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SaGa Frontier 2

Platform:
ps
Developer:
Square
Genre:
Traditional RPG
Series:
SaGa
  • January 31, 2000
  • April 1, 1999
  • March 22, 2000
B 27 total ratings
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SaGa Frontier 2

A SaGa Frontier 2 review Author: Steve Ragnone Published: May 08, 2000
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SaGa games have always been known for their original gameplay innovations. At least, they should be. Most people automatically associate the name SaGa Frontier with "bad game," due to the way it handled gameplay and character customization over storyline and character development. SaGa Frontier 2 attempts to redress the previous game's mistake of seemingly tossing plot by the wayside, while still retaining a sense of non-linearity and freedom to build your fighters any way you want.
First of all, the storyline. SaGa Frontier 2 takes place in a world where people can control Anima, the magical force which sustains all life, at will. Much like The Force of the Star Wars mythos, Anima resides in all things, like trees, fog, rocks, people, and the like, but the most readily available sources of Anima are Tools and Quells. Tools are manufactured by humans and have limited uses, while Quells are much more rare and can be used without fear of running out. These basic rules of nature tragically bind our two heroes' lives together. Gustave XIII, heir to the throne of Finney, is exiled by his father after he fails to show any control over Anima. Wil Knights is a Digger, one who travels around the world excavating and selling Quells for profit, and many of his exploits revolve around a particularly powerful Quell, mysteriously known as 'the Egg.'
Painted graphics give SF2 a unique look

The world of SaGa Frontier 2 is laid out on a colorful atlas, where the player can choose which scenarios to play. Upon the completion of a scenario (usually consisting of one dungeon area and a single town), the player is given access to another quest to complete. The two seperate storylines expand over multiple generations, even coinciding with one another every so often. This approach gives the game a sense of history, as if one was playing through the chronicle of the kingdom. However, this effect becomes rather muddled once the second and third generation characters' scenarios are opened up, yet the first-generation characters' quests have not all been finished. Fortunately, the story still manages to stay relatively cohesive despite this ability to play events that are already supposed to have happened.
The first thing gamers will probably notice when they play this game is the unique graphical style, where instead of standard 3-D polygon/pre-rendered fare, a wonderful watercolor motif is applied to the hand-drawn backgrounds, melding perfectly with the character sprites. This helps lend a medieval fantasy look to the game (in contrast to the original SaGa Frontier's awkward melding of sci-fi and fantasy), in addition to the historic map-like quest selection screen, giving the game a spectacular fairy-tale feel.
Battle scenario

You won't have to worry about the battles being storybook fare, though. Encounters occur in three different ways: standard party-vs.-party melees, one-on-one duels, or all-out strategic army battles similar to Suikoden 2. In the majority of encounters, you get the choice to fight the enemy as a party or with a single character. The party-vs.-party battles are exactly like they were in SaGa Frontier 1: your characters can perform equipped weapons and Arts (the game's name for techniques and spells), perform ultra-damaging combination attacks, and spontaneously learn new Arts (with the trademark lightbulb appearing over the character's head). During a duel, you pick four moves per turn. Depending on the order in which you select these moves dictates what attack is learned and/or performed (ie. a sword user who selects Cleave-Backslash-Slash will eventually learn the Dead End attack, or a magic user who chooses Tree-Water will cast the Life Water spell). Once an Art is learned in either of these two battle modes, it is stored in the general Art repertoire, where it can be equipped on any party member you wish from that point on. Finally, the strategic battles, which pit army against army, involve you moving your units (consisting of four soldiers each) across a map. When one of your units collides with an enemy unit, a single round of group combat occurs. A unit is destroyed when it loses all of its units in one round. If the job is not finished in one round, then at the end of the player's turn, troops are brought in from the reserves to supplement that unit. These strategic battles seem deceptively simple at first, but near the end of the game they become excruciatingly difficult.
The real fun in this game (as with most SaGa games) comes in customizing your character to play whatever role you want him or her to. Each character is gifted in several of the 12 different Arts groups (Fighting Arts include Martial, Sword, Axe, Staff, Spear and Bow; while Anima Arts include Tree, Flame, Stone, Water, Tone, and Beast). Using a particular attack or technique will raise the level of that Art, thereby increasing that character's attack power with that type of weapon/spell. Having a gift in a category of Arts raises the probability that the character will raise levels quickly. A character must be wearing a Tool/Quell of the appropriate elemental to cast spells of that type, though. For instance, a Call Thunder spell, consisting of Water-Water-Tone, requires the caster to be equipped with a Water Tool AND a Tone Tool. HP, WP (weapon points), and SP (spell points) can also go up at the end of a fight, depending on your actions. And one needn't worry about recovering HP/WP/SP, either. The player has the option to restore a character's HP at the cost of one LP (life point). Run out of these, though, and the character cannot be revived without a trip to the inn. WP and SP recharge on a per-round basis, depending on the character and whatever equipment they're wearing.
The enemy designs are quite strange...

Admittedly, SaGa Frontier 2 is not without its faults. First of all, those players who enjoy building levels and accumulating money will have a very hard time with this game, as cash is quite hard to come by. There are only a few places in between chapters where you can take a breather and attempt to gain new techniques without the impending pressure of the storyline. Also, a quest usually only consists of a dungeon and MAYBE a town, so it can sometimes be difficult to get back into town to rest, repair weapons, and what not. Speaking of weapons, as most armaments are Tools with limited uses, you find yourself shelling out exorbitant amounts of money to either repair them or buy new ones of lesser power, when in other RPGs cash is normally saved to buy stronger items than the ones in possession. Fortunately, you will run across some magical weapon-Quells and steel weapons, neither of which run out of uses.
All in all, SaGa Frontier 2 is a refreshing departure from the standard RPG. Freedom to build your fighters however you choose, the amazing graphic style, an excellent soundtrack, and a myriad of battle techniques all help this game stand out, while being a welcome addition to any RPG fan's collection, and worthy of the Squaresoft legacy. If you liked the original SaGa games, there should be nothing stopping you from going out and buying this game posthaste. For novices to the series, be wary of the rather sharp learning curve with the SaGa series, but don't let that stop you from trying this game out.
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Editor's Grade
B+
dotted line "Non-linear and gorgeous, a refreshing departure from the standard RPG."
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B dotted line Average Reader Score (Based on 27 ratings) | Rate it Now
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Author
Steve
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Member since June 26, 2004
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Forums / SaGa Frontier 2 / SaGa Frontier 2

pixel
SaGa Frontier 2 is a really great game.
It has a really good soundtrack and i love the fact how everything is drew.
I love the fact, because me, myself is a artist and i know how hard it is to draw rooms, so i respect the markers.
I Agree with the score of B+
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