Review by Sirea
"Well worth an afternoon or two of gaming"
Now most people out there are looking for the next best thing in an RPG, with a shattering plot-line, a cast that all will adore, riveting battles, and a musical score that will bring a tear to the eye. Okay... so maybe that's just me ^_^
Anyway, SaGa Frontier is a continuation of sorts of Squares much less known but equally well done series ''Romancing the SaGa'', and a game that not everyone will enjoy, much like anything else in life. Sadly, it may be passed over because of it's graphics and story, and it's best feature IMO, the battle system, will go unnoticed.
The sprites and style used in SaGa isn't exactly appetizing at times, but the game does well were it needs to do well, and unless your shallow, it wont matter that the graphics are only standard fare. In battle they look good and are well detailed, out of battle they are plain but serviceable. You can tell the game wasn't made for eye candy alone (nor should it ever be like that).
The game does a good job here, with the music being catchy and calming tunes, and the sound effects being concentrated in battle. Sword slashes sound cool, gun blasts sound sorta like the real thing, and the many special attacks mostly have unique and fitting sounds. The music for battle kinda grated on my nerves at some points... but it didn't really matter. I'm happy they made different music for each of the end bosses, even if some sound similar to others. Each fit the situation well, especially the song for ''Genocide Heart''. All in all it's pretty well done. Not inspiring, but good nonetheless.
I won't lie. The story, or rather lack thereof, does very little for me. What I see are well done characters and plots that still could have been milked for a lot more, but after a few play throughs, I came to the conclusion that it really didn't matter to me. They do have some cool plots as is, but they kinda lack substance and coherence. But if you play the game, you realize that it makes little difference. I came attached to the characters for my own reasons, and left the plot holes as reasons for fanfics ^_^
Ah yes, the gameplay itself. This is where the gold of the game is, and I mined it for all it was worth and found myself still coming back for more. And there always is more, even after 20 games. Each character can be customized however you want, but each person has a very slight disposition to a certain trade. It's much like Final Fantasy 5, 7, and 8, but far more well done. I can take a young woman with arms like a stick pile, and after about 7 hours of rewarding build time, she's a master swordswoman powerful enough to slay a dragon with one or two attacks. Not many games can be this flexible, customizable, and fun. Even after 20 solid hours of game time, I still hadn't advanced the plot much at all. I was having too much fun making my guys and gals into Demigods!! And the best part is that it's not a cakewalk. The foes keep up with you all the time, so your never in over your head (only sometimes). You can do combination attacks, which make battle even MORE fun, and gives a sense of accomplishment. Imagine this... your up against a Dullahan, who's next attack is gonna wipe you out. You pull out a few weak moves, and a few strong ones in hopes of delaying your death, and then BOOM! You manage to get in a level four combo and obliterate the thing! It's just fun. You have five people in your party, with up to 15 maximum (three groups of five) and it's just the right amount. After every battle your HP goes back to full, but after a lot of game time I saw this as a good balancing act, since you can't use magic or healing items outside of battle. It just all made sense after a while. Not too hard, not too easy, and very very fun. You have so many attacks and magic to aquire, you can have hours doing stuff. It's not without fault of course. Even this can be dull after a while, and it DOES take a lot of patience if you really want to have a badass party, but I say it's worth the trouble. If they could take this combat system, and expand and perfect it, they'd have quite the powerful formula.
It's almost hard to say... I really enjoy SaGa for the battles and even some of the plot ideas, so I guess I just liked the overall package. Not too sweet, not too bitter. The battle were just fun, and I liked being able to make anyone into anything, but not feel bad about it. It's just a fun game to play if you put some time into it.
*Rent or Buy?*
Buy, of course. It's the answer with any RPG. But I suggest you try a rent first and spend some heavy time with it before you buy it, to see if it's your cup of RPG tea. If you like battles, and don't mind the other elements commonly found in RPG's lacking, then you'll dig it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 12/30/01, Updated 12/30/01
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