Tales from the Backlog 67: Chained Echoes

In the Shovel Knight episode and blog, I talked about how that game really succeeds at both tapping into your nostalgia and being modern at the same time. This has kind of become a shorthand in my games vocabulary now, the "Shovel Knight treatment" referring to games that pull this feat off, like The Messenger did for Ninja Gaiden, Infernax did for Castlevania...and now like Chained Echoes does for the the JRPG classics of yesteryear, like Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, Secret of Mana and many others.

There are a lot of complaints that people, myself included, point to when talking about those old RPGs, however. As time passes and suddenly it's been a decade or two since we play some of those games, we tend to forget some of the issues that can plague the genre like grinding to overpower enemies instead of strategizing, abrupt scope increases where suddenly you're fighting God for some reason, bad random encounter rates, and many more. So a game getting "the Shovel Knight treatment" can modernize all of these things, but the most important thing is that they need to be good enough to stand on their own. Chained Echoes, by solo developer Matthias Linda, would not be half the game it is if it JUST added modern quality of life improvements. What really makes Chained Echoes stand out is that it introduces a really fun combat system that requires your full attention in nearly every battle throughout the game, tells an engrossing story full of intrigue, failures and successes, and ties it all up really nicely while clearly setting up a sequel. I came out of my time with Chained Echoes confident that not only did it successfully write a love letter to the games that inspired it, but that it itself stands among those titans of the genre on its own merits.

Joining me to discuss Chained Echoes in episode 67 is Aaron Angle, one of my oldest friends and co-host with me on A Top 3 Podcast. As soon as I finished the prologue of Chained Echoes, I started pestering Aaron to play this, because we've spent the last 20 years talking about video games just like this. If you're not aware, A Top 3 Podcast is a list show that Aaron and I do with our other great friends Alan and Bloodbath. Each episode is a top 3 list or a draft or something of that nature. We've been doing the show for a few years now, and it's a much different vibe than Tales from the Backlog. You can check it out by searching your favorite podcast app or following [this link](atop3podcast.fireside.fm).

You can listen to episode 67 of Tales from the Backlog (Chained Echoes) in the player below, or you can follow the links to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, Google Podcasts or search "Tales from the Backlog" in your favorite podcast app!