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The HiStoRy of SaGa - a SpeCiaL feaTuRe & Reviews

 
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NR
The Great White Bear of Sunflower Street


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 7614
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:32 am    Post subject: The HiStoRy of SaGa - a SpeCiaL feaTuRe & Reviews Reply with quote

Here's a history of the whole SaGa series, plus reviews of all the ones on PS and later, including Romancing SaGa for PS2. Snippet:

Quote:
Square Enix USA has just recently shipped Romancing SaGa to retailers. At its core, this is a remake of a game North America never got. There are tons of additions and modifications that make the game far beyond a normal remake, but the fact remains we have no original to compare it to. Thus, RPG Land brings you "The HiStoRy of SaGa," a brief look at the series leading up to this point.


When Romancing SaGa hit the Super Famicom in 1992, Square knew it had a different kind of game on its hands. It wasn't quite as off-beat as later titles like Unlimited Saga, but it decidedly unique from the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest titles of the day. The fact that one starts by selecting one of eight characters was one thing, and then came the other SaGa oddities. For one thing, just like today's remake, the original required players to select a character's weapon before attacking, as several could be equipped. It was surely with subtle differences like the weapon selection and big differences like selecting your parents' occupation at the start of the game in mind that Square decided not to bring the game overseas.

They probably made a good call there. With RPGs certainly being a niche genre at the time (far, far more so in those days than today or pretty much ever), an RPG as different as seriously difficult as Romancing SaGa didn't have very good chances of survival in the U.S.

This happened two other times on consoles, as neither Romancing SaGa 2 (1993, cover art here) nor 3 (1995, cover art here) would be localized for the English-speaking market. After not even getting the original, these two titles, which began to stray even farther from "tradition," stood even less a shot at success in the States. Perhaps the biggest change Romancing SaGa 2 brought to the series was the mid-battle learning of skills. This would be used in some later titles, including the newest one. The system goes that a character using a familiar weapon can sometimes learn a brand new skill with said weapon and unleash it right then and there.

Both 2 and 3 were of course, very non-linear titles--another SaGa signature. The gameplay style was not unlike that of SaGa Frontier and the PS2's Romancing SaGa in that it was mostly free roaming, with just enough story to give each main character a purpose and a conclusion, then letting the players decide the rest. Again, Square probably made the better business decision in leaving them in Japan.

Links:
HISTORY OF SAGA
ROMANCING SAGA REVIEW
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Last edited by NR on Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Pandar
Overlord of the Netherworld


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 1286
Location: International Falls, Minnesota

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmm... That banner sure is sexy. <.<

Anyways. I haven't really had much opportunity to play the SaGa games, but from what I'm seeing they should be fairly awesome games. Orie has Unlimited Saga here, mebbe I should play me up some of that. And totally theft his game. *nodnod* Or, actually, I should play me up some Atelier Iris first, as it's a game I've been meaning to play for ages. THEN Unlimited Saga. Although, now that I think about it, I should play Monkey Island before Orie castrates me, despite the fact that he's pushing this game onto me with absolutely no incentive. Honestly, I'm about ready to drive a hammer through his skull. *cough*
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NR
The Great White Bear of Sunflower Street


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 7614
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you've *never* played a SaGa game, be careful if choosing Unlimited Saga as your first. That's the hardest of them all, and in this series, THAT's saying something. In terms of your first SaGa game, I would recommend SaGa Frontier as a good choice, but an even better call would be this new Romancing SaGa, if for no other reason than the great tutorials it has.
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Owozifa
Red Menace Commie


Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 1788
Location: Nowhere, MN

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience with the SaGa games encompasses the first three Gameboy titles and SaGa Frontier, which I played for a few minutes only before stopping. That was aquired in the "Great RPG purchase of 2000" where I got quite a lot of RPGs after the money I'd made the previous summer. I played them all briefly to check them out, and basically have many left to beat. I do think, though, that Romancing SaGa sounds like a pretty awesome place to start. You think?
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LiQuid!
fasta dan a muddafucka!


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 9318

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As consistently terrible as this series is it never ceases to amaze me with how huge it is. With the exception of SF1 and whichever title became Final Fantasy Legend 3 the series is shiße.
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JWitham



Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, thank you Heath for putting something like this together. The American media has been so ignorant in regards to the SaGa series, it's sick. At least RPGLand is doing something to spread awareness.

The bottome line, you give SaGa a chance, and you'll love it.

P.S. Never knew you were a fellow SaGa fan.
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NR
The Great White Bear of Sunflower Street


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 7614
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JWitham wrote:
Wow, thank you Heath for putting something like this together. The American media has been so ignorant in regards to the SaGa series, it's sick. At least RPGLand is doing something to spread awareness.

Thanks for the compliments. Writing it was a fun, albeit exhausting way to spend Friday and Saturday...

JWitham wrote:
The bottome line, you give SaGa a chance, and you'll love it.

I can agree with that to an extent. As I said (in so many words), the main problem I see with Americans hating on this series is that they come into expecting gameplay nearly exactly the same as a Final Fantasy game. They see "Square" on the cases, and think "Surely if it's by Square, it'll play like Dragon Quest, or Final Fantasy." Then, here's what pisses me off--they call games with gameplay in that style, the comapny's "Standards." What? Maybe that's the FF series standards, maybe that's a common play style in RPGs in general, but because a game in one series (I'm thinking of this with SaGa Frontier and Unlimited Saga in mind, mostly) is radically different from another, one can't say it was "not up to standards." Screw those guys. If you won't like a game that has almost nothing in common with FF...then don't play it.

JWitham wrote:
P.S. Never knew you were a fellow SaGa fan.

Quite ^_^
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Cloudcent
20th Century Boy


Joined: 24 Oct 2005
Posts: 1192

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

good read. I'm more of a passive SaGa fan. I haven't played much of SF1, i nearly beat SF2. I did buy Unlimited Saga really cheap about a year ago, but i never got around to playing it. I recently bought Romancing SaGa but have been quite busy. My roomate has been playing it extensively, though.

Either way, good job on the article.
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NR
The Great White Bear of Sunflower Street


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 7614
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cloudcent wrote:
good read. I'm more of a passive SaGa fan. I haven't played much of SF1, i nearly beat SF2. I did buy Unlimited Saga really cheap about a year ago, but i never got around to playing it. I recently bought Romancing SaGa but have been quite busy. My roomate has been playing it extensively, though.

Either way, good job on the article.

Hey thanks for the props. Glad you enjoyed it.
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Cloudcent
20th Century Boy


Joined: 24 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh no problem, it's actually what brought me to this site. It's fun reading about the underdog series, especially when it isn't done by a blatant fanboy. It's hard to keep the balance of objectivity and opinion.
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Jati no Rei



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Athens, GA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nicely done. I've seen brief overviews of the SaGa series before, but combining snapshots, reviews, impressions, history and all that into one nice article was well handled. I've been a raving SaGa fanboy ever sense I first understood SaGa Frontier (about the 3rd time I played it), and to this date, the only one I've not played in some form or another is RS2... By searching for more info on it, I came across this article, and therefore this site, so once again, thanks!
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NR
The Great White Bear of Sunflower Street


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 7614
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Jati. Next time one of your friends starts whining about the SaGa games, just hit 'em with the link and be like "POW, byatch!"
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Sethimothy
*Accomplished* Bastard


Joined: 20 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very well thought out, well done review. If only everyone was as professional as you.
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