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Episode 59: Romancing the SaGa - Q&A Quest

WheelsWheels RPGamer StaffRPGamer Staff
This week in Q&A Quest we celebrate the end of the year with Mr. Baker by diving into all things Romancing SaGa. Your hosts also admit that perhaps the first four Breath of Fire games have some merit.

Episode 59: Romancing the SaGa
- Q&A Quest
Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
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Comments

  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    Which do you feel had a better library of games(not counting the fact you could play those games on the new hardware slot) the gba, ds, or 3ds?
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    edited December 2017
    Also, you skipped a whole week of questions!

    http://forums.rpgamer.com/discussion/26661/episode-57-q-a-forces-x-q-a-quest#latest

    Unless that was on purpose to save them or didn’t want to answer them.

    I also I don’t think episode 58 was ever put on iTunes unless I’m missing something.
  • VeghEstherVeghEsther technically on-topic Full Members
    edited December 2017
    Between those 3 GBA has the way better games.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Budai wrote: »
    Also, you skipped a whole week of questions!

    http://forums.rpgamer.com/discussion/26661/episode-57-q-a-forces-x-q-a-quest#latest

    Unless that was on purpose to save them or didn’t want to answer them.

    I also I don’t think episode 58 was ever put on iTunes unless I’m missing something.

    I think I broke the rss, should be on there now.
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
    sig.gif
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    Xenoblade 2 has been very well received by most fans. But recieved mixed opinions by the gaming media. Are you suprised that it didn’t receive more acclaim, or do you can you see why? I think it has some flaws, but is still a wildly deep and fulfilling game.
  • bmesickbmesick New Member Full Members
    The Romancing SaGa games have to be some of the most interesting rpgs I've ever played with Romancing SaGa 3 being the most baffling and insane rpg I've played. There is literally a minigame/sidequest in RS3 involving capitalism where piles of money are being shifted around on the screen and you are battling people for their assets and investing...? I don't know. Crazy and hilarious game, highly entertaining and frustrating.

    Granted Ive only just barely played RS2 or 3, but I am excited to master them. I've only beaten the remake of the first one, Minstrel Song. Impenetrable for casual gamers but rewarding for those who invest in it. Much like the much maligned but excellent albeit incomplete game... Unlimited Saga. Yes folks, it's a good game, i swear by it even though everyone seems to hate it.

    But I digress...

    This is how I approach Kawazu games in general. At first I'm baffled by their insane design and am obsessed with figuring out how they work, and as I keep replaying it I come to realize how it works, and I enjoy the process immensely. There is much suffering in this process, but it's the uneven challenge that leads me to be on my feet, ready to get owned at any moment. This is just not an experience I've ever gotten anywhere else.

    It's kind of amazing these games even exist and are getting ported and translated. I don't know who is going to play them in an age where RPG conventions and hand holding dictate you should never get lost or confused or have obfiscated mechanics. Romancing SaGa breaks all the rules. It crushes them and then throws them in the garbage, showing you that you can have fun being punished and lost in the dark as long as you have an adventurous spirit.

    So yes, I'm excited and terrified to play RS2. As game designer Masaya Matsuura says, "Go forth and do weird and difficult things!"
  • ArtyPartyArtyParty IllinoisFull Members
    I liked the remakes of the original SaGa games, but haven't played the Romancing trilogy. I didn't care much for the frontier games given their countless points of no return and the consequential need to keep multiple save files. Haven't played Unlimited and am not sure if I want to.
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    It definitely is one of the charm points of the series that each game comes with its own stuff to figure out without a lot of handholding. For Romancing SaGa et al., it's often figuring out where to go and what to do without definite direction. RS3 had the capitalism and conquest mini-games as well. Other games had their own oddities, like SaGa 2's monster transformations, SaGa Frontier 2's strategy battles and dueling, or even Legend of Mana's Land-Make and item-crafting systems.

    However, these are all secondary to the gameplay itself. It's generally possible to sit down with most any game in the series and at least have some idea of how to play it, even if you're not sure where you're going.

    Unlimited Saga, unfortunately, takes the series design philosophy to the extreme. There is very little in the game that is intuitive, and a lot of it seems to go out of its way to be counterintuitive. The character advancement mechanics are ciphers, both limiting and random. Magic learning is... complicated. Battles are colorful, flashy, but intimidating to people who aren't good at pattern recognition.

    Seriously, the best FAQ I've ever seen for that game is also the biggest plain text file I have ever seen on GameFAQs -- longer than some novels. And it's unfortunately necessary, because the game itself does such a poor job of explaining itself.

    We can enjoy Unlimited Saga for what it is, but that doesn't change the fact that what it is is a seriously flawed game.
  • ArtyPartyArtyParty IllinoisFull Members
    Personally, I think if you have to use a guide to play a game, it probably isn't very well-designed.
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    edited January 5
    It definitely is one of the charm points of the series that each game comes with its own stuff to figure out without a lot of handholding. For Romancing SaGa et al., it's often figuring out where to go and what to do without definite direction. RS3 had the capitalism and conquest mini-games as well. Other games had their own oddities, like SaGa 2's monster transformations, SaGa Frontier 2's strategy battles and dueling, or even Legend of Mana's Land-Make and item-crafting systems.

    However, these are all secondary to the gameplay itself. It's generally possible to sit down with most any game in the series and at least have some idea of how to play it, even if you're not sure where you're going.

    Unlimited Saga, unfortunately, takes the series design philosophy to the extreme. There is very little in the game that is intuitive, and a lot of it seems to go out of its way to be counterintuitive. The character advancement mechanics are ciphers, both limiting and random. Magic learning is... complicated. Battles are colorful, flashy, but intimidating to people who aren't good at pattern recognition.

    Seriously, the best FAQ I've ever seen for that game is also the biggest plain text file I have ever seen on GameFAQs -- longer than some novels. And it's unfortunately necessary, because the game itself does such a poor job of explaining itself.

    We can enjoy Unlimited Saga for what it is, but that doesn't change the fact that what it is is a seriously flawed game.

    Which was my biggest gripe with unlimited saga. The spinning wheel just wasn’t a very reliable way for me to do anything. I realize it was suppose to be sort of like a dice roll, and the better you got at a skill the better your chances were to land on a good panel spinning. I just never felt like I had the control I needed compared to dungeon balance.

    I also didn’t like having to pick a ton of attacks every round.
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    Did you ever take part in system wars arguments in real life or online? If so which system were you arguing for against the other? When I was young I often argued in the snes’ favor against genesis fans. I remember one kid on the playground saying Nintendo cares about parents, Sega cares about the kids since they got blood in mortal kombat.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited January 7
    I had been disappointed with the past two generations of Pokemon's selection of brand-new creatures. They come after Pokemon Black/White, which added 150 new 'mons and had it so that the player only encountered them and none of the old ones during the main story. I've realized, though, that after over 20 years and 807 of the monsters, it must be getting more difficult to come up with new ideas. The most recent Pokemon are, for the most-part, still rather creative and well-designed.

    How long do you think Game Freak and Nintendo can go with making new generations? They've even been doing things like introducing fewer new Pokemon compared to previous generation and having redesigned old Pokemon in the forms of Mega Evolutions and regional variants. And even if you aren't all that much into Pokemon, do you have any ideas for your own creatures?
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • bmesickbmesick New Member Full Members
    I agree that Unlimited Saga has major issues. But I don't think it's so horribly impenetrable that you couldn't have fun with it with some basic knowledge of how the game works and what the easier scenarios are. It's a messed up game for sure, with the way magic tablets and blacksmithing work, but you can beat a scenario fairly quickly, and actually learning how to play the game is very rewarding. I have tons of fun replaying Unlimited Saga scenarios. Am I crazy? Maybe... but you definitely do not need to read battle mechanics guides. I actually think it's fairly straightforward. What gets complex is building your character's stats and skills. But learning the ins and outs of it is very rewarding, not unlike the Legend of Mana crafting stuff. Unlimited is much simpler than that stuff though.

  • ArtyPartyArtyParty IllinoisFull Members
    I had been disappointed with the past two generations of Pokemon's selection of brand-new creatures. They come after Pokemon Black/White, which added 150 new 'mons and had it so that the player only encountered them and none of the old ones during the main story. I've realized, though, that after over 20 years and 807 of the monsters, it must be getting more difficult to come up with new ideas. The most recent Pokemon are, for the most-part, still rather creative and well-designed.

    How long do you think Game Freak and Nintendo can go with having new generations, even doing things like introducing fewer new Pokemon compared to previous generation and having redesigned old Pokemon in the form of Mega Evolutions and regional variants? And even if you aren't all that much into Pokemon, do you have any ideas for your own creatures?

    I've only played up to White 1, but methinks Pokemon needs to speed battles way the hell up without animations turned off, and eliminate the penalty for switching Pokemon in battle, if those haven't been wholly resolved.
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    bmesick wrote: »
    I agree that Unlimited Saga has major issues. But I don't think it's so horribly impenetrable that you couldn't have fun with it with some basic knowledge of how the game works and what the easier scenarios are. It's a messed up game for sure, with the way magic tablets and blacksmithing work, but you can beat a scenario fairly quickly, and actually learning how to play the game is very rewarding. I have tons of fun replaying Unlimited Saga scenarios. Am I crazy? Maybe... but you definitely do not need to read battle mechanics guides. I actually think it's fairly straightforward. What gets complex is building your character's stats and skills. But learning the ins and outs of it is very rewarding, not unlike the Legend of Mana crafting stuff. Unlimited is much simpler than that stuff though.

    All that is true, but it's still the least accessible game of the series to newcomers, and most people don't have the patience to get past the first five minutes of WTFery to see the possibilities. And again, things like the Legend of Mana crafting system or the capitalism game of RS3 are external to the core game. Do they make things easier? Sure. But you don't need to master them to get through things. The Romancing SaGa games are recognizably related to the mid-series Final Fantasy installments in the way things like movement or combat are concerned, while Legend of Mana is definitely a sort of brawler RPG. Unlimited Saga? It takes a while to understand just what you're doing, and as I said, most wouldn't have the patience.

    It's still not the worst I ever saw, though. That dubious honor goes to Falcata and Meru Purana, a pair of... I'm not sure exactly what Gust was trying to do with those, but I could never figure out what commands did what, and whenever a battle somehow happened, I couldn't even tell which side's characters were mine.
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