SaGa Frontier Remastered Review
After more than 20 years, Square Enix’s SaGa Frontier has received a remaster. Does this JRPG hold up to today’s standards, or should you stick to some of the more modern players in the space? Check out our review and find out.
SaGa Frontier Remastered Review
When you start SaGa Frontier, you choose between seven different characters. The stories for each of these characters are different, though some characters overlap a little. The character Red watches his parents and siblings get killed and narrowly escapes death himself. Gifted with a power that lets him become a superhero, he sets off a quest to find and defeat the evil BlackX. It is an older JRPG, so expect some generic names and plotlines.
The character Blue has to search the world and learn all the types of magic he can. His twin is also learning the magic of the world, and Blue must stop him. T260 is a combat robot dug up by a couple of kids, but can’t seem to remember its mission. After smacking around a couple of other robots in a battlebot competition, you leave the planet to find out your purpose. You’re probably not going to play through every character, but there should be a couple you want to try out.
While the characters have different stories, they all take place in the same universe. You’ll see the same enemies, same locations, and same people. I personally didn’t have an issue seeing the same spots in a different order, but some players might get burned out. Exploring all the nooks and crannies of a place can get your new party members or equipment. I did notice that some party members would only join my group if I was a specific main character. You can recruit Blue’s twin into your party if you aren’t Blue. However, I couldn’t recruit T260 with Red, which was unfortunate.
SaGa Frontier can be brutal when it comes to combat. It is an old-school turn-based RPG, one where one wrong encounter can mean death. I walked into a bio lab looking to chat with some people, only to be attacked by skeletons that killed me in a single turn. That said, you can easily out-grind the enemies if you put some time in. Humans level up by killing enemies as usual. Robots need new equipment to become more powerful and can learn programs from enemy robots. Monsters get stronger by absorbing enemy monsters you defeat. They all have strengths and weaknesses, so a balanced team is the best option.
While in combat, you can use a variety of weapons and skills. By using basic attacks, you can learn new skills that can be equipped. You can only have a certain amount of these on at a time. To learn magic, you must find a mage and buy it from them. Combining skills, magic, and attacks can result in a massive combo attack. These do extreme damage to the enemies and can change the fight in an instant. Enemies can do these combos as well, and you better believe they will use them. The max party size is five, and I have combined four attacks on a single turn. I’m not sure if you can do a five-man one or not.
As far as side content is concerned, there aren’t really many side quests to do. There are a few dungeons to explore with extra loot and optional bosses. These sometimes have puzzles that will lead you into an intense encounter with the promise of legendary equipment. There are some side scenarios, but it is sometimes hard to find the ones for your main character. You can’t access certain rooms or talk to specific NPCs without being the right protagonist.
The remastered edition of SaGa Frontier has some welcome improvements. First off, there is an eighth protagonist you can play as named Fuse. You run into Fuse with Red a couple of times, and he even teams up with you. A speed-up option has been added for both combat and world travel. There is also a New Game Plus mode, so you can bring some items forward with you. The graphics and sound have been upgraded and improved, but you can still tell it is an older game. You can also run from battles much easier now. Sometimes it is quicker to run from weak enemies than to fight them.
I did have some problems with the game. There isn’t a tutorial, so some things aren’t clear. Red transforms into his hero form to become stronger in combat. The game doesn’t tell you that he doesn’t get EXP while in this form, so using it too much will actually weaken you long term. I didn’t mind the lack of waypoints, but sometimes the objectives are vague. The game universe is extensive, and having to search multiple planets can get frustrating. The big one for me is the markers on specific doors or openings. There will be an arrow to show you that you can open a door or enter an area. Sometimes that marker is there, but you can’t go into the area until you progress in the story. It might be just me, but I often found myself looking for a switch that doesn’t exist.
SaGa Frontier Remastered is a good slice of JRPG nostalgia that will please fans of the original classic.
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