I Just Can’t Wait To Be King
Romancing SaGa 2 is a now 25 year old game released in Japan only on the Super Famicon which then got a remake on the PS2 to an american audience which had mixed reception due to its difficulty and steep learning curve. The game now sees a release on many formats including PS4, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Romancing SaGa 2 is a 2D JRPG, one that I am as well as others are unfamiliar with due to localization. Coming from the 16-bit gaming era this remaster is a huge polish on the original with some extras whilst retaining most of its original form.
On first playing the game I felt really at home and taken back to more or less my childhood. The graphical and music style of this game is similar to Final Fantasy VI, although on first contact I had some confusion but once that initial feeling wore off I felt right at home although for many this won’t feel like your traditional turn based JRPG. The game puts you instantly into a cave with not much backstory. As a member of the royal family of Avalon you are to take down seven legendary heroes, one who attacks Avalon very soon initiating a war against anyone who wishes to overthrow the world.
As the fist battle draws near I was confused at first by the on screen commands and the unusual combat formation my party was in. Nothing is really explained in regards to the battle system but if you are a veteran of other turn based games then you will grasp it quite quickly. Each character has different skills for each type of weapon they can equip and will learn appropriate skills later. As I progressed slightly I noticed that I had an insane amount of money and resources as one might not usually expect this early on in a game; as I soon found out there is more to the game than meets the eye.
Romancing SaGa 2 while it tells an amazing story it doesn’t follow a linear path as you might expect. You are tasked with rebuilding an empire; the funds you start with are to help research into better equipment and items; completing certain quests will increase the size of your empire. You are able to complete certain scenarios to progress but the story will depend on choices you make; there are a lot of them and do not worry about what choice you make. Characters will move forward also; they may not be the same characters that you started with but don’t let that throw you off; the story is presented enough for you to continue.
As you do progress you may notice your party being very different as you first started out but do not fear as the game allows you to teach these new members most of everything you have learned up to that point. The games battle system is more tactical than your typical turn based JRPG as you will notice your formation is important and what skills you use and when. Enemies can break your formation giving you a harder time in battle, fortunately this can be avoided by not being attacked on the field from behind. Seeing enemies on the field is a blessing as sometimes you will want to avoid encounters altogether, not an easy feat however as enemies who notice your presence quickly scurry towards you.
The game doesn’t have a traditional leveling system but a tech point system that will unlock new skills and give new attributes when a certain amount is acquired. It is a system apparently familiar with the series. It takes getting used to and nothing is explained to you and you are left to figure it out on your own; the game is not meant to be easy and very early on you will notice this. Grinding will not work in your favour either as the games antagonists will grow in power also; this is difficult when rooms are full of enemies or otherwise blocking exits.
As I have already mentioned some of your party may not be around forever and you will find yourself recruiting as you lose certain characters; this is due to a life point system the game has. While every character has their own individual Health Points they also have individual Life Points; when a character has been knocked out they will lose a Life Point; if they take further damage while knocked out they will lose more. They are revived after battle but any Life Points lost are lost forever; when a character loses all their Life Points they are permanently dead. This is why this game is best approached without getting too attached to your party; this is easier said than done as the game has a fantastic story but if you stick with it by the end of the game you will feel more satisfied knowing everything you have done to this point was not in vain.
A PlayStation 4 Review code was provided by Square Enix