Review by Psycho Penguin

"A rebound for Square after the horrible original"

Introduction

SquareSoft has long been my favorite video game company ever. And lately their reputation has been growing, due to the fact
that they are expanding into other genres while continually providing classic after classic. However, even the best of video game companies make mistakes, and SquareSoft made one, in my opinion, when they decided to release SaGa Frontier. Why? Well, just because I didn't like the game that much. It had some good points in there somewhere, but overall the game was too non-linear for my tastes. But, ever since I saw the preview of SaGa Frontier 2, I thought, no, knew that SaGa Frontier 2 would be better than its predecessor.

I mean, the graphics looked much better, and reading about the new storyline and battle systems, I couldn't help but feel impressed. So when the game finally came out, I bought it. And after beating it, what were my thoughts on it? Well, just like I expected, I loved it. SquareSoft has definelty redeemed themselves for the mistake known as SaGa Frontier by releasing this classic game. This game is worth a rental because it is not for everyone, but I for one loved it!

Graphics (9.8/10)

The graphics in SaGa Frontier 2 are beautiful and some of the best graphics I have ever seen on the Sony Playstation video game console. While most newer role playing games are in the 3D form, SquareSoft decided to take a different route for SaGa Frontier 2. Because instead of doing the 3D game that role playing gamers have become accustomed to, SquareSoft decided to make SaGa Frontier 2 a handdrawn RPG. What does this mean? It means that instead of using cold, lifeless polygons, it went with watercolor backgrounds and other drawings.

This led to some of the most beautiful graphics ever. The backgrounds are wonderful and provide an excellent backdrop in terms of scenery. The charcater designs are wonderful and the enemies look great as well. The battle scenes are beautifully created and unlike the original game, the battle screens and menus actually look great. The original SaGa Frontier had good graphics, but the sequel has even better graphics.

I prefer the whole hand drawn look to a polygonal look any day of the week, and I am glad that SquareSoft decided to go with the handdrawn look for SaGa Frontier 2. The look of the whole games means that SquareSoft obviously took the time to make great graphics, and it shows. Overall, these hand drawn graphics are fantastic!

Music/Sound (9.7/10)

The music and sound effects are, just like the graphics, wonderful. Most of the tunes in the game are wonderfully done and provide a nice melody to the game. Each tune seems to fit wonderfully with the scene that it is trying to convey. Most of the tunes seem to be piano based, because I hear a lot of piano in the tunes. I also hear a lot of other instruments used in the game as well, but the piano is definetly the often used piece of the game. The battle music sounds great
as well, and is definelty improved over the original SaGa Frontier in that category.

There are at least 4 different battle tunes in this game, which is a very good sign. Why? Because I do not like it when I have to hear the same battle tune over and over again. It does get quite boring and annoying after a while. So because SaGa Frontier 2 had different battle themes, it made me happy. My favorite battle theme is the one you hear when you're in the mountains near the beginning of the game. When you win a battle, some excellent music plays. That closing music is some of the best I have ever heard.

The music does seem kinda kiddy though, especially when compared to more adult type games like Final Fantasy 8 and Final Fantasy Tactics. Sound effects are great as well, and there are a great variety to them. You hear most of the sound effects during battle. Overall, SaGa Frontier 2 combines excellent music and outstanding sound effects to deliver an overall excellent listening experience.

Gameplay/Control (9.4/10)

While I really don't like to compare games, I feel I must compare SaGa Frontier and SaGa Frontier 2. SaGa Frontier was, for the most part, a terrible game. Featuring ''non linear gameplay system'', the game became almost impossible to beat without a strategy game, at least for me. But SaGa Frontier 2 improved on this system by adding a ''free movement system'' What this means, basically, is that you embark on a ''choose your own adventure'' type game. At certain points in the game, you come to a map and have to select one of two possible ways to go. This is great because it adds to the
replay value.

The battle system is a mixed bag. It's a lot like SaGa 1 but it has enough new innovations to add to the overall picture. You can learn different types of attacks after a while by using the same attack for a while, it seems. After using a certain attack, suddendly a light bulb flashes and you can use the next attack. The battle system is great, which is good, because you will be battling a lot. You can see the enemies in the game, but there are a lot of them to be found. And they charge right at you sometimes so you can't avoid them.

The thing heralded a lot about SaGa 2 was that it offered three different types of battles. One is your normal battle, 2 on 2 or whatever. The second type is a one on one battle where you can choose one of your characters to go one on one with another enemy. In this kind of battle, you can choose three attacks at the same time, and can combine these attacks to do powerful attacks. The third type of battle is your strategy type battle. I did not like it too much, but it is okay. It is like your basic Final Fantasy Tactics battle, but when you go into battle, instead of the computer doing it for you, you enter into a regular battle.

Some problems with the game include the extreme complexity of the game, the lack of powerful spell arts, and the difficulty of some of the dungeons. yes, SaGa Frontier 2 could be the most difficult RPG ever. But its one of my favorites. Overall, SaGa 2 is a lot better than SaGa 1.

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Other Important Scores
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Replay Value: High


The replay value in the game is good, and is added to by the arrival of the ''free scenario system'' therefore, you might feel inclined to beat the game again, while taking a different path. Yes, there are several different paths that you can take, each with different storylines, etc. Therefore, you might want to go back and try a different path. Of course, there is really no difference between the different paths besides some minor story changes. Oh well, the replay value is still above average overall.

Challenge: High

SaGa Frontier 2 could possibly be the toughest role playing game ever made, and is definetly the toughest SquareSoft game ever made. The extreme complexity of the game, plus all the different stuff you must learn to beat the game, make it a big challenge indeed. Add to it some pretty wicked fights and you got yourself one heck of a challenge. Overall, the game has a high difficulty level, and this could be the most challenging Playstation RPG of all time.


GOOD POINTS
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-Three different battle styles means lots of variety
-The hand drawn, watercolored graphics look amazing
-The battle theme and victory themes are great remixes of the themes in the original

BAD POINTS
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-Complexity may overwhelm beginners to the RPG genre
-Did I mention it was challenging?
-The storyline is a bit lacking in certain spots

Overall (9.3/10)

I happened to love SaGa Frontier 2. However, due to the complexity of it, you may not like it as much as I did. I advise renting it out just to see if the game is right for you. However, it is pretty much safe to say that you will enjoy SaGa Frontier 2 much more than you would ever possibly enjoy the original SaGa Frontier. The improvements in the game were great, and overall SaGa 2 is one of the better role playing games on the Sony Playstation video game console, in my opinion.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/16/00, Updated 07/16/01


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