SaGa Frontier II - Review

Looking For A Challenge?
By: Roku

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 3
   Interaction 3
   Originality 4
   Story 3
   Music & Sound 3
   Visuals 4
   Challenge Hard
   Completion Time 20-40 hours  

Some people can be so stupid
Some people can be so stupid
Another SaGa Frontier game has arrived, the second in a very non-traditional RPG series. Several generations of warriors fight long and hard against a threat that wishes to enslave the world, an evil...egg? Yes, the egg must be stopped so it's up to several main characters, each with their separate story, to fight against it one way or another. Their actions often have effects on the other characters, and eventually the storylines will combine for the final battle.

You get into battles by running into an enemy in a dungeon map rather than having random battles. You get the standard set of skills and magic skills, but you regenerate a little each round and you have to take that into account when planning your attack. You can also form attack combos if you have your characters use abilities in a certain order. Each character has LP in addition to the standards P's as well. When you run out of LP you're as good as dead. The really interesting part of the battle system is the ability to duel occasionally. You get to use attack components to create your own mini-combos and even sometimes create new abilities. Duels are also much more fast-paced and exciting than most normal battles. If you get sick of normal battles, then you can fight a duel to keep things interesting. Military battles are quite strategic and exciting, though you're often at the mercy of superior units unless you use careful tactics to win. They aren't too different from military battles in most other games though.

Yes, yes, I actually gave a game a rating of hard. Well, SaGa Frontier II deserves it. It starts off easily enough, but by the end it can be quite punishing. The final military and final boss battles can be quite tough. To give you an idea of how hard the last boss is, he's has about five times more hp as the second hardest boss, plus he can easily inflict serious LP damage and status effects. They add up very quickly if you're not careful. To make the game even more challenging, there isn't a normal level-up system. You simply get a little bit better with your weapon, spells, or get more hp from time to time. No amount of 'leveling up' will have a significant effect on your characters. That's not so bad, but how about over half of the characters you get leaving/dying? Since the game takes place over several generations quite a few of your characters will retire at some point. It's also very difficult to make money, you can only visit each town once per chapter, (sometimes not at all) and you have a rather limited inventory. Yay, a challenge! It isn't too bad though, mostly, but it's quite refreshing after countless easy games.

The interface is fairly well done, no problems there. The localization seems a bit off in some places, but isn't too bad. Overall, the interaction is quite good.

SaGa Frontier II is very different from other RPGs. The story style alone is unique in its own way, but the battle system is quite new and interesting as well. Even the way you 'level-up' is different. The game is very original, borrowing almost only from its predecessor. The rest is unique to SaGa Frontier II.

The story is told in a very strange manner, and, although some parts of the story may seem disconnected or meaningless, most of the time it all ties together to reveal something about a particular character or providing a tie to another character's story. In the end, most of the stories come together quite nicely and the effect is different, but in a good way.

Let's duel
Let's duel
There is a lot to do in SaGa Frontier II, a lot of it is optional though. If you know what you're doing and rush through certain parts of the game, you'll likely end up spending about 20 hours on the game. If you build everyone a little and complete all of the side-quests, it could take as long as 40 hours though.

While the music is quite good, it tends to get rather repetitive after a while. It's nice that they have various battle themes, but I don't recall there being any special boss themes aside from the last level. Some of the dungeon music gets pretty old too. It's a shame since most of the music is well done, but the overall effect is only decent at best. Sound effects aren't anything special either.

SaGa II has a rather interesting art style. All of the backgrounds appear to be hand-drawn, often will very soft colors. Character and enemy sprites are small, but surprisingly well-animated. Duels have an even more interesting style. You see the characters up close, but they appear to have been redrawn with great detail. In this form each character is incredibly animated and even resembles a cell-shading style.

Despite SaGa Frontier II having several annoyances such as not being able to visit towns often, most of them can be attributed to being there to increase difficulty. The unique perspective of a unique story was quite nice, as were the battle systems. The difficulty level was refreshing after so many easy RPGs, though some of you may not like that as much as I did. Overall, I enjoyed the game and thought it was quite a bit above average, perhaps even bordering on greatness. There are still a few kinks in the game, but the overall effect was good. I recommend it to those that want to try something untraditional.

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