Romancing SaGa Series Primer. Despite being a lesser-known Square Enix series in the west, the SaGa series has deep roots, even in the United States, though you might not know it. The games came to the West dating back to the original Game Boy releases of Final Fantasy Legend 1, 2, and 3, which were actually released as SaGa 1, 2, and 3 in Japan.
But within the SaGa series there is a subset of games entitled Romancing SaGa, which is the focus of today’s blog post, brought to you by Square Enix and their latest entry, Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe!
A Beginners Guide to the Series
If somehow you’re not already familiar with Re;Universe, it’s this widely popular Japanese mobile game that’s now available globally on the App Store and Google Play!
In the game you gather heroes to help you do battle against hordes of enemies, as you ascend a tower, in a way that’ll feel familiar to fans of retro-style RPGs
Romancing SaGa Re;Universe is extremely free to play-friendly, meaning you can play it completely casually and not spend a dime and still enjoy the heck out of the game, but there are in-app purchases for people who really fall in love with the game.
The game features gorgeous pixel art and some gorgeous portraits by the legendary Tomomi Kobayashi and music by Kenji Ito!
It’s nostalgia-packed for fans familiar with Romancing SaGa titles but doesn’t require any existing knowledge to dive right into the story.
So whether you are already a fan of Romancing SaGa, or a newcomer it’s a great way to get started.
Square Enix is celebrating their global launch by giving away tons of in-game rewards to help get you started, such as daily login bonuses, free daily summons, and daily and weekly mission rewards!
Download the game using the address, because now is the perfect time to start your journey through Re;universe!
And not only that but by doing so you’d also be helping support the show by keeping the lights on.
SaGa, & RS 1
After Square released the first three SaGa games on the GameBoy back in the day, they released a fourth title in 1992 called Romancing SaGa in Japan.
This new title, no longer restricted by GameBoy hardware revolutionized the series by adding numerous game mechanics that would influence the series direction for years to come!
To date though, there hasn’t been an official Western release of the original Romancing SaGa, despite ports to the WonderSwan Color in 2001, and to mobile devices in 2009.
Fortunately when Square Enix remade the game for the PS2 in 2005 (which was released under the name of “Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song” in Japan), we did receive that version which is generally accepted by fans as the definitive way to experience the game.
Romancing SaGa is a pretty different game from its Square contemporaries of the time.
It featured a more open-ended experience, featuring mechanics more typically associated with Western-style RPGs: Akitoshi Kawazu, the director of the SaGa games is a well-known fan of Wizardry, Ultima and Dungeons and Dragons, which may have had some impact on giving the SaGa series its distinctive gameplay elements.
Some of these elements included picking and choosing the quests you take on, and in which order you complete them.
The party consists of up to 6 party members.
At the beginning of the game you pick your main character from a list of 8 which also determines where the game starts, and what quests will be in your starting area.
Gradually as you play the game you can fill in the rest of your party with characters of your choosing.
Romancing SaGa also has a flexible battle system, allowing you to assign weapon and magic skills to each character.
During combat there is a 3×3 grid of positions, and placement upon that grid helps protect characters in the back row while keeping them from being able to attack with melee, and so on.
Throughout combat, levels also don’t increase in a typical fashion, rather individual stats will increase after fights.
I mention these mechanics because many would go on to become a recurring staple in the series, all the way up through Re;univerSe!
It also bears mentioning that Romancing SaGa features iconic artwork by Tomomi Kobayashi, and compositions by Kenji Ito, famous for his work in FINAL FANTASY ADVENTURE and throughout many of the SaGa series titles!
Akitoshi Kawazu once again took the role of Director of the SaGa series with Romancing SaGa, after his work on Final Fantasy Legend 1 and 2.
It’s of note that he did not direct Final Fantasy Legend 3 because he was directing Romancing SaGa while Legend 3 was in production.
Romancing SaGa 2
Just one year following the release of Romancing SaGa, Square released Romancing SaGa 2 on the Super Famicom in 1993.
Akitoshi Kawazu, Kenji Ito and Kobayashi reprised their roles as director, composer and character designer respectively.
13 years later, the West finally got our hands on an official release of Romancing SaGa 2 in 2016 for iOS and Android.
Making a return to Romancing Saga 2 is the open-ended, almost western-style nature of the game, allowing players to tackle quests when and how they want to.
Something unique here is that Romancing SaGa actually takes place over several generations of main characters.
Gradually, as you complete these quests, time skips events will occur and progress the game along.
The narrative focus of the game is less on the characters in the party and more about the world itself.
Because of this, the characters in your party aren’t going to see a whole lot of character development or tell an epic story about themselves.
They could instead be thought of as characters filling a slot in your party.
Sometimes who you have among your ranks will affect dialog, but the game is designed to still work even if party members die.
Each character within Romancing SaGa 2 has a set number of LP, or Life Points.
Each time a party member falls in battle, their LP decreases by 1.
And should that ally get hit by an enemy attack while they’re out of HP, their LP will also decrease by 1.
And if all of a character’s life points are depleted, that party member is permanently dead.
Gone for good.
And in Romancing SaGa 2, there is no way to restore life points.
Because of that, the battle and combat system is also designed to be pretty unique.
Characters in your party gain individual stat after combat, just like Romancing SaGa 1, and can be made to specialize in different weapon types.
During combat, depending on a number of variables, characters can random(ish)ly learn special abilities and skills, also call “Hirameki”
in Japanese or “Spark” by western fans.
Upon learning these abilities, heroes will execute those abilities immediately for free.
During combat there are also different formation options available.
Again there are 3 rows that characters can be in that affect how much damage they take, what enemies they can be hit, and so on.
The formation option has other effects that might be more offensive or defensive.
However there is also the possibility that getting attacked from behind will reverse your formation, which could make these encounters particularly dire.
Luckily that’s something you have control over in Romancing SaGa 2, because there are no random encounters!
Enemies can be spotted from the field, and avoided if necessary.
However if you’re running when bumping into one of these monsters on the field, that’s when your party will fight at a severe disadvantage.
So tread carefully!
But if at any point you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard spot, you can start up a New Game+ run, without even first having to complete the game.
Other mechanics that really show just how ambitious this game is include the whole crafting system, where you can set people to work coming up with new weapons and gear for your party while you’re out fighting monsters.
In addition to that, as you complete quests, your castle also increases in size and gains new features.
Romancing SaGa 3:
Following the release of Romancing SaGa 2, Square sought to further compound on the mechanics that made the first two games so unique!
Returning to develop Romancing SaGa 3 are Kenji Ito who composed the game, director Akitoshi Kawazu, and Tomomi Kobayashi as the character designer.
Romancing SaGa 3 is one of those games that really puts the Super Famicom through its paces, featuring some of the best 2D artwork and gorgeous music on the system.
The style of combat found in Romancing SaGa 1 and 2 also makes a return.
Once again you pick your main character from a selection of 8.
You can have 5 main party members in battle, but up to 6 characters total.
Once again there are no random encounters, and there’s an emphasis on the party formations and character position.
You are also able to teach any character any move, crafting, option quests, scaling enemies,!
Same with that Life-point system which controls Perma-death, but this time LP can mercifully be restored by resting in inns, and using certain items.
There are some other quality-of-life improvements that take Romancing SaGa 3 to the next level as well.
Being able to save anywhere, and the party healing up after every fight automatically takes a lot of the tedium out of the picture.
After combat, characters in your party continue to improve attributes based on their actions during combat as opposed to gaining levels, and continue to learn special moves semi-randomly.
Again in Romancing SaGa 3, you’re probably not going to be blown away by the character development, because the characters do take a back seat to the overarching story except during those character introductions.
There’s no time-skipping this time but there are still missable quests.
Aside from those missable quests though you generally get to pick whatever order you want, whenever you want to do them.
Enemies scale with player levels for the most part, but there are certain checkpoint boss-fights that you will have to defeat that do not scale, that might lock off some areas for you without the right strategies.
One of the especially interesting new mechanics added to Romancing SaGa 3 are field effects, which affect the strength of certain skills and abilities while in effect.
Also, they added a new “commander” mode which essentially allows the player to allow the characters to fight autonomously, which can be super helpful in removing some of the tedium from the grind.
Similar to Romancing SaGa 2, there is also a crafting system that you’ll need to take advantage of in order to get better weapons and armor.
Romancing SaGa 3 is one of those games that’s so open-ended you’ll really want to play through it several times in order to get the most out of it.
And what’s been most surprising to me throughout this process of learning more about the Romancing SaGa series is honestly, just how many of these features were so far ahead of their time.
The Romancing SaGa series is a real trail-blazer of a series that would have a far-reaching impact on the genre as a whole, while remaining relatively unsung here in the West.
And what’s also surprising is how many of these mechanics throughout Romancing Saga 1, 2, and 3 are fully represented in Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe.
And sponsorship aside, I truly do mean that.
Sometimes it’s easy to be cynical about mobile RPGs with Gacha mechanics.
There are unscrupulous developers who incorporate pay-to-win mechanics and insanely unrealistic odds of getting the characters you’re looking for, but the fact of the matter is that Re;UniverSe is actually a lot of fun to play.
And I think that a lot of that is owing to the fact that so many of the mechanics that are a staple of Romancing SaGa are core gameplay mechanics in Re;UniverSe!
Most of the core combat mechanics make a return.
It’s a turn-based RPG where you have 5 characters in your party.
During combat, based on certain attributes characters will learn semi-randomly new skills and abilities.
The hero-collecting gacha mechanics actually fit in perfectly with the Romancing SaGa series, where you would typically have your pick of dozens of characters.
In Re;univerSe you can summon heroes from each of the previous games to aid you in Polka’s quest to rescue his sister.
The concepts marry well, overall.
You still take on quests in any order you desire, and stat progression is based again on your actions during combat.
And of course, series veterans make a return, featuring that timeless aesthetic from Tomomi Kobayashi, score by Kenji Ito, and once again being directed by Akitoshi Kawazu.
Re;univerSe has that pedigree of a classic Super Nintendo RPG that you can take with you anywhere, play for as long or as little as you like, and put down.
All the while being very free-to-play friendly.
Especially right now while they’re giving away tons of rewards for new players.
So far I’ve played for hours and haven’t had to spend a dime.
If you enjoy this Romancing SaGa Series Primer blog under guide. So follow the address and download the game for free to start your quest through Re;univerSe today for free rewards, and also by doing so you’ll be supporting this website! And also too follow on our social media account for more updates.
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