Not for the faint of heart
I love this series, well I say that lightly as Romancing SaGa 2 was the only other one I had played and enjoyed, but now we have Romancing SaGa 3 which is a more fleshed out sequel right? Well not quite. There are 8 protagonists to choose from and being able to choose Male and Female characters allows a lot of freedom and replayability. The Romancing SaGa series are JRPGs with a difference giving almost full freedom to the player to follow each story as they desire. After jumping into Romancing SaGa 3, I started out as Katarina, one of the nobles on a quest to take back her Masquerade which was stolen before her and is exiled from the Kingdom till she does.
The opening of Romancing SaGa 3 is done quite well in a story perspective, you fight off dogs while the castle is under attack and draws you into the turn-based gameplay mechanics, it was shortly thereafter when I realised how cryptic this series was known for being. I knew I was on a quest to take back her missing Masquerade so I arrive in the town of Myules and stock up on a few things, I travel over to the next town where I am talking with other characters who had helped me out at the beginning of the game, suddenly the cutscenes end quite abruptly and without any warning, I am in at the deep end without any adequate training. I suddenly find myself at the Archfiend Palace with not being able to return to town unless I go inside and find someone who is missing. I explored the Palace killing any enemies on the first floor without too much problem but as I ventured deeper to the lower floors enemies were destroying my party, I looked all over to the deepest part I could find to the point of wanting to give up. I explored the very depths of the palace but running from every fight, I am sure this isn’t the way the game was meant to be played, In the end, I did find who I was looking for and was able to then carry on with the story but after I had come back out of the Palace I was stuck again, without any clear indication of where to go I have to talk to everyone and explore everywhere until I am able to trigger something to let me continue, I even went to the harbour where a load of new places became available at some quite extortionate prices, I choose one of the available towns and on doing so Mille Feuille left my party saying she doesn’t wanna go. It would be nice to know on what account, did she have a terrible upbringing there or a bad memory? Who knows but granted she was my weakest party member it wasn’t a huge loss. After all of this, I am no closer into knowing where to go to find the Masquerade and there has been no mention of it which doesn’t really add up, just who was the guy I rescued from the Palace and why did he just leave? I have so many unanswered questions still. Romancing SaGa 2 did not hold your hand but it was certainly a lot less confusing than Romancing SaGa 3. Romancing SaGa 3 is all about talking to who you can and getting as much information as you can while exploring and fighting every enemy you see. Just be sure not to do what I did, if enemies are way too strong for you there’s probably a good chance you should not be there so be sure to look elsewhere.
There are differences to the games though however so all is not lost just yet. Graphically the game is gorgeous and similar to Romancing SaGa 2 but I found myself amazed how close to Final Fantasy VI the design is especially when it comes to characters and the buildings. I will say if Square Enix was to release any ports of old school JRPGs then the Romancing SaGa does a good job in showing how they should look, everything looks so well done while retaining the old feel of previous releases. Grinding is possible in Romancing SaGa 3 and it won’t at all hinder you like previous entries. Bosses won’t scale so grinding too much won’t punish you and will make them easier even if enemies do scale still. There is no level up system here still and like Romancing SaGa 2 your HP, SP and MP levels will raise randomly after the battle as well as your proficiencies in your currently held weapons. You do gain money in battles this time round also but not on a grand scale, most will come from finding and selling spoils. Inns are more than useful this time round as you can recover LP, a known stat in the SaGa universe. When this reaches zero then your character is lost but it’s one less thing to worry about providing you recover it at inns or via any healing items that will recover it also.
I can say that the Romancing SaGa series is not for everyone and if you were turned off by Romancing SaGa 2 then the third is probably not for you either. Personally I did find Romancing SaGa 2 easier to get into, I just found the third instalment a little too cryptic, sometimes requiring your party to be a certain level of strength before you can continue but then not telling you this either.
A PlayStation 4 Review Code was provided by Square Enix