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The SaGa Thread

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
I certainly don't think it's impossible to start with her, it's just that Despair is a lot to take in for a starter dungeon and I'd recommend trying out another scenario if you're having trouble with that. I personally consider T260G a good starting point 'cuz learning how robots work aside the scenario is more brief and linear in structure than the others.

But by all means, try out each of the scenarios and see which one works best for you as a starter.

In other news...

I am ready for next week.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
I don't think there is a particularly compelling answer to a "starter" character in Frontier as the fight-or-flight instinct a player may experience towards the game is likely toward its holistic esotericism rather than the structural or mechanical quirks of any one individual scenario. That was really the hurdle to overcome in 1998 from the limited North American console RPG audience perspective, but these days far more players are going to be more receptive to what the game is doing since overall understanding of the genre has deepened and diversified. I'd recommend starting purely on the basis of whoever looks interesting to play as; for me that was Asellus and it wasn't any better or worse of an introduction than the other options.
That said, probably don't start with Riki or Lute
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Riki's big challenges are at the very end of their scenario and Lute's just the essence of SaGa Frontier, distilled. There's really no way to tell whether one will be enamored with that or put off, so I don't like to treat it as an impossibility to acclimatize to the game with.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
But SaGa Frontier II, wowzah. What a game. I like that the narrative is both more and less focused. More in the sense that it has less characters you follow, but less in that things are broken down into chapters that aren't necessarily played out chronologically. As a big history buff, this game tickled my fancy *hard*. Playing the game was like doing historical research in that you're getting these snippets and accounts of people's lives, and as the gamer it's your job to connect the dots and figure out the bigger picture and themes at play. There's really never been anything like it before or since. It's also got some fantastic lore as well to really dig into. Living in a world where nobody really knew how to do metal working, so everyone fights with brittle weapons, and the main character is like the first guy in history to forge a sword of iron. It's really cool stuff.
Some of this I'd actually forgotten over the years, but I agree completely. It's a fantastic game, and in some ways, I found it a lot easier to follow despite the chronological jumping because it was just two characters. It's a really cool concept.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
It's tempting to suggest a "fun club" type thing for the SF remake, but those haven't been successful for a good long time. An individual thread for it, once it comes out and folks are playing it, would be cool. I'd be interested in seeing what characters people decide to play, what things are interesting or difficult about them, etc.
 
Some of this I'd actually forgotten over the years, but I agree completely. It's a fantastic game, and in some ways, I found it a lot easier to follow despite the chronological jumping because it was just two characters. It's a really cool concept.

I think that people often talk about it as a game about two characters so that consensus might have overwritten your actual experience with the game, but I think what was interesting is that the fragments of history follow way more than two characters! There are chapters that are one offs from characters you never see again, or you get a few little evocative fragments from someone's life. A character seems like they might become a new protagonist after a previous one's story comes to an end, but then you stop seeing them at all. Characters disappear mysteriously and reappear later in a narrative from another character's perspective. There's a lot going on.

(That being said, Saga Frontier 2 is my least favorite Kawazu game because I think the narrative approach and the battle system are individually excellent but they complement each other like a meal of peanut butter and cat hair.... I think it also has the most poorly balanced spark mechanics of any Kawazu game with ability sparking. It really feels like feast or famine. Like 97% of the enemies need to give you a much better spark chance, and 3% need to gave you a way worse spark chance.)

That said, probably don't start with Riki or Lute

I think starting with Riki is fine, but probably either look up the point or no return or be sure to keep multiple saves. People do tend to get stuck in the last boss area. It's not that difficult to intuit though, as long as you know in advance to be sure to keep an extra save. If it feels like you've completed the main quest and are about to fight the final boss, you're probably right. Keep a save before going there, they don't let you go back!

Lute is okay as long as your goal is to screw around in the world instead of having a linear narrative. Personally I prefer to save characters like Lute with the super powers of being able to recruit all the protagonists for last as a victory lap, though.
 
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Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Oh, yeah, I'm not implying there aren't more characters to follow - perhaps it would have been more accurate to say there are effectively two primary stories that intertwine. I think that's what most people are implying with the "two characters" statement.
 
Oh, yeah, I'm not implying there aren't more characters to follow - perhaps it would have been more accurate to say there are effectively two primary stories that intertwine. I think that's what most people are implying with the "two characters" statement.

Ah, okay, that makes sense.
 

nosimpleway

(he/him)
Good lord don't start with Riki, monsters are terrible. Their development is so needlessly obtuse and nigh broken that I've read a guide on the topic and still don't get it. (Did you know that you can swap the skill they learned from eating another monster out of the bottom slot on their skill list, and thus build a diverse and effective moveset to unlock advanced monster forms? I sure didn't the first time I played!)
(This does not make RIki's quest significantly more palatable.)

I'll echo "start with a human character to get used to things". Red probably has the most fun plotline but his custom character mechanics are a bit weird. Lute doesn't have a plot. Emelia's custom character mechanics are half-broken and the half that works isn't described in any way whatsoever, and also literally every character in her scenario is duck-stranglingly stupid from start to finish, so maybe not her. Yeah, Blue seems like a good start... even if he is a jerk. Maybe throw the wizards' duel and let Rouge win.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I'll be going in completely blind here, save for knowing about that "This guys whole thing is just one big final dungeon". Could someone give me a spoiler-free breakdown on what each one entails?
 
Good lord don't start with Riki, monsters are terrible. Their development is so needlessly obtuse and nigh broken that I've read a guide on the topic and still don't get it. (Did you know that you can swap the skill they learned from eating another monster out of the bottom slot on their skill list, and thus build a diverse and effective moveset to unlock advanced monster forms? I sure didn't the first time I played!)

Riki is fine. Humans also have an obtuse menu issue a way that many players similarly overlook. (Be sure to start to seal up skills, or you'll stop learning them once your menu is full.)

I'll be going in completely blind here, save for knowing about that "This guys whole thing is just one big final dungeon". Could someone give me a spoiler-free breakdown on what each one entails?

What kind of information are you looking for, and what would you consider a spoiler?
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
You don't have to interact with the monster mechanics outside of Riki's own if you don't gel with them (understandably) or otherwise aren't interested; recruit characters that suit your playstyle since the game certainly isn't limiting your choices. Keep a wild and chaotic monster lineup in the reserves, mix and match them with other allies, or ignore them entirely--it's all feasible and accounted for.
 
I consider the following to be as vague as I could get while still being informative:

Asellus: Very plot driven. Has a scenario that sometimes progresses by enemies coming to you, which could be a challenge if you don't know how to assemble a strong party early on. Lots of Mystic characters, who are sort of in between Humans and Monsters. Don't forget that absorbing enemies for Mystics doesn't just grant a skill, it improves stats. You will want Mystic characters to absorb endgame enemies by the endgame or your party will be be weak.

Blue: Relatively non-linear scenario based around completing what for other characters are sidequests that grant access to schools of magic.

Emeila: Relatively linear and plot driven scenario with an introductory dungeon many people find difficult.

Lute: Completely non-linear and plot light. Explore the world as you please until you feel like fighting the final boss. Basically a do sidequests and recruit all the protagonists mode.

Red: Relatively linear and plot driven scenario where the main character has a special power only available in that scenario for plot reasons.

Riki: Main character is a monster. Monsters change forms and gains skills and stats by absorbing monsters. Non-linear scenario but with clear goals. If it feels like you're about to fight the final boss, make a save before you go there, people get stuck. Has a certain boss fight that demands you to know the combo system well (I think this is a bigger obstacle than the main character being a monster, it's easier if you've seen how it works across a number of characters). Has another boss fight that is maybe the toughest puzzle battle in the game.

T260G: Main character is a robot, a lot of robot party members. Robots' stats and abilities are determined entirely by equipment. Relatively linear and plot driven scenario.
 

spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
I'll be going in completely blind here, save for knowing about that "This guys whole thing is just one big final dungeon". Could someone give me a spoiler-free breakdown on what each one entails?
i'm considering things explained in the openings not to be spoilers

red - tokusatsu themed story, where the main character becomes a suited-up hero (under certain conditions). the suit has some powered up fist specials you can't otherwise get (he's also the only main character who other characters can't ever recruit, although it seems like fuse will break that rule and some others). it's pretty linear at the start, though it opens up near the end. i'd say the final dungeon and bosses on the harder side overall though

blue - oriented toward the magic-learning sidequests, you pick a few to do and then go off for a magician's duel against the opposite schools. decently guided, mostly not that hard since by the end when you have all the magic you could want your main character is kind of busted (don't overwrite a save if you go into the kylin's domain though, it's one of the most difficult boss fights in the game and you can't power up or leave as far as i know. in general though, at least on the ps1 version, you should just quicksave any time you're not sure how to return to a hub (usually koorong)...)

asellus - after a long opening, the plot progression mostly occurs abruptly as you wander around for most of the game. i think it's a good balance of freedom and story, and probably lets you reach the highest overall power levels of characters, and the last bosses aren't super hard. has multiple endings, although it seems easiest to get the good one (it's always accessible from the point of no return) and you can kinda switch between them at the end to some degree if you haven't locked yourself out completely. (this may be different in remaster since apparently they're adding back in some of the events that were originally planned to have affected the ending-in the ps1 version there's just a couple of very binary elements.) i'd say it's on the easier side, but not the easiest.

emelia - a normal human woman looking for her lover's killer. she gets different outfits, which supposedly affect growths (though i don't think it's very noticeable). moderately guided like red's story, though with more freedom earlier on. maybe the easiest final boss. it was definitely my least favorite though, so even though it does a decent job of leading you to things you might want to know on later runs...i have a hard time recommending it first

t260g - a robot who can recruit a full party of other robots, she doesn't remember what she was supposed to be doing. feels like the most linear and traditional jrpg story to me, but that's somewhat subjective. it's great either way, easily my favorite. it's easy to raise the battle rank quickly though, so the ending can be kind of hard.

riki - a monster who's looking for magical "rings" to save his homeland. they have strong effects, but the quest has some very mean parts at the end, and is probably the hardest of all since you also can't get some strong things other characters have. monsters are fun though, and the story is pretty hilarious. i liked it a lot, and finished it first so it's not like it's impossible

lute - a human who can recruit most characters. you can essentially go to the ending right away, or at any time after. good if you're happy wandering around, or know what you want to do-like estragon i played it as a kind of "victory lap" where i recruited a bunch of strong or cool things i wanted to use. the last boss is hard, though without the same kinds of rude mechanics that riki sees late on.
 
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oh also new game plus lets you transfer skills, but not access to magic schools
magic is too tangled up in the various quest flags, apparently
also, you can select whether or not skills transfer
the one skill that doesn't transfer is one that only sparks in a certain climactic battle for Red


just throwing that out there because i didn't notice that coming up previously in the thread and thought people on the fence might be interested in the specific details of the changes

(personally i think this looks really cool but i played it on vita too recently to want to do it again yet)
 

Paul le Fou

ShrimpCerealTopangaHusbandIsAMeTooMilkshakeDuck
(He)
That's kinda SaGa's whole thing (one of them, anyway, it has a pretty large number of things). I still need to go back and play the other 3 Scarlet Grace protagonists!
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
How different the scenarios are from one another is what makes SaGa Frontier such an interesting game. Each of the main protagonists has different skills, different goals, and different places and exclusive characters to recruit.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
It’s essentially an anthology RPG, which the world could use more of. It’s great if you’re craving RPGs but want something on the shorter side, since you can just finish one scenario and set the game down.
 

nosimpleway

(he/him)
I said in my LP way back when that if it were released today SaGa Frontier would be a couple of base scenarios and then there would be extra characters added on by way of DLC. I'd have paid for a game with Asellus and Red and T260's scenarios in them (particularly if they were fully-developed, from what has been leaked that was left on the cutting room floor), then considered paying for, say, Blue and Emelia DLC.

Emelia has different costumes that determine which skills she can easily learn. Two of them work. Three do nothing. Presumably this will be fixed in the remake. Costume-switching means Emelia in her own scenario is the only character in the game with aptitude for all of the components of the DSC super-skill. Emelia's plot is that she joins up with a group of freedom-fighters to track down the criminal who killed her fiance, and gets wrapped up in a coup against the setting's megacorp.
Blue gets all the magic. Well, very nearly all of it, he still can't cast Mystic spells. And by accident or design there are some gamebreaking combos to be had. (Those combos aren't unique to Blue, but he's always going to have the toolset for them.) Blue is half of a set of twins, and his stated goal is to become powerful enough to kill his brother. The plot twist upon conclusion of the duel is extremely obvious.
I don't have anything to add about Red, he's a secret superhero. You do have to keep it a secret. He can't HENSHIN if anyone around can see him. Red's plot is... that he's a costumed superhero. He fights crime!
T260 is a mec. Mecs don't develop stats, their stats are based on their equipment. T260's specialty is that her default body has more open inventory slots than any other mec, so her stats can get crazy high. (She also gets a free +26 to Intellect as a plot point, which doesn't hurt.) She also gets a custom body later on that no other mec can use. T260 has forgotten her original mission after thousands of years of dormancy, so her goal is to figure out what she was doing before and then do it.
Asellus straddles the line between human and Mystic. Mystics are basically vampires. They don't develop stats like humans do (if I remember right they can only develop Charm), they get stat-ups and learn skills by sucking monsters up into their special equipment. Asellus can grow like a normal human and do Mystic soul-sucking if she wants. She'd also have the most interesting plot if her story wasn't completely axed to save disc space. Her plot is to maybe not straddle the line between human and Mystic quite so damn much.
Since Lute is a bard and has the best Charm growth, you'd think his special skill is recruiting better or more characters than anyone else. Nope! The one character unique to his scenario is fair-to-middlin' and Red can recruit more manpower than Lute can. His special power is "can go to the final dungeon (and get curbstomped) after about 10 minutes on the ingame clock." Any good that comes of his overthrow of the traitorous general trying to take over the setting's megacorp is immediately undone when he inherits control of the megacorp himself. That's right! Lute is Birdgirl, now on Adult Swim.
Riki is a monster, making him unique among player characters, but he's just like any other monster in the game. And monsters are awful. Riki's plot is actually kind of interesting in that he needs a set of magical artifacts to keep his home realm from imploding on itself, it's just a damn shame that Riki's the one who has to play it. And... those... MagmaSlimes...
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
Something that I have not seen mentioned with the whole "it's seven games" thing that I feel should be stated as a warning now: Don't do everything. Or at least don't do everything every time. My own obsessiveness with playing videogames "hard" at the time killed a lot of my potential enjoyment with Saga Frontier back when it was first released. The issue? While the protagonists have wildly different scenarios, many of them share the exact same sidequests. And the game is kind of built for having binary sidequest choices (do you pursue "arcane" or "rune" magic? One locks out the other!), it definitely does not have septenary sidequest choices. So, basically, what I'm saying is you don't have to do everything for every character, and you kind of shouldn't. Or, to compare it to Final Fantasy 7, don't feel like you have to earn "Knights of the Round" through hours of chocobo breeding for seven different dudes and ladies. It makes the game a slog, and you'll likely be happier just saying "ah, that was the shadow quest" with one or two characters instead of seven.

... But then again, this post is mostly just reminding myself to not hunt Jotnars with every single character again. I swear I have better things to do...
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
It should be kept in mind that all the stuff that's been said in this thread applies to the original game - Asellus's quest seems like it's going to be made more directed by restoring all the cut events, and I wouldn't be shocked if restoring cut content changes some other characters too.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)

Nothing new in here but it does give a quick and dirty overview of each character’s premise.

I’m confused as to how Fuse’s scenario works. Is it one big scenario you unlock in pieces, or seven mini scenarios?
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
As I understand it you get it piece by piece as you complete the others. In each part you fight that character's final boss again. Once you've done all seven you unlock the last bit of Fuse's story and his final boss.
 
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