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LTTP: SaGa Frontier 2 (Mild-spoilers)

Lenz

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
185


Over the past eight months or so I've been playing SaGa Frontier 2 on and off between major releases.

This game is really, really cool.

I've enjoyed it immensely. It's my first SaGa game. I wanted to make a LTTP to learn how other people received this game as well as to learn more about the games in the series. As I was playing it, I collected my thoughts on the game.

First off, this game is beautiful. Coming out in 1999, when tons of games were moving to 3D, the game has hand-drawn watercolor backgrounds and awesome looking sprites. The character designs are incredible. Each character has an awesome look to them, and that is a huge draw. There are toooons of characters and they all have their own unique flair to them. This was the thing that really got me through the door with this game. It reminded me a lot of Ragnarok Online, funny enough.

Story

The Story of SaGa Frontier 2 is a really interesting concept. I love the idea of reliving a history of a world and how it changed over time, and the characters that influenced it. It follows two characters; Gustave XIII and Will Knights (and his family). Gustave's story moves at a rapid pace, explaining his backstory through cutscenes, and sparingly lets you control him. I almost saw Gustave's story as a way to introduce myself to the mechanics of the game, because in his later chapters he is extremely powerful. His plot is shrouded in mystery for me because of how rapid-fire it is. It's an interesting idea, but ultimately I wasn't able to become very attached the character initially.

The second story character is Will Knights. This story feels like the main plotline, and I really enjoy the idea of playing as Will and his descendants Rich and Ginny. This also allows you to see the waves that Gustave left in history, as his actions usually set the stage for the others, and that bridges you into the real plot.

Once again, The idea is super interesting but the execution holds it back. There are a lot of times in Gustave's story where there are HUGE time-skips, and characters that you haven't met are in your party with no context. It makes sense the more you play, but it can be strange from a storytelling standpoint and it's pretty impossible to follow along without some sort of guide. It's hard to care about such a massive cast where a ton of them are only around temporarily. I do appreciate the additions of side chapters that flesh out characters though.

Gameplay Systems

This is where the game shines. I absolutely adore the battle system in this game. From what I've heard it's not as crazy unique as other SaGa games, but I still found a lot of stuff to love. Life Points (LP) are a really cool mechanic. Using them to heal to full is awesome. Initially I enjoyed the danger of enemies that would attack you to deal LP damage, but as I got further in the game it was super frustrating.

The dueling mechanic where you fight an enemy one-on-one was novel at first as well. Using that to learn skills is also a cool mechanic, but the RNG nature of it is infuriating. It took me forever to learn skills that ended up being essential like Turtle Killer and Berserk. However, using the multitude of Arts and Spells in the game is awesome. Seeing the combo attacks link up feels fantastic.

A final note on combat; the roles you can give to characters is another awesome touch. It opens up a lot of room for party compositions and strategy. Having certain characters with more balanced stats, others with aggressive or defensive stats.

The overworld mechanic and the shopkeeping is something I had a lot of trouble grasping and I still don't really get it. Crowns are the money that doesn't carry over from chapter to chapter, while Chips stays in your inventory. In order to increase the available items for Chips in shops, you need to essentially trade between locations during chapters where you have overworld freedom. When I realized what was actually happening, I was intrigued, but my game was too far gone at that point. Would love to try to get a high Chip count next time I play.

Lastly, I need to talk about the Music.

It's incredible in my opinion. My favorite RPG soundtrack of all time, which is CRAZY to me. It's very relaxed, but confident. The orchestral versions of the tracks are stellar.

I'll preview some tracks here, I think it says what it needs to say. Masashi Hamauzu is a god.

Overall, this game has left a huge impact on my heart. I can't wait to try out others in the series. I would love any suggestions on what to play next!
 

Rymuth

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,025
Did you make Hahn Nova into a city of blacksmiths? It gives you the best spear in the game and Gustav calls you brilliant for coming up with the idea.
 
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Lenz

Lenz

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
185
Did you make Hahn Nova into a city of blacksmiths? It gives you the best spear in the game and Gustav calls you brilliant for coming up with the idea.
Woah, that's cool. I had didn't realize the cities formation changed what was sold. Another thing I didn't really understand (kinda like the Crowns and Chips thing)

I think I did Blacksmith North > Shopping South > Entertainment East. I'm past the chapter where you go to Hahn Nova with Wil, so I don't totally remember.
 

potato

Member
Oct 27, 2017
172
This game is so beautiful and I LOVE the music.

When it came out I bought it before reading reviews. Then I read the. And they were all surprisingly low. Like 5s and 6s.
 
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Lenz

Lenz

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Oct 25, 2017
185
I kinda understand the reviews because of some of the difficulty spikes + obscure systems. It plays into it's charm though.
 

DeadPhoenix

Member
Oct 25, 2017
351
I rented the game back in the day and loved it. I had play romancing saga 3 a lot by that point, but I was actually able to beat sf2(somehow. Holy shit those last two boss fights). I really liked Gustav story myself, more then will's, but his was good to. I would like to do another play though, but I got to many other games to get to first (including several other saga games).
 

Deleted member 1441

User requested account closure
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
135
Truly a wonderful game, the backgrounds are still amazing to this day and the music easily makes it into the top ten for me.

I remember being really taken back playing this for the first time, especially coming off of SaGa Frontier 1, but eventually I came to really enjoy the game. I keep hoping for SaGa to make a comeback, because I still enjoy the idea of a non-linear story line and multiple heroes.
 

B.K.

Member
Oct 31, 2017
4,474
I never finished the game back in the day. I should try to someday. I remember it being a beautiful game, but having horrible gameplay.
 

Radirgy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
17
My favourite SaGa game! Also my first OST purchase, the music in this game is so good!

And man, it's been over a decade since I last played it. I do recall not liking the SRPG battles very much. They felt tacked on, not much thought put into them.
 
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Lenz

Lenz

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
185
My favourite SaGa game! Also my first OST purchase, the music in this game is so good!

And man, it's been over a decade since I last played it. I do recall not liking the SRPG battles very much. They felt tacked on, not much thought put into them.
I absolutely find the SRPG battles to be the weakest part of the game. What really adds to the frustration is that you don't really get to use your main parties that you've actually invested in.

The game really shines when you are in tough battles and performing combos and linking spells and arts. When you take that away it's a bit rough.
 

Rainrir

Attempted to circumvent ban with alt account
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,337
Too bad 99% of the lore is hidden behind the SaGa Frontier 2 Perfect Works.

I have the book, as me anything if you have questions about the hidden lore of this game.
 

Pixel Grotto

Member
Oct 27, 2017
873
Nice thread. I haven't played this one yet but it's on my list. Admittedly most of why I want to play it is because it has the same watercolor background aesthetic as Legend of Mana, which is a top 5 game for me and also got middling reviews when it first came out.
 

Aeana

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,910
I have to chime in on any thread about this game. I really like the SaGa series as a whole, but this one in particular really resonated with my story-wise in a way that none of the others except maybe Romancing SaGa 3 did. And I really appreciate the way the two different stories progress differently and satisfy two of my needs that I usually have to play different games to satisfy. I'm really due for a replay at some point.

But yeah, as mentioned above.. there's a lot of stuff in the Perfect Works. The biggest shame about the SaGa games is that they pretty much never feel finished.
 
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Lenz

Lenz

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
185
Too bad 99% of the lore is hidden behind the SaGa Frontier 2 Perfect Works.

I have the book, as me anything if you have questions about the hidden lore of this game.
How difficult would it be to score a copy of that nowadays? I'm assuming it's not in English as well.
 

Rainrir

Attempted to circumvent ban with alt account
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,337
How difficult would it be to score a copy of that nowadays? I'm assuming it's not in English as well.
Its in Japanese.

Back when I was in Japan, Mandrake was buying back these at a hundred bucks a piece and that was years ago.

The number of extant copies will probably keep dropping.

I am not sure of SE reprinted this like they did for the Xenogears PW.
 

punkmaggit

Member
Oct 27, 2017
159
The music is GODLY. I'm with ya OP - my favorite game soundtrack of all time. There is so much depth.
 

entrydenied

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
2,525

Dark_Castle

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,524
I'm not kidding when I say this is one of the best looking JRPG of all time even to this day from art style perspective. I also really digged how the story is told, though it's a pain to get some of the scenarios as they can be missable if you don't follow the timeline well. Gameplay is typical Saga but it worked. I remember the final boss, an egg(?) being ridiculously hard. Think I'll try to replay the game one day.
 

DiipuSurotu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,341
France
This game is too fucking hard.

the Egg in battle or Gustave (I think it was Gustave? in the battle field)

If I recall correctly even grinding is too difficult due to the game mechanics and resource depletion.
 
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Lenz

Lenz

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Member
Oct 25, 2017
185
I have to chime in on any thread about this game. I really like the SaGa series as a whole, but this one in particular really resonated with my story-wise in a way that none of the others except maybe Romancing SaGa 3 did. And I really appreciate the way the two different stories progress differently and satisfy two of my needs that I usually have to play different games to satisfy. I'm really due for a replay at some point.

But yeah, as mentioned above.. there's a lot of stuff in the Perfect Works. The biggest shame about the SaGa games is that they pretty much never feel finished.
Are there any other SaGa games you would recommend after playing this one? From what I can tell there is no continuation to this game.
 

Musashi

Member
Oct 30, 2017
11
Underrated psx jrpg. The graphics are so great, lovely characters and the OST is one of the best Hamauzu works.
 

Buck

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2
The art is fantastic! It's some of the most beautiful I've ever seen in any videogame. Combined with the music and the storyline, this game is really something special.

I also enjoyed Romancing SaGa on PS2, though the character design for it is - unusual. The gameplay is fun and the battles are similar to SaGa Frontier 2. It also has a non-linear storyline which gives you even more choice in how you want to experience the story.
 

Necron

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,614
Switzerland
I can't remember a game opting for this water-colour style of Saga Frontier 2 except for maybe Valkyria Chronicles (?)

But since then?

It still looks amazing... I never did get far in the game because I found it too confusing and I was probably too young to enjoy it. Wish other games looked like it though and when I think back on it, it's the art style that I remember most.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,045
While I didn't care much for the game itself as the systems were far too obtuse, the general aesthetic and OST I adored.

Case in point, just listen to this. It's glorious;

 
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asd202

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,668
Most underrated OST of all time.

Too bad 99% of the lore is hidden behind the SaGa Frontier 2 Perfect Works.

I have the book, as me anything if you have questions about the hidden lore of this game.
So what really happens to
Gustav? Did the Egg target him specifically because it feared he could destroy it as he could technically If I remember right could not get absorbed?
 

MilkBeard

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,203
Oh hello, thread about one of my favorite video game series. Cool to see someone enjoying the game. While I generally liked and played SaGa Frontier I more, this was a cool game with a great artstyle (and great music). One of these days I'll return and finish the game, because I've never made it past a certain point. I think one time I got stuck in a tough battle during Gus'
""return""
and just gave up.
 

RyougaSaotome

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,213
I've actually never touched this one, primarily because the reviews at the time were so scathing that I figured it'd be a waste of my little cash to pick it up.

This is an interesting thread in that I've never actually seen people talk about why they LIKE SaGa Frontier 2, and admittedly, I don't really know much about the game, how it plays, or what the story's like.

Keeping an eye on this one. Might have to go back and correct not playing this.
 

asd202

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,668
I've actually never touched this one, primarily because the reviews at the time were so scathing that I figured it'd be a waste of my little cash to pick it up.

This is an interesting thread in that I've never actually seen people talk about why they LIKE SaGa Frontier 2, and admittedly, I don't really know much about the game, how it plays, or what the story's like.

Keeping an eye on this one. Might have to go back and correct not playing this.
Do it, It is one of the most underrated RPG on PSX. It's also a very unique game at that.
 

DarknessTear

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,601
I've never liked a single SaGa game [at the time of SF2's release]. SaGa Frontier was cool and it had a style that I liked but all I did was die a lot and get lost so I never continued playing any storyline. I tried the SNES ones and couldn't get into them. I got SaGa Frontier 2 when I was about to turn 14 years old. It was right before my birthday and I had been devouring any Squaresoft game I could at that point minus the first game. Gustave's story really resonated with me, and the game itself - the music, the visuals.. it was all so impressive for its time. This was my first exposure to Masashi Hamauzu's work and I really fell in love with his music and have been a big fan ever since.

For some reason the game wasn't difficult at all to me. Everything was smooth sailing from start to end, but I was a far better gamer when I was a teen. When I try to replay this, this game seems a lot harder. I'll probably try to play through the whole thing again pretty soon though. I'm just typing out my thoughts unfiltered here so it probably seems like a bit of a mess, but I really feel that this game was a masterpiece, but that's the 14 year old me speaking. Perhaps I can soon gather thoughts on it as a 31 or 32 year old guy.
 
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Dreamboum

Member
Oct 28, 2017
16,048
People don't talk about this one so much compared to other SaGa games, maybe because it managed to say what it had to say, but it is among my top three SaGa games easily. Masashi Hamauzu managed to present himself as a composer as worthy as Kenji Ito with an incredible score and I still can't get over the variation in battle themes. Feldslacht III is a track I go back to very often, so soothing.

It doesn't have the oomph, or the absolute despairing mess that makes games such as SaGa Frontier 1 so fascinating and worth exploring, but it has the same level of originality that once again goes away with the usual JRPG formula.
 

DiipuSurotu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,341
France
SaGa Frontier 2 is also notable as one of the few Square games to make use of the "PocketStation" peripheral that didn't even make it out of Japan. ...Actually I think the only other Square game which uses it is FFVIII.
 
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Lenz

Lenz

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
185
SaGa Frontier 2 is also notable as one of the few Square games to make use of the "PocketStation" peripheral that didn't even make it out of Japan. ...Actually I think the only other Square game which uses it is FFVIII.
Yeah I noticed this a lot during my time with the game. Atleast 1 NPC per town would prompt me to insert the PocketStation. Couldn't you also import/export combo links that you saved? An interesting idea..
 

Valkerion

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,274
I never made it past the first two or so hours of this game. It was pretty obscure as mentioned. Same with the first... I've been on a old school kick every now and then so I might try it eventually. I always see videos of this series and I want to finish them someday. Looking forward to more impressions.

Love LTTP's on PS1 era stuff.
 

Razorrin

Member
Nov 7, 2017
2,058
Y'know, this game is awesome, I'm bumpin' this!

I made a big diatribe in a different thread, but essentially I love everything about this game, Especially it's scenario design and gameplay. on one hand, the full life of a Steel King in a world of magic, and the family of adventurers facing a powerful evil. on the other, fun moves, getting more powerful attacks the lower your reserves are, magic being a big focus, and one-on-one duels giving you the opportunity to learn moves more quickly then usual, leading to a 15 year old kid with no magic stopping a bandits heart with his fist.

I just can't get enough, and I hope we can get a worthy successor to it, and it's predecessor, SaGa Frontier 1.
 

Arcus Felis

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,436
My favorite PSOne RPG with Suikoden 2.

I replayed it at least 4 times. Granted, my second playthrough was because I couldn't beat the Final Boss. Once you really understand how the game works and have the right tools/quells/teks and spells, it is a breeze, no need to farm ad nauseum beforehand (those guys who farm until they reach over 600 HP and 30 in masteries... that's overkill).

Magnificent OST. This is the very first game that led me to acquire a game's soundtrack. I've loved Hamauzu ever since.
 

Dogui

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,277
Game's completely broken, some bosses are easy and some regular enemies nearly impossible haha

That aside, i enjoyed the stories, the unique structure, and the 1v1 combat was fun. It's a game that would benefit wonders from a remaster.

Never finished, just gave up against some enemies, dunno.
 

Arcus Felis

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,436
Well, talking about tough enemies, the Griffyn really isn't supposed to be fought: it's pretty much only there to make your life miserable. They should have made "Flee" options available right from the start when encountering that flying executioner.