It's been over 2 decades since the quirky SaGa Frontier debuted for the original PlayStation and it's finally back and prettier than ever.
1998 was one of the best years for video games. At the time, I was knee deep in oodles of incredible RPGs for my beloved PS1 that I got a year prior. Between discovering the awesomeness of Xenogears to partaking in the silliness of Brave Fencer Musashi, it was a great time to dive into any SquareSoft title. However, one game released that year which made me scratch my head. After booting up SaGa Frontier, I was surprised that you could basically pick any character that you can see on the title screen. Considering I have attention deficit issues, I would start up each character's story, tinker around a bit, and then try someone else's adventure. No matter which one I chose, I found myself perplexed by the open-ended setup to the point where I'd get overwhelmed then play something else.
At the time, I didn't know that SaGa Frontier was part of the same franchise as the Final Fantasy Legend games which I loved when I played them on Game Boy. Now that I reflect, the similarities between those games and SaGa Frontier are plentiful from the silly enemy designs to the basic battle system that provides a solid amount of freedom when it comes to setting up your party and, of course, the excellent music. The main difference is the fact that SaGa Frontier consists of many characters' unique adventures while the Game Boy games were much more streamlined. Perhaps that's what I found so intimidating about SaGa Frontier but thankfully, once you give it time to sink in and put effort into adapting to its highly unconventional formula, you're in for quite an enjoyable journey.
The main aspect of SaGa Frontier that I love is its quirky game world that rarely takes itself seriously. Each character's story is vastly different yet none of them are all that epic which may be a sticking point for many gamers. Plus, the fact that the stories don't really tie together much makes it lack a sense of cohesion. However, if you simply want to explore some character-driven plots that are generally full of humour then you'll appreciate what SaGa Frontier has in store, especially with its large cast of recruitable party members.
Of course, this is SaGa Frontier Remastered so what's different? Well, it looks great with much clearer sprites and environments and it's actually displayed in widescreen which is a huge step up from the original. On top of that, there is plenty of additional content including a bonus 8th character in the form of the police officer Crazy Fuse as well as some new story sequences which seamlessly fit right in.
Besides its unconventional nature and subversive story-telling, an issue that's far less subjective is the fact that you will likely get stuck and confused throughout each character's campaign. Although you can read brief story summaries in the menu that can point you in the right direction, they're sometimes ambiguous and unhelpful so you'll end up running around aimlessly until something happens. You'll also reach difficulty spikes which force you to grind and you'll sometimes be constricted to a small area so it becomes extremely tedious.
SaGa Frontier is one of the most unconventional RPGs you'll ever play and this Remastered version refines it without taking away from the original's charm at all. If you're up for something truly unique then you won't regret giving it a go.
- + Unconventional campaign where you play through each characters' unique story
- + Charming and imaginative game world
- + Additional content is a nice bonus
- - Traditional RPG fans may be perplexed by its open-ended nature
- - Story isn't epic and lacks cohesion
- - It's easy to get stuck