SaGa Frontier from SquareSoft was released way back in 1997 in Japan and later (1998) in North America on the original PlayStation console. The game never saw an official release in other territories, until now, more than 2 decades later. Square Enix has remastered this classic JRPG and has finally released it worldwide, in the form of SaGa Frontier Remastered.
SaGa Frontier Remastered is a JRPG that features 8 different characters, each with its own unique story. The remastered version of the game also includes an additional playable character, Fuse, that was cut from being playable in the original game.
Players in SaGa Frontier Remastered will pick from one of the aforementioned 8 different characters on the main menu and begin their journey. Each playable character starts off in their own scenario and their tales vary quite a lot. For example, Emilia is a model that’s been framed for the murder of her fiance Ren. Red is a young man whose parents were killed by an evil criminal organisation known as Black X and seeks justice against them. T260 is a machine that’s lost its memory.
Each of the tales in SaGa Frontier Remastered delivers enough content to keep you busy for literal hours on end and there’s plenty of content on offer in the game. Square Enix thankfully included a fast-forward option into the game though so players can effectively play the entire game at double speed. This makes combat a breeze and honestly, really helps with keeping the game’s grind to a minimum.
SaGa Frontier Remastered’s levelling up system is quite different from traditional JRPGs where experience is earned. Instead, players will gain skills from simply just battling against enemies. Enemies can either be super strong or will be absolute pushovers. Where to go and what to do can be extremely convoluted and SaGa Frontier Remastered will definitely confuse newcomers. There isn’t a lot of handholding here.
Therein lies the enjoyment though. Players loading up a character will be thrown straight into the deep end and you’re expected to just go with it. Square Enix has included a quest log of sorts which will help you out with some minimal in-game direction but that’s about it. You’re on your own in the game’s remarkably strange world. This may not be to some people’s tastes, especially modern day gamers but SaGa Frontier is one of those titles that were iconic for their fresh take on things during the golden era of gaming.
Combat in SaGa Frontier Remastered plays out when players engage with enemies on the in-game levels. There aren’t any random battles here but avoiding enemy engagement can be hard when progressing through some levels because of their design. Battles are turn-based and once you’ve unlocked additional party members, players will be able to pull off extremely flashy combination attacks. These attacks are great to see in action and are a visual feast for the eyes. The more you fight enemies in SaGa Frontier Remastered though, the harder it will be to take on certain foes later in the game. This isn’t really explained to players so it’s best to have multiple save files and to not be too brave with battles otherwise you may risk locking yourself out of progressing further into the game.
The remastered version of the game introduces Fuse to players as a playable character and he is able to join any of the other characters in their stories, further expanding them. Astellus’ story has also been changed with additional cut content being added in. Thankfully, Square Enix has also opted to include a New Game+ option in the game. So once you’ve completed it you’ll be able to carry over progress and you can select what progress you’d like to carry over too. This further adds to the game’s longevity for multiple playthroughs. Square Enix has even included the ability to toggle off the new content too, though newcomers are advised to play with it enabled.
The soundtrack of SaGa Frontier Remastered is great with the main theme and battle theme being quite recognisable and catchy. The sound effects and visual effects are on point throughout the game and the remaster has done an excellent job of sprucing up the visuals. The game also runs flawlessly on Nintendo Switch. It goes without saying that the portability of the Switch and the nature of the game having 8 separate stories is a perfect match. Players can easily load up a new character’s story and play them in bite-sized chunks until completion. Being able to save and load anywhere is also a major plus point and even the old glitches or exploits are still available.
Overall, SaGa Frontier Remastered is a solid remaster with a surprising amount of extra content added. If Square Enix can continue to do this with some of their older titles, fans all over the world will be in for a treat. SaGa Frontier Remastered may not be everyone’s cup of tea (because of its unusual design from more than 2 decades ago) but for those that played the original or those who have done their research and want to give it a go for the first time, they won’t be disappointed. Newcomers may want to play as one of the more player-friendly heroes first such as Red before diving into the other stories though. If you’re a fan of old-school JRPGs and games that will keep you entertained for hours as you explore and get drawn into its lore, SaGa Frontier Remastered comes highly recommended by us.
Publisher: SQUARE ENIX
Developer: SQUARE ENIX
Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC (STEAM) and mobile (iOS and Android)
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game which can be purchased here for £19.99.
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