About 10 years ago I bought a game called Saga Frontier and have been looking for a similar experience from an RPG ever since. This game was published by Square for the Playstation in 1997 and was released in the US in 1998. The game was directed by Akitoshi Kawazu who has been involved in plenty of great games. The sound track is very well done the composer is Kenji Ito who also composed the music for “Super Smash Brothers Brawl”.
The Saga series was Square’s experimental RPG and the good ideas were taken and incorporated into their more popular lines like Final Fantasy. Saga Frontier is more enjoyable to me than the rest of the Square/Square-Enix lineup, but that doesn’t hold true for everyone. The games are far less linear and that can represent a problem for some gamers.
Saga Frontier has a total of 7 main characters to choose from. I can’t speak for all of them because I haven’t played through as all of them. I have played through as “Blue” a magic user sent out to kill his brother “Rogue”, but that was 10 years ago. I am currently playing as the mec “T-260” a salvaged robot trying to find out what it’s mission is. One thing I love about these games is the ability to combo off of each other doing massively more damage than the individual attacks, for example if I use “Gen’s” attack called double slash it does about 150 hp of damage, if I use “T-260’s” light Vulcan I do another 150 hp of damage, if they combo their combined damage is closer to 500.
After completing a few missions you have the option of upgrading “T260’s” body which is great since the mecs don’t level up from combat. There are actually no traditional levels in the game, just sort of a growth of skills and ability, but these things happen automatically after each battle and don’t incorporate the system from Final Fantasy X, but probably were an influence in that design. You also learn new attacks either during combat or after combat and equip abilities just like equipment, but that doesn’t apply to the mecs only the people and monsters.
The first unofficial release of the Saga games in America came in the form of Final Fantasy Legend III, released in 1993, which to be honest I never heard of until today. Saga Frontier was released close enough to Final Fantasy 7 that it had a hard time competing. It’s an uncommon game to find and it’s price will range from dirt cheap to upwards of $30.00. I got my copy on eBay for about $25.00 with shipping, but soon noticed it on Amazon for $10.00 before shipping.
Let me just say that while Saga Frontier was one of my favorite RPG’s ever, Unlimited Saga was by far the worst game ever made for the main reason of a game board style of movement, so the series isn’t perfect.
If you like the Final Fantasy series The Saga Series is worth checking out especially Saga Frontier and Saga Frontier 2.