SaGa Frontier Remastered is here and with it comes a brand new scenario line for Fuse along with other quality-of-life updates. The game’s character sprites have been updated and there’s been some refining done to balance. However, I wanted to shed some light on the untraditional systems that this JRPG presents. Given that a new generation of gamers will stumble upon it, I felt I’d offer a heads up on how this will differ from any other games you’ve played.
No Hand Holding
I should get this out of the way first. SaGa Frontier is an exceptionally difficult game. In retrospect, it’s more like a puzzle RPG because you will constantly be asking yourself if you are even doing the right thing as you make your way through some random dungeon you found. The Remastered version fixes this in many ways by charting your active quest and pretty much telling you what to do, but between those main scenarios, you’re expected to do more if you hope to survive the last few encounters.
Advanced Magic Spells
During the adventure, you’ll encounter shops that offer magic spells. These can be learned by Human characters if they have “The Gift” for that group of spells. During your first quest, you may totally pass this magic up and not understand anything about them. This is fine, but when you want to get serious you can take on the quests to acquire Arcane and Rune or even Time magic, which varies slightly depending on which scenario you’re playing through.
Timing is also important as some magic requires you to progress the story to a specific part, but some protagonists can even miss their window entirely. As you play through the eight adventures, you’ll slowly begin to understand how to manage your playthroughs. This works in your favor because a playthrough for each protagonist can be completed in five hours.
Forming Parties and Learning Techniques
During any playthrough, you’ll acquire many different characters, humans, robots, and even monsters. Human party members can be broken down further to a specific job class and whether or not they’re a Mystic. It’s important to keep your parties balanced to ensure that members learn techniques, which require them to use their skills in battles.
Techniques are learned at random, but not every character can learn every technique, so don’t go trying to teach DSC to Asellus, it won’t happen. It may take a few playthroughs to get the most out of your parties, but taking time to understand what kind of character they are will open the door to more adventures. A bit of advice would be to always have two open ability slots open, so go into your menu and seal techniques you aren’t using to learn even more.
No Levels, Just Ranks
After the first couple of battles, you’ll notice that your characters aren’t gaining levels. Instead, they are gaining strength, Vitality, WP, etc. This is one of the more confusing aspects of SaGa Frontier because these ranks affect more than just your character. Battles in the game will match your rank to scale the difficulty.
Further, some dungeons even force a rank or two higher than your party just to make things more difficult. Your party rank is determined by the rank level of your party so if you want an easier time, switch in some newer party members. This rank also affects the final boss of a scenario, so keep that in mind when grinding for techniques.
You Won’t See Everything in One Playthrough
From the first time you play through the game, you’ll notice that some areas are blocked off to you or you’ll go to a new area and only explore one portion of it. Don’t worry, each scenario incorporates these areas so even if you are fighting the last boss, but are thinking about the scrapyard or some locked door, you’ll get there eventually.
The entire world of this game will open up at some point, so break the habit of seeing everything in one playthrough. You’ll often travel to a new area and be blocked off from anything, forced to just get back on your ship and go somewhere else. Don’t be discouraged though, you’ll see everything soon enough.
If I should reiterate. This game’s difficulties are mostly led by how untraditional it is. However, it is a great experience for those looking for a JRPG, unlike anything they’ve ever played.
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