Review by xellos667
"The best Farland title for the Sega Saturn!"
Farland Saga 2 is the third and final Farland game to be ported on the Sega Saturn (the two previous being the first Farland Saga and the Gaiden of Farland Story). Now, if the first Farland Saga was one bad port of the original PC version (with many slowdown and loading issues), this one is perfect. Every problem there was on his prequel has disappear, making Farland Saga 2 a true gem. It makes me wonder why TGL didnt do the same for the first part of the series. This review will have a lot of comparison because I feel its hard to do a fair review without showing where the game has improved. Anyway, lets begin the review:
Having no knowledge in japanese, its pretty hard to judge the story. But still, I have to say that this is surely the only point where the first game was better than the second. If Farland Saga 1 had an epic story, with a lot of twists, this one feel more like a gaiden (side-story) than an actual Episode II like it says on the CD. At the beginning of the game, the main protagonist, Karin (she was the little girl in the first Farland Saga, and since she was seven in it, and now she is 16, that mean the game take place 9 years later) arrived in some port town (couldnt find the name) to subscribe in the town hunter's guild (yup, another game with this system). After her first step in town, she bumps into a cloaked swordsman by the name of Haru, and after some events, they will team up and take their first job at the guild (by the way, the guild's director is T.T.! How the hell did he manages to get this position???). So all the game revolves around taking jobs from the guild. You will never leave the city vicinity (which sucks, since in the first game, you were able to travel all around the continent). The story do become more interesting in the last few battles, but its way too late to gives it a better score so:
Forget the loading time, forget the slow battle. Now everything load fast, and the battles are really fluid. Instead a walking like turtles, every characters and enemies run very quickly one the battle map. The bad framerates of the first title is gone too. Just for that, the game become a lot better.
I just wanted to say that first, since it was the biggest problem in Farland Saga 1. As for the battle engine, its still the same. You fight in isometric map (a la Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactic Ogre), with a player phase and enemy phase each turn. In these turn you can perform one move and one action (in the order you want, so you can attack, and retreat after that). Its a pretty basic engine but it works very well (you dont need to make a complex game engine to make a fun game). The only original thing is the fact that if you want to make a critical hit, you character have to run in a straight line toward the enemy, than attack. Its not much, but its cool to see (even more now that the game run quickly, it wasnt really impressive in Farland Saga 1).
As for the game difficulty, its pretty hard to judge for me, since, like in the first game, you can overboost your character in the first few fights just by using spells on yourselves. So by Chapter 9, 6 of my characters(out of 7) were already lv.99 (yeah I know, its useless to waste so much time boosting your characters, but im a freak who like having perfect character on their save file). Needless to say that the game was a freaking joke to me (the final boss is only lv 40). Surely, if you boost normally, the game can be a good challenge, the enemy AI seem to be pretty good, but like I said, its hard to judge for me.
Finally, since it used a system where you need to take a job at the hunter guild to progress in the story, they add a cool thing. When you complete a job, not only do you receive money, but also experience point that you can distribute the way you want among your character (like in Black Matrix for exemple. That way, if you have a weaker character, you can help him becoming stronger without having him suicide himself by trying to battle stronger foes). And of course, since you can take various job (well the story make you think so, since you only have one choice anyway), you can end up with some strange fight, like battling an army of cats on the town roofs, or some crabs on the beach, or help boosting an useless NPC. All in all the gameplay is far more better than the original.
If you like anime-style graphics, welcome to paradise. Every character and enemies sprites have a lot of details, and many (BIG this time) characters portraits. The battle maps are really cool to watch too, and since most of your fight will take place in town, you can see that they at least put a lot of effort to put many details in it. Sometimes you will have the chance to see beautiful CG art. Too bad the save file take so much space, because I would have made one save before each CG pictures since they're really something (once again, you will have the classic "The girls at the hot-spring" pictures, but be warn that if you go peeking, you will have to fight them after that, your guy alone against three angry girl). The spells effects look cool enough, except for some ultimate spells. When I cast a spell that costs 80 MP, I wish to see something better than a 4 MP spell animation. But maybe im just being too picky. In the end, its 2D graphic.
Music is really standard, not as good as the first one (but nearly as, too bad, the music of the first one was not so great to begin with). As for the sound effect, you will have some classic sword-slashing, fire-casting, punch-hitting sound, but nothing to write about. Once again, where the sound department shines, its in the voice acting. Every single line of the game is dubbed in great quality, and that help to understand the story when you can feel the emotion in the characters voice (even more when you cant understand what they're saying in the first place...). And this time, the voice are loud enough that you can understand everything (well you have to play in the options to make the voice effect louder, but at least YOU CAN DO IT this time).
Well, the replay value is non-existent. Its a straight game, where you begin at point A and finish at point B. I dont think theres any secret, or alternative path in the game. And theres no extra battle after the end credit (there was in the first one, but since theres almost the same number of battle in the two games, its not really a problem). Well, if you're really a freak, you can always restart and try to boost Haru at LV.99 (since he is the only character that cant use the cheap tactic to overboost). But beside that, I dont see any reason to restart.
Well, if you have only one Farland game to buy for the Saturn, it would be this one. Its a great T-RPG, with not many flaws besides being too simplistic...but sometimes when you're searching for a good import RPG, thats exactly the kind of game you want anyway. But good luck finding it, because unlike Farland Story and Farland Saga 1, this one seem to be pretty hard to find (in two years, I only saw it once on Ebay), and it is a little more pricey too (I paid 25$ dollars for mine). But if you have the opportunity to find it, and are a fan of T-RPG, im sure you wont be disappointed.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/21/05
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