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SaGa SCARLET GRACE: AMBITIONS

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
So I picked this game up while it was on sale! I'm rolling with Taria.

So far I've:

  • Killed a phoenix that was already dying for its feathers
  • Made some rocks let out gas by looking at them
  • Got 2/3rds of the way to helping Nessie out to sea (This is apparently a load-bearing Nessie)
  • Cleansed some hot springs of monsters
  • Lit some lighthouses
  • Used a magic rock to make a mermaid singing a siren song go away
  • Convinced some pirates to move a stuck lighthouse ship back out to sea without any bloodshed
  • Got forced into a vow by a ghost because I killed him to save a lady he was harassing
  • Went fishing
  • Got lost in a labyrinth with way more fights than it advertised
  • Killed the stupid ghost again to get free from the stupid vow 'cuz he would not stop following me around and draining my max LP total
I am enjoying this game a lot.
 
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Serephine

and a spark kindled carpet into flame, Blooming
(she/her)
If we're going to do a LTTP thread based on the Golden Week sale maybe we should mark spoilers? I know you know I also just picked this up. ;)
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Well I wanted a thread where we could discuss the game without having to spoiler tag everything, but okay. Title changed and spoilers in the spoiler pop.
 

spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
the labyrinth bit is beautiful in its absurdity. "don't follow the dog!" and yet it has to keep appearing for you to...not follow. obviously.

i haven't touched my third file (taria) in a while, but this game is incredible, a really pleasing synthesis of many evolving concepts across the series. i think especially the people who are put off by some of the obscurity of other games should try it, since it gives you tons of information about almost everything and really takes a lot of the potentially punishing elements out of the equation, yet has the teeth to make you think on what to do despite that. structuring the pivotal turn in a battle often means a lot of checking what the likely consequences of your actions are and trying to weigh them against each other, and then you're often rewarded with a chance to go all-out and clean up the rest with your best moves. playthroughs are on the long side compared to other sagas with a lot of characters (especially frontier and unlimited), but so many of the events are worth experiencing with each character since unlike some of the others their reactions to a lot of them are full of interesting or funny character moments. and it's a bit low on inherently weird party members, but with the voice acting and everything...everyone is still weird.

it's really fun even just thinking about this game again after playing unlimited; i think it's trying to convey some similar concepts (most generally: a tabletop/board game influenced jrpg with a lot of odd sidequesty events) but executes on them a lot more consistently. that said it can still be an overwhelming game so here's some thoughts i wrote in discord about starting off and getting an idea of how things fit together on a structural level. of course some of this i know from estragon's own intro post in the tt2 thread, and he's played a lot more than i have, so if you want to know more that might also be worth looking up
if you do the quiz you have something like a 90% chance of getting leonard or urpina

you don't have to agree, but urpina is a good choice. leonard is lute, which is not NEARLY as rough for new players in this game as in frontier i think

basically:

urpina: fairly linear with a lot of choices that affect the story progression; some of them are obvious and others aren't. a few bad things can happen to you, but she's a very strong character and a good introduction in the game. somewhat less likely to get hard versions of the last boss

leonard: extremely nonlinear (as i understand). easier to avoid hard versions of the last boss. i haven't played this but based on what i've heard and understand there's probably a reason he's so easy to get first

balmaint: the most linear, often cannot leave the current area, especially earlier in the game; somewhat infamously can even get trapped in a very small space of the world at the end of the game if you make certain choices, has more hard versions of the last boss than the first two afaik

taria: less linear than urpina and balmaint, but still relatively guided progression in the spots i've played so far. probably has harder battle difficulty in a lot of places than other characters, but i don't think she runs into some of the evil limitations either

the thing is..."nonlinear" in this game mostly means something very different from the older games

since like, aside from the final bosses the battle rank calibration affects virtually everything
there's no "you can grind here early in the game but you won't be able to beat the boss [along the lines of stuff that comes up in frontier and sometimes in romancing games]"; it's actually the opposite, battle rank stays static if you stay in the same spot so if you get stuck on something you want to do you should fight a bit without leaving
as a result i'm left to assume leonard genuinely has no real disadvantage in this game even if you don't know anything

and the reason getting stuck in the same spot like balmaint does is bad is because your options for raising weapons and stuff become limited (may be unable to access materials or shops for weapons you want) (and also because you can't advance the new battle rank to gain proficiencies faster)

this game has the rs2 and 3 thing where character base stats don't grow, instead it's their weapon proficiencies and skill levels (skills become cheaper in bp as they level). and sparking options are based on the equipped weapon, so if you become unable to raise them it becomes hard to get stronger
because a weapon's learnable skills will change as you keep changing it to newer and stronger ones
you'll stagnate if you never move because your proficiencies will max out for the battle rank and you'll run out of ways to grow. but if you grind for a little while you can make a hard fight easier

anyway the other reason that being able to go freely is good is because you can recruit more characters, and aside from the obvious value of having more characters most recruitable characters give you a formation, which is THE MOST important tactical arsenal you have in the game
it's not like RS2 where i think like 2 of them are the best most of the time, a couple are useful while you wait to get those, and others mostly have niche uses if you build around them heavily

the game explains a huge number of mechanics btw, but i hope this gives some context because unlike pre-unsaga games the difficulty of most battles on your first playthrough is high enough that understsanding how it fits together is difficult
when i say "most" i mean...including ones that are obviously "unimportant", the kind you'd usually just fight walking through an area in other games (and the reason you don't in this game is because the game's structure just isn't equivalent)

like, there are some formations that are very stable and defensive that you'll use early on, and some that are very explosive and sometimes let you snowball a battle where you can pick off a weak enemy or two right away. some formations guard against specific enemy tactics that you won't use often but will be glad you have, and others are useful if you just have to beat one guy because they have super powerful features that are counteracted when you kill things

also, characters rubberband very obviously and quickly in this game
if you get a weak new character or haven't used one in a long time you can see them gain like, 50 hp in one fight
it rules
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
If I could sum up consequences in SaGa Scarlet Grace:Ambitions, it would be with this.
In the Marchiam Ria area, you find a seal hanging out near the water by the town of Ferrol. You have two options available to you: You can leave it alone, or chase it away. I went for the former 'cuz harassing a seal like that is mean.

After some sidequesting and fighting in the Marchiam Ria, I come back to find a murder of crows where the seal was.
A seal can get killed by fairy hunters 'cuz you weren't a jerk to it.
 
the thing is..."nonlinear" in this game mostly means something very different from the older games

since like, aside from the final bosses the battle rank calibration affects virtually everything
there's no "you can grind here early in the game but you won't be able to beat the boss [along the lines of stuff that comes up in frontier and sometimes in romancing games]"; it's actually the opposite, battle rank stays static if you stay in the same spot so if you get stuck on something you want to do you should fight a bit without leaving
as a result i'm left to assume leonard genuinely has no real disadvantage in this game even if you don't know anything

and the reason getting stuck in the same spot like balmaint does is bad is because your options for raising weapons and stuff become limited (may be unable to access materials or shops for weapons you want) (and also because you can't advance the new battle rank to gain proficiencies faster)
I think you're misunderstanding BR progression in this.
You get the full amount of "XP" or whatever for BR the first time you complete a fight, with higher encounter difficulties granting more. Repeating a free battle gives a greatly reduced amount, somewhere around 1/6 - 1/4 depending on difficulty. The idea is that if you want to grind for some materials or spark some stuff on a new weapon or bring a new character up to speed, you can repeat some fights to do that without affecting overall BR very much. But you can still just hang out in one area and increase your BR if you really wanted/needed to, it would just take much longer. Source.

I've seen some people unfamiliar with SaGa still grind themselves into a bad position, and at one point I basically grinded to max BR myself off of two fights as a byproduct of prepping Roles for the strongest version of the final boss.
 

spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
gah, i should've known my "simple" understanding would be too simple. i didn't want to just be like "if you play normal it's fine" either though since even though that's basically my experience (i only ever really "ground" more than a battle or two when my shortish balmaint run got a fairly hard final boss) i don't know that other people have the same view of what's normal
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I still think it's pretty unlikely to get yourself into a bad position wrt. Battle Rank in this game. Although, knowing how the underlying mechanic works, kinda makes me think that Leonard is the easiest protag to get into that situation with.
 

Lance Noble Aster

did his best!
(he/him)
I've been playing this, as Lissa! By which I mean Leonard, but Lissa is the star of the show.
This game is hard and stressful in ways I don't want from a JRPG, and it's frustrating not being able to get new things easily. Will a dungeon every hand me a new sword? I don't know but it feels like "probably not" is the answer.
I would much prefer if this game just had money instead of crafting materials.
Running from forge to forge looking for the "correct" kind of forge for the upgrades I need feels extremely like busy work for a system I already feel is fiddly because I'm having to maintain so much equipment.

Also cutting out actually walking around places and finding things is to the game's detriment, heavily.
The advent of gacha RPGs has taught me that despite having all the same individual mechanical pieces, gacha often feel hollow and empty because being able to move around spaces has been removed.
Turns out that walking from point A to point B, even if it's just a straight line, adds a significant amount to video games in ways I can't quite put into words. Even for a JRPG where the environment typically has no mechanical effects, traversal is important!
 
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I still think it's pretty unlikely to get yourself into a bad position wrt. Battle Rank in this game. Although, knowing how the underlying mechanic works, kinda makes me think that Leonard is the easiest protag to get into that situation with.
Oh, it's definitely not likely. You basically have to be stuck in a small area of the map (So Balmaint or early Urpina), grind for a long time without catching on that it isn't helping, and be unable to upgrade your equipment to help bridge the gap with the stronger enemies because you don't have the right resources available. Even with all that, the worst possible scenario is still nowhere near as bad as it can get in other SaGa games.

IIRC there's even an in-game explanation for the system in the help files. It's definitely an extreme edge-case, and the few times I've seen it happen, it was pretty obvious that the person was trying to grind to get around learning learning how to engage with the battle system, so I'm somewhat skeptical that having better equipment would have helped much.
 
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