SaGa Frontier - Reader Review
SaGa Frontier seemed to be a promising title, but unfortunately it is anything but.
By Scott Mason
| Battle System||5.0
| Replay Value||5.5
| Time to Complete||70 hours||
With the successful releases of the best-selling Final Fantasy
and the surprise hit Final Fantasy Tactics in the U.S., and
continued success in Japan, 1997 had been an extremely good year
for the RPG behemoth, Square. They have recently been churning
out award-winning and chart topping games with every release.
Due to this, Square figured it would be a great time to bring
latest edition in the Romancing SaGa series, SaGa Frontier, to
eager RPG enthusiasts in the U.S. However, while FFVII and FFT
were beautiful, awe-inspiring diamonds, SaGa Frontier turns out to
be nothing more than a disappointing lump of coal.
From a standpoint, it looks like SaGa Frontier has all the
and potential of a superb RPG, great graphics, excellent
soundtrack, and a non-linear plot with seven different characters,
each with their own quests. While the graphics and the soundtrack
are fairly good, the frustrating non-linear plot, along with seven
extremely boring and dull characters and a agonizingly difficult
premise completely destroy this promising title.
In SaGa Frontier, you have the ability to choose seven different
characters, each with their own story and goals that you must
accomplish. The characters range from a sophisticated robot,
named T260G, (which looks suspiciously similar to Robo from
Chrono Trigger) that has forgotten its original mission, to a young
magician, named Blue, that must kill his twin brother to obtain his
true magical powers and strength.
While some of these characters have interesting backgrounds, the
designers of this game seem to have just made these potentially
intriguing characters into just dull, wondering, clueless people. It's
almost as if they have just been put in there for no apparent
reason as an excuse to have you explore the massive and
SaGa Frontier touts a supposedly "revolutionary" Free Scenario
System which basically gives you the ability to travel all over the
world and explore a majority of its areas, even in the early going,
instead of as in the fairly pre-determined linear styles of games
such as FFVII.
While at first, this may sound exciting and innovative, it makes
game extremely frustrating and unbearably difficult, and makes
you realize the reason behind the linearity of FFVII.
At the beginning of each character's quest, you will find
a certain area and only given a brief 15 second background of the
character, and from there, you are on your own. Too often, the
game will give you no hint whatsoever where to go next, and you will
be forced to wonder around the world praying that you will happen
upon what you were seeking. Just try talking to the "helpful"
townspeople for information about what to do next, it's about as
useless as hoping for Pamela Lee to ask you out on a date. In
most RPGs, people are put in there to help guide you along or add
character to the game, these people seem to just be in there to
annoy and frustrate you.
The only real bright spot, if there is one, in SaGa Frontier is
games relatively good graphics and soundtrack. The pre-rendered
backgrounds, similar to those found in FFVII, are actually quite
gorgeous, although they aren't as detailed as FFVII and are not
interactive at all. However, the unattractive, poorly animated sprite
characters look very out of place in the game
While attempting to navigate through this confusing world, very
often backgrounds become very cluttered and it makes it very
hard to find the exit in many areas. Final Fantasy VII had this
problem, but fixed it with arrows that highlighted the exits, but
these are no where to be found in SaGa Frontier. This adds to the
overall aggravation and frustration that is experienced throughout
this entire game.
The soundtrack is also surprisingly quite good and is one of the
few high points in the game. Each track really adds to each scene
and gives it a lot of depth. While some tracks repeat frequently, for
the most part, the music is very well orchestrated. Sound effects in
battles are very standard, offering nothing new, and don't add
much to the feel of the battles.
The battles, a key part to any RPG, are not that great and could
have been much better if more time was spent developing it.
Similar to Chrono Trigger and Lufia 2, you have the ability to avoid
monsters, instead of being forced to fight with random battles. You
have the standard hit points, but must carefully conserve your
weapon points, which allow you to perform various attacks. In
order to progress and do well in battles, you must learn different
techniques or your enemies will crush you. Battle graphics are
horrific, however, and are very pixelated and detract enormously from the battle. Just like the game, the battles are uneventful,
boring, and disappointing.
SaGa Frontier suffers from so many problems it is simply
bewildering. The translation of the dialogue is simply awful and a
sixth grader could have written this script. Battles are boring and
poorly done and use of the game's menus is also quite confusing.
I believe that this game was simply a terrible game and that Square
thought that if they brought it to the U.S. that we, the unsuspecting
public, would buy it simply because the name Square was plastered
across the cover. In the end, however, the game's main selling point,
the Free Scenario System, is ultimately its downfall. The extreme
non-linearity makes the game exceedingly tedious and so horribly
frustrating, you will feel like crushing your controller in agony.
Square boasts that SaGa Frontier has 120 hours of gameplay. If
you manage to retain your sanity and play for more than a hour,
consider it an accomplishment. If you somehow managed to
complete this game, seek counseling.
It is a shame that SaGa Frontier is such a horrible game, because
it really had incredible potential. If just the developers had put
more time into the basics of an RPG and what makes it fun, SaGa
Frontier could have been a great game. It is just a travesty that the
maker of the best RPGs of all time made this game. That is the