Our friends at Square Enix have dusted off this classic JRPG title from the 90’s and remastered it for current generations, here we are going to analyze how this project fared.
Available for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
When we talk about Square Enix we are talking about the most relevant RPG developer in the world. And although lately it has had some setbacks, it has accustomed us to high-quality games due to their mechanics, their plots and their graphics. A good example of this are Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, Legend of Mana Y Kingdom Heartsamong others.
Among so many wonderful sagas we can find the saga Saga (forgive the redundancy), which had its heyday in the 90s with what is probably the best known of its members, the SaGa Frontier. If you’re reading this and you were born after 2000, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but if you’re an older gamer with an inner RPG-loving rat kid like me, you should know it well. For the purpose of illustrating the new generations of players I make a short review of this game.
Saga was a fairly prolific game franchise started in 1989 with the Makai Toushi Saga for Game Boy (a spin-off of the original final fantasy who came to the West titled as final fantasy legend). In 1992 the fourth SaGa title, known as Romancing SaGa -which is the game that concerns us in this note- which was launched for the Super Famicom with good sales in Japan and a slightly more modest reception in the West. That same game was re-released for the Playstation 2 in 2005, titled Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song.
The game itself was something new for the time, as it allowed you to play eight different characters, all of whom had different backstories. For example, you could start as an heir to a noble family, or a thief or a pirate, etc. All the characters will go through their own story in the world of Mardias and will meet by chance; On their journey they will be accompanied in part by the Minstrel (a divine personification) who will guide them in the mission of looking for some sacred stones to defeat the evil god Saruin, who, to no one’s surprise, wants to dominate the world and destroy everything in his path. . (I’m not going to go into more details about the history of a game that came out 30 years ago, sorry).
The game has things that are very atypical for classic JRPGs, for example, the characters don’t have levels and their stats go up randomly according to the things one does.
Another thing that stands out is its life point mechanic, which we will lose one by one each time our character is killed in combat or withdraws from the battle without fighting. Which was quite revolutionary for the time and gave the saga some notoriety.
Going to the central point of the note, which is to evaluate how successful the remastering of this game has been, the truth is that in my personal impression it has not been entirely good. Why? First the good: the game has had a noticeable polish in its gameplay, and it has helped a lot to have pseudo-tutorials that explain things that make it more bearable and easy to understand. Which is very good. It has extra content but does not lose its original essence.
Now the bad: Its graphics are nice, but despite the remastering they still look old. Its turn-based combat mode is obsolete to date and although it has been preserved to maintain the essence of the game, improvements could have been made to the action selection menu to make it more dynamic. Progress in the game is extremely slow and the vague guidelines for where to progress make it too slow and laborious. The soundtrack, composed by the legendary Kenji Ito, doesn’t have the audio quality to match what current devices can deliver. In addition, it does not have a language selection menu, something rare for today’s games.
Finally, I will summarize some personal conclusions. For starters, the game is good. It has a deep plot and a variety of interesting intertwining stories. The narrative is far from excellent, but that doesn’t make the game any less enjoyable.
It is a cult game made for a particular type of public, the development of the characters is long and unnecessarily complex for these times. Impossible to advance and finish it if you are a casual player.
To close: Considering that Square Enix is giving more and more value to its repertoire of old games, such as the case of Final Fantasy VII remake, I feel a little sorry for what they have done with this game. It is a remastering of an old game, which no matter how much extra content is added to it, does not make the game modern. It is still a game from 3 generations ago with cosmetic tweaks. It really is a shame because I think this saga deserves much more love from its developer.
- Maintains the charisma of the old games
- The plot of the game is really good
- Variety of characters to choose from.
- Game too long and complex.
- Outdated combat mechanics that have not been properly updated.
- Lack of translation into several languages.