mikah circles around the enemy.
    • Boutrous' mount Al Ra'ad is very clearly a red Rayquaza, having the segmented body, the ball-joint arms, the sunken serpentine eyes, and the symbol body markings that mark the Pokémon lord of the heavens.
    • God King Gaemdriel bears more than a passing resemblance to Radahn in the latter's prime, most notably the massive mane of red hair, and like Radahn is considered a master of both melee combat and magic.
    • Glenn, much like Marin, wants to be reincarnated as a bird, a wish thatís granted during the end credits.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: After their failure at the end of Act 1, Kylian ends up sacrificing their dignity in order to gain status and sleeps with Zacheus.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Flashbacks to the past show the life of a previous The Chosen One, also named Lenne, in a forbidden relationship with a man named Timothy that's further complicated by another man named Van trying to separate them. At present day, the memories Glenn and Lenne recall makes it appear that they are the reincarnations of the previous Lenne and Timothy. This is subverted however when it turns out Glenn is actually the reincarnation of Van, who forcefully took Timothy's place in the reincarnation spell. Timothy's soul sadly returned to the Maelstrom, never to reunite with Lenne.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: At one point Sienna hears someone calling her from a suspiciously empty alley. You'd think that she would know better, but the only way to progress the plot is to walk there and get captured.
  • Taking You with Me: Commander Matthye attempts this on the party and Amalia's rebellion force after their tank is defeated, blowing it up in an attempt to take them all out. However, they're the only one fatally wounded in the process, so they make a Deal with the Devil to get a second chance at taking everyone else out.
  • A Taste of Power: The first time the player gets to pilot a Sky Armor, it's as Glenn during the prologue. The second time is towards the end of Act 1, after trying to escape from Frederik's personal airship, the Aurora, and soon after the party gains permanent access to four at once.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Act 2 starts with Glenn doing some errands in a town in order to help some orphans. Then Victor shows up to re-recruit him to help stop the current war, and it turns out the orphans aren't real; they're just embodiments of Glenn's guilt from the destruction and lost lives he feels responsible for.
  • Timed Mission: The Optional Boss fight against the Assassin Girl is one, as the party catches up to her as she's about to kill a formerly-crooked merchant's daughter. The Assassin will get closer to the girl after some turns have passed in battle, and if she reaches her target, it's an instant Game Over.
  • Time Skip:
    • A one-year skip occurs between the Prologue and Act 1, during which time Glenn goes into hiding after activating the Grand Grimoire accidentally and becoming the sole survivor of the skirmish.
    • A three-month skip occurs between Acts 1 and 2, during which Frederik takes full control of Valandis, the other countries start to openly wage war against him, and Glenn (who blames himself for the Grand Grimoire going off again) is seemingly taking care of some orphans to try and redeem himself.
  • Time Stands Still: At the end of Act 2, following Maria's killing of Lenne, three giant gods appear to observe the event and lament that sacrificing themselves to turn the clock back a few seconds would only lead to the event repeating. Then Glenn comments on them, and they realize that someone in the frozen moment can still move. They have him act on the information that he has only a few short moments after they sacrifice themselves to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Understandably, he is somewhat messed up for a while about apparently being the only person who remembers both timelines.
  • Title Drop: "Chained Echo" is the name of the boss fought in Glenn's mind, a manifestation of all of his guilt and self-loathing that has led him to carrying the Echoes of all his past lives in an attempt to eventually make amends.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: Robb slices off a defeated enemy's hand in order to get information on who tries to restart the war, but the man turns out to be so fanatical, he kills himself with this very knife without telling anything valuable.
  • The Unfought:
    • Norgant, a gang leader encountered during Sienna's segment of the Involuntary Group Split, just has his top goon fight her and Ba'Thraz rather than deal with them himself. When he's encountered again in a late-game sidequest, he still holds a grudge and seems like he's about to get revenge, only to decide to put aside his grievances in favor of having Sienna's new friends pay him for a rare Sky Armor his gang had uncovered.
    • Out of Frederik's Elite Four, only Godfrey is actually fought by the player, with two other members attempting a coup that kills the last, only to learn too late that Frederik gave himself immunity to their powers and end up getting executed by Gwayn.
    • Frederik himself, despite being set up as the final threat of the game's penultimate dungeon, chooses to kill himself instead of fighting the party in order for Lenne to gain renown as a tyrant-slayer and unite the lands in peace.
    • Partway through the game, the party is told a story about the seven "True Kings" of the world; the monkey head that sleeps in the mountains, the giant boar that creates canyons with its tusks, the dragon that sleeps in the miasma of the fallen academy Nhysa, the owl-faced moon that smites airships that soar too high, the voice of a parrot that is heard throughout the world once a century, the unseen but many-tentacled creature lurking in the depths of the ocean, and the Hive Mind of rats that can mass together in order to form a Rat King. Despite how hyped up they are, by the end of the game, the party has only encountered two True Kings: one is the secret Eighth True King, who is only fought at full power when Gwayn is acting Willfully Weak in a battle that's near-impossible to die in, and the other is the dragon, who confronts the party after the Final Boss with intent to fight, only to be willed away by the inheritor of Gwayn's power.
    • Finally, there's the Harbinger; despite dealing with its existence being the motivation of multiple factions and hyped up as a monumental threat, it's never even seen during the game's events, with the Final Boss position instead going to the Vaen that were trying to keep it sealed.
  • Unique Enemy: Most regions have two unique monsters that are harder to take down than the other inhabitants, some of which require you to interact with the environment. Naturally, one of your sidequests involves defeating them all.
  • Universal Poison: Some characters, and one type of Sky Armor weapon, have a skill that applies Poison. Naturally, it tends to work on the majority of enemies, including opposing Sky Armors and ghosts.
  • Valkyries: Taryn has a special anti-Sky Armor force known as the Valkyries, formed exclusively of women with both magical and physical prowess. This force includes Taryn's own royalty, as Lenne demonstrates.
  • Weapon Specialization: Every character's weapon of choice tends to reflect some aspect of their character, such as Glenn using Swords and Tomke the sailor using Anchors.
  • Wham Episode: The end of Act 1. Kylian reveals he's The Mole for Nabrelia, the Grand Grimoire is set off again after a soldier shoots it out of Glenn's Sky Armor's hands, the sky becomes filled with giant eyes as Gwayn admits to his lover that he originally stole the Grand Grimoire from the gods themselves, and the other countries of the world prepare to wage war against Frederik.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite the game drawing attention to the fact Heinlein disappeared without a trace following the consecutive fights with General Matthye, the character doesn't appear again for the rest of the game. This is especially jarring, as Heinlein declared his loyalty to Frederik as his 'true master' because the man took control of all Valandis, implying he'd properly defect or oppose the party - but he never shows up to combat them and isn't seen in the ending at all despite his 'true master' dying.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The game's end credits scroll is accompanied by scenes of all of the playable characters (with the exception of Ba'Thraz) that show what they're doing after their adventure ended.
  • Willfully Weak: The fight against Gwayn and June near the end of Act 2 has them clearly holding back their full power, pulling Troll moves such as spamming HP to 1 moves that don't actually kill and speeding themselves up to have five turns in a row only to spend them all idling. In truth, they want the party to succeed, but are obligated by their current allegiances to at least attempt to show resistance.
    • Importantly, at one point Gwayn begins "Preparing an Ultimate Attack." If you leave any member's HP at 1 from the aforementioned HP to 1 moves, they WILL be killed by the... one point of damage dealt to each party member.
  • World of Jerkass: Downplayed - Rockbottom is a City of Jerkass.

Top