Review by CJones
"Not for everyone, but I for one enjoyed it."
After seeing the large number of bad reviews for this game, I felt that
somebody should stand up for it. So I decided to write my own review for what
has become one of my favorite Playstation games.
To be honest, the graphics are not up to par with what most people would expect from Squaresoft. The backgrounds and spell effects are pretty decent, but the character and monster graphics are pretty bad. But then, when you consider the vast number of characters and monsters in the game, it is somewhat understandable. Still, it would have been nice to have had more and better animation.
The music is quite decent, but nothing spectacular, though I rather like some of the boss music. The battle music does get irritating though, especially since you hear it so often. The sound effects are OK also. I can't really say there was anything memorable about them, good or bad.
Okay, here's the part that most people have problems with. I'd just like to say that this is not a plot oriented game, so if that's what you're looking for, then this isn't the game for you. Most of the quests at least attempt a plot, but it doesn't come off all that well. The writing is good, but very sparse. I often felt that there were things going on that the game doesn't tell you about. I hoped that playing through all the quests would help clear things up, but it doesn't really. While I like this game, it would have been nice if this had been done better.
To me, this is far and away the most important catagory, and this is where Saga Frontier excels. There is an enormous number of characters to use, monsters to fight, items to find, and abilities and spells to learn and use. This game has a huge amount of variety. There are four completely different races to chose from, which level up in totally different ways. Those of you who try to play this game with just humans are really missing out on one of the things that makes this game great. I've played through the game 10 times (so far) and I still enjoy it because every game can be different. If the game starts to get dull, try it with a different party. Trying to play a 'no humans' party with Riki can be interesting. Also, the semi-randomness of the skill system means even with the same characters, they may end up vastly different in different games. Another thing I like is the inclusion of things like guns and heavy weapondry like flame-throwers, rocket launchers and lasers. This is one of the few games where you can have swordsmen and magic users fighting side by side with machine gun toting mechs and brawlers using wrestling techniques. I also enjoyed the so called Free Scenario System. It's nice to play a game where I can feel a sense of exploration instead of being led around by the nose like in so many recent games.
Like I said, gameplay is the most important aspect of a game. That is why my overall score is not just an average of the previous scores. I'll admit that most American gamers probably won't like this game. It is interesting to note that Saga Frontier was a big hit in Japan, outselling Xenogears and Parasite Eve, while the opposite is true here. It's no big mystery why the Romancing Saga games were never released here. If, like so many Americans, your idea of a good RPG is a "game" that amounts to an elaborate 50 hour long story book (like Xenogears) then stay away from this. If however you want a game where gameplay is paramount and can be enjoyed long after the game has already been beaten, then you might want to give this a try.
P.S. Sorry if I offended any Xenogears fans, but I thought the game was incredibly dull. It would have made a great book though.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 02/20/03
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