A little while ago SaGa Frontier received the Square remaster treatment and made its way to PlayStation 4. The title from square soft re-released this May became available for many fans for the first time, so let’s have a look and see if you should think about picking it up.
The story of SaGa frontier actually takes place across multiple storylines depending on the protagonist you choose upon starting the game, for instance let’s look at Red and Blue – just two of the 8 main characters in this title.
Red’s story opens with the death of their father at the hands of one of BlackX’s generals, before almost losing their own life. However you are saved by a mysterious hero clad in armour, gifting you Armor of your own in an attempt to keep you alive. You are told not to use this power for revenge and that no one can ever know who you are. Over the course of Red’s adventure you will encounter the members of BlackX as you try to stop their evil plans, along the way making new friends, be that other protagonists or more side character oriented cast members.
The way the game handles the rules placed on you when acquiring your powers are one of my favourite aspects of the game. The first rule that your power shall not be used as revenge is tested by the fact you keep stumbling on BlackX doing evil, so you can stop them while accomplishing your own goal. The second rule that no one can know who you are however is my favourite. Red can transform into his hero mode, but not around others. A neat way this is handled is by the fact unconscious party members can’t see you transform, and much the same way party members inflicted by blind also can not see you transform. It’s this clever way of handling the mechanic that made me adore playing Reds story even if at some points it feels like a bit of a stretch
Blues story the second I played through is completely different in terms of main objectives while a lot of the locations and cast remain the same Blue’s adventure sees the aspiring mage mastering multiple types of magic in a attempt to outdo and defeat his twin brother . To achieve his goals much like Red, Blue will have to travel the world encountering many characters and growing in strength while tracking down magic after playing reds story and doing most of the side stuff most of this seemed less gripping until the second half of Blue’s story however simply the way the game hands the key objectives made it feel fresh enough I don’t get board.
As mentioned above this is but two of the human characters story’s you can play there’s also a robot and a monster who have totally different play-styles making for a lot of replay ability if you want to experience all the game has to offer .
Visually SaGa frontier remastered has had a high resolution overhaul from its PS1 counterpart. Everything looks much better, from the text to the overall design. That being said it still screams of PS1 era, sure it looks prettier, so that PS1 nostalgia itch is well and truly scratched with this one. Everything from the spritework to the menus and dialog seems to be an improvement over the original. This is honestly the best way to experience the game, not just due to the visuals, but the speed up of moving around the world and the battles, plus the addition of a quick save, all make this the way I would recommend anyone enjoy this title – be that new or previous players.
Audio is a typical PS1 nostalgia trip of its own, and while playing through the game different tracks made me wonder if I still had a copy of this game or another. All the games audio works well from the BGM of the towns and areas you visit, to the battle sound effects, every part of it made me feel like an 8 year old again .
Gameplay would require one hell of a extensive review or guide to cover every detail in the title, there is just so much in terms of the games systems and scaling that going into it all would require much more time – both with the game and writing up this review. For example the title offers around 30 characters, each of these mainly fall into the category of Human, mystic, robot, or monster and all of which have different play styles, different growth, different skill sets, some evolve, some grow by training, some grow by upgrading and to top it of there are the occasional hybrids too, and that’s just the characters magic. Equipment and progress all require their own little topic of discussion.
The above being said, I want to assure newcomers that unless you overlook something that’s obvious like ….. I did…. it’s not all that bad to get a handle on. Like I say I hit a snag for missing something I kicked myself for, but as soon as I noticed it things became much more enjoyable and less “WHAT IS HAPPENING WHY AM I DEAD AGAIN!”. The main reason I say this is due to the fact everything in the game happens over time you won’t have to get used to it all at once, so take your time, to explore & experiment and you should be fine.
Overall I’ve enjoyed my time with SaGa again, though I’ve yet to see everything offered and I have no intention of putting it in the backlog. As I adventured through this nostalgia filled land it’s built my hype for Legend of Mana to see the same kind of treatment this month, with hopefully many other such titles dropping in the future from Square. The big kid inside me is for sure enjoying replaying the games of my youth and I’ve already recommended this title to others.