Review by Psycho Penguin

"The Titanic (SquareSoft) has sunk..."

Note: SaGa Frontier is the 4th game in the Romancing SaGa series.

What the heck was SquareSoft thinking when they created this stupid game??? I mean, sure, it's a pretty okay game, and the lots of characters and mini games to play give it lots of replay value, but overall it is the worst SquareSoft game (post Final Fantasy) that I have ever played. Even that piece of crap Quest 64 is better. Ugh. I actually expected this game to be decent, even though I had read some bad reviews about it. Why? Well, because of the fact that SquareSoft made it, and that it was a RPG. SquareSoft usually doesn't mess up on their role playing games so I thought it was asafe bet to think that they weren't going to mess up on SaGa Frontier either. But after playing this game for a few hours, I realized that SquareSoft had indeed messed up on the game. The biggest problems with the game, in my opinion, is the terrible level gaining system as well as the non-linearity of it. Read on as I bash on this below average RPG some more.

Graphics (2.3/10)
Hahaha!! The graphics in this game are so pathetic!!! The little characters are 2D sprites, which is not always a bad thing, but in this case the animation is so terrible it really does matter. Seriously, there is like no animation at all during the batles, either. The backgrounds (pre-rendered, of course) do look really cool though, and there is plenty of variety. But combine the character sprites and the colorfulness of the backgrounds, and it just doesn't look right at all. Overall, the graphics in SaGa Frontier for Playstation really aren't that good.

Music/Sound (7.1/10)
The music and sound effects in SaGa Frontier are decent, but just like the rest of the game, they just aren't up to SquareSoft's usual high standards. First off, the music. Most of the music featured in the game is pretty good, with the exception of a few. Let me just say that I would not pay more than 20 bucks for a SaGa Frontier soundtrack. The battle theme was pretty good, and the victory music was also decent. The cool thing is, SaGa Frontier 2 remixed the battle theme and victory music, so that just makes the battle and victory theme in SaGa Frontier that much better. Sound effect wise, SaGa Frontier is decent. The sound effects during battle are great, and all the sound effects during battle sound great, like when you go to do an attack and the sword clangs against the enemy. Overall, the music and sound effects are probably the best part of an otherwise dismal game.

Control (5.2/10)
First of all, you have to push a weird button to get the menu (how come every SquareSoft game has you pushing a different
button to get to the menu?). Otherwise, the control is decent, although the control in the battles is very pathetic sometimes. It is also sometimes difficult to switch between the menus during the heat of battle, which really sucks because on ocassion (I do admit it is a rare ocassion though) I miss doing an attack and end up dying in battle because of this. And yes, it was the controller's fault. Overall, the control in SaGa Frontier for Playstation is terrible and not up to SquareSoft's usually high quality control. What a shame.

Gameplay (5.3/10)
The best part of SaGa Frontier is the multiple games within the game. See, there are seven unique characters, and to truly beat the game, you must beat each of the seven's characters games. The battle and level building systems are flawed, though. Really flawed. The battle sytem has you using different kinds of attacks. You have to save up Weapon Points, because you need those to do the special attacks. Like Chrono Trigger, two people combine to do special attacks, although it appears to happen at random. Your Hit Points refill after every battle, too. Okay, now the level buiilding system. After every battle, someone will probably gain a upgrade in a certain stat (HP, WP, etc) it appears to happen at random, which really is terrible. What's the point of trying to level up if you don't know how much more battles you need to fight to level up?? SquareSoft really could have done a better job in that particular category. The two biggest problems in the gameplay, in my opinion, are the non linearity of the game (non linearity is good, to a certain extent) and the terrible level gaining system. Overall, the gameplay in SaGa Frontier really isn't all that great, which is disappointing for me because I expected a somewhat good game.

Replay Value (Medium)
The game does have some replay value, but not much

Challenge (High)
I am having a lot of problems beating this game, mainly due to the non linearity of the game.

Overall (5.3/10)
This game is way too non-linear, and the best RPG players will have trouble with it. There alos is a serious difference in challenge between the charcters game, which means that this is a game you should avoid. What happened here, SquareSoft? Even the best of companies have their bad games (Capcom w/ Mega Man Legends, for example). Thankfully, SquareSoft redeemed themselves with the top quality SaGa Frontier 2. Too bad its a shame that the original game isnt up to par with the amazing sequel.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 05/14/00, Updated 07/16/01


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