As a long-time dabbler in the SaGa series, I'm very happy that Romancing SaGa has been remade yet again so let's check it out.
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For those unfamiliar with the SaGa franchise of RPGs, their main appeal is that you explore them at your own pace while forging your own path through the game world. Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is no different yet it's perhaps the most convoluted of the SaGa games; at least, it is of the ones that I played. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, because the fact that you never know what'll be thrown at you next is actually quite refreshing. On the flipside, if you find lack of direction frustrating then you'll likely not enjoy your time here. You see; upon selecting a character and beginning your journey, you're essentially left to your own devices albeit with some tutorials explaining specific mechanics. If you're still with me, let's dive deeper about what to expect in this unconventional RPG. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154
Charming cast of characters
One of the strongest aspects of Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is its cast of characters which features a wide assortment with each individual having their own struggles. Some plot points can leave you downright gutted, especially after you grow to love certain characters only to see their tragedies unfold in unexpected ways. With that being said, the visuals on display aren't particularly good with low-poly models, blurry environments, and drab palettes and the audio can be rather grating, too, with odd high-pitched feedback in some of the songs and voice acting that doesn't always match the intended emotion. Eventually, the visuals will grow on you and you'll be able to see past its shortcomings so Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is still an undeniably engaging game.
When it comes to gameplay, Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered will have you traverse towns and dungeons as well as select points on a world map to travel to next. As you explore, you'll equip and level-up your party in some impressive ways. For starters, characters randomly enhance certain stats as opposed to a traditional level-up system and equipment can be modified at blacksmiths to increase and decrease stats as you see fit. One of the coolest components is proficiencies which allow you to do things like jump, harvest herbs, and other field activities and they can be enhanced according to your class and abilities. Seeing systems combine in interesting ways like this always impresses me and there are also spells and skills that you can learn on the fly which is always satisfying. 😄
Now; you would hope that all of these rewarding character progression systems would culminate in a strategic and challenging battle system but unfortunately, fighting monsters is mostly rather flat. Specifically, you can stick to 1 trustworthy attack for each party member and conquer most battles with no issue whatsoever which is frankly boring. On top of that, there are no random battles yet the amount of enemies that you can bump into in dungeons is absurd. Sometimes, you'll fight 5 or 6 battles back-to-back without the ability to move out of the way in between them. As a result, combat becomes super-tedious very early on and I ended up running away after a while due to the palpable monotony of it all. Heck, even the boss fights aren't all that difficult if you stay on top of optimizing your party.
What do I do now?
Back to what I started this review with: Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is a very open-ended game and figuring out what you can do at any point can often be infuriatingly difficult. Not only are the quest objectives often ambiguous, you also have this time accumulation mechanic that locks you out of certain quests after a while and it's all very arbitrary and begs for you to use a walkthrough while you play. I don't know about you but when I'm essentially forced to use a guide, a game ends up feeling more like homework than a good time. Of course, you don't need to use a guide but you'll likely become so perplexed as to just what the heck you can do in your adventure that you'll end up running around in circles while talking to every NPC you see in a desperate attempt to do anything. 😖
Even though I usually enjoy any SaGa game that I play, Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered left me more annoyed than fulfilled. With that in mind, it does have redeeming qualities thanks to its great cast of characters and nifty party growth mechanics.
- + Open-ended adventure that rewards exploration, patience, and perseverance
- + Wonderful character-driven narrative
- + Supremely satisfying character growth
- - Lack of direction and ambiguity can sometimes be incredibly frustrating
- - Subpar visuals and sound
- - Battles get tedious very quick